Dogs bark. It is their principal means of communicating something, be it their thoughts or feelings. Unfortunately, barking can be a nuisance especially if you’re trying to get some much-needed rest. And while a bark collar is not a guarantee that your dog will stop barking, it can be a handy tool for training your hound to temper its vocalization tendencies – barking only when needed. When used correctly and judiciously, an anti-bark collar can help you teach your dog when and when not to bark.
You have to pick the right one, though since there are plenty of products that come with prongs that deliver static electricity to dogs. If you’re looking for the best bark collar that will never hurt your dog, then you’ve got to check out what we have in store for you.
Best Bark Collar Buying Guide & FAQ
Types of Bark Collars
There are 4 types of bark collars available in the market today. Generally, these differ only in the kind of stimulus that is delivered to the dog once triggered.
- Static collars
These devices deliver short pulses of static electricity to the dog. These often come with different sensitivity levels so the right levels of static can be delivered. However, this is rather controversial since static can still cause tissue injury regardless of whether it can be seen or not.
There are many pet parents who see these devices as very effective since the jolt delivered to the dog is often enough to stop the dog from barking. It is one of those devices that employ aversive techniques in addressing canine behaviors. Staunch supporters of positive reinforcement, as well as animal rights, advocates strongly oppose such devices.
- Vibration collars
As the name implies, these bark collars deliver vibrations to the dog as a means of interrupting its barking. Pet behaviorists strongly recommend vibration collars since these are more ‘humane’ than static collars.
- Spray collars
These dog bark collars deliver a fine mist of a solution that will interrupt a dog’s barking. Most come with citronella as it’s been proven to be most effective in deterring dogs from barking. However, it can sting the dog’s eyes if the mist is sprayed directly onto its face. Other safer alternatives include plain water, although some will also use lemon.
- Ultrasonic collars
These collars produce a high-pitched sound that only dogs can hear. They work in the same way as other types of bark collars – they interrupt the behavior. Some units actually come with remote control for added versatility.
Things to Consider When Buying Bark Collar
With so many products to choose from it’s not uncommon that picking the right bark collar can be intimidating especially to first-time buyers. Take the following variables into consideration and you can easily narrow down your choices to only the best.
- Neck circumference of your dog
While most devices will come with the recommended weight of dogs a more important parameter is the neck circumference of your hound. Remember, the device is actually fitted onto the collar so it’s the collar that your dog wears, not the device. As such you should measure the circumference of your dog’s neck at the area where the neck meets the back of your dog. Compare this with the length of the collar of the bark control device. It is okay to get a longer collar as long as it can be adjusted.
- Dog’s weight
As we have mentioned, most manufacturers design their gadgets based on the weight of dogs. Some put the minimum at 3 pounds and the maximum at 120 or even 150 pounds. Unfortunately, a dog may weigh over 100 pounds yet its neck circumference is that of a 50-pounder. As such, whenever a neck size is available about a particular product use this information instead of the weight.
- Type of bark collar
We discussed above the different types of bark collars. If you don’t mind hurting your pet, you’ll find static collars to be quite exceptional. If you like the scent of citronella or some other volatile substance, then perhaps a spray collar is a good choice; although, we doubt if your dog will like it. You can also choose between sonic and vibration collars or perhaps a combination of all 4.
- Adjustability of the sensitivity of the device
You’ll want the dog bark collar to trigger a response. To do this you should be able to adjust its level of sensitivity. If the device’s sensitivity levels cannot be adjusted, move on to the next in your list. The more sensitivity level adjustments a device have, the better it is when it comes to fine-tuning.
- False trigger-proofing
The problem with sound-activated-only devices is that they tend to register any sound or noise as coming from the dog. This can lead to false triggers whereby the correction is delivered even though the dog did not do anything. For instance, your dog is at the yard and other dogs in the neighborhood are barking. Even if your dog is not barking, the device ‘hears’ the barking noise and, thus delivers a correction. Your poor hapless dog will be confused as to what it did wrong to deserve a correction.
