So you know that you want to try an anti-barking collar on your dog, as they are easy to use and provide an immediate low cost option which you can out into action right away as part of a behavioral training routine.
But with so many now available, how can you differentiate them and decide which bark collar is actually the best one for your pooch? And is this really the best way to stop your dog from barking in the long term?
Experts agree that using an anti-bark collar shouldn’t be considered a long term or standalone solution for a barking problem.
Because dogs can become accustomed to the correction or startling action of the collar (for example, a spray or vibration effect).
Anti-bark collars should be considered as a training aid, rather than an ultimate fix for an excessive barking or other behavioral issue.
Barking control collars are one of the most popular ways that people attempt to help stop an excessive barking problem.
They are rarely a standalone solution and must be combined with consistent training if you’re to completely change your dog’s problem barking behavior over the long term. Think of the collar as a tool.
With that in mind, there are a number of different types of anti-barking collars available. While they all work on the same principal – providing an immediate correction or interruption to a dog when it barks – some are kinder and more gentle than others.
As you’ll see, there are some bark collar types which I can’t recommend at all based on the fact that they have the potential to cause pain, and that’s not how a dog should ever be trained. So let’s take a look at the types of dog barking collars that you have to choose from, and the pros and cons of each one.
Hopefully this will make your decision a more informed and easier one, so you can quickly get on the road to controlling and ultimately stopping your dog from barking excessively and inappropriately.
How do dog barking collars work?
Regardless of which method or design is used on a barking control collar, they all operate with the same principal in mind: to suddenly interrupt a dog as soon as she barks.
They are designed to be used as tool for training, and not as a permanent, single solution.
Combined with positive reinforcement training, a bark control collar can be a powerful and effective tool to discourage your dog from excessively barking, and helping to bring about long term behavioral changes.
But not all of these collars are created equal, and some in particular use downright questionable and sometimes inhumane methods.
Causing pain or inflicting punishment on a dog is never acceptable, nor is it an effective or right method of training and behavioral control.
For that reason, any anti-bark collar that has a chance of inflicting pain on a dog is never going to be recommended on this site; in fact, I will always openly discourage their use completely.
It’s simple. They’re harmless, humane, don’t cause fear, and don’t punish a dog for barking or misbehaving like shock collars do. Punishment and pain infliction is no way to try and change a dog’s behavior, or anything else.
How it works:
The function of these collars is simple: it detects when the dog barks, and immediately emits a short burst of the citronella liquid that’s stored in the small container on the collar. The sudden spray startles the dog, theoretically interrupting the unwanted behavior and giving you a window to take positive reinforcement action.
Do Spray Bark Collars Work?
This is often asked by dog owners who have a problem with excessive and inappropriate barking.
The conclusion is a straight forward one. Citronella spray collars work for some people, but not for others so there is no one answer.
After many months of studying reviews and opinions on various citronella spray collars for dog barking, I’ve seen a common trend: people either love them or hate them.
On some dogs they work very well, whilst on other dogs there is no reaction whatsoever and you’d swear that the collar was invisible.
Sometimes the reason for the spray collar not doing its intended job is because it is a low quality product. But other times even the very best collars just won’t stop some dogs from barking.
This is clearly seen in the reviews at Amazon.com whereby many spray collars have an overwhelming majority of people either giving them a 5 star rating or a 1 star rating, leaving only a few votes down the middle. So people are often very black and white about their experience with citronella spray collars.
So how can you really find out if a citronella spray collar will work to stop or minimize your dog’s barking? The only real way is just to try it – make the small investment, see if it works & if all goes to plan, your dog’s barking will be reduced and controlled through the use of the collar as a temporary measure, coupled with long term behavioural training. If not, at least you can rule out spray collars from your to-do list.
You might be considering a spray bark collar to help control or eliminate your dog’s excessive barking. But do they really work? What is the expert opinion?
According the RSPCA, Australia’s leading pet rescue and welfare organization (rspca.org.au), anti-barking collars are not considered to be a long term solution for addressing the problem of inappropriate or excessive barking in pet dogs. Some of the points that the RSPCA touches upon in regards to this include:
– Dogs are not always likely to associate the spray action with the fact that he or she barked; in other words, the dog may not realize that he is being “punished” for barking just because the spray is activated. The RSPCA also does not advocate any type of punishment (in this case very mild) as a form of effective dog training.
– The RSPCA has seen scientific evidence that dogs become used to the collar, so that if it has in fact worked to curb the barking for some time, it is unlikely to continue working in the longer term.
– Anti-bark collars can be considered a type of “band-aid solution”, rather than one which addresses the underlying cause of the barking problem. The RSPCA and modern day dog trainers instead advise on addressing the source of the problem rather than simply trying to cover it up.
