Which bark collars are best?
With proper training and the right tools, you can train your dog to bark less or only when appropriate. One of the best ways to do this is with a bark collar. They make it easier than ever to cut down on excessive barking in a humane way. If you’re looking for a sturdy collar that’s also highly effective, check out the Educator E-Collar Humane Dog Training Collar with Remote.
What to know before you buy a bark collar
How bark collars work
The way bark collars work is simple. They detect the sound of a dog’s bark and emit a negative stimulus to discourage it, such as a minor electric shock or a high-pitched sound. Some come with a remote you can use to manually administer this stimulus. Others work automatically whenever the canine barks too loudly or too much.
This type of reinforcement can not only disrupt barking at that moment but also decrease unwanted behaviors. However, a collar alone doesn’t always stop excessive noise. In most cases, you also need to provide proper training for your pet. This is something a dog training book or classes can help with.
Some people think a bark collar is simply a shock collar, but this isn’t necessarily the case. There are several types of collars, each one offering a different way of modifying negative or excessive barking. The main ones are:
- Vibration: These collars vibrate when they detect barking. They are safe and painless, but they can disrupt unwanted behavior by startling the dog.
- Ultrasonic: Sometimes referred to as a beep collar, ultrasonic collars emit a high-pitched sound that only your dog can hear. Over time, the dog may start to associate the unpleasant noise with the barking and stop. These are great for smaller breeds, though not all dogs react the same way when they hear the sound.
- Spray: This type of collar produces a mist that’s unpleasant to canines. Some use water, while others use citronella to discourage barking. Spray collars are considered the gentlest, safest option, making them best for less stubborn dogs.
- Electric: Also called a shock or static collar, these collars administer a mild electric shock at the dog’s neck when it barks. On smaller breeds, the shock can hurt a little. For most canines, they have a more startling effect.
Bark collars are generally considered safe, but they do come with a few potential problems. Here are the main ones as well as ways to avoid them:
- Long-term use: Bark collars should be used for training purposes, not in place of a standard collar. This is partly because they’re heavy around the dog’s neck. For dogs that stress out easily or suffer from anxiety, these collars could also increase their stress levels when left on too long.
- Size: If the collar is too tight, it could pull on the dog’s skin, resulting in skin irritation or cuts. It could also cause choking.
- Weight: If you have a puppy, small breed or senior dog, consider the collar’s weight. Larger, heavier collars could weigh down on the canine’s neck and cause physical strain or injury.
- Accidental activation: While not a health issue, leaving the collar on without supervision could result in accidental activation. If this occurs, it could confuse the dog and be harmful to training purposes.
When using a bark collar, monitor your dog to make sure there are no complications or other issues. If any do occur, remove the collar immediately until they clear up.
What to look for in a quality bark collar
Size and adjustability
Bark collars come in different sizes, some of which are adjustable. Before getting one, measure the circumference of your pet’s neck. Cross-reference it with the dimensions listed on the collar to ensure it fits. When the dog is wearing the collar, you should be able to fit one or two fingers in between it and your pet’s skin.
Also, consider the weight of the collar. Most come in sizes meant for small, medium or large breeds. They also usually include the intended weight range for the dog.
Most bark collars have the following design elements:
- A compartment that houses the battery.
- Separate area for the microphone or sensor that detects the sound of the bark.
- Another compartment for the negative stimuli, such as the spray or shock.
Most collars designed for training purposes are constructed from nylon, plastic or another synthetic material. These materials are usually durable and water-resistant. Thicker collars are also less likely to break if your dog tries to chew on them.
Some bark collars come with specialized features, such as:
- Reflective tape that helps you identify where your dog is at night. This is especially useful if it gets off its leash.
- Remote control with adjustable settings. This lets you manually train your pet when it’s acceptable to bark and when it’s not. The different levels also let you choose the intensity of the negative stimulus. Some remotes have a range of around 2,000 or so feet.
- False-trigger proofing to prevent accidental activation. This feature is helpful if other dogs are barking nearby, as it keeps the collar from activating by mistake.
- Several negative stimuli to train the dog. Some advanced collars feature more than one stimulus, such as vibration and high-pitched sounds.
How much you can expect to spend on a bark collar
Most bark collars cost $25-$60. Advanced models can cost up to $200.
Bark collars FAQ
At what age should you start using a bark collar?
A. Generally, it’s safe to use a bark collar on dogs once they’re at least 6 months old.
What are some other ways to prevent barking?
A. Behavioral training is another great way to cut down on excessive barking. You can also incorporate clicker training and dog whistles to mitigate barking, or you can enroll your canine in dog courses to train the behavior away.
What are the best bark collars to buy?
Top bark collar
What you need to know: Available in five colors, this rechargeable collar has multiple features that help with training dogs not to bark excessively.
What you’ll love: Ideal for breeds that are at least 5 pounds, the collar comes with three options: a shock, a Pavlovian response and a vibration. It comes with adjustable levels and a tracking light to identify your canine. It also works at different ranges.
What you should consider: The remote is a little tricky to use at first.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top bark collar for the money
What you need to know: With a built-in LED light and a reflective surface, this collar works up to 2,600 feet away.
What you’ll love: It comes with a remote and a waterproof receiver. It has four training modes, including a static shock, vibration, beep and light mode. It is intended for medium and large dogs that weigh over 20 pounds.
What you should consider: The electrical stimulus button is easy to trigger.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: With three harmless training modes to choose from and a 1,000-foot range, this adjustable collar is great for most dogs.
What you’ll love: The collar is waterproof and has a lithium battery-charged receiver. It can fit dogs with necks ranging from 9.8 to 25 inches around. It comes with the standard beeping sound, a vibration option and a shock option to deter excessive barking.
What you should consider: It works best as a training collar to limit barking rather than as an outright anti-barking collar.
Where to buy: Sold by Chewy
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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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