Monday, June 08, 2009
Training Fido, Buster and Lucky: Teaching Pets How To Behave Today
By Grace Chen
Pets are important in the lives of many. Cats and dogs bring joy, comfort, and unconditional love. They can, however, exhibit undesirable or unpleasant behaviors. Trying to correct unwanted pet actions can be difficult, but with the proper equipment, behavioral modification and training can become simple.
- Behavioral Modification - There are also devices available to correct errant behaviors such as climbing on furniture, pouncing on guests, or wandering into forbidden areas, both indoors and out.
Ultrasonic trainers transmit a frequency audible to dogs, but virtually imperceptible to the human ear. Transmitters may be used to interrupt unwanted behavior, to reinforce verbal commands (e.g. sit, heel, speak), or to create conditioned response. The devices also double as personal protection and will discourage the approach of strays or un-tethered animals.
The ScatMat emits harmless static impulses to deter dogs or cats from entering certain rooms, jumping on furniture or counters, or accessing other unapproved areas. Pets learn to avoid matted areas and this behavior typically stays intact post-training.
- Bark Control - While barking is natural for dogs, it is not always desirable and can be taken to an extreme. Some dogs bark in warning or defense, while others appear to bark for no reason, aggravating neighbors and increasing tension with them unnecessarily. For these situations, several bark control products are available. Designed to curtail excessive barking, these devices are typically ultrasonic or audible in their mechanism of action.
If it is your neighbor’s dog that’s barking, ultrasonic bark control might very well be the best option for you. These devices emit a sound, unheard by humans, when they detect a dog’s bark. Because dog’s find this sound irritating, they soon learn to stop barking excessively. Some products, like PetSafe’s Outdoor Bark Control, look like a birdhouse and make no audible sound. Viatek’s Super Bark Stop, the leading competitor, features audible technology in addition to the ultrasonic sounds.
Audible, or sonic, bark control products operate by emitting sound waves that both you and your dog can hear. Dogs and neighbors alike find the high-pitched noises unpleasant, and the dogs are soon conditioned to reduce or limit barking. While these devices can be very annoying, they are usually more effective in training pets.
There are other options, if ultrasonic or sonic products aren’t right for your situation. Physical deterrents include citronella anti-bark collars, which release a harmless citrus scent in response to barking. Dogs become distracted by the odor and spray, and cease to bark. After time, the animal is conditioned to associate the scent with barking, and disruptive behavior is reduced or eliminated. Far more humane than shocking or choking devices, these collars are superior to traditional deterrents. They’ve also been shown to be more effective.
You can compare bark control products to find the best devices for your particular situation.
- Containment - Dogs and cats are innately programmed to explore, but pets that wander off can easily become lost or injured. Several training products are available to keep pets within set boundaries.
Electric dog and cat fences provide invisible barriers to prevent pets from wandering and typically operate via sound correction, impulse correction, or both. Sound-only models work similarly to barking control devices, generating high-pitched sounds unpleasant to dogs. These models use flags or stakes to mark the perimeter of the permitted area. Impulse devices provide - via collar - a small, safe correction signal alerting your pets to electronic boundaries set by underground wire and can be used with dogs or cats. The newest technology in e-fences comes from Perimeter Technologies, where the wireless fence is in fact a WiFi Pet Containment System, meaning easy containment, with easy setup, and no digging in your yard to bury fence wire.
A well-behaved pet is a treasure, indeed. By employing pet control devices with positive-reinforcement techniques, animals can be taught to exhibit desirable behaviors and suppress unwanted actions in a safe, humane way.
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