What Exactly Is A Bark Collar?
A “bark collar” is an electronic collar used for controlling the frequency of a dog’s barking. Though they often serve their primary purpose, some trainers have acclimated the anti-bark collars to control dog behavior, or to keep them within an “invisible fence”. Although there are multiple varieties of these collars, the main four categories that exist within the reach of today’s veterinary technology are scent-, ultrasonic-, haptic-, and shock-based.
Static Bark Collar (Shock Collars)
Considered the most effective collar, static collars, better known as “shock” or “buzz” collars, emit a mild electronic zap when the dog barks too frequently, by using a static field.
Most products operate by detecting a sound within the dog’s barking frequency (some collars offer calibration to recognize the dog’s bark), and lightly shocking the neck of the dog to get it to stop wailing.
Often times, the technology of these collars revolves around an attempt to get the dog to recognize the beeping tone prior to the shock, usually a 30-second window, to serve as a reminder to stop before it brings the pain to the dog’s neck again.
So, if my Sheltie yapped and the beep was triggered, the device will wait for a set amount of time and “listen” for the dog to bark again. If she chooses to continue, then ZAP. If she keeps going, the magnitude of the shocking will increase until she ceases her racket.
Haptic Bark Collar (Vibrating Collars)
These types of collars vibrate ferociously when they detect the dog barking. They can be used to control certain behaviors based on the vibration (for example: triggering the collar when the pet doesn’t obey your “sit” command), which can have its magnitude adjusted according to the temperament of your hound.
While some of these can pack a very big vibrating punch, they tend not to work on pets with long hair and/or a thick coat. They’ve also been proven to be less effective on large animals as opposed to small ones. Really, which dog do you think would be affected more by the punch of vibration: a mastiff or a mini-dachshund?
Scented Bark Collar (Citronella Collars)
Scent-emitting collars work by blasting a light spray of a strong scent (typically Citronella) into the face of the animal. Dogs that tend to be more aggressive usually do not respond to the lingering smell or to the mist, whereas more nervous dogs are quite deterred.
Unfortunately, this probably won’t stop your neighbor’s angry English bulldog from snarling and roaring from their fence.
Ultrasonic Bark Collar
These devices listen for the sounds of barking and immediately respond by cranking out the most annoying, irritating, high-pitched screech… that we can’t hear. Thankfully, research has very well proven the ability of canines to perceive sounds above the human frequency range, and thanks to that factoid, we have spawned ultrasonic devices.
A very effective option, these sounds rattle the brains of Man’s Best Friend and immediately stop the barking! Interestingly, these exist not only as collars, but as standalone anti bark appliances that can be strategically placed near where the pooch likes to woof to lower the noise level and keep animal control off your back.
Ethics of the Bark Collar Today
Many people have come and gone, trying to bring down this industry and this useful tactic in training dogs, claiming that the no-bark collars are unethical and unfair. In my personal opinion, I believe these devices are perfectly ethical and all methods used in controlling the behaviors of animals are proven, tried, tested, and true through clinical trials. I think that all of the aforementioned collar types offer significant advantages to different breeds and temperaments.
As long as owners shop with the right purpose, attitude, size, and breed in mind (this site is designed to make that an easy task), nothing is impossible when it comes to what you can use a bark collar for. It is not difficult to make use of your money in multiple ways with only one device on your hands. It’s pretty simple to train your dog not to get on the furniture by using remote control to trigger the response every time it happens.
But I digress…
Lots of owners misunderstand the static collars, as they are considered the most inhumane and cruel of all other types. The shocking is perceived as a harsh punishment to the dog, when in reality, it’s only a mild zap, akin to rubbing a balloon through your hair and pranking your friend with a mild static discharge.
In reality, any collar with a device attached to it may look slightly suspicious to ignorant people who don’t understand that it’s for the better. These people see all electronic neckbands as extremely painful chokers on the dog necks. The only way to really educate them of the truth is to point them to the proper resource for information on all types of electronic collars.