No Bark with No Bite

| 10/13/2008 1:02:41 PM

 Dog Collars
Note: This is not my dog.

I have a barking dog. I wish that were not the case, because he is also an adorable dog. A cocker spaniel mix, he pretty much defines “canine affection.” But as three of my close neighbors have now informed me – to my shock and chagrin – my sweet pup engages in non-stop recreational barking as soon as my car has left the driveway.

By all rights, CP (short variously for Cutie Patootie, Checkered Past and Crazy Pet) would spend his days in a daycare or retirement facility, running from hug to hug. I’m actually checking into what would be required to train him as a service dog because I just can’t stand to see all this affection go to waste. But in the meantime, there’s this barking.

The aforementioned neighbors have recommended a shock collar, and I imagine if I were the one listening to CP’s enthusiastic woo-woo-woo-woo-ing all day, I might be recommending going straight for the shock, hold the collar. However, I’ve been hoping for a less worrisome alternative

Once more, HERBS TO THE RESCUE! My vet has recommended a gizmo similar to a shock collar that, instead of transmitting an electric jolt – which research and common sense say just increases the animal’s anxiety – puts out a quick spray of citronella essential oil, which dogs universally loathe (who knew?). The idea is that it’s just enough scent to interrupt their barking but not enough to cause them any harm.

It wasn’t cheap – mine cost $91 and some change – but it’s less costly and less traumatic than any of the alternatives I’ve been able to imagine so far.