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Old September 13th, 2009, 06:03 PM
sockenwolle sockenwolle is offline
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Barkbusters

Anyone have experience with them? Anything, good or bad.
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Old September 13th, 2009, 06:49 PM
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Depends on what you want. I know a few people that have had them into their home and they were great and very happy with the results, while others found that long term BarkBusters was not any help, especially for some learned behaviors.
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Old September 13th, 2009, 07:30 PM
sockenwolle sockenwolle is offline
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Thanks for the quick response. I need some help with my dog's worsening leash aggression problems. I like the fact that they come help at home since my dog gets motion sickness on any car ride longer than 15 minutes and I can't find a trainer that close by.
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Old September 13th, 2009, 09:23 PM
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What breed of dog do you have? Definitely give BarkBusters a call if they're the closest trainers near you.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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Would you be able to guess if the dogs are aggressive through fear (timid) or dominance? How old are they?
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Old September 14th, 2009, 08:37 AM
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Barkbusters is an overpriced franchise. Throwing bags of chains at your dog and using the word bah to correct is in their seemingly endless repertoire. They guarantee their work for the life of the dog, but I've found through people who have used them if they can't correct the issue they apparently also won't refund you.

I'm sure there are some satisfied people out there, but it's a lot cheaper to choose a decent trainer, and you are set up for better success that way.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by sockenwolle View Post
Thanks for the quick response. I need some help with my dog's worsening leash aggression problems.
Is the dog not aggressive when off-leash?
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Old September 14th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by mafiaprincess View Post
Barkbusters is an overpriced franchise. Throwing bags of chains at your dog and using the word bah to correct is in their seemingly endless repertoire. They guarantee their work for the life of the dog, but I've found through people who have used them if they can't correct the issue they apparently also won't refund you.

I'm sure there are some satisfied people out there, but it's a lot cheaper to choose a decent trainer, and you are set up for better success that way.
Woah, I have never heard of them throwing bags of chains at dogs. I'm assuming they're doing this for innteruption reasons? I have heard some odd things about them too, but on the same note I've also talked to owners that have had a great experience and can't say anything bad about them.

On a side note, I really don't know any trainer or behaviorist that will refund you your money back if they've put their time/effort into trying to rehabiliate an animal (unless something were to go quite wrong and unexpected, death of dog, etc.). And that goes for any type of animal trainer, vet, or behaviorist. At least with BarkBusters they give their clients a lifetime garauntee, so if the problem continues or pops up later in the dogs life, they will return at no cost.

That's why it's so imperative to do ones research about the profesional they are seeking out - their references, their methods, and whether or not you believe in how they train.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 03:02 PM
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Here is a common senario from people who have told me they tried bark busters..

It 'works' in the beggining. The behaviours are suppressed (not trained, just suppressed) THen the dog reverts. BB is called back out.. repeatedly. Problem is not fixed and BB starts to not return phone calls...

I am sure there are people out there who are happy with the results. But for that money I think I would go to a trainer who is going to fix the problem, not just mask it.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dekka View Post
Here is a common senario from people who have told me they tried bark busters..

It 'works' in the beggining. The behaviours are suppressed (not trained, just suppressed) THen the dog reverts. BB is called back out.. repeatedly. Problem is not fixed and BB starts to not return phone calls...

I am sure there are people out there who are happy with the results. But for that money I think I would go to a trainer who is going to fix the problem, not just mask it.


They seem to be enamoured with the Koehler method which makes them punishment trainers. Like Dekka says, punishment suppresses behaviours and in cases where they know it is coming from the trainer - it is only suppressed when the person is around
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Old September 15th, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Beauceron View Post


They seem to be enamoured with the Koehler method which makes them punishment trainers. Like Dekka says, punishment suppresses behaviours and in cases where they know it is coming from the trainer - it is only suppressed when the person is around
Oooh, definitely don't agree with the statement that negative training only supresses behaviors, as one can argue the same about positive training - rehabilitating a dog depends on the trainer, their education, their knowledge, how they approach the methods and the dogs personality/background/history/breed - but I will leave it at that as I don't want to highjack this thread.

This would probably be why some trainers/behaviorists with BBusters have been successful in long-term rehabilitation for dogs, while others have not.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 08:49 PM
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Old September 24th, 2009, 05:39 PM
sockenwolle sockenwolle is offline
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Eek! Thanks for all the advice. I was wondering how it was possible that they had a lifetime guarantee My dog already has issues with her nerves, and I don't want to use those kind of training methods with her at all. My problem is that I can't tell if she's actually being aggressive on walks. We've made lots of progress in the last few months with loose leash walking, but we still can't pass people or dogs without her freaking out. We've done basic obedience training, and our trainer told me that she was not socialized at all. She was a rescue, and was eight months old when I adopted her. It'll be almost four months that I've had her.