So if an anti-barking collar is not the right choice for you, what other options do you have?
Which training techniques really are effective to curb your dog’s barking problem?
Whilst we do not say that a collar should be completely disregarded as an option (I can certainly recommend trying a citronella spray collar), it is important to look at the bigger picture. This is where more hands on training comes into play.
One book that could appeal directly to those who have tried, or were considering trying anti-bark collars, is a book called No Bark Secret to Stop Your Dog From Barking: Without Shock Collars, Odor-sprayers, or Ultrasonic Devices by Pheobe Michaels. The difference between this training guide and many others, is that Michaels focuses on just one specific technique to stop barking – so it is a very targeted guide for a very specific problem. Check it out at Amazon, and be sure to let us know if the techniques work for you!
Some shock collars are fitted with a secondary vibration feature. These aren’t the collars I’m talking about here.
I am only speaking of vibration-only dog training collars. These are sometimes named or labeled as “no-shock collars”, although that description can be used in a misleading way by some manufacturers if their collars use a static charge, which is as good as (or as bad as, in this case) a shock.
A vibration on the other hand is just that: a vibrating feature that isn’t reliant on any sort of electrical charge but rather is like the vibrating function on a smartphone.
That’s why it’s important to look closely at exactly how a collar works, and this is something I always aim to clear up and clarify in my reviews so you know exactly what you’re getting with any anti-barking collar for your dog – rather than be taken for a ride with sometimes misleading marketing.
Most collars with a vibration feature also have a sound feature. Usually they can work as a combination, or you can select to use one or the other. Unfortunately, a vibration is unlikely to curb dog barking because it can easily go unnoticed. That’s not to say these types of collars don’t work for some people, because they do. But ultimately I would still be recommending either ultrasonic or citronella spray collars and devices ahead of vibrational collars.
The first thing you notice about this Barkrite collar is that it’s bulky compared with a standalone spray collar for dogs. This isn’t a collar that you’ll want to put on a small dog as the collar unit would be too large and bulky for smaller dogs to comfortably wear.
A tone correction is also included. So this collar provides additional training aids that can make it more appealing to people who want a solution that covers more problems than just barking.
It can be operated remotely, with a reported range of 450 yards being possible.
Unfortunately, a lot of the ultrasonic collars will also have an additional static or shock function which can cause pain and harm to a dog and are not recommended. Others will have a vibration function in addition to the ultrasonic sound.
If you want to make use of ultrasonic technology for bark control, a device such as those I talk about in my ultrasonic bark control devices guide may be a more effective choice than a collar as the products are more advanced, more flexible, have less risk of false alarms, and give you greater control and options over their functions.
I make no secret here at DogBarkStop that I’m completely against the use of shock collars. Training a dog based on pain and fear is a thing of the distant past and has no place in modern day, humane dog training. Unfortunately there are still many shock collars for dogs available, including from the big well known brands. Many unsuspecting, well intention people ultimately buy one and soon regret exposing their dog to such a harsh, frightening experience.
Citronella spray collars are by far the most humane, caring choice we have when it comes to bark control and behavior training collars. Vibration and ultrasonic are other options which have both their pros and cons to consider.
Who Should Use a Bark Stop Collar?
Bark control collars and devices are a last resort and should only be used after you have attempted other training and positive reinforcement methods to curb your dog’s excessive barking.
A barking control collar is usually not a long term solution to attention seeking behavioral issues such as inappropriate barking. An anti-bark collar or device should not be used to completely stop your dog from barking all the time, but only for excessive barking.
Dogs bark as a form of communication. It is as natural as speaking is to you and I – and you would never think of de-speaking a human (though it might be tempting sometimes!).
At DogBarkStop.com we promote the use of training devices and products that aim to stop excessive and inappropriate barking – but not barking that is caused by lack of attention by owners or other environmental factors that can be fixed with positive reinforcement training.
Examples of the right situations to use bark control products:
1. When your dog disrupts the neighbourhood by barking during the night for no apparent reason
2. When you are aware of your dog barking all day long when you are at work
3. When your dog is in the house and his barking is causing a disruption, i.e. to children sleeping
Examples of the wrong times to use bark control products:
1. If your dog does not receive enough attention and you are tired of hearing him bark.
Solution: Give your dog the attention he needs
A humane bark stop product is not a replacement for attention, play, exercise or any other activity that your dog may be devoid of and thus causes excessive barking – these can all be easily fixed (for free) by simply giving your dog the love and time he needs.
To sum up, a humane barking control device or collar is a training device only – not a behavioral controller.
You should be aiming to use the collar on and off over a period of time and then cease using it once your dog is trained to not bark at inappropriate times.