Best Dog Bark Collar
Barking is a completely normal thing for dogs to do, but sometimes, it causes problems. Some dogs may only bark when they are supposed to, like a trained dog asked to “speak” or a service dog who alerts their owner to something by barking. Others may bark only in specific situations, like if a person they don’t recognize comes into the house or if they are trying to communicate something important to you. But for around ⅓ of dogs, barking is a persistent problem that causes disruptions to daily life and has no obvious cause. This is often called “nuisance barking”. Because nuisance barking can have a wide range of causes, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with it.
That said, bark collars are one popular way to address the issue of barking while you work out the cause or causes of the problem. They are one of the most convenient and efficient ways to deter or distract your dog from barking. Different bark collars may be effective for different situations, depending on what you prefer and what your pup responds to. No matter what you decide to get, it’s important to choose a well-made collar, as a faulty bark collar could be harmful to your pet or counterproductive to your goals. Luckily for you, we picked some of our favourite bark collars to help you find the perfect one. Check out our list below for some of the best dog bark collars on the market.
What is a dog bark collar?
Although there are different types of dog bark collars, and they all work in different ways, they are based on the same principles. The first principle, which is used in the better-known types of bark collars, is called positive punishment. This sounds counterintuitive since we think of “positive” as meaning good, while “punishment” is something bad. In animal training, “positive” actually just means that something is added; in positive punishment, something unpleasant is added whenever the behaviour that you want to stop occurs. Many dog bark collars utilize positive punishment by responding to barking with something the dog will not like. The idea is that they will eventually learn not to bark if they don’t want the punishment to happen.
The other principle is distraction. The aim of bark collars that use distraction is to take the dog’s attention off of whatever is making them bark. When the dog barks, these collars do something that is confusing or startling or something that draws the dog’s focus elsewhere, without hurting or upsetting the dog. This will naturally stop the dog from barking, as it makes them forget why they were barking in the first place.
Either type of dog bark collar can be effective, but they should always be considered supplementary. In order to stop nuisance barking for good, you need to figure out what is causing it and correct those causes. However, since this can be a very long process, bark collars can be an important part of mitigating the symptoms of the underlying problem while you work on it.
There are four main types of bark collars for dogs. They all can be either remote-controlled or set to automatically detect barking, and they each respond to it in different ways.
- Vibration collars - This is a type of distraction collar; when the dog barks, it vibrates at your chosen level of intensity. The dog will be slightly startled and distracted, which makes them stop barking. It’s best to use the lowest intensity that gets a reaction from your dog to avoid injuring or upsetting them with needlessly intense vibrations.
- Ultrasonic collars - This is the other popular type of distraction collar. It emits a high-frequency sound, inaudible to humans but audible to dogs when it detects a bark. Your dog will be confused, and perhaps slightly annoyed, by the sound. This distracts them for long enough to stop the barking.
- Citronella collars - This is a type of positive punishment collar. It uses a tiny spray of citronella scent, which dogs dislike, to discourage barking. The dog will associate the unpleasant smell with their own barking and stop, at least temporarily. Less commonly, lemon scent is used in the same type of spray collar.
- Shock collars - This positive punishment collar is probably the most well-known kind of bark collar, and it’s also the most controversial. It discourages a dog from barking by administering a small electric shock. Many people disagree with the use of shock collars because delivering a shock to the dog’s neck can be very painful, and even dangerous if not used correctly.
How to Choose a Dog Bark Collar
You should choose a bark collar for your dog based on what works for your dog. For example, if you know that your dog is startled when your phone vibrates with a notification, then a vibration collar might be very effective at distracting them from barking. If you have noticed that your dog doesn’t like lemon-scented things in your home, then a lemon spray collar might stop their barking quickly. You can always make your best guess if you’re not sure, and go for a different type of collar later if you don’t see the results you want.
It’s also important to choose a collar based on your own preferences are. Some dog owners don’t like the idea of deliberately hurting or upsetting their dogs, even for the sake of training. Those people would be better off choosing a distraction-based bark collar than a positive punishment-based one. You may even choose a bark collar based on which stimuli you dislike; if you can’t stand the smell of citronella, you’ll probably be hesitant to spray that smell on your dog and in your house.
What to Consider When Buying a Collar
It’s always a good idea to choose carefully when buying new pet products, and this goes double for training products. The wrong item can set training back or delay progress. Here are a few important things to consider:
- Your dog’s size - Some types of bark collars are more likely to be effective on dogs of certain sizes. For example, it’s often hard to get giant breeds to respond to vibration collars because their necks are simply so big and sturdy that the vibration doesn’t feel like much of anything to them. And toy breeds, under ten pounds, can be more easily injured by vibration and shock collars than other dogs, meaning another type of bark collar may be better suited for them.
- Your dog’s temperament - Contrary to popular belief, positive punishment training isn’t the best way to train aggressive dogs. In fact, subjecting aggressive dogs to unpleasant stimuli can make their behaviour worse, so distraction collars may be the only effective option. This is why it’s important to keep temperament in mind when buying a bark collar.
- Other training - Bark collars can be a great tool to help you get some quiet time and appease neighbours or roommates, but they don’t treat the cause of the barking. When buying a bark collar, don’t forget to fit it into your long-term plan for correcting your dog’s behaviour permanently.
If you have a nuisance barking dog, a bark collar may be a way for you to limit their excessive barking while you work on more substantial training or lifestyle changes for them. Use your dog’s size, temperament, and preferences to decide what kind of bark collar would be best for them, and then take a look at our top ten list to find a well-made option in that style.