The problem is that no one wants to socialize with her. She scares people with her pulling and lunging, so not one person we've met in public will talk to me or her. The only people not freaked out by her are the people who work at Petsmart, since I guess they've met dogs like her before. Just came back today from another disaster walk. We went to a park, and every human being that got too close was barked at and lunged at. It's impossible for me to figure out how to socialize her, so I'm still looking for a trainer to show me exactly how I'm doing this so wrong. I see tons of dogs every day, and not one behaves like mine. When we're alone outside, we jog, run around, do tricks, and she smiles and has a fun time. I just want to be able to have that kind of walk with her when strangers are around too. Winter is coming soon, and I'm seriously worried that she's going to injure me with the way she acts around strangers. One patch of ice, and down I'll go with an ankle sprain.

Anyway, thanks again for the advice, I really appreciate it. Will keep working on desensitizing her tummy to motion sickness in the car.
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Old September 24th, 2009, 08:20 PM
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Sorry to hear about your issues! It does sound like she has leash frustration, which CAN be caused by lack of socialization, but it can also be caused by the wrong kind of socialization. (Too much off-leash is a big cause of this.) Doesn't exactly mean that she's being aggressive, but it's hard to say without seeing it.

Because you don't know her past history, I'd look around to get her into an obedience class that you'll be able to walk her around other dogs with a profesional around to show you how to handle her when she reacts poorly on the leash. It's incredibly important NOT to talk to her, or touch her when she reacts. This only enables her behavior, making her think that you're encouraging and supporting what she's doing.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 07:35 PM
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sockenwolle, I can totally relate to what you're going through, it can be really discouraging. Kudos to you for adopting her in the first place and getting this far. First thing you need to accept is that changing behavior like this will take time and patience, lots of it. You will experience set backs and they will be discouraging, but it's not a lost cause. You're not only fighting a bad habit, you're fighting a well established bad habit.

As for barkbusters themselves, they are a franchise. I wouldn't recommend them for anything other then teaching a good dog basic obedience. Any Joe Shmoe off the street can pay them their franchise fee, go through a quick course, and voila! becomes an instant barkbusters trainer.

Regarding the statement above by Dekka,"It 'works' in the beggining. The behaviours are suppressed (not trained, just suppressed) THen the dog reverts. BB is called back out.. repeatedly. Problem is not fixed and BB starts to not return phone calls..." to me that sounds more like a case of the dog owner not following the trainers instructions properly and reverting to THEIR own bad habits which in turn negates what the dog just learned from the training session. 99% of the dog's problem is the person at the other end of the leash. The good trainers are the ones that can teach the handler and have those lessons stick, the dogs are usually the easy part.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 08:44 PM
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If you can, you may want to get your hands on this easy to read book....FEISTY FIDO - HELP FOR THE LEASH REACTIVE DOG, by Patricia McConnell and Karen London (I got my copy at dogwise.com).

We've used, for the most part, the methods described in it with our reactive dog. We've been working with her for almost three years now and last week, she passed a real big test when dh brought her downtown and she didn't even seem to notice other dogs going by because she was too focused on us. It takes time, practice, and patience but there is hope for you and your girl.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:10 PM
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If you can, you may want to get your hands on this easy to read book....FEISTY FIDO - HELP FOR THE LEASH REACTIVE DOG, by Patricia McConnell and Karen London (I got my copy at dogwise.com).

We've used, for the most part, the methods described in it with our reactive dog. We've been working with her for almost three years now and last week, she passed a real big test when dh brought her downtown and she didn't even seem to notice other dogs going by because she was too focused on us. It takes time, practice, and patience but there is hope for you and your girl.
I googled reactive dogs, and yup, that's my dog described in detail. I will order that book, hoping that it'll help us get through this.

Thank you for the support, everyone This has been a very painful experience so far, with strangers in the street glaring at me every day, and this means a lot to me. It's easy to feel so alone with this problem.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 09:56 PM
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bark busters

I had a bark buster trainer work with my two bullies. Instant difference! I have had dogs my whole life and have always used "traditional" methods of training. Sometimes it worked, most of the time it didn't. After one of our dogs was "invited" to stop attending obedience school, we opted for bark busters. After the first session, we were convinced. They don't throw bags of chains at your dog to hit them. You toss the bag nearby just to break the pattern and get their attention ONLY if the voice command doesn't work.
I found our trainer to be quite insightful on behaviour issues and solutions.
I'm sure some people have not had the same experience we did, but I recommend them to anyone who asks me. As for the price, it's no more expensive than a couple of 6 week courses at a pet store where they learn to sit for a treat. I've been to those classes as well and have found them to be little more than glorified play dates for people to showcase their new puppies.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 08:31 PM
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A friend wanted to look into opening a Barkbuster. They charge alot of money for a franchise and they give you 3 day training but only really 1 day of actual dog training. I would want someone with more experience to train my dog. Our neighbour used BB and they ended up giving him back his money, as they couldn't help his GSD. She was a dominant dog in the beginning but by the end of the BB training she turned into a very aggressive dog. I even knew more than the BB trainer who came out. And I am not a dog trainer but have taken several classes for my dogs.

