Anti bark collars are sometimes used when training isn’t working or when barking absolutely must be stopped. I recently came across a question from a dog parent who was in such a position. Let’s check it out:
Hi I need advice on bark collars. I have a 6 and a half month old Basset border collie mix that’s just decided she’s going to eat my chickens. I have a fenced-in backyard but the chicken run is in the backyard too and she’s found a way to open it. She’s very smart. So until I can work on training her not to go after the chickens when I can’t be in the backyard she has to be on a lead. But she barks her head off. My neighbors will start complaining soon. The Barking cannot continue. But there is times I have to put her outside and I cannot be with her. What should I avoid and look for in bark collars? I’ve never used one. I don’t want anything that will hurt her but the barking has got to stop.
I rarely come across a time when collars of this sort are absolutely required, however there are some instances when people will use them as a last resort. So with that in mind, let’s go over anti bark collars and how to use them safely (if at all).
Types of Anti Bark Collars
There are three different types of collars designed to deter barking – ultrasonic, citronella, and shock collars. Let’s take a look at each one.
I will never recommend this type of collar for any reason. I find them to be barbaric and cruel, and if you’ve ever watched a YouTube video of a human putting one on for giggles, you’ll understand why. They hurt. Dogs are stoic creatures, but if you simply watch a video of a human putting one on, you’ll see them hit the roof when it goes off. These collars should never be used. They are painful, and they can cause fear in a dog.
Ultrasonic anti bark collars use an ultrasonic frequency to deter barking. When the dog barks, a microphone picks up the sound and releases an ultrasonic sound. This sound is offensive to dogs, and eventually they learn that barking leads to the unpleasant sounds. This is a humane way to deter barking without causing fear or physical pain.
Citronella anti bark collars use a citronella spray to deter barking. These collars are loaded with citronella using a dispensing can and a port on the collar. When the microphone picks up the barking a puff of citronella is sprayed in front of the dog’s muzzle. The spray is not directly in the face so there is no fear of eye irritation. Dogs just hate the smell.
When to Use Anti Bark Collars
I’m not a doctor, and I’m not a certified trainer, but in my opinion, anti bark collars should be an absolute last resort. They should be used only when every other conceivable option has been exhausted and there is a real need to curb all barking. Examples of when to use anti bark collars would be when neighbors or landlords are threatening legal action against you for the barking and NOTHING has worked to curb it. That’s about it.
Even seemingly “humane” ultrasonic and citronella anti bark collars are still not innocuous to our dogs. They offer the one thing I’ve harped and harped on since I began writing for Dogvilles – negative reinforcement. They control through fear, and that’s no way for a dog to live.
Don’t think I don’t get it, fellow dog owners. As I sit here, I have had to yell at my dogs across the room to knock it off no less than three time for barking at every perceived threat, but hey, that’s what dogs do. I just put up with it. They drive me nuts, but at the end of the day, I just thin anti bark collars are a bad way to go. If you are in a situation that absolutely requires cessation of barking at any cost, I recommend using ultrasonic or citronella anti bark collars. There is no case where I cold recommend a shock collar in good conscience.