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Can I retrain a dog with a "no bark" collar?

muskokapuss
March 30th, 2007, 09:19 AM
Hi all,

This is probably a little bit different than the usual problem because my dog WAS trained not to bark, and usually we didn't hear a peep out of her unless a person was in our yard, or someone was at the door (dog's make such effective doorbells don't they?)

To make a long story short....I took my normal, happy go lucky, hyper 9 year old Rottie dog to the kennel, brought back a dog that I honestly thought wasn't mine, (we and the vet think she was either beaten/poisoned or both) she didn't recognize me, my hubby, her pen, where her food/water is, etc. She will not stop barking/howling and usually goes at it for hours and hours at a time. She is in her own room in our house (it's like a back porch, but she has her bed, heater, radio to keep her company and her toy's all with her), I let her out 5-6 times a day and try to spend all the time I can with her, but since she came home from the kennel she is so unpredictable that the vet told me to keep her away from other people, (my 7 year old son included)....I am not able to bring her into the main part of the house as I have 2 cat's that remain indoors at all times, as well as my son and she has always been way too hyper and destructive to be allowed in the main part of the house, which is why we built a special room for her (she has been pen trained and has an XX large custom cage with her dog bed, etc...this has been her safe place since she was a puppy) she is just starting to recognize that it is her pen again but I cannot get her to stop howling. The vet said that this is a definite sign of brain damage, we had one scan done already that came back "within normal limits" and I can't afford another $1100.00 for another, nor can I afford another neurological consult. My short story ended up a long one again, but I want you all to get the whole picture not just a part of the story :sorry:

Do you think it would be fair to try to retrain her like she was a puppy, since she seems to have forgotten all of her prior training? Would a "no bark" collar be something worth looking into or would it harm her further?? She was having seizures when I got her back from the kennel and although she hasnt' seized in 3 days I'm afraid to do anything that could bring them back on. I have literally tried everything from sitting and talking to her for hours at a time (when my son was in school) but that didn't even work. I have tried to be firm with her, saying "quiet, and laydown" in a very firm voice, which she completely ignores, I have tried the nice gentle way (which to be honest she has never ever responded to), at least she still see's my hubby as the pack leader, but even he can't get her to quiet down.

Any idea's??? (If they had an "I'm pulling out my hair in frustration" icon, I'd be putting it here!)

thanks puss:cat:

LavenderRott
March 30th, 2007, 09:21 AM
After what we assume this dog has been through - I wouldn't even consider a no bark collar for her.

I honestly have no advice on how to help her, but I think that using major negative reinforcement like a no bark collar would not be the answer.

jessi76
March 30th, 2007, 10:08 AM
I agree w/ LavenderRott 100%. I think you'd be making a HUGE mistake. If anything, this dog needs xtra TLC and understanding right now. I honestly think you should see a professional for this - if this dog has brain damage you'll need to learn how to cope and how to communicate effectively, and positively.

muskokapuss
March 30th, 2007, 11:19 AM
After what we assume this dog has been through - I wouldn't even consider a no bark collar for her.

I honestly have no advice on how to help her, but I think that using major negative reinforcement like a no bark collar would not be the answer.

That's exactly what I was wondering, I mean she sure didn't need one the first time she was trained not to bark and frankly I'm really concerned that it would bring on another seizure and that's what I'm trying to avoid. I'll just have to try something else and see if that works.

On a mildly amusing note, when he told me he would pick one up, I said "Okay, but bear in mind it's going on you first, and if you can't handle it, (which I know for a fact he couldn't) then it's not going anywhere near my poor pupper!!"

Thanks for your input, It's much appreciated

puss:cat:

luckypenny
March 30th, 2007, 11:26 AM
I definately would not use this collar. What are the circumstances surrounding her barking/howling? Is something setting her off? Or is she just doing it incessantly without an obvious reason to you? Does she do it mainly when you are not with her or with and without your presence? If it is indeed brain damage, I'm surprised that the scans show nothing. What conclusions is your vet able to confirm through any test results (not what he's guessing happened but actual results)?

