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.

Jack Russell Dog
All loving dog owners want the best and most humane solution for unwanted barking

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 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 (, 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!

RSPCA Australia

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