Please read before telling me I am being cruel.
I adopted a dog who has developed a case of separation anxiety. She barks until the neighbors complain, and gets herself so worked up that she defecates.
I've discussed the situation with an animal behavioralist, who came to my house, met my dog, looked at her crate, etc. This animal behavioralist also has the same breed of dog (mini American shepherd) and had the same problems, so she does know what she's doing. She said that if the current routine she put us on doesn't fix the barking, then I may need a shock collar to supplement my dog's training.
I continue to do desensitizing exercises, feed her in her crate, she sleeps in her crate, she loves her crate. I keep her on a consistent schedule. I've taught her that it is not okay to bark when she is in there. I crate her in my bedroom and go into the living room so that she continues to get used to being alone. If she begins to bark, even just the sound of me standing up or walking across the room is enough to make her stop. However, when no one is home to correct her, she gets herself all worked up and whining escalates to incessant barking.
I am not looking for an overly powerful shock, I do not want to hurt or traumatize her. My goal is to reach the point where I can put the collar on her, but turn it off just so it reminds her that barking is unacceptable. It would also be wonderful if I could associate a tone with the small shock so that the tone would be a warning triggered by her bark when I am not home.
I think that if she had something to remind her that barking is not okay, she would not get so frantic. I'd like a remote collar, so that I can control when and how the collar is affecting her.
However, she RARELY barks when I'm home, so it seems like an automatic bark collar is a better choice. But that scares the hell out of me, what if something went wrong?
I'm at a loss. They make remote collars that allow you to use a tone with a shock so that eventually only the tone is needed. But I can't find any automatic collars that would do that same.
Thanks so much for your suggestions.