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
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.
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.