Are Bark Collars Okay for Hounds?

For the purposes of this little chat, we’ll call hounds any dog that opens while trailing or treeing.  Doesn’t matter what their jobs are.  If they’re barking, bellowing, bawling, squalling, or chopping while working any scent trail or treeing any critter, they’re generally considered to be in the hound group.  And for all of the many purposes these dogs are used for, barking while working is a must.  That barking or opening on track may simply be their way of letting the master know where they are and which way they’re going.  For most houndsmen, the dog opening on track is the music of the chase—wonderful, cherished, and enjoyed mountain music.

While hound music during the chase is soul-stirring, exciting, and enjoyable, any hound standing around at home barking for no reason is just the opposite.  Neighbors hate it!  And let me tell you a little secret.  The neighbors don’t hate it any more than I dislike my dogs barking for no good reason.  If they are not trailing or treeing, I don’t want to hear ’em.

Regardless of our personal views on barking dogs, the reality is that most folks out there in the big world do not appreciate hearing our hounds—no matter how beautiful or melodious their bugle bawl may be.  Bottom-line is that for healthy and happy neighborly relations and for our hounds to save their voices for when we want them to use it, some means of teaching and controlling unwanted barking is a must.  An ABSOLUTE must!

BarkLimiter collars have proven to be a very helpful and handy tool towards that end.  Naturally, some houndsmen are quite uncertain or reluctant to use them.  They fear if the dogs learn they must stay quiet at home, they will also stay quiet when on the job in the field.  It’s a thought worth thinking about, and it seems every houndsmen has heard a story or two of somebody somewhere who experienced a hound that quit barking in the woods about the same time it learned to quit barking at home.  Many other houndsmen have had nothing but excellent results using BarkLimiter collars.  These houndsmen and women got the job done at home and saw or heard no negative side effects or lessening of hound music at the proper time and place.

There are many BarkLimiter users who feel these handy gizmos did a good job for them around the house.  However, a few may complain that a negative side effect of the bark collar was that any time they hung any tracking or training collar on their hound, it would not bark when trailing or treeing the desired game animal out in the fields and woods.  If you’ve been reading my thoughts for a few or many years, you probably already know where this is going.  Chances are you already know what causes the problems that can happen as the result of any pronged collar being on any dog.  You, no doubt, completely realize that positive results and no bad side effects are experienced by most folks and others just can’t seem to enjoy the same excellent results.

Through reading, learning, and experiencing, many of you already know that 98 percent of the secret to success is giving all dogs a week or more to get used to any pronged collar BEFORE YOU TURN THE DANG THING ON.  Hurry, hurry; rush, rush; no patience; and gotta do it right now are always sure to create less than ideal results.  It is for sure a philosophy guaranteed to create “collar-wise” or “collar-shy” dogs!  Absolutely guaranteed!!

For best results, let ’em wear that new or new to them bark collar for half-a-day, every day for about a week BEFORE YOU TURN IT ON.  Let them get completely accustomed to the feel and scent of the bark collar BEFORE YOU TURN IT ON.  Let it be part of their everyday lives BEFORE YOU TURN IT ON.  Doing that greatly lessens the chance that your dogs think the bark collar is a problem, and instead after proper preparation, most dogs think that barking for no reason is the problem.

It’s very important to treat your e-collar the same way.  Spend lots of time introducing the scent and feel of it to your hounds or any dog BEFORE YOU TURN IT ON.  That is the number one most important, most spectacular, but also most underrated secret to success with any and all pronged collars that deliver an electronic message to our dogs.  If they wear these collars often and regularly throughout their time at home and throughout their trips afield, they will gracefully accept them, work well while wearing them, and easily and speedily learn the life lessons we must teach them—and teach it to them as humanely as possible.

Read more from John Wick: Get More for Your Money! E-collar Training Tips

I have been deeply involved in the enjoyable and serious pursuit of raising and training hunting hounds for 50 years.  During the past 20 years, I have routinely used BarkLimiter collars on at least 90 percent of the trailing and treeing dogs that have lived on my Missouri farm.  Although I made a few of the typical rookie mistakes in the beginning of my BarkLimiter usage, I quickly saw the errors of my hurried ways.  Since then, I have not experienced any negative problems or results from using top-quality bark collars on hunting hounds.  No one needs to be overly concerned about dogs thinking too deeply on this subject and concluding that not being allowed to bark at home also means not being allowed to bark when the chase is on.  It also won’t matter to them whether they’re wearing an e-collar, tracking collar, or training/tracking collar while doing it.

The main thing we all need to be concerned about is that we give our dogs more than adequate time to become thoroughly acquainted with the gizmo on their neck BEFORE WE TURN IT ON.  And after that, they need to frequently or regularly wear the magic necklace, even if it’s not needed at the moment.  Tell that to yourself quite often.  Hopefully mention it occasionally to your friends, and then be sure to remind yourself about it again.  OH, AND YEAH, DON’T FORGET TO ALWAYS USE THE LOWEST SETTING THAT’LL WORK WHEN USING ANY TYPE OF PRONGED COLLAR.  Stay calm, cool, and patient.  Prepare yourself and your dog for success.  No problems will develop or be caused if you remember to do your homework, no matter what kind of dog owns you.

John Wick

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