Anti-bark Collars for Dogs : How to choose the right one?

Certain dogs will continue to bark despite obedience courses and other education techniques. Since their arrival on the market several years ago, anti-bark collars have been slowly gaining popularity, offering the owners of vocal dogs a solution to their problem. When incorporated into an education program, the results can be quite impressive, getting vocal dogs to stop barking in a gentle manner. Since there are few brands that offer these products, many owners are hesitant to use these tools as they are often concerned with the security and comfort of their pet. Before purchasing an anti-bark collar, one must take a few things into consideration.

Different types of collars

There are several types of anti-bark collars on the market, such as citronella collars, beep collars, vibration collars, and shock collars.

  • Spray/Citronella Collars

Spray collars are very popular for their gentleness and their effectiveness. Fastened around the dogs’ neck, the spray collar emits a citronella (a lemon scent) towards and into the dogs’ nostrils each time it barks. Disgruntled, the dog will generally make the link between barking and the unpleasant odour, which can lead the dog to better discipline itself. That being said, certain dogs may become used to the citronella scent, rendering the product more unpleasant for the owners rather than stopping the dog from vocalizing.

  • Beep Collars

When barking occurs, beep collars emit a sound at a frequency only dogs can hear. This sound can be unpleasant to dogs, therefore teaching them to not bark in order to no longer hear it. Generally recommended for smaller breed dogs, this option can potentially be less effective as it is difficult to predict the dogs’ reaction to the sound; some dogs are more sensitive than others. This collar can also be supplied with fixed stations that can be placed around the house in areas where the dog has a tendency to bark the most (near a doorway or window for example).

  • Vibration Collars

The vibrating anti-bark collar sends a vibrational stimulation when barking occurs to surprise the dog and change the dogs’ focus. Painless and effective on all sizes of dog, this option is becoming increasingly popular with pet owners as a safe method to train vocal dogs.

  • Electric/Shock Collars

Among the most controversial anti-bark collars, shock collars send an electric shock to the dogs’ neck. Seeing as many safer and more humane anti-bark collars are available, this collar is not recommended.

How to use an anti-bark collar

Before using an anti-bark collar on their dog, there are several things an owner must take into consideration. For best results, the collar should be placed on the dog for at least 2 weeks without actually being turned on. This will help the dog get used to its’ new accessory without realizing what it will eventually be used for. The first few wears, the owners should remain close to the dog, keeping them attached on a leash in case the collar goes off inadvertently. Once the dog is used to wearing its’ new collar, it can be turned on.

Owners should also pay careful attention to read the user instructions of the collar to ensure the animals’ safety and to ensure the functionality of the collar. For example, one should not use an anti-barking collar on a dog younger than 6 months of age, or weighing less than 8 lbs. Anti-barking collars should not be used during walks and should not be in place for longer than 12 hours per day so that the dog has time to decompress, unwind and, most importantly, to understand the concept of the anti-barking collar’s presence. Finally, it is always recommended to consult a specialist before choosing an anti-bark collar as certain dogs may suffer from anxiety or stress and may react badly to certain collars, requiring specific training adaptations for their particular needs.