Finding the right training tools

Like many other pet owners, we consider our two dogs an important part of our family. They provide endless hours of entertainment with their antics and play, and it’s quite a nice feeling when you come home to wagging tails and happy faces.

Of course, both of the dogs are far from angels. Buster, the little dog, is very smart. Sometimes I feel like I can actually see the wheels turning in his little brain. He’s very food motivated and he thinks the word “no” is a suggestion rather than a command. Most of the time, he thinks he’s in charge and must oversee everything of importance around the house. He likes to sit on the back of the sofa and look at the window, surveying his little kingdom inside and outside of the house.

That watching out the window is where we find one of the biggest problems. Being a small dog, Buster feels that’s necessary to bark at everyone and everything that passes by the front of our house people, dogs and cats, squirrels and even leaves blowing around in the wind. It’s clear that he has to warn off anything that might upset his little world. And once he starts a tantrum, his buddy Toby chimes in with his two cents worth.

That has gotten just a little old. It’s frustrating if someone is talking on the phone or if the UPS guy comes to the door with a delivery. We’ve tried all kinds of conditioning techniques to curb the barking – clicker training, rewarding with treats, banishing to a kennel. But I think Buster’s behavior is finally about to come to an end.

On his last trip to the veterinarian, Buster arrived home wearing a citronella collar – and he was quiet. The gal from the vet clinic said she tried out the collar while he was there and it only took one little woof and a squirt of citronella to let Buster know that the barking won’t be tolerated.

I was impressed. Larry started looking for a collar online and found one. It’s scheduled to arrive by Monday and I can’t wait to try it out. I hope that when the UPS man delivers the collar, it will be the last time he has to worry about that little dog. I’m glad to have found something that will help with the woofing that won’t hurt my fur boys. The best case scenario – we will see and end to the incessant barking. We think the collar might help calm Toby, too, just because Buster will be more quiet.

Too bad we can’t find something similar to help train the people in our lives. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some sort of device to help people remember to pick up their socks or put the seat down or even put their backpack in the bedroom and not on the dining room table? Wouldn’t it be nice if a little mist of citronella could solve those problems, too? Not to mention all the mosquitos it would keep away.