Originally Posted by KrystalLeigh
Just wanted to pop in to say that my friend resorted to the citrus collar for her chi and it worked wonders!!
I've never liked "positive punishment" methods (i.e. shock collars, spanking, spraying with water, citrus collars, etc.). But I have to say.. I think a big problem with Chihuahuas is that, for some, barking becomes immensely rewarding. A yappy dog will annoy people and drive them away, and if the dog was barking out of fear, the barking is reinforced by the "scary" person moving away (negative reinforcement). If you try to remove the dog from the situation, the same thing happens.. and this is what a lot of people do when they're embarrassed by their yappy dog (including me). It's seem like the solution has to be making barking less reinforcing, OR making some other incompatible behavior even more reinforcing than barking (good luck! lol).
From the time Teddy was a puppy, I put barking and quiet on stimulus control. Meaning I taught him a command for bark, and a command for "shh." These worked INSIDE the house, but in the outside world he would get too caught up with driving the scary thing away that he wouldn't listen to the cues. So we'd try to increase the distance (to get under his threshold), and that was practically impossible because if I could see the dog at all, he was over threshold already.
So then we tried counter-conditioning with treats and attention every time he saw another person or dog. But he was so overstimulated that he refused treats and would get tunnel vision where he stopped caring about my attention.
I tried handing him off to another person when he barked and leaving the area abruptly. Since he was really bonded to me, I thought this would be a big deal to him. It didn't seem to affect his barking at all, but he did notice.
The spray bottle didn't work because I couldn't consistently carry a spray bottle everywhere in the house and outside with me, and the timing was off when I sprayed him for barking. (It took a second to pick it up and aim it at him, and by then he was being punished too late and he wasn't making the connection.)
The shock collar is the FIRST thing that's made any progress at all. The results were instantaneous, he doesn't seem to be scarred at all by the experience, and he's actually making the choice not to bark now instead of having me hover over him, ready to interrupt or punish him. I think he only got maybe five corrections total, and that was only in the first week of having the collar on. (All of them were indoors except one where he tried to bark at another dog outside.) Since then, he might grumble or whine, but he doesn't bark.
And the BEST PART (in my opinion) is that he's receptive to treats and listens to commands since he's not getting into that "tunnel vision" mode! This means that I can go back and use counter-conditioning like I had tried to before, but we're seeing actual results since he's taking treats from me and strangers.