I think in order to help her, you have to find out exactly what happened to her. Have you gone back to the kennel and attempted to speak to the owner (not just the vet)? You need to calmly explain (without threats) that it's imperative that you help your dog and can't do it without their collaboration. I know that with all you've been through, this is going to be difficult to keep emotions at bay but, your dog's health and well-being should be a priority at this point. Delay 'going after them' until you have more facts. It's unfortunate and frustrating, I know, but you really need to get them to work with you.

I would not attempt any retraining at this time until you are positive about what is wrong with her. It could be either physical, psychological, or both. Until you're certain, try to comfort her and keep her as calm and comfortable as possible. When you have more details, you can proceed from there whether it be through medical care or through a veterinary behaviorist. Then you can seek monetary retribution from the kennel to help pay for her treatment.

muskokapuss
March 30th, 2007, 11:30 AM
I agree w/ LavenderRott 100%. I think you'd be making a HUGE mistake. If anything, this dog needs xtra TLC and understanding right now. I honestly think you should see a professional for this - if this dog has brain damage you'll need to learn how to cope and how to communicate effectively, and positively.

Thanks you for your input, we did see a professional, we had a complete and total scan/and neurological work up done, which came back within normal limits, and all the other testing they have been doing all week has come up normal, however having said that, the vet still thinks that she has brain damage, or that she was hit and suffered amnesia of some kind (and no the scan didn't turn up any serious injuries) but the vet said there are ways to hurt a dog and not have it show up...so I guess I'm back to square one. Even the vet mentioned because the tests came back normal, that doing any more exhastive and expensive special testing may not even give us any answers and she thought it may do more harm than good to take her to the veterinary hospital (because I would have to leave her there, and she wouldn't know anyone, so she would be even more stressed than she is now) At least at home I can keep an eye on her and give her all the love and support that I possibly can.

The good news is that she seems to know me and my husband now, almost like she used to and she isn't shying away when we pet her on the head like she was when we got her back from the kennel, so that's a little good news anyway.

puss:cat:

Winston
March 30th, 2007, 11:41 AM
Is there anythng that can be given to her to calm her down some? from the howling I mean? It cant be good for her or your family? I dont mean in a sense drug her but to make her feel calmer and more relaxed? I wonder if she was hit in the head area if it has affected her ears? Also does she calm down when you try to say lay down with her?

Cindy

muskokapuss
March 30th, 2007, 12:04 PM
I definately would not use this collar. What are the circumstances surrounding her barking/howling? Is something setting her off? Or is she just doing it incessantly without an obvious reason to you? Does she do it mainly when you are not with her or with and without your presence? If it is indeed brain damage, I'm surprised that the scans show nothing. What conclusions is your vet able to confirm through any test results (not what he's guessing happened but actual results)?

I think in order to help her, you have to find out exactly what happened to her. Have you gone back to the kennel and attempted to speak to the owner (not just the vet)? You need to calmly explain (without threats) that it's imperative that you help your dog and can't do it without their collaboration. I know that with all you've been through, this is going to be difficult to keep emotions at bay but, your dog's health and well-being should be a priority at this point. Delay 'going after them' until you have more facts. It's unfortunate and frustrating, I know, but you really need to get them to work with you.

I would not attempt any retraining at this time until you are positive about what is wrong with her. It could be either physical, psychological, or both. Until you're certain, try to comfort her and keep her as calm and comfortable as possible. When you have more details, you can proceed from there whether it be through medical care or through a veterinary behaviorist. Then you can seek monetary retribution from the kennel to help pay for her treatment.

The vet has said that even though all her tests, blood work, MRI scan, complete neurological work up, urinalysys, and there were a couple more done, behaviour type testing, (sorry I have them written down downstairs in her "puppy book") all came back normal it is most likely a psycho-sematic (sp?) problem that we are dealing with now. Her barking and howling are really the only things that are lingering (at least from what we can see) and the vet really doesn't have any idea why she is doing it. I'm pretty much just letting her do what she feels she has to do, as far as barking and howling are concerned because she does quiet down after a couple hours of straight barking so maybe she is getting it out of her system. She barks when I'm here and when I leave (I've put my answering machine close to the back door, so when I'm gone I can call in and see if she is barking or not) she just seems to need to bark and howl, she does it inside and outside. But she does settle down at night Thank Heaven's.

