Buyers Guide for the Best Bark Collar to Stop Excessive Barking

a dog resting on a couch

Are you in the process of choosing the best or most appropriate anti-bark collar for your dog that barks rather excessively but do not know how to get started? If yes, then allow us to help you choose the best anti bark collar for your beloved pet.

There are a number of pet owners who are 100 percent decided to get an anti-bark dog collar to modify the barking behavior of their dogs. And since there are a couple of anti-bark collars in the market, some dog owners have difficulties choosing the most suited anti-bark collars for their pets.

It is strongly recommended that dog owners take the time to research on the use of anti-bark collars prior to purchasing one. There are different types of anti-bark collars in the market. And just like with any device available; there are pros and cons in each type. Plus, not all products are created equal.

Anti- bark collars are devices to modify the barking behavior of dogs by emitting an unpleasant sensation every time it barks. The intent of this device is to let the dog associate the unpleasant experience as a punishment for barking. Anti-bark collars differ on the way they give out the ‘punishment’ as some would use citronella sprays, electric shocks and annoying sounds as the unpleasant sensation.

Choose the type of dog collar

Anti-bark collars come in different forms. There are electric shock collars, citronella spray collars, vibrational collars and ultrasonic collars. But these collars have the same goal— that is to reprimand the canine for barking.

The electric shock collar delivers a small amount of electric shocks to the dogs to interrupt its barking while the citronella spray collar emits citronella fumes to chastise the dog for barking. The vibrational collars deliver vibrating motions that are unpleasant for the dogs while ultrasonic collars emits annoying sounds after each barking. Consider that dogs have sharp hearing and sense of smell.

All of the anti-dog collars does the job according to dog expert Cesar Millan “They can all work.”

In choosing a type of anti-bark collar, it is best to take the time to research about the different anti-bark collars. Decide which among the collars you would want to use for your pet dogs. Choosing a type of anti-bark collar is the most difficult task.

If you are having difficulties in choosing what kind of anti-bark collar to buy for your pet, then you may want to heed Millan’s advice for dog owners “With any form of bark collar, however, I would recommend you seek expert advice before using one.”

The Ultrasonic Anti-bark collar

The ultrasonic bark collars use high-frequency sounds that are painful for the highly sensitive ears of the dogs. Keep in mind that dogs hear higher frequency sounds as compared to humans. In effect, the dogs experience pain in their ears after barking. This anti-bark collar has a sensor that detects sounds and emits unpleasant sounds such as beeping, among others.

The Ultrasonic anti-bark collar is cheaper to maintain compared to other anti-bark collars particularly the citronella spray collar since it does not require any refill for the fumes. The ultrasonic anti-bark collar also remains inaudible for the human ears.

Some experts would say that this anti-bark collar can train or modify the barking behavior of two dogs in some cases. For example, two dogs that constantly stay together will experience hearing the painful sounds when any of them barks.

But the ultrasonic anti-bark collar also comes with a disadvantage. One criticism about this type of collar is that some models are incapable of distinguishing from where the bark comes from and other sounds as well. As a result, your dog will be punished for the barking of your neighbor’s dog or for other external sounds.

Some experts who have studied the effectiveness of anti- bark collars have concluded that the ultrasonic anti-bark collars are the least effective among all anti bark collars since it is ineffective for dogs with hearing problems.

Ultrasonic anti-bark collars are designed to curb the excessive barking of your dogs by emitting high-frequency sounds or noise to interrupt the barking of the canine. The emission of the high-frequency sounds will be unpleasant for the dogs given that these canines have very sensitive ears. Dogs, after all, hear higher frequency sounds than humans.

The ultrasonic anti-bark collar works in two stages. It first detects the barking sound of the dogs, and then produces an ultrasonic sound like a beeping sound as the unpleasant sensation for the dogs. The intent of the ultrasonic collars just like other anti-bark collars is for the canines to associate the unpleasant experience after barking.

But of course, the ultrasonic anti-bark collar has its advantages and disadvantages. Let us take a look at the pros and cons of the use of these anti-bark collars.

