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beezaur 01-15-2014 11:20 AM

E-Collar or Bark Collar for Barking . . . and Training?
I've had a year and a half of medical problems that have kept me from training my (now 3-year-old) working-line male GSD. I have no access to a trainer.

I've started his training after Steven Lindsay's references ( Positive reinforcement, teaching and befriending, etc. It's going along alright - basic obedience right now.

But his barking . . . gawd! His favorite trick in the whole world is "speak." "Quiet" is not coming along real well.

I recently boarded him with a trainer whom I trust. She recommended a bark collar. I found E-Collar's BarkLess (link), but looking into it I wonder if a full-on electronic training collar might be more useful.

The dog "commutes" to my home office for the day. The bark collar would be to keep him quiet for that, mostly. I don't need to leave him alone with it.

The thing is, I need to get on his training. I had not really considered an e-collar for training, but he will be doing scent and agility type work, at the least. He's a pretty high-octane dog, probably would be just fine with police work.

So . . . would a full-on training e-collar be useful? Bark-specific collar? Both?

P.S. Just to be clear, I would not use a bark collar for training proper, just for training him about when it's okay to bark.

NancyJ 01-15-2014 11:27 AM

If you are using a collar for barking I would use the bark collar. Timing with the ecollar can be inconsistent plus are you always going to be in a position to correct?

If you want an ecollar for training, I would do that separately

beezaur 01-15-2014 11:42 AM

One thing that gives me pause about the whole e-thing is being overly corrective, basically giving too much aversive stimulus without enough positive reinforcement. I understand that bark collars should be introduced carefully for that reason.

If bark collars really are plug-and-play, I'll just do that and train "by hand" if you will.

But if bark collars are better introduced slowly as training tools, I'm wondering if I might be better served by doing the training e-collar first. If I do that it might negate the need for a bark-specific collar.

I'm sort of lost about all this electronic stuff. :)

mego 01-15-2014 12:24 PM

I have an e-collar and when mine excessively barks after I tell her to be quiet I hold down the vibrate feature until she stops, it's not a shock but it's annoying. I agree your timing has to be really good to do that though, so unless you're planning on training him with an e-collar too I'd just get a bark collar.

Deno 01-15-2014 10:22 PM

If it were me, I wouldn't want to completely stop him from barking.

At some time his alert could be a lifesaver.

I would just want him to stop when I tell him to.

The e-collar is a fantastic tool that can deliver fantastic results.

beezaur 01-16-2014 12:40 AM

I ordered the bark collar.

I'm looking into an e-collar. Much to learn. They are intriguing.

NancyJ 01-16-2014 02:17 AM

They are aware of when they are and are not wearing the bark collar. Mine would occasionally even "test" it to be sure it was still giving her a shock. Her test was bark bark yip.

Baillif 01-16-2014 05:11 AM

There are steps you can take to prevent them from becoming collar wise, but regardless of that you can often resolve the behavior far before the dog learns about the collar if you start at the highest setting. In the cases where this is not the case and I was present I'd punish the dog independently of the collar.

People who punish or use negative reinforcement only with certain tools often find the behavior they are trying to stop creeps back up when the tool isn't present. If you punish or negative reinforce in other ways they can't become tool wise because the consequence is independent of the tool.

Ps. Just remember to rotate the collar every 2 to 4 hours or so so that the contact points don't rub the skin raw and cause blisters.

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