I am right now attempting to get information about what happened to her at the kennel, I have sent a registered letter to the owner, asking for information about what happened, and I explained to them that I'm not accusing them of anything, I just really need to know exactly what happened to I can get her the treatment that she needs. That's my main concern, what's done is done and I can't prove anything anyway, so getting any kind of "revenge" is not even on my radar. However having said that I did put an ad in the paper asking if anyone else has had problems with any kennels in my area, and hoping that I can get some further information that way.

Since I can't prove that anything actually did happen there (even though both my vet and I are convinced that something major did happen) I can't even go after them for monitary compensation, which frankly I already figured would be the case, where I am you really have to prove that there was some deliberate or negligent act committed before you can pursue anything either criminally or civilly, and the slander law's being what they are I am being extra careful about what I say to whom and so on. In fact I can count on one hand the number of people that know what kennel is responsible and 4 of them are in my family.

My main focus is to try to help her with the barking and unpredictability, because that is limiting what I can do with her and where, and just keeping her safe and well loved!

If you have any further ideas they would be more than welcome, thank you very much for your input, I am learning more from the people on this site than any other site I have accessed and I'm very appreciative too all :grouphug:

puss:cat:

MamaSue
March 30th, 2007, 12:21 PM
If she has seized, perhaps the vet could prescribe something like valium? I am not sure about ativan for dogs... but valium would calm her and it is also anti-seizure.

I hate to suggest drugging her but she sounds horribly miserable, and it might be the kindest thing to do, right now. Maybe it would calm her enough to regroup a bit, or heal? Or at least establish another behavior?

What a nightmare you are dealing with. Good luck closing down the kennel or at least getting them to do something immediately so that this never happens again! What a horrible thing! Your poor furbaby!

muskokapuss
March 30th, 2007, 12:26 PM
Is there anythng that can be given to her to calm her down some? from the howling I mean? It cant be good for her or your family? I dont mean in a sense drug her but to make her feel calmer and more relaxed? I wonder if she was hit in the head area if it has affected her ears? Also does she calm down when you try to say lay down with her?

Cindy

I have tried numerous methods to try to calm her down ( I even tried a homeopathic remedy...but it gave her the trot's) She does calm down at night and when I am out with her, but unfortunately I cannot bring her inside, nor is it realistic for me to spend my entire day out with her, so I am going to have to let her do some barking, although I know that soon my neighbours will be complaining to by-law about her....I am just waiting for the knock at the door (we do not get along with one of our neighbours, as they cannot seem to stop their children from being on my roof, coming on our property and bothering Stinker vandalizing our vehicles and stealing from them etc....and yes I have witnessed them doing each of these things, gone to the parent's and am still having problems...so now if anything else happens the police will be called again, but that's another whole story!) my biggest worry right now is her unpredictability because of her, memory loss, or amnesia, usually she wouldn't even bark at the neighbours because she is at the very least familiar with them and their voices....however now, she barks at everyone and everything and even lunged at one of them when they came on our property. You know you think that you have enough safeguards in place, when she's outside she is at the back of our house, we have beware of dog and no tresspassing signs on our windows (even the side window that points directly at my neighbour's house, the one with the problem kids) because I am trying to avoid having problems with anyone and the neighbours still seem to have to come on our property, they have gone so far as to throw food that they have burnt on their bbq over the fence, and if she ever got ahold of it, she would be very very sick ( I threw it back with a note, saying thanks but no thanks, I don't feed my family, nor my pets burnt offerings, and if they persist in throwing food over the fence they will be cited for animal cruelty, and I'm hoping I can make it stick with the humane society)....she is tied up with her choker chain and attached to a length of airline cable (cause she has broken every chain and all other kinds of restraint without any trouble at all).

I even put the radio on for her, and it play's nice soft soothing music and it play's day and night. She has all of her toy's with her to amuse her and I put her out about 5-6 times a day and of course have to stay outside with her and keep an eye on her especially when the little devil's next door are home.

