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Toy Drive

by Brandon Sawler 4 years ago in training

Not the charitable kind, the annoying kind.

When he's happy he smiles!

Working breeds, they're bred to work. Well, just like humans, working dogs tend to go a bit stir crazy if cooped up too long which is totally normal. For this reason we tend to take our dogs for 1-2 walks a day, and a good run playing a game of fetch.

For some dogs this is enough. They come in, lay down, relax, and enjoy a lazy evening on the couch next to mom stealing the odd kiss and a yummy snack. Like our Aussie!

Not this guy.

Zeke was always a hyper dog. He loved to play outside, he loved to play inside, he loved to play in the car and he loved to play... well just about anywhere. This dog is ALWAYS weak for a ball.

Now, we had no issue with him wanting to play. EVER. We would throw the ball until he wouldn't bring it to us anymore, take him inside for a drink and relax for a bit. Well like a new baby. A "bit" could be anywhere from 15-25 minutes. Then like a freshly fired bullet, he was back to traveling at the speed of sound. He'd find a toy and throw it at you. And when I say throw it at you, I am not exaggerating. Zeke would literally throw it in your face. Now this was not something that was cute. Well the girlfriend thought it was at first, until you got a softball thrown at you (Yes, it hurt).

Now this was annoying to say the least but it got worse. I never really noticed it because the girlfriend was home all day while I was working, and she would complain about Zeke's barking. Now, it started over little things like hearing cars go by, or other dogs barking. Which is totally natural and a perfect response in most cases. But it's when he started barking right in your face when you didn't throw his toy for him, or you tried to hide it he would whimper and bark in your face until he got it (Sometimes he never did get it back and it went on for a good 30+ minutes).

Now for me not being home all day, I didn't associate it with being a major issue as when I came home he wouldn't do it near as much as she was saying. She must be exaggerating right? Wrong. He just knew that I was around and he listened to be better? Or maybe we can refer it to the outdated "Alpha" idea. Either way, he didn't do it to me, he did it to her to the point where it was affecting her hearing and she wasn't sleeping well and it was causing her to have ongoing massive headaches. So what do we do? Think about giving him away? No!

RESEARCH. We did research. We looked up what the best methods were to curbing the behavior. It turned out bark collars were amazing and worked really well. Needless to say there were a lot of models on the market and a lot of them were electric and involved shock. We didn't like that at all and DO NOT and WILL NOT recommend shock training for any dog.

So we found a really nice citronella based, vibration sensor collar at a local pet store. He hated it, and with him being a dog that doesn't like surprises as he is scared of everything, that quick burst of citronella that came flying out shut him up faster than mom yelling your full name across the house.

PS. Citronella is a great tool to use for training dogs as the flavor is really not the greatest tasting to them, so it helps with not only curbing barking in a collar but is great for chewing as well (From what we've read during out research into collars).

It took Zeke 3 days to almost completely curb the habit he had formed while trying to train us to play when he barks at us - 3 days. He no longer barked at us when he wanted to play, and he had even begun to reduce the amount he barked at other sounds he heard.

Side Note: To this day, if he's barking and we say "Zeke, do you want your bark collar on?!" He stops barking almost immediately and walks to your side and sits down. So it was extremely effective.

RECOMMENDATION: I suggest a citronella or unscented bark collar, entirely based on the positive effect it had in our lives with Zeke! They range from 40-140$ and ours was around 80$ (CAN) before taxes.


Brandon Sawler
Brandon Sawler
Read next: Calling All Wannabe Pet Owners
Brandon Sawler

This is the on going story of a beautiful, kind, compassionate dog and his crazy and reactive behaviors

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