If the neighbor called to complain about your barking dog, try not to get too frustrated with your pal. A dog's bark reflects a variety of emotions, including alarm, frustration and separation anxiety. There are several ways to deal with your dog's barking behavior, including using homemade citronella bark spray.
Bark Collars, Good and Bad
If you want to use citronella spray to curb your dog's barking behavior, you've chosen an effective way to deal with nuisance barking. According to a study by the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, citronella spray collars are more effective at stopping nuisance barking than electric shock collars. Your dog has a sensitive sense of smell, and researchers assume the pain of shock is tolerated better than the unusual citronella scent from a bark collar. The problem with a bark collar is sometimes it picks up sounds that don't come from your dog, correcting him for something that he hasn't done -- a no-no when it comes to dog behavior modification.
Homemade Citronella Spray
You can use homemade citronella spray as part of your dog's barking behavior modification program. Mix 4 ounces of distilled water and 4 ounces of witch hazel together with 30 drops of citronella oil in a spray bottle. When your dog gets riled up and begins to bark, send a light mist of citronella spray in his direction to stop his barking. Never spray a stream of the mixture at him, nor should you spray him if he's barking from fear, stress or anxiety. The ASPCA does not recommend bark collars or punishment as a means to control barking behavior. Instead, the organization endorses ignoring bad behavior and praising and rewarding appropriate behavior.