I'm hoping that with lot's of love and support we can ease her out of the barking/howling phase and stop the unpredictable behavior, because that is what I'm really afraid of right now, is that she will just "snap" and go after someone who is too ignorant to read sign's or thinks that they can go where they please, even if it's on my property.....'sigh' sorry about the rant it's been a really tough week, :sorry:

puss:cat:

muskokapuss
March 30th, 2007, 12:37 PM
If she has seized, perhaps the vet could prescribe something like valium? I am not sure about ativan for dogs... but valium would calm her and it is also anti-seizure.

I hate to suggest drugging her but she sounds horribly miserable, and it might be the kindest thing to do, right now. Maybe it would calm her enough to regroup a bit, or heal? Or at least establish another behavior?

What a nightmare you are dealing with. Good luck closing down the kennel or at least getting them to do something immediately so that this never happens again! What a horrible thing! Your poor furbaby!

Actually as soon as I got her back from the kennel she had a seizure so I loaded her right back up in my truck and took her out to my vet (who stayed open just for me), he gave me valium for her to calm her when she had a seizure, and it did work, however I'm just not comfortable giving her the drug when she is not seizing, she just end's up too dopey, I still have a couple vials just in case she does have another seizure, I just can't stand to see her go through that, and thank God for now the seizures seem to have stopped. I'm looking into a homeopathic remedy that doesn't give her the trot's right now, something like cammomile for humans, you know it just calms you down a bit, it doesn't knock you right out....I'll tell you I never thought I'd be looking for a dog sedative, and she has always been an extremely hyper dog, she hasn't slowed down since she was a puppy.

I am definitely going to pursue some form of action against the kennel, I just haven't figured out what would be the most advantageous yet, I do NOT want this to happen to ANY other pet and I'm really trying to put the word out without getting myself into libel trouble. I have an ad in the paper, and I do know for a fact now that at least one other person had very similar problems with their dog at the same kennel (and we have the same vet as well which is 30mins away) so I can just imagine how many people inside the city limits have boarded their pet there and have had problems, I just hope that they come forward and give me a call so we can do something to stop them. I honestly don't think that it's the entire kennel, because my baby was boarded there before without any trouble at all...I think that there is at the very least one or two very very bad people at the kennel that need to be stopped and charged with animal cruelty....My friend suggested putting her pup in a the kennel and putting a hidden camera that we would monitor 24/7 from just down the street on a laptop, kinda like a spy cam...but I just can't put any other dog at risk, and who's to say they wouldn't lock the door and then I'd have to break and enter to save her puppy the same fate as mine....I'll just have to come up with something that doesn't put any other animal at risk....Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so very much for your support!

puss:cat:

jessi76
March 30th, 2007, 12:43 PM
Thanks you for your input, we did see a professional, we had a complete and total scan/and neurological work up done, which came back within normal limits, and all the other testing they have been doing all week has come up normal, however having said that, the vet still thinks

sorry, I should of been more clear - when I said professional, I meant "behaviorist" or trainer - someone who's dealt with an injured and unpredictable dog before. to teach you hands-on positive yet gentle techniques for dealing with this.

The good news is that she seems to know me and my husband now, almost like she used to and she isn't shying away when we pet her on the head like she was when we got her back from the kennel, so that's a little good news anyway.

that's great news! perhaps with more time and TLC she'll improve even more.

luckypenny
March 30th, 2007, 03:14 PM
"She does calm down at night and when I am out with her, but unfortunately I cannot bring her inside, nor is it realistic for me to spend my entire day out with her..."

"...she is tied up with her choker chain and attached to a length of airline cable (cause she has broken every chain and all other kinds of restraint without any trouble at all)"

"She has all of her toy's with her to amuse her and I put her out about 5-6 times a day and of course have to stay outside with her and keep an eye on her especially when the little devil's next door are home."

"...my biggest worry right now is her unpredictability....however now, she barks at everyone and everything and even lunged at one of them when they came on our property. You know you think that you have enough safeguards in place, when she's outside she is at the back of our house, we have beware of dog and no tresspassing signs on our windows...."

"I'm hoping that with lot's of love and support we can ease her out of the barking/howling phase and stop the unpredictable behavior, because that is what I'm really afraid of right now, is that she will just "snap" and go after someone who is too ignorant to read sign's or thinks that they can go where they please, even if it's on my property....."