The advantages of ultrasonic anti-bark collars

The ultrasonic anti-bark collar is very well suited for dogs that have very sensitive hearing. These dogs will experience pain in the ears because of the ultrasonic sounds that can altogether alter noisy and excessive barking behavior.

This type of anti-bark collar can also save dog owners money if they have more than one dog that stay in one place. Consider that the ultrasonic ant-bark collar will detect any barking and will emit high-frequency sounds upon barking. If there are two dogs staying together and both of them are into unnecessary barking, and then the collar will produce the ultrasonic sound that can correct the barking behavior of both dogs.

Plus, the ultrasonic anti-bark collars will come off cheaper as compared to the citronella spray anti-bark collar since the citronella spray collar will need some refilling.

Dog owners do not have to worry about hearing the sounds emitted by this collar as it can only be audible by the canines. The humans will not hear anything.

The disadvantages of ultrasonic anti-bark collars

This type of anti-bark collar may not be effective for dogs that are either deaf or have hearing problems. Dogs that are hard of hearing will not experience the unpleasant sensation in their ears intended as a deterrent for their barking.

The sound sensor of the ultrasonic dog collar may not correctly detect sounds. The sound sensor can pick up other ambient sounds or even barks of other dogs, but will continue to punish the dog that’s wearing the collar. In return, the dog gets punished for other sounds and cannot associate that the unpleasant sounds from the collar is a result of his barking.

Dog owners may not have a full understanding of how this type of anti-bark collar works considering that the sounds emitted by the collar is inaudible for humans. Dog owners may have a difficult time finding out if the collar is working properly given that it does not produce sounds that humans can hear.

All dogs staying together get punished for another dog’s barking with the ultrasonic anti-bark collar. For example, you have three dogs staying at the backyard, and you made one of them wear this collar to curb its excessive yelping sounds. The two others do not need any corrections in their barking behavior. But all three dogs get to experience the painful sounds emitted by the collar when any of them barks.

This renders the ultrasonic collar ineffective in treating the excessive barking of the one with the problem. The two other quiet dogs get punished for their barking and others barking, as well. And the dog with the problem also gets punished unnecessarily thus it is incapable of associating the unpleasant sensation as its punishment for barking.

All types of anti-bark collars have its pros and cons. The ultrasonic anti-bark collar is inaudible to the ears of human but can create sharp sounds that are painful to hear by the dogs. Many criticize this collar because it is capable of punishing all dogs within the area even those that are fairly quiet and do not bark excessively. But the ultrasonic anti-bark collar may be cheaper in the long-run compared to the citronella anti-bark spray and is less painful compared to the electric shock collars.

The Vibrational Anti-bark collar

The vibrational anti-bark collar just like others corrective bark collars is intended to produce unpleasant sensation after sensing the dog’s bark. The unpleasant sensation produced by this collar is a vibration.

Some may confuse electric shock collar and vibrational collars. But these two are different. The vibrational collar produces vibrations without any electric pulses.

Some experts who use training dog collars criticize the use of vibrations as a form of punishment saying that is ineffective. The dogs, they say may just get used to the vibrations instead of modifying its barking behavior.

The Citronella Spray Anti-bark collar

The citronella spray anti-bark collars are intended to modify the barking as citronella fumes are emitted every time the canines bark. Dogs hate the smell of citronella and being able to inhale this floral smell after barking will curb excessive barking.

There are mixed reviews on the effectiveness of the citronella spray as a deterrent for barking. Some experts claim that citronella sprays are more effective than electric and ultrasonic collars. And others say that the emission of this floral scent is more effective than ultrasonic collars but not as effective as electric shock collars.

Those who are contemplating on the use of citronella sprays collar should keep in mind that they will have to purchase a refill of the spray every now and then. This increases the price of the use of this type of anti-bark collar.

The citronella anti-bark collar works as a deterrent for excessive barking by spraying citronella fumes after the dog barks as a form of punishment. Dogs hate the floral scent of citronella and thus the citronella spray can interrupt the barking of the canines. Dogs that bark excessively or for what seem to be without reason can wear the citronella anti-bark so that they can associate the unpleasant fumes as a form of chastisement for their barks.

Any product or device will have its positive and negative sides. The same can be said about the citronella anti-bark sprays. And this is what we will discuss.

