This study examined the effectiveness of a citronella spay collar in reducing barking in 30 dogs which wore the collar continuously, i.e. every day for 30 min, or intermittently, i.e. every other day for 30 min, for a period of 3 weeks. Owners rated the frequency of their dog's barking on a scale ranging from 1 (very infrequent) to 5 (very frequent) before the study began (pre-treatment condition) and at the end of every week that the collar was worn (treatment condition). A further evaluation was made at the end of week 4, following 7 days of collar deprivation (post-treatment condition). Dogs exhibited a significantly lower frequency of barking during the treatment and post-treatment conditions compared to the pre-treatment condition. Barking was most effectively reduced when dogs wore the collar intermittently. However, barking increased over the period of time the collar was worn, particularly in those dogs which wore the device every day. Barking continued to increase when the dogs stopped wearing the collar, albeit at frequencies lower than pre-treatment, particularly in those animals which had worn the collar continuously. The collar was more effective at reducing travel related barking than television or traffic related barking. Findings indicate that dogs generally habituate to the citronella spray collar irrespective of how the animal is exposed to the device. A longer period of efficacy occurs, however, if the collar is worn intermittently. This may appeal to owners who are concerned about their pet having to wear the collar for long periods of time. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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