Sorry, I took these statements just to clarify some things...

First of all, I just want to repeat that I am sorry for the experience your dog had to endure. Please take no offense to what I'm writing, none is intended...I'm hoping this may help.

An unpredictable dog should never be left unattended at any time when it may pose a danger to itself or to others. There is no need to spend the whole day outdoors with her. If you can take her for a long walk in the morning and evening, she would not need to be outside unless someone is actively playing with her or just taking her out to do her business for several minutes at a time. Being tied up is known to cause aggression in some dogs; I would not leave her tied up with a choker in your yard.

Unfortunately, there are ignorant/naive people who do not heed to warnings, regardless how obvious. The fact is, as owners of dogs, we are legally responsible for any harm they may cause, whether it be on public or private property. If something should go wrong, both the victim and the dog pay the ultimate price. This is not a risk any owner should take. The fact that you're very aware of your dog's unpredictability is the first step in ensuring her safety and that of others.

I would continue looking for measures to help calm her as you have already been doing. Keep in mind that lots of exercise such as walking, running, and active play will help. Rather than letting her have access to all her toys (dogs get bored of the same old things too), rotate them daily giving her one at a time and then remove them. Feeding her meals out of a Kong will also provide mental stimulation as well as exercise. Try stuffing it with kibble and soft food. You can also freeze it to 'up' the challenge. What I'm trying to say is that a busy, tired dog tends to stay out of trouble. Give her a well-structured, predictable routine and you should soon see some positive changes.

I would also have to agree with Jessie76 that you should seek professional help from an experienced trainer/behaviorist. You have nothing to lose but will gain knowledge, peace of mind, and a healthier, happier dog. :fingerscr Good luck.

muskokapuss
March 31st, 2007, 05:18 PM
"She does calm down at night and when I am out with her, but unfortunately I cannot bring her inside, nor is it realistic for me to spend my entire day out with her..."

"...she is tied up with her choker chain and attached to a length of airline cable (cause she has broken every chain and all other kinds of restraint without any trouble at all)"

"She has all of her toy's with her to amuse her and I put her out about 5-6 times a day and of course have to stay outside with her and keep an eye on her especially when the little devil's next door are home."

"...my biggest worry right now is her unpredictability....however now, she barks at everyone and everything and even lunged at one of them when they came on our property. You know you think that you have enough safeguards in place, when she's outside she is at the back of our house, we have beware of dog and no tresspassing signs on our windows...."

"I'm hoping that with lot's of love and support we can ease her out of the barking/howling phase and stop the unpredictable behavior, because that is what I'm really afraid of right now, is that she will just "snap" and go after someone who is too ignorant to read sign's or thinks that they can go where they please, even if it's on my property....."


Sorry, I took these statements just to clarify some things...

First of all, I just want to repeat that I am sorry for the experience your dog had to endure. Please take no offense to what I'm writing, none is intended...I'm hoping this may help.

An unpredictable dog should never be left unattended at any time when it may pose a danger to itself or to others. There is no need to spend the whole day outdoors with her. If you can take her for a long walk in the morning and evening, she would not need to be outside unless someone is actively playing with her or just taking her out to do her business for several minutes at a time. Being tied up is known to cause aggression in some dogs; I would not leave her tied up with a choker in your yard.

Unfortunately, there are ignorant/naive people who do not heed to warnings, regardless how obvious. The fact is, as owners of dogs, we are legally responsible for any harm they may cause, whether it be on public or private property. If something should go wrong, both the victim and the dog pay the ultimate price. This is not a risk any owner should take. The fact that you're very aware of your dog's unpredictability is the first step in ensuring her safety and that of others.

I would continue looking for measures to help calm her as you have already been doing. Keep in mind that lots of exercise such as walking, running, and active play will help. Rather than letting her have access to all her toys (dogs get bored of the same old things too), rotate them daily giving her one at a time and then remove them. Feeding her meals out of a Kong will also provide mental stimulation as well as exercise. Try stuffing it with kibble and soft food. You can also freeze it to 'up' the challenge. What I'm trying to say is that a busy, tired dog tends to stay out of trouble. Give her a well-structured, predictable routine and you should soon see some positive changes.

