Dogs have a keen sense of smell. Humans have 5 to 6 million scent receptors, while dogs have at least 100 million or more, depending on the breed (some sources say bloodhounds have more than 300 million scent receptors). Citronella spray collars for training dogs build on canines’ keen olfactory senses.
In this section of The BarxBuddy Guide to Dog Training, you’ll learn about dog training collars that use liquid to spray dogs when they’re doing unwanted behaviors. We’ll also talk about alternatives to spray collars.
These dog collars are often referred to as citronella dog collars and no-bark spray collars. They use a solution made from citronella oil, which happens to be an effective and popular mosquito repellent. Some anti-barking spray collars use lemon juice or water. Let’s examine this type of training collar, starting with how they work.
How Do Bark Collars With Spray Work?
If you are having issues with your dog’s nuisance barking and he fails to listen to your vocal corrections, you might consider a spray collar. These citronella spray collars use a built-in microphone to detect your dog’s bark and then emit a small amount of citronella solution near your dog’s nose. This spray immediately distracts your dog from barking or other unwanted behavior.
While a bark collar that sprays works by automatically emitting a fine mist at your dog every time he barks, if the collar comes with a remote, you can release liquid whenever your pet does something he shouldn’t. As with any anti-bark collar, it’s important to know that the collar is only as effective as the trainer. There might be a better way to train your dog. Let’s take a look at some alternatives.
You will also see no-bark spray collars that spray water. These may not be as effective as citronella and scented spray collars, especially if your dog enjoys romping in the water.
Anti Bark Spray Collars Versus Shock Collars — What is the Difference?
Shock or static collars use an adjustable static pulse when the collar detects your dog’s bark. On the other hand, an anti bark collar with spray emits a mist of citronella oil, lemon juice, or water to deter unwanted behavior. Let’s look at the pros and cons of shock and spray collars.
Shock collar pros
- Sensitivity level is highly adjustable
- Easy to use
- Operates at various distances
- Models available for all dog sizes
- Static pulse is short
Cons of shock collars
- Often most expensive of other collar types
- Cost of replacing non-rechargeable batteries
- Stigma attached to the name “shock” collar
- Not intended for long-term use
- Proper fit and placement is essential to effectiveness and safety
- Dogs may become desensitized
Spray bark collar pros
- Cheaper than most anti-bark collars
- Easy to use
- Amount of spray emitted is harmless for both dogs and humans
- Spray can be various solutions
- Considered more humane than static or shock collars
Cons of anti bark citronella spray collars
- May not deter some dogs
- Level of solution emitted is not adjustable
- Bark collar spray refills can be costly
- Battery maintenance
- Built-in microphone sensitivity could pick up the sound of another dog barking and emit mist to your dog’s face
- Can cause irritation to dogs with citronella sensitivity
What Are Alternatives to Spray Collars
Although spray collars have been in use for a few decades and are typically considered safe for dogs, your pet may be sensitive to citronella, leaving you unable to use the type of collar for behavior correction. Alternatives to spray collars include other anti-bark collars such as static or shock, vibration, or ultrasonic collars. Each has pros and cons, which we cover in separate sections in our dog training guide.
Which of these are the best bark collars? While most of the anti-bark collars on the market today are okay, a “collarless” option like the BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool might be more effective. This hand-held remote device requires no contact with your dog and puts you in control of your pet’s training. Safe, easy to use, and effective, the BarxBuddy can help you correct unwanted behavior with positive reinforcement. To learn more about how the BarxBuddy can help you and your dog visit BarxBuddy.com.
Note: In large quantities, citronella can be toxic to animals and cause stomach or lung irritation, so keep all liquids used for the collar out of reach of your dog. If you see any drastic changes in your dog’s behavior, intestinal upset, or vomiting, stop using the spray collar and contact your vet.