Does your dog bark way more than the shelter or breeder led you to believe? Does he bark at inappropriate times all day and night? If you are looking for tools and solutions to train your dog to stop barking, you’re probably finding a lot of information about bark collars, also known as anti-bark collars.
As training devices, all bark collars interrupt unwanted behavior such as barking so that you can redirect your dog. Each type of bark collar does so differently. Types of bark collars include vibration, static (shock), spray, ultrasonic, and combination.
While they all resemble a traditional collar, bark collars emit some negative stimulus like an unpleasant scent, static shock, or high-frequency sound when your dog barks.
To answer the question, “do bark collars really work,” the short answer is yes, they work if used properly. That said, some dog owners and trainers question whether anti-bark collars are humane, and they prefer other methods of dog training, which we’ll cover in the last section of this article.
Do Bark Collars Really Work?
Yes and no. Yes, bark collars can curb unwanted behavior in many dogs, but that doesn’t mean bark collars work on all dogs. There are several reasons why a bark collar may not help stop your dog from barking.
First and foremost, as the trainer, you must properly use the device. Failure to follow instructions on correct fit and position of the collar can hinder the collar’s usefulness, as can a lack of prompt corrections to your dog’s behavior.
You need to understand the reason behind your dog’s constant barking. Whether it be the result of frustration, separation anxiety, attention-seeking, or merely compulsive barking, the underlying explanation needs to be resolved for a bark collar to be fully effective in ceasing your dog’s behavior.
With a commitment on your part to appropriately and consistently address your dog’s barking, and its underlying reason(s) through positive reinforcement (praise and treats) training — also known as the train, treat, repeat method of dog training — along with a bark collar will help ensure his relentless barking stops.
However, a training tool, such as a bark collar, is only as good as the person using it and is meant to be used in conjunction with training techniques such as the train-treat-repeat approach.
Are Anti-Bark Collars Safe?
Most dog owners want to know if a bark collar is safe to use on their dogs. Anti-bark collars use an annoying ultrasonic noise (that humans can’t hear), a spray of citronella or lemon, or a quick electric shock or vibration that will cause your dog to stop in the middle of his barking. All of the interruption stimuli are brief and have no long-lasting effects.
Based on the above, the answer to whether anti-bark collars are safe is yes, except, there are some cautions. Bark collars mustn’t be used for more than 12 consecutive hours as they can irritate your dog’s skin, nor should they be used while your dog is crated, asleep, or when he’s engaged in positive playtime activities.
Anti-bark collars are also not recommended for puppies younger than six months or dogs under eight pounds.
What Are Alternatives to Bark Collars?
If you want to stop your dog’s barking but you’re not keen about trying a bark collar, or you’ve had a negative experience, there are alternatives called ultrasonic trainers or repellers. This type of device might be the right training tool for your dog and situation.
One such repeller is the versatile BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool. This handheld device never comes into contact with your dog and can be used at a distance of up to 40-60 ft. And, unlike many anti-bark collars, with The BarxBuddy, you are solely in control of when to emit the stimulus (ultrasonic sound). A quick press of the button and your dog will stop barking in seconds. When he does, it’s important that you immediately correct or redirect him with a command, followed by positive reinforcement, including praise and/or treat.
While most bark collars are specifically designed to handle a dog’s excessive barking, ultrasonic trainers like The BarxBuddy can be used to help rid your dog of other behaviors such as chewing on furniture or jumping on people. Read our blog post on the best anti-bark collar and visit our site for more information on BarxBuddy and how it can help you change your dog’s unwanted habits for the better.