Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 7, 2014

Barking can bite at relationships among neighbors

(Continued)

They can get hurt misbehaving, by jumping over fences or barking themselves hoarse, she said.

If a dog is bored, increase its exercise. "If you don't give them something to do, they will find something, and it's not always what you want," Blake said.

If it stays out all day, sprinkle its kibble around so it has to hunt for food, she suggested.

Anxiety and fear are harder to deal with, and the problems get worse the longer they go on, Blake said. Sometimes they require vet care and medication.

There are also sound, shock and scent devices that promise to curb barking. Sound devices, the most popular, include whistles, collars and remotes that emit high-pitched, ultrasonic tones only dogs can hear.

Manufacturer First Alert for Pets makes devices that are harmless and disrupt unwanted behavior, spokesman Ryan Brooks said. He says "it is a safe sound that won't hurt the dog's ears and is undetectable by humans."

But Blake said the collars teach dogs not to bark at all and warned that they can make anxiety and fear worse.

"They get rid of the symptoms but not the cause of barking. And the emissions are not pleasant sensations for the dogs either," she said.

You don't want to stop barking but control it, Blake said.

Barking can even be a good thing, and it's often a neighbor who benefits when a dog warns of a fire or an intruder.

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