Pros of using citronella anti-bark collar

There are some experts in animal behavior who advocate the use of the citronella anti-bark collar over other corrective collars. Some experts claimed that the citronella spray is a lot less harmful compared to electric shock collars.

In fact, a study conducted by the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine showed that the citronella shock collar is more effective than an electric shock collar.

Soraya V. Juarbe-Díaz, D.V.M one of the researchers noted “Either type of collar can be a supplement or an alternative to behavior modification. The dog owners who tested these collars for our study felt the citronella spray was more effective and more humane than electric shock”.

The study also noted that the citronella fumes as a form of deterrent is much less painful than the electric shock. “Given the dog’s sense of smell, it could be that a strange odor may be less tolerated than a presumably painful stimulus,” the researchers noted.

Dog owners who love floral scents may end up loving the smell of the dogs as they get sprayed with the citronella scent.

The citronella spray anti-bark collar also works with all dogs of different sizes.

Cons of using citronella anti-bark collar

The citronella spray collar may be expensive in the long run as dog owners will have to buy the refill of the spray. Owners may have to spend more if the collar is to be used for long.

Not all humans love the scent of citronella. There are many dog owners who stopped the usage of the citronella spray because they get to inhale its fumes, as well.

The fumes of the spray can potentially hurt the eyes of your beloved pets. It also has a mass effect as dogs that are with the company of the canine wearing the citronella anti bark collar also gets to smell the fumes.

Some experts criticize the long-term effectiveness of the citronella anti-bark collars saying that dogs can get immune to the smell of the floral spray.

Even researchers from Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine that concluded that citronella sprays are more effective than electric shock collars stressed that the citronella spray collar comes with some problems.

The citronella spray anti-bark collar’s sound detector can also incorrectly detect sounds and can deliver a punishment to dogs even when they did not bark. Juarbe-Díaz said “and that’s not fair to your pet. Punishment for misbehavior must not occur at random; the dog needs to know why it’s being punished.”

One research study conducted by animal behaviorists showed that the citronella spray anti-bark device is more effective than the electric shock collars, and less painful, too. But this type of anti-bark collar comes with problems too such as delivering painful sensation to the dogs when the sound detector fails to detect barking properly. Plus, long use of this collar can be more expensive as owners will have to purchase the refill of the citronella spray. Some experts also claim that citronella anti-bark spray may not be effective for long term use as the dogs can easily get immune to the floral scent.

The Electric Shock Collar

The electric shock collar is probably the most controversial of all types of anti-bark collars as many consider this an inhumane device to correct the excessive barking of a canine. This collar type delivers an electric shock to the dogs after each bark.

Some experts say that this is the most effective among all types of anti-bark collars. It is neither inhumane to use this anti-bark device to modify barking behavior since these collars only deliver a small amount of electric current to the dogs, as per the argument of those who are for the use of the electric anti-bark collars.

There are some jurisdictions that have been banned the use of electric anti-bark collars.

There are also many experts and animal welfare groups who lobby for the complete ban of the use of electric shock collars. The Companion Animal Behaviour Therapy Study Group in Britain, for example once made a statement against electric collars. “We believe that sufficient alternative methods of treatment exist that such electronic training devices are redundant. Therefore, it is our duty to recommend that shock collars and all other related training and control aids should be banned from sale or use,” the statement read.

The electric shock collars deliver a small electric pulse through the two points of the collars to reprimand the dogs for their barking. The electric shock is a deterrent for the dog’s barking. The intent is for dogs to realize that they are being punished by feeling the unpleasant sensation of electric shocks every time they bark.

The electric shock collar is probably the most controversial kind of anti-bark collar. There are many animal behavior experts and dog trainers, as well who believe that the electric shock collar is the most effective anti- bark collar. The ultrasonic collars, vibrational collars and citronella spray collars cannot compete in the effectiveness of the electric shock anti-bark collars, they say. These electric shock collar advocates stress that the electric pulses released by these collars are small and cannot cause so much harm on canines.