- Overall durability
The overall construction of the bark collar should always be considered in your buying decision. Nylon straps provide the most durable material. The device should also be protected from water, moisture, dust, snow, and other particles and potential contaminants.
Purpose and Benefits of Using Bark Collar
Not everyone believes that a bark collar should be used to address this particular behavior in dogs. This is because barking is a natural phenomenon, as natural as humans talking. Preventing dogs from ‘talking’ is like preventing humans from vocalizing their thoughts and feelings. However, this is not to say that dog bark collars don’t provide any benefit at all. It should be understood that the main purpose of bark collars is not to stop dogs from barking, but to teach them to bark only when necessary and not to bark in certain situations.
One of the most important benefits of using bark collars is that it develops self-control in the dog. The dog learns to associate the correction with the barking. When used judiciously with the correct training techniques, this can lead to a dog that is able to control itself even in situations that it was not previously trained to do.
A dog that learns self-control eventually becomes a highly trainable dog. This can have significant ramifications in its development since all dogs require training, not only to give them the skills they need but more so to foster their inherent traits.
Learning self-control and becoming highly trainable can definitely boost a dog’s confidence. This can have a positive impact on its growth and development, especially when socializing with other dogs and people other than its family. In short, it becomes a well-rounded dog.
Q: What is a dog bark collar?
A: As the name implies these are ordinary dog collars with a device attached to it. The device contains a microphone that gathers noise level information from the dog and environment and sends this to a microchip. The microchip integrates and processes the noise level information to trigger a mechanism that will elicit a response depending on the type of behavior correction embedded in the bark collar. Technically, the best bark collar deters a dog from barking.
Q: How exactly do bark collars work?
A: Bark control collars come in different types. However, the way they work is essentially the same. The only difference is the type of correction that is delivered.
Bark collars contain a device that is sensitive to the sound or vibrations of a dog’s bark or any other noise. When it senses these sounds, it triggers a response. The response can range from a warning tone or a warning beep. Some systems come with flashing lights. These two responses should be able to quickly divert your dog’s attention from whatever it is barking at to the sound or the flashing light on the device.
However, in certain cases, the light and sound warnings are disregarded by the dog. If the bark control device still senses barking even though it has already triggered the light and sound combination, then it will produce vibrations. This will help startle the dog. It’s like snapping the dog out of its trance (barking).
If the dog continues to bark despite the delivery of light, sound, and vibrations, some devices can deliver static electricity. Some say the static will not really hurt the dog, but will definitely catch it by surprise prompting it to stop barking.
Sadly, there is no concrete evidence that delivering static shocks, no matter how minimal, will not hurt the dog. Static electricity, while faint, still delivers heat to the tissues. This can lead to thermal injuries no matter how small. That is why even if the dog doesn’t look like it’s hurt, delivering a static shock as a means of correcting the behavior (barking) is sure to cause tissue injury.
Some anti bark collar systems do not use any of the above-mentioned warnings and corrections. Instead, these spray fluid into the dog’s face just enough to startle it. Citronella dog collar systems seem to provide the most remarkable effects since citronella is a well-known insect repellent. Dogs simply don’t like the scent of citronella on their bodies, regardless of how pet parents love the smell.
In sum, dog bark control devices work by diverting the attention of the dog. If a dog is barking it usually means there is something that has attracted its attention. Giving it another stimulus will help divert its attention to the new stimulus. This is, in essence, how such devices work.
Q: Can I use it on small breed dogs?
A: Yes, you can use a no bark collar on small breeds of dogs even on puppies provided you choose the right size of the collar. A snug-fitting collar is best rather than a loose-fitting one. That being said, it is also critical to consider the weight of the device. Since these need to be worn by your pet around its neck it is crucial that it not be so heavy so as to cause strain on the cervical spine of your pet dog. The size of the collar and the weight of the device have to be taken into consideration when using this on a small breed of dog.
