dog training, dog behavior, dog health

The Dog Bark Collar - Not a Good Idea?

A dog bark collar is intended to stop dogs from barking excessively. They range from citronella collars which spray the dog whenever he or she barks to electric shock collars which deliver a painful jolt of electricity to try to stop the dog from barking. On the surface, these dog collars seem like a good idea to our technology crazed society. And your dog's barking can be a problem, no doubt about it. But a dog bark collar has a number of significant problems which decrease their usefulness and can even make them dangerous to pets. These it may be as well to look at.

By far the safest and most humane of the dog bark collar is the one which sprays citronella when the dog barks. Dogs hate this, and the instant reaction to the bark helps to tell the dog what it's doing wrong. But the citronella collar has some significant limitations. First, because it is triggered by the dog's bark, it can also be triggered by other loud noises. This results in the dog being sprayed when it hasn't done anything, which weakens the training and may lead to trauma in the dog. Second, because the citronella resevoir is carried on the collar, the dog can feel its weight, and many dogs can actually tell when the resevoir is empty.

The electric shock collar mentioned above is the least safe and the least humane. The electrical jolt is painful to the dog, and may cause brain damage if sustained for long periods of time. And the electric dog bark collar is not even particularly effective; dogs will often continue barking in spite of the pain.

The best way to cure a dog of barking, then, is *not* the dog bark collar, but patient training. Especially if the dog's barking is due to separation anxiety, spending time with your dog, playing with it, grooming it, petting it and talking to it are the very best things you can do. A happy, secure dog is a dog who will bark less often.


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