Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Choosing an Anti-Bark Dog Collar

For this month's Trainer Tips, I would like to talk about Anti-Bark Dog Collars.  There are several options on the market.  Below are some of the options available.

Why use an Anti-Bark dog collar?
Many dogs can develop a barking problem.  Some dogs are very territorial or will bark at random noises near their space.  Whatever the reason your dog is barking, it is important that you use positive reinforcement training ALONG with any bark collar you may choose to help.  The best way to truly stop nuisance barking is to find the real root of the barking problem.  Why is your dog barking?  Once you know this answer, or have a good idea of the things that make your dog bark, you should be doing behavior modification training to address the problem.  Using an Anti-Bark collar can assist you in training your dog.

Wondering if your dog's barking is acceptable or not?  Visit our previous post.

What kinds of Anti-Bark dog collars are there?
There are three main types of anti-bark dog collars...
1.  Citronella Spray collar
2.  Ultrasonic collar
3.  Static Shock collar

Regardless of which option you choose, I would most recommend purchasing a unit that has dual sensors for barking.  This is important because model's with only one sensor may often sense noise from outside or that your dog is not involved in and emit it's spray, sound, or shock at that random sound (or at another dog barking outside your home).  This is unfair to your dog and will set back their training progress.  The point of using one of these tools is to help teach your dog that barking is not acceptable.  When the dog barks, the anti-bark collar releases it's chosen punishment.  If the dog is receiving punishment for not barking, the dog may become confused.  Marking that inappropriate barking behavior at the exact time it happens is very important.


1.  Citronella Spray Collar:

This collar releases a quick spray of citronella when barking is detected by the device.  Dogs do not like the smell of Citronella.  Therefore when the dog barks, the collar releases a spray the dog dislikes to mark that behavior as unwelcome.  Citronella spray is safe for your dog and the most recommended Anti-bark collar.  The spray is not only safe for your dog, but also humane.  It will not cause your dog any physical or psychological damage.  This is a very good thing.

This would be my number one recommendation for an Anti-Bark collar.  This type of collar is not only very popular, but has wonderful reviews on its effectiveness.  A study done by Cornell University found the Spray collar to be the most effective at stopping dog nuisance barking.  It was also the most popular among the pet owners within the study.

-->See also, "Selecting the Best Citronella bark collar."


2.  Ultrasonic Collar:

The Ultrasonic anti-bark collar works by transmitting a high-frequency sound when a bark is detected.  This is a sound is something dogs do not like, but can not usually be heard by humans.  Although this collar seems like a great idea, they tend not to work very well.  Because humans can not hear the sound the device emits, there is no way to see if it helping with training your dog.  Most people who have tried them have had little to no results with them and end up switching to another option.



3.  Static Shock Collar:

This collar works by giving your dog a static shock when barking is detected by the device.  These collars usually have levels of correction that are adjustable by the human, adjusted by the device, or sometimes both.  
This is a type of collar I would NOT recommend.  Shocking your dog is cruel, no matter how you phrase it.  Static shock, a light vibration.  I have seen many of these collars in person and put them on myself using the shocks available, starting with the lowest setting and seeing how high I could go without seriously jumping.  I never met a shock collar where I was not physically hurt nearing the top intensity.  Now think how much more painful those "simple" shocks would be around my neck.  
Shock collars are NEVER a good idea and I encourage you NOT to use them.



Also see our previous post on Shock Collars and Alternatives to Shock Collars.
Another fantastic article that may be helpful:  Why electric shock is not behavior modification
Also try an article by Victoria Stilwell called Barking.
You can also check out How to Train Your Dog Not to Bark by Rachel Sheppard.

Need even more information on how to curb your dog's barking behavior?  
Try Trainer Tips--Barking Dogs.





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