Q: How often should I use a bark collar?
A: This is tricky as there really is no standard as to how often you should use a bark collar on your dog. Obviously, they cannot and should not wear the dog bark collar round-the-clock, 24/7. Dogs bark. Period. It’s their way of communicating. If you use a bark collar round-the-clock it’s like robbing your dog of the ability and the right to ‘vocalize’. How would you feel if somebody put a similar device on you, too so you will not talk?
The idea is to identify instances when your dog is barking when it shouldn’t be. For example, if your dog frequently barks at specific times of the night, then you might want to put onto your dog the bark collar. However, you should also consider why your pet is barking in the first place. Is it because you left it alone in its crate that it is actually calling you? Is it because it senses some movement in the dark that it wants you to check?
Dog bark collars that deliver static electricity or even spray citronella work on the principle of aversion. Dogs learn to associate the static or the spray with barking so they will naturally avoid barking. But if the device doesn’t come with a failsafe system – it doesn’t distinguish the bark of your dog from the bark of other dogs or other noises coming from the environment – you are confusing your dog since it doesn’t have any ‘event’ to associate the corrections to. All it knows is that when there is noise, it will experience a shock or a citronella spray. This is clearly not what you want your dog to learn.
So how often should you use a bark collar? It all depends on the barking tendencies of your hound as well as its level of intelligence. Smart hounds will typically ‘get the idea’ after a few training sessions. Others may not be so lucky. As a rule, you’re not supposed to put the collar onto your dog 24 hours a day. You should only put it on when training your dog to refrain from barking when a certain situation arises.
Q: Do bark collars work for howling or whining?
A: If your bark collar is sound-activated, meaning it is triggered by the detection of sounds from the dog, it can definitely work for whining or howling. This is especially true for devices that integrate both sound and vibration detection. Relying only on sonic activation can set of the delivery of correction even when your dog is not barking, whining, or howling. With the addition of vibration detection, the sensor will also have to determine if the sound is actually produced by the dog itself and not by another source.
Q: Are bark collars safe to use on puppies?
A: Just as stop dog barking collar systems can be used on small breeds, they can also be safely used on puppies. However, you should not use a system that delivers static electricity. The skin of puppies is generally thinner than adult dogs so the degree of tissue injury resulting from the application of static is usually greater. Additionally, you don’t want to instill fear into your young pet. Citronella dog collar systems may work, but it is also considered an aversive type of training tool. Your best bark collar for puppies should deliver only the most humane way of correcting the behavior, preferably through sound or vibration or both. Moreover, the right size and weight of the device should be specific to puppies.
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Our Top Pick
There are a number of reasons why the DogRook Dog Bark Collar is our best bark collar. First, it is sensitive to both sounds and vibrations which you can easily adjust up to 7 levels of sensitivity. Second, it has an intelligent chip which effectively zeros-in on the unique sound and vibration signature of your dog. Third, the strap comes with safety and durable features such as reflective stitching and excellent waterproofing. It is fully adjustable, too to ensure optimum fit. Fourth, the DogRook comes with a very fashionable design, perfect for enhancing the style of your dog. There’s an extra faceplate, too. Fifth, the package already comes with an e-book on the best dog training so newbie pet parents will be guided accordingly on how to use the DogRook while also learning other tricks of the dog training trade.
Dog bark collars are not the be-all solution to nuisance barking in dogs. Sensible canine behavioral training programs should always be considered as the most effective solution to such issues in dogs. These devices should only be considered as tools to help make dog training a lot easier. And with the best bark collars for dogs, we’re very hopeful you’ll be more confident in helping your dog learn to put its barking behavior under control.
- The 4 Different Types of Bark Collar & How They Work, Pet Street Mall
- Will a Bark Collar Train My Dog to Stop Barking?, Bark Control