Citronella Collar: Can I refill it with water?
August 10, 2010 6:28 PM   Subscribe

I have a Coon Hound and she barks a LOT. Pretty much on a constant basis. She has gotten much better about barking, but my husband and I are fixing to move and when we are gone we have been told that she howls/barks/cries the ENTIRE time we are gone. I have been looking at Citronella Collars, but before I opt into buying one I need to know if I can refill it with water.

I have searched Google and to no avail no one seems to have an answer to the question.

The reason I would like the Citronella is because she hates anything wet touching her. She doesn't even like it when it is sprinkling or drizzling outside. She would rather go hours without going potty than to do her business in the water. *sigh* What a Diva.

So if anyone knows, I would greatly appreciate it.
posted by eastinwifey09 to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you really want to reinforce her negative association with water? Someday you'll have to give her a bath, and using water as punishment doesn't sound like a great idea.
posted by desjardins at 6:43 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Using a positive reinforcement is all the rage in dog training circles. Maybe work on no barking for one specific thing, like a doorbell. Then practice by rewarding dog for not barking when doorbell goes off. Replace doorbell with whatever insecurity makes the dog bark.
posted by maxpower at 6:46 PM on August 10, 2010

Response by poster: The thing is there is no time. We have worked with her, which is why she has gotten so much better, but we need something else at this point.

The main problem lies within the fact that she is a Hound. Hounds, as everyone knows, are notorious for their incessant barking.

She doesn't mind baths, only because she knows, as all dogs do, that it is inevitable. :-)

We have even tried the Ultrasonic Collars which doesn't help.

This is our last option and we feel it is right for our baby girl. :-)

My question is: CAN I use water in the Citronella Collar. Particularly the: Premier Spray Sense Anti Bark Collar.

I appreciate the answers.
posted by eastinwifey09 at 7:03 PM on August 10, 2010

Best answer: I don't think you can use water in a Citronella collar; the citronella comes in a pressurized can and you load it into the collar device sort of like filling a bike tire with canned air. If you can find a container of water which has a matching nozzle, and the right pressure, I guess you could? but the odds of that are pretty slim, I'm sorry.

That said, the citronella collar itself might work. My mom used one on our Samoyed and it really did the trick. Of course, he barks when the collar's NOT on, but putting it on shuts him up right away.
posted by The otter lady at 7:09 PM on August 10, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you! That's perfect.

*sigh* I guess I'll just have to pay the money for the container.
posted by eastinwifey09 at 7:17 PM on August 10, 2010

I can't walk by a dog thread that has misconceptions in it. Sorry. I'm glad the citronella collar *may* work for you.

Some things I want to address:
1. Citronella doesn't work because it's wet, it works because it smells funk and because it's surprising. It's operant conditioning that works because every time there's a bark there's a response automatically. If the dog gets wet from citronella spray, it's not aligned correctly.

2. The main problem lies within the fact that she is a Hound. Hounds, as everyone knows, are notorious for their incessant barking.

No. If anything, hounds bay---but that's a really, tremendously broad brush with which to paint. Hounds are my favorite overall line, and this is simply very incorrect. More correctly---they are typically VERY smart. What has probably happened is classical conditioning, whereby the barking has elicited a response in the past (even in the form of negative reinforcement) and now it works because it works. To fix this issue, you need to remove completely the reinforcement or *better* replace it with something EXTREMELY negative. I am much more a fan of a shock based collar than a citronella, but explaining how to do this behavioral mod is somewhat beyond the scope and space we have here.

3. She doesn't mind baths, only because she knows, as all dogs do, that it is inevitable. :-)
Dogs don't know anything is inevitable. Dogs don't understand future tense, and the past really only exists as a stream of behaviors and responses. If she hates water but doesn't mind the baths, it's because they are pleasant for her---or terrifying and you're misreading the response from her. She's either enjoying being close to you and getting touched, or she's cowering in terror and you're not recognizing it.

So...wrapping up:
I don't personally have high hopes for your citronella solution. Depending on the reasoning behind the barking (my guess is that it's fear when you're gone and protection when you're home, and/or it's a way to keep you constantly engaged), you might seriously lead her to the equivalent of an emotional breakdown, and/or make her bitey---which isn't likely but certainly not impossible. Also, and this is VERY IMPORTANT---she's going to get worse before she gets better. The extinction burst will happen. If, at any time during this training, she realizes that she can make it stop (make the can run out of citronella), she will do this every time. I have personally known dogs who realized they could kill the battery on their invisible fence collar by getting near enough to make it beep and then laying down, waiting till it stops beeping, and then going for a stroll because the batteries are dead. I also knew a dog whose daddy once picked him up and carried him over the wire so he wouldn't get a zap....and that's when the dog started trying to jump it.

You don't say what breed of hound, so it could be a beagle or it could be a bloodhound, and knowing that might change my opinion...but I would work on creating a safe, enclosed, dark cave for her and work on making her love it. Work on sending her to "your place". Actually crate train her correctly, instead of the halfassed way most of us wind up doing it. I bet that would solve your issue (and not require her to wear a big ass collar 24x7 for the rest of her life, because you know she's going to associate the collar w/ the spray and be bad when it's not on) If you're just sure you absolutely don't have the time to work on that, I'd find out from a knowledgeable source how to use an e-collar effectively, and go that route.

Sorry to be wordy, I tend to do that in dog threads.
posted by TomMelee at 6:02 AM on August 11, 2010 [5 favorites]

Some of the rescuers I work with swear by Rescue Remedy as a way to calm dogs who are stressed and bark-y. I personally have never seen it work very well, but ymmv.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:02 AM on August 11, 2010

Any anti-barking measure like a collar is intended to interrupt the behavior, what is critical is that you then reward the not-barking, and ideally redirect the dog to appropriate behavior that is incompatible with barking (like holding a toy). If you are not there, you can't do that, and I am not a fan of these collars for absent owner training.

Barking is often a stress relieving behavior, you might be better advised to look into ways to reduce her stress/anxiety levels (stuffable toys, puzzle games, increased exercise especially before you leave, etc.) than a collar. If you read the instruction booklets that come with any bark collar, you will find that they are not intended to be used without you being present to actually train the dog in the desired behavior.

And no, you can't refill them with water.
posted by biscotti at 3:54 PM on August 11, 2010

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