Doing the wrong things (even just little things) can have a huge effect on the dog and make them turn for the worst. I would invest my money with a trainer that has many years of experience in dog training. As far as I can tell BB is only out for a fast buck
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Old February 22nd, 2010, 02:37 AM
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She was a dominant dog in the beginning but by the end of the BB training she turned into a very aggressive dog. I even knew more than the BB trainer who came out.
I have Bark Busters. My experience is good. Yes I did pay more but it is for life and they allowed spread out payments with no interest.

You say you knew more than the BB trainer. I think it really matters which BB trainer you get. I think that could apply even to private or smaller trainers.

I bet if the guy did something wrong it was his fault. He might have tried to dominate the dog himself on the first or second visit. Whereas he should have assisted the owner to take dominance. It also makes a difference how quickly you change over to the new system. You have to introduce it to them but not go overboard.

And it was mentioned above, yeah we throw the pouches at our feet, not at the dog. I rarely throw mine anymore. Standing tall is level 1 and it works most of the time. I bah daily but seldom throw the pouches.

The system is pretty much designed to show the dog the difference between doing something ok and doing something not ok. If you follow the rules, your dog isn't confused by your actions or tone.

Although the first thing he talked about was the food and how it is 75% of the problem. You can lose "points" just by feeding the dog crap, and the dog not "respecting" you just because it isn't getting enough protein and too much crap.

I noticed a big difference with just the new food.

I don't believe it is the only way but I do think it is a great way and it helps keep your pet happy and lower ranked.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 12:17 AM
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You definitly want to find a trainer that uses positive reinforcement for an agressive dog. The methods that BarkBusters uses can reinforce agression and cause an agressive dog to start masking warning signs. I have personally had 2 foster dogs thanks to their methods and when I read the report the family was given I was enraged. What they couldn't seem to accomplish with the surrendering families was definitly workable and was helped with positive reinforcement. Too bad by then the families had had enough.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 02:22 AM
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Cool

I think before you can use the bark buster methods you need to be established as pack leader. My dog is so not aggressive so I don't have that experience. But the theories I learned from our trainer are for any dog. Tailored of course.

Aggression takes time to settle in right? therefore it takes time to undo. I like Bark Busters because you don't have any physical contact with the dog at all. I think that is important because contact in the wrong way can trigger aggression or teach aggression.

I'm picturing a situation in your house where your dog is growling or barking at a visitor. A positive reinforcement method would be what to get the dog to stop? Offer a treat? That would enforce what the dog is doing. In a bark buster senario, I would stand between the visitor and the dog and stand tall. I would use the bah or the link pouches to get the dog's attention on me (the master) so he would see me not approving of his actions. Then you keep standing tall until the dog sits down and puts his head down, licks his lips. As soon as that happens you can ignore the dog or call it over to meet the stranger (if possible, baby steps right?)

But none of the bark buster methods will work if you do not have a dominant position over the dog. Therefore, don't introduce a visitor if you are not in that position.

what do you think? I am open to learning new techniques. If you could walk me through what you would do.

Thanks,

Kris
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 07:45 AM
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I'm picturing a situation in your house where your dog is growling or barking at a visitor. A positive reinforcement method would be what to get the dog to stop? Offer a treat? That would enforce what the dog is doing. In a bark buster senario, I would stand between the visitor and the dog and stand tall. I would use the bah or the link pouches to get the dog's attention on me (the master) so he would see me not approving of his actions. Then you keep standing tall until the dog sits down and puts his head down, licks his lips. As soon as that happens you can ignore the dog or call it over to meet the stranger (if possible, baby steps right?)

In your scenario the dog learns to mask his natural desire to bark and will still do so whenever you aren't around to "bah" him or throw something. Licking his lips is a sure sign of stress in a dog.

Obviously you don't know what positive reinforcement entails if you think you would offer a treat to a barking dog. You would redirect and offer positive reinforcement for the opposing behavior. Having studied BOTH methods it is my opinion that positive reinforcement benefits you with a dog that is still allowed to be a healthy, happy dog, but one that willfully offers up the behaviors you desire.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 01:11 AM
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No, I don't know positive reinforcement. I knew nothing, then I got bark busters. I wanted you to explain the postitive reinforcement for my hypothetical situation. Maybe you did a bit but it was vauge.

Anyway, the licking lips thing is what our bark busters guy said to look for as a sign that our dog is changing his mind about what he's doing (like barking at visitors). He explained it as the dog submitting.

