I've made no secret of the fact that Astrea likes to talk, a lot. I laugh when I pick her up from daycare, they often write on her Pawgress Report (yes that's what it's called!) how much she loves to let everyone know when people are walking by the big windows. She is very protective and definitely makes a ruckus when she thinks she needs to. As much as I'd like to say it's cute, it's really not. She drives me crazy some nights until I just beg her to be a quiet girl. I had heard about Calming Collars from a Pawcurious giveaway. I looked into it several times, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I gave in and finally bought one. And boy does Astrea look cute in it...
But the real question everyone has for me is... DOES IT WORK? Well first let me say, it smells fabulous. Calming collars are all natural, which was one of my main requirements in my quest to reduce Astrea's barking. Calming collars are stuffed with herbs and smell like a little piece of heaven. I have no doubt that the calming collar calms me down too. Now, back to the point. Astrea has two main triggers for her barking - people walking by our house and the television. After the collar arrived she started wearing it all the time. I wasn't sure if it was working or not at first. I thought it was, but I thought maybe I was just telling myself it was working.
Then I heard the mailman arrive one day. Astrea hates the mailman, she jumps in the window and barks her face off at him. That day she never once went to the window. She went about her business like nothing was going on outside. From there I was hyper-aware of people walking by, simply to notice if Astrea reacted. At least when I'm home, she is rarely bothered by people walking by anymore. Every now and then a barking dog or crying baby will get her but for the most part she totally ignores the people outside.
TV is a little different since it's in the house. I've got a handle on what she hates on TV - Santa Claus, Michael Jackson, animals, bad guys, Petsmart commercials (and commercials with similar music) and some other things I'd rather not say. When I see something that will get her barking I try and change the channel before she goes nuts, but I'm not always quick enough. However, with the collar I started to notice she is easier to redirect and calm down. I'm quite amazed with how quick she quiets down and stays quiet.
Now the ultimate test of whether the collar worked or not came when Astrea and I went to Carmel for a weekend. We had been having some crazy storms in California and they were not getting any better. We were enjoying a nice night in the storm with our friends Frankie and Indie. I love the sound of a good storm, so we were happy to just sit and listen. When went to bed things got bad - the winds picked up, hail started to fall. In Frankie's old wooden house Astrea was a little scared. She never really experienced a storm before and she was not liking it. She couldn't settle, kept moving around the bed, jumping up and checking things out. I couldn't figure out what to do, and then it dawned on me - she doesn't have her collar on! I ran out and grabbed the collar from where it was drying by the heater, she'd worn it outside in the wet grass earlier in the night, after I put the collar on her it was amazing. Astrea walked to the foot of the bed and laid down, waited a minute or two and then got up and moved to cuddle with me and with in just a few minutes she was asleep. I was absolutely amazed. I honestly didn't think it would work that well, but by golly it did!
So...calming collar experiment? SUCCESS! Well worth the $32 investment.