Barking Deterrents: How To Stop Your Dog Barking!

There are many barking deterrents on the market; some better than others, some just downright cruel. I favour the former. However, the most simple deterrent is a child's water pistol . 

I certainly recommend you try this first...read on to learn more.

A Kid's Water Pistol: A Barking Deterrent?

Yes, you heard right! 

A child's water pistol or a simple spray bottle makes an excellent barking deterrent.

Filled with water (some owners swear by a well-diluted mixture of water and lemon juice, or water and vinegar) and directed into your dog's mouth each time he barks will help you to teach your pet to stop nuisance barking.

Cocker spaniel being squirted with a water pistol as a barking deterrent.This water spray quickly 'shocks' Max into stopping barking

If used correctly and timely, a water spray can stop dogs barking in their tracks!

Although this practice may sound cruel, it isn't, and more importantly, it won't hurt your dog.

The spray isn't meant to be a punishment; it's a barking deterrent to startle your dog into silence, literally interrupting his barking.

You can use an ordinary water gun or spray bottle for this method; just fill it with water and do the following:

  • Each time your dog barks, use the spray. Squirt a quick spray into his mouth or onto your dog's muzzle and say 'Be Quiet' in a firm but controlled voice.
  • When your dog stops barking, wait a few seconds and praise him with the words, 'Good quiet boy', and give him a treat.
  • If he begins barking again, re-use the spray immediately.

Points To Note

When using a spray bottle or a water pistol as a barking deterrent:

  • Take great care not to spray directly into his eyes, especially if you're using vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Trigger the spray the second your dog barks. This will help your dog associate the unpleasant sensation and/or taste of lemon juice or vinegar with his barking. It's basically 'cause and effect'.
  • If your garden is enormous, and you can't reach him in time to stop him, don't be tempted to use the spray after he's stopped barking because he probably won't link the two. He won't understand why you're unhappy with him, and he won't learn anything. 

One of the disadvantages of using this type of deterrent is that (as mentioned above) is that you may not always be able to reach your pet in time to give the correction. 

Also, if you're not around to hear his barking, you can't give the correction. This will create an inconsistency in training and will hinder any progress.

As an alternative, you could consider fitting your dog with a correction collar which gives an automatic correction.

Dog Collar Barking Deterrent

You can quickly stop dogs from barking by using a barking correction collar, and the good thing is you don't need to be around for it to work.

It's a device that you either fit onto your Cocker Spaniel's collar or use in addition to his collar.

Depending on which type of correction device you buy, it can emit either a noise, a dose of citronella (lemon juice), or a mild vibration each time your Cocker barks.

Black dog barking correction collar.

The device is triggered when a small microphone in the collar picks up the sound of your dog's barking.

It can also be triggered by a remote control handset that you can activate each time your dog begins excessive barking.

The momentary 'shock' received from a correction device is usually enough to stop your pet in his tracks. It works by startling your dog, which literally interrupts their flow of barking.

Although your dog will find the spray of citronella unpleasant, it won't harm him.

One of the benefits of using an automatic spray collar is that the correction is given immediately, which means your Cocker Spaniel will soon begin to associate the correction with his barking. 

Once he's made the association between the (unpleasant) correction and his barking, it won't be long before he stops his vocal ways.

You will then be able to remove the collar altogether.

Electric Barking Deterrents

You can also buy a barking deterrent that emits a mild electric shock.

Although the current used in these devices is minimal and safe, I don't recommend you use this correction method.

I think there are better ways to stop a dog barking. I feel it's more of a punishment for barking than a means of distraction. It is negative training.

It's probably better to use the citronella spray as it's much kinder than giving your Cocker Spaniel an electric shock, even if it is only a mild one!

Effective Barking Deterrents: To Sum Up

If you're using the hand spray, be consistent.

Use it each time your dog barks, and remember to always use the same command to avoid confusion and to help strengthen your pet's training.

Never call your Cocker to you to spray or punish him. 

If you do that, he'll believe he's being punished for coming to you, which will only confuse him and make him think twice the next time you use the recall command.

If your dog or puppy is sensitive and you think he may be frightened of the correction collar or spray bottle, please find an alternative barking deterrent to interrupt his vocal outburst.

For example, throw him a ball or his favourite toy to help move his train of thought away from whatever was causing him to bark in the first place.

Don't forget to reward your Cocker Spaniel for being quiet. Give him lots of gentle praise when he's lying or playing quietly, and he'll soon realize that calm, quiet behaviour is best for everyone.

His vocal outbursts will soon become a thing of the past, and you'll no longer need to use a barking deterrent!

Photo Credits for Barking Deterrent:
1. Copyright of About Cocker Spaniels
2. Unknown