I would also have to agree with Jessie76 that you should seek professional help from an experienced trainer/behaviorist. You have nothing to lose but will gain knowledge, peace of mind, and a healthier, happier dog. :fingerscr Good luck.


I take absolutely no offense at what you said and really appreciate your input. I guess that I really didn't clarify really well what I was posting. She is only tied out if she has to "go", and I was there when she lunged....and I stay out with her and watch her, (and since she has been home she seems to need to go out to "go" a little more than usual, normally she just went when she had her walks) other than that she is indoors, unless I am outside doing something, in which case I bring her outside and we keep each other company. Even before this happened to her I didn't let her outside unsupervised, like you said we are all responsible for our pet's behaviour and I take that responsibility very seriously.

The idea of switching up her toy's is a great one thank you! I have tried her with a kong (in fact I have bought 3 of them of varying sizes) but even when a treat is in it she seems uninterested....of course having said that now that she is a somewhat different dog, I will try again.

I am now looking into having a behaviourist look at her so we can help her as much as possible....Everyday she seems to be coming back a little more and I cannot even tell you how happy it makes me to see her tilt her head and perk her ear's up when I talk to her and see her wag her whole back end (cause she's a Rottie, her tail was docked when she was a pup....if I were there I would have told the breeder to leave it on, but what's done is done)....she know's her name again when I call her and she isn't shying away anymore when I pet her head, so that's a BIG step in the right direction.

thanks again,

puss:cat:

muskokapuss
March 31st, 2007, 05:23 PM
sorry, I should of been more clear - when I said professional, I meant "behaviorist" or trainer - someone who's dealt with an injured and unpredictable dog before. to teach you hands-on positive yet gentle techniques for dealing with this.



that's great news! perhaps with more time and TLC she'll improve even more.

Thank you, I didn't quite understand what you meant, I thought that you meant a vet....now I know....and am looking into having someone work with her.....she is improving daily and it's soooo nice to see her ear's perk up when I talk to her and watch her back end wag (my little Rottie dog had her tail docked as a pup....I would have left it on, but I wasn't around her then) whenever I come in, she seems to be coming back great and it's not even been a whole week yet so I am so thankful, and grateful for people like you that took the time to help, I am very grateful. The best part is that when I bring her outside with me (when she has to "go") she now listens and doesn't wander off anymore, nor does she shy away when I pet her head and tell her what a good pupper she is!

thanks again,

puss:cat:

TeriM
April 1st, 2007, 02:34 AM
I'm glad she's showing some improvement. I'll keep my fingers crossed for continuing progress :fingerscr . Good luck :) .

Edgewaters
April 1st, 2007, 06:23 AM
so I am going to have to let her do some barking, although I know that soon my neighbours will be complaining to by-law about her....I am just waiting for the knock at the door (we do not get along with one of our neighbours, as they cannot seem to stop their children from being on my roof, coming on our property and bothering Stinker vandalizing our vehicles and stealing from them etc

Well, this one neighbour I imagine will not complain to by-law because they are probably aware you could someday return the favour by having the police come for their children, if they're on your roof, vandalizing, and stealing things!

As for your other neighbours, I think you might be surprised at how much it would be worthwhile to go around to those affected, tell them you know they are probably disturbed by it all, and explain the entire situation. As a person who has called in noise complaints before (against a bunch of young upstairs tenants) I can tell you that the most aggravating part is the feeling that the disturber doesn't care and is flagrantly violating your peace and quiet without concern or regard - calling by-law is like giving a slap in the face to say "Hey! I'm here! Take me seriously and quit blowing me off!". If you go around and show people you are concerned and not a careless person, and explain the entire situation, people might be very forgiving and you might be able to head off a conflict.

Also, a few things about noise bylaws, though it shouldn't change the concern you have for your neighbours (the decent ones, anyway): most bylaws do not restrict daytime noise much, except for very heavy machinery. There is usually a noise curfew in the municipal noise ordinances and if your dog is keeping quiet after this hour (usually 10 or 11 pm though could be as early 8 or 9 depending on your local ordinance) then bylaw officers will not respond to any complaints. Also, your first visit will almost always be a warning and it would be unusual to get a fine on the first visit.