A bark collar is a special form of exercise collar worn on an overly-barking dog. It is designed to modify the malicious barking behaviour and to prevent this behaviour over time.
In recent years, the use of bark collar is controversial, and many people view its use as a form of exploitation of animals.
This guide discusses the benefits as well as shortcomings of the bark collar and helps you determine if a bark collar is suitable for your dog.
Types of bark collar
Electronic bark collars
The electronic bark collars track the vocal cord vibrations whenever your dog barks. The dog experiences a low-level shock when the collar senses these vibrations.
Some online animal shops refer to such vibrations as the shock people receive when they have thrown their feet across the carpet while touching another person or doorknob.
This type of necklace is heavily criticized as cruel and inhuman by organizations such as the Society for Animal Cruelty Prevention, and its use isn’t allowed in Australia.
Veterinary practitioners also challenge the reliability of electronic bark collars. Research at the Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine Colleges found that there was no reduction in barking behaviour at all for four of the eight hours experimenting with an electric bark collar.
Citronella Bark collar
Citronella Bark collars have a tiny barking microphone on the collar. The scent of the citronella plant will be released into the air once the dog’s bark is sensed.
The Cornell Studies found that citronella collar was effective in reducing or preventing annoying barks. Results claim that all the dog owners and many favoured it over electric shock collars.
Citronella bark collars are used for the prevention of excessive barking in many street and animal adoption organizations, but most citronella collars are difficult to build.
The sensitivity of the microphone should always be correctly feasible because it could soak up the sounds of other dogs blowing and potentially punishing your dog for something he has not done.
Ultrasonic bark collar
Ultrasonic bark collar often features a microphone and emit a high pitch sound that irritates dogs.
Some systems have two tones—one for positive behaviour, and one for negative behaviour—but most of them only have one.
An ultrasonic bark collar is often combined to create a sound, and then a shock if the barking keeps continues. The ultrasonic bark collar is the least verified of the three forms of bark collars.
Why use bark collar
The Director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at the University of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine is Katherine A. Houpt.
The sort of dogs Katherine Houpt mentions, are dogs that barks non-stop, they are referred to as “nuisance barker.” Dogs barks either for territory security or barking as a trained and attention-seeking activity.
Houpt says behavioural enhancements can help to control the persistent barking. However, owners who are not available or can’t correct the dog may want to try a bark collar.
Many dogs bark for a particular reason, and barking can be solved without a bark collar.
Behavioural challenges for bark collar users
The Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty does not recommend electric bark collars because they see them as inhuman and unworkable.
Dr Craig Mixon, an author of Barking Dogs, claims that the phenomenon of habitation can occur in dogs wearing bark collars.
In case of habit, the more citronella the dog wears, the less well it functions, and the less profitable it is. Dogs can learn how to bypass the citronella collar, not to smell the scent that comes out from the bark collar until the supply of citronella is depleted.
Mixon state that the alternative use of citronella and electronic collars is to circumvent habitation and use the bark collar in an armoury of training and alteration of behaviour, but not just the training process.
Other dog behaviour specialists advocate for brief periods to leave the training harness, never for the whole day. Some dogs only bark more than others.
Small terriers and toy races are more likely to bark than retrievers, sheepdogs and St. Bernards for non-essential purposes. Some breed, such as scent hounds, were bred and trained to bark when they encountered the scent of their prey.
Others were bred for active, digging and barking with hunter-owners, including terriers.
Dog barks for various reasons that include barking when it notices a stranger coming into its territory. It may also bark when other dogs bark and reinforce the defensive reaction of the initial dog.
This form of barking is especially beneficial for dog owners who utilized dogs for protection.
Dogs can even bark in response to what they have heard. If a dog barks and then gets attention, then it sees barking as a way to get what it wants — attention or playing.
While a dog fetches its toy, barking and playing with its owner, the dog discovers that barking is an excellent way to start playing.
Nevertheless, if you scream or yell at the dog for barking, he might reconsider his actions. Barking is a natural performance for a dog and can be focused on either humans or animals.
In line with barking attention, dogs may often bark when their owner is present in response to anxiety. This happens typically soon after the owner leaves, and it is called anxiety over the separation.
Barking can last a few hours and naturally only occurs when the owner is not present—one of the above factors enough for many owners to justify using a bark collar.
Nonetheless, there is one case in which a bark collar can never be used for barking modification. This involves dogs that are suffering from pain or deafness, cognitive disabilities or brain disorders. They tend to over-bark.
Take your dog for a complete check-up at the veterinarian’s place before you initiate or conduct an adjustment program that requires a bark collar to lessen the barking.
Test alternative behaviour improvement approaches before choosing a bark collar. Your surgeon will prescribe some exercises to teach your dog to avoid barking or to stay silent.
You don’t want your dog to stop barking entirely while you want to prevent excessive barking. Barking is a natural behaviour for a dog, but it needs close monitoring.
Learn to understand the reasons your dog is barking and strive to minimize any possible cause of stress.
Although your dog can look like a time-consuming burden when training it to stop barking, it can sometimes be more effective than simply using a bark collar.
There is no magic treatment for uncomfortable behaviour, with dogs, as with people.