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Do Bark Collars for Big Dogs Work? Are There Better Ways to Train a Large Dog to Stop Barking?

bark collars for large dogs, do they work?

We get it, regardless of their size, any dog’s nuisance barking is … well, it’s a nuisance. And large dogs tend to have large, loud voices. So as you research options for training your big dog to stop barking, you’re probably finding a lot of literature on bark collars for large dogs. This probably has you wondering if they work and whether there are better options.

Bark collars come in three basic types — bark collars that make noises, bark collars that vibrate or shock, and bark collars that spray. Our resource guide on bark collar types breaks down how they work on dogs of all sizes. Read on to learn about bark collars and big dogs.

Do Bark Collars Work on Large Dogs? Are They Effective on Big Dogs?

When you’re training a dog not to bark, remember: Dogs bark to communicate. You don’t want to prevent a large dog from barking; however, you do want to train them to stop when you issue a command.

The question about bark collars working on large dogs typically arises because a larger dog has thicker skin and a thicker coat — plus some breeds of large dogs can be harder to train. For example, the blue heeler breed tends to be independent because their job was to watch over livestock. Independent dogs can take longer to train.  

australian cattle dog closeup and winking
The blue heeler (Australian cattle dog) is an independent dog that as a bit of a stubborn streak.

Although most anti-bark collar styles are adjustable and designed to work for dogs of all sizes, you need to ensure proper fit to make sure the collar works and doesn’t harm your dog. Other points you need to take into consideration when choosing bark collars:

  • Improper fit can irritate the dog’s skin.
  • Collars left on too long can also irritate their skin.
  • Non-adjustable sensitivity or modes may cause over or under correction.
  • Overuse of a collar like one that emits citronella may, over time, no longer prove effective because your pet becomes accustomed to the stimulus. 

Because anti-bark collars are distraction tools, they are not meant to be set-and-forget trainers. In other words, you need to be involved with your dog’s training. Bark collars that operate on a trigger-response automation don’t work well because they don’t address the reason behind your pet’s behavior. 

Anytime you train a dog to stop unwanted behaviors, you should first rule out underlying conditions that might cause a dog to bark excessively. Discuss those concerns with your vet or an animal behaviorist.

What Are the Best Bark Collars for Large Dogs? 

You will find common types of no-bark collars such as vibration, spray, static shock, ultrasonic, and combination collars. Some require batteries, while others are rechargeable. Some varieties are automatic, meaning they detect your dog’s bark and immediately deliver the stimulus, and some are remotely controlled. Instead of the set-and-forget automated dog-training collar, we prefer the train, treat, repeat approach to dog training, where you and your pet work together.

We believe in the train, treat, repeat approach to dog training, where you and your pet work together.

the team from Barxbuddy

If you are going to use a bark collar for your big dog, use a remote-controlled anti-bark collar, which allows you to control the stimulus-response and issue a command. The goal of this type of training is that you’ll be able to eliminate the need for the training collar as your dog learns to listen to your commands. This is the training theory behind our collar-less dog training device, The BarxBuddy, which uses ultrasonic sounds to interrupt a dog’s barking, so you can issue a command and reward. 

Are Bark Collars Humane? Do They Hurt? Are They Safe?

As a pet parent, you may have concerns about dog bark collars’ safety and whether they hurt dogs. Anti-bark collars are not designed to harm dogs; unfortunately, some collars are uncomfortable to dogs and, when used improperly, they can be harmful. For these reasons, some major pet supply retailers have removed shock collars from their shelves in an effort to #stoptheshock

saint bernard
Large dogs do well with The BarxBuddy, an ultrasonic training device.

Here are a few warnings that you should heed:

  • Do not use a bark collar for more than 12 consecutive hours (can cause skin irritation).
  • Avoid using a shock collar when your pet is involved in playtime activities, asleep, or crated.
  • Do not use an anti-bark collar on a puppy under 6 months or a dog under 8 pounds.

We, here at BarxBuddy, support #stoptheshock, because we know there are better alternatives to using static shock anti-bark devices. Before you begin to use any type of dog training tool, research the product. Ensure your pet understands basic commands of come, sit, and stay so he’s able to comprehend the connection between the stimulus (shock) with his negative behavior (not responding to your verbal commands).

Are There Alternatives to Bark Collars for Big Dogs?

One major disadvantage to using anti-bark collars is that they all require direct contact with your pet’s skin. When a device must have contact with your pet’s skin, there is always room for injury or pain. A way to avoid this situation is to look to alternatives. That’s right; it’s possible the best type of anti-bark device isn’t a collar at all.

Automatic collars emit a stimulus when your dog is barking — even for a good reason (stranger danger, for example). This confuses your dog, which instills fear and distrust in him, so it becomes ineffective and potentially introduces additional unwanted behaviors. 

As an alternative to dog training collars, we recommend a collarless ultrasonic training device with positive reinforcement training as a better, safer way to address your dog’s barking. Using a high-frequency sound that’s inaudible to humans and infrared light to get their attention allows you to control your pet’s barking without any contact between the device and your pet.