In contrast, there are also animal behavior experts and animal welfare groups that are strongly opposed to the use of electric shock collars. These anti-electric shock collars advocate argue that shock collars that deliver small electric pulses are exceptionally harmful to dogs. The use of electric shock collars to curb excessive barking of canines is inhumane, these groups and experts argue.

There are clearly, two opposing school of thoughts when it comes to the use of electric shock collars in dealing with the excessive and unreasonable barking of dogs. Let us take a look on what the pros and cons of the use of electric shock collars, and what the dog experts say about them.

The advantages of electric shock collars

There are many animal behavior experts and dog trainers that vouch that the most effective anti-bark collar is the electric shock collars. One of them is dog expert Cesar Millan, who has written books and starred in television shows about caring for the canines.

He noted “My experience has been that the electronic one is the most successful and most important only the dog wearing it feels the interrupter. The citronella spray bark collar and the noise bark collar can be triggered if other dogs close by are barking.”

Dog owners can also choose the level of electric shocks that they want their dogs to experience. Many of the electric shock collars in the market allow owners to adjust the electric shocks delivered to the canines.

The use of electric anti-shock collars is considered inhumane and cruel.But there is a study conducted by a group of animal behavior experts that showed that the level of stress of dogs that wear electric shock collars did not increase. The group of Dr. Steiss used plasma cortisol to measure the stress level of dogs when they were made to wear electric shock collars. Cortisol is the steroid released in response to stressful events or situations.

The study showed that dogs that wore anti-bark collars did not show an increased level of plasma cortisol. “In the present study, with dogs wearing bark control collars intermittently over a 2-week period, the collars effectively deterred barking without statistically significant elevations in plasma cortisol, compared to controls, at any of the time points measured.”

The electric shock anti-bark collars also come out cheaper than the citronella spray anti-bark collars. Consider that the citronella anti-bark collars will need refilling now and then.

The disadvantages of electric shock anti-bark collar

The electric shock anti-bark collar is the most controversial of all anti-bark collars since it is considered as the cruelest anti-bark collar. Some places have even banned the use of electric shock collars such as in the case of Wales. Anti-bark collars that carry out electrical pulses to reprimand the dogs were banned in the said jurisdiction in 2010. A move that was highly contested by many camps including some dog trainers and breeders and, of course, the manufacturers of these shock anti-bark collars.

Animal welfare group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA lobbies for the complete ban of the sale of electric shock collars saying that electric shock collars cause health complications for dogs.

“Dogs wearing shock collars can suffer from physical pain and injury (ranging from burns to cardiac fibrillation) and psychological stress, including severe anxiety and displaced aggression. Individual animals vary in their temperaments and pain thresholds; a shock that seems mild to one dog may be severe to another,” PETA noted.

Likewise, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) echoes the call of PETA to ban the use of electric shock collars saying “Shocks received during training may not only be acutely stressful, painful and frightening for the animal, but also may produce long-term adverse effects on behavioral and emotional responses.”

There are also scientific studies that show that the use of electrical shocks to the dog to modify their barking behavior should be limited. The study conducted by Schalke et al. investigating the effects of electrical shocks to dogs over a seven-month period revealed that dogs are exposed to higher stress level with the use of electrical shocks as a form of reprimand.

The researchers concluded that “The results of this study suggest that poor timing in the application of high-level electric pulses, such as those used in this study, means there is a high risk that dogs will show severe and persistent stress symptoms. We recommend that the use of these devices should be restricted with proof of theoretical and practical qualification required and then the use of these devices should only be allowed in strictly specified situations.”

Clearly, there are opposing views when it comes to the use of the electric shock anti-bark collars. There are many experts who say that the shocks received by dogs are too low and will not cause any health problems or complications. There are also many dog trainers and animal behavior specialist who vouch that the electric shock anti-bark collars is the most effective of all anti-bark collars available in the market.

On the other hand, there is also a strong opposition from animal welfare groups and even animal behavior specialist on the use of electrical shock collars. These groups and experts claim that the use of electrical pulses to correct the dog’s barking lead to increased stress and even aggression. Many consider this type of anti-bark collar as an inhumane training device. Some jurisdiction even bans the use of the electric shock anti-bark collars.