Since you mentioned it was a sign of stress, I did a quick google search and found this site - http://www.wagntrain.com/BodyLanguage2.htm

Here's what it said:
QUOTE:
Dogs therefore use "Calming Signals" to reduce stress for themselves and others they interact with (including humans). Calming signals include: Yawning, looking away, lip-licking...
Remember, not all "stress" is distress; some stresses are merely challenges that might even be enjoyed (think of learning something new or playing a challenging game).
END QUOTE

So although it seems you are right that it causes stress, according to this, it isn't always a bad thing.

I also don't understand your "masking" comment. I agree that in my situation the dog didn't learn anything and will do it again next time. The barkbuster method for training works by catching the dog before he makes decisions. That's when the learning happens. So like start BAH'ing before the dog notices the visitor, just when he notices the visitor so he doesn't start the behaviour.

Also, a question: If I'm the pack leader, why is the dog getting aggressive towards a visitor in the first place? Is it not my job as leader to protect the pack? If the dog is aggressive towards a visitor, it might mean that I'm not the pack leader right? In which case the bark buster stuff won't work because you have to be the leader for it to work. Positive re-inforcement I'm guessing works even if you're not the leader?

Please don't take what I write as on the offensive. I am debating with you but I do appreciate your opinion and time to help me learn new ways. I do respect your knowledge and experience as I have pretty much 0 experience with aggressive dogs and I am only applying what I know, which is all bark busters.

Thanks,

Kris
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Old February 24th, 2010, 07:51 AM
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Totally cool Kris, I do understand a need to learn as much as possible. I love a good debate.
Masking is what happens when a dog learns to mask warning signs like growls and barks so they don't get in trouble for it. Then you are left with a dog that seems to attack out of nowhere because he gave no warning signs.

This idea of pack leader is getting out of hand. You do not need to be a despot to be a good leader to your pack. A barking dog in a pack by the way is a good thing as it will warn the pack that something is happening. So by your logic and pack mentality you should be rewarding a barking dog if you are going to go down that road. I am tired of hearing about alpha dog nonsense. It leads to alpha rolling and submission. For a dog to be happy he needs to be a functioning member of the family. You need to be a good leader and lets leave it at that.
The dog is not necessarily getting "agressive" towards a visitor. The dog is warning the pack that someone is approaching by barking and if your dog is jumping up and trying to get their attention it's because that is what he was allowed to do. You need to give the dog licence to bark when it is necessary and only once which is what I had to do with Soozie who barked incessantly. Then they need to learn where they need to stand when a visitor comes to the door (usually a mat near the door, but a different feeling surface like a carpet on a hardwood floor). There are many steps involved in this for positive reinforcement and I think that is why many people go for the fast and seemingly easy fix of opperant training. Positive reinforcement changes the way a dog feels about and associates certain behaviors and the dog ends up wanting to perform the desired behaviors because it has become rewarding. Opperant training lets the dog know there are consequences for not performing the action, but as long as the handler is not there to punish the dog may do it anyways.
Bonds of trust are fragile in a lot of breeds. Punishment and harsh corrections can make them fold and learn not to trust their guardian. Positive reinforcement allows the dog to think for themselves and choose the more rewarding behavior.
One foster came with a prong collar that the above mentioned company suggested they get. Lets look at what happens to a leash agressive dog on a prong collar...Dog barks and growls at approaching dog, owner yanks on leash and sets prongs into the dogs neck, dog associates pain it is feeling with other dog= agression worse = family gives dog away.
Positive reinforcement suggests you work at the dogs threshold for tolerance and slowly get closer with praise and engagement (over months possibly) til you are ignoring approaching dogs. The dog learns to associate the approaching dog with positive feelings and no longer barks and growls.
I just feel it is a better solution in most cases. Less trauma, more trust.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 12:25 AM
sbtb_eman sbtb_eman is offline
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It sounds like positive reinforcement is way more effective and long lasting. Barkbusters seems to be a quick fix that might not be effective on all dogs, especially agressive ones.

I think that for myself, with 3 kids and all, the barkbusters was a good solution for my large dog. We switched to the Orijen food and applied the techniques. I didn't consider my dog a problem before the trainer, just that we wanted a bit more control because she became so big. My wife wasn't able to take the dog for a walk and now she can.

However, we now have a 3 month old bichon maltese and I think I want to use more the positive re-inforcement training.

Would I be over stepping my boundaries in this forum if I ask for more information on positive reinforcement training? Like what are the general rules for training any behaviour? Or is this something I have to go out and pay for?

Thanks,

Kris
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Old February 25th, 2010, 07:46 AM
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omg...what gorgeous pups you have! Of course I will give you any information you want to know. Message me privately...I think we have hijacked this thread enough lol. I know from experience the maltese can stomp all over you if you let them, they are little dogs with big personalities and will.
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