But even those who advocate the use of electrical bark collars caution dog owners that they should first read and understand how this kind of anti-bark collars work. Experts also recommend that dog owners seek expert’s advice on how to use the electrical shock collar prior to usage. In the words of Cesar Millan, “With any form of bark collar, however, I would recommend you seek expert advice before using one.”

So which type is the best?

Despite the debates on the use of anti-bark collars—whether they are effective or whether one type of collar is more effective— all experts still highly recommend that dog owners read up and understand the use of these collars. Each of these collars has its own advantages and disadvantages and it is important for dog owners to know these.

Other factors to consider

But your job in choosing the anti-bark collar for your pet does not end after picking out the kind of dog collar to use. There are other factors to think about before buying any anti-bark collars.

Price

How much is your budget for the collar? Keep in mind that there are expensive anti-bark collars, and there are cheap ones, as well. If you choose to buy collars that are priced inexpensively, then you may have to consider that it might not be as effective as the pricier ones. Or it may not offer features that are available in high-priced products

Sensors

Sensors are the ones that detect the barking of the dogs. Some anti-bark collars have one while the pricier ones have dual sensors. A punishment is delivered once the sensors detect barking.

Anti bark collars with a single sensor only use the sound or vibration to detect the barks. A collar with a dual sensor, on the other hand, will use both sound and vibration to detect the bark.

Keep in mind that sensors are very vital to the effectiveness of the anti-bark collars. Sensors that fail to detect barking or create a false alarm will render the entire use of anti-bark collars ineffective. Imagine that your dog will receive the unpleasant sensations– citronella fumes, shocks, sounds, vibrations— when the sensor has created a false alarm. The dog gets punished for other ambient sounds and cannot understand why it is receiving punishment.

Many dog trainers or animal behavior specialists recommend that dog owners purchase an anti-bark collar that has dual sensors.

Controls

There are quite a number of anti-bark collars that come with control giving the dog owners the ability to choose the level or intensity of the deterrent. But anti-bark collars that allow dog owners to control the level of intensity are generally more expensive than others.

Those anti bark collars that are in the mid-range pricing have automatic controls. This means that the collar automatically adjusts the level of sensation or punishment without human intervention. The anti-bark collar’s system automatically adjusts its level if the dog has not stopped barking despite releasing the deterrent.

Some experts advocate that dog owners try the dog collars on themselves to know the level of intensity or pain that the dog will experience after each barking. Such is the advice of Coleman and Murray, animal behavior specialists who concluded stressed “Each collar type (bark collar, boundary collar and remote trainer) is designed to be a specific behavior deterrent. None is a play thing. Anyone who uses one should first try it on themselves to assess the level of the aversive stimulus that is delivered.”

Dog size

Do you have a small dog or a big one or maybe a medium sized canine? Dog owners must keep the size of their dogs in mind when choosing a particular anti-bark collar. Remember that anti-bark collars come in different weights. If you have a small dog and you buy a collar that is too heavy, then the dog might not be able to move around with the weight of his collar.

Plus, these anti-bark collars have allowable, or maximum strap and dog owners may end up buying a strap that cannot fit the dog. Remember that the anti-bark collar should fit the dog’s neck well—it cannot be too loose nor can it be too snug for comfort.

Brand

Consider buying a well-known brand for your dog’s anti-bark collar. Choose a brand that is reputable and has a long history of manufacturing anti-bark collars. You wouldn’t want to entrust the correction of your dog’s barking behavior to an unknown brand or would you?

In addition, dog owners may also want to check the manufacturer’s warranty for the product. How long is the warranty? What if you get a defective collar, will it be replaced by the manufacturer? These are some of the questions you might want to ask when choosing the brand and product for your dog’s anti-bark collar.

Choosing an anti-bark collar is not a very simple task. Dog owners should take the time to understand how each type of anti-bark collar works and if it is suited for their beloved pets. Choosing a particular product after picking out the type of collar is not easy either. Dog owners must read and understand carefully how each product works before purchasing.

What we have above are guidelines and factors to consider when buying an anti-bark collar. But if you are still having a difficult time choosing the most suited anti-bark collar for your dog, then perhaps it is time to see an animal specialist.