This guide contains a range of buyer and owner frequently asked questions about bark collars.
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
*First, Be Aware That Bark Collars May Not Work Effectively For Everyone
Bark collars are automatic devices.
They rely on bark sensing technology in the collar receiver unit to sense a dog’s unique bark (and not other noises or other dogs’ barks), and trigger a training response at the time of this bark – a static stimulation, vibration or a beep.
Some bark collars may have issues with sensing a dog’s bark consistently, or at all. They may also have issues with administering a training stimulus exactly when the dog barks.
These inconsistencies and issues can lead to bark collars not working effectively for some people and their dogs.
Compare this to another training device like a remote dog training collar (which comprises of a handheld transmitter and a collar receiver) – the person holding the remote handheld transmitter can trigger a response in the collar receiver manually whenever they want. This allows for manual application of a training response at the exact time the dog barks.
Not all bark collars are inconsistent or ineffective, but, when they are for certain owners – manual training and manual training devices can be far better options.
Do your own due diligence, and consult a vet or professional animal trainer or expert for a qualified opinion on what is best.
Some Of The Best Bark Collars
If an owner decides they want to try a bark collar, the best option might be to go for a more affordable bark collar option (as opposed to spending a lot of money on a collar that may or may not work consistently or effectively).
A few bark collars that might best balance value for money with performance is the:
- Authen Bark Collar (on Amazon) (fits small to large dogs, roughly from 7 to 120 lbs. Has two training modes, and has all three of beep, vibration and static stimulation)
- TBI Pro Dog Bark Collar (on Amazon) (fits small to large dogs, roughly from 15 to 120lbs. Has two training modes, and has all three of beep, vibration and static stimulation)
If you want to look at some other bark collar options, you can read this best bark collars guide.
Some people may decide they want to undertake bark training manually with a remote dog training collar instead of an automatic bark collar. In that instance, you can check out some of the best remote dog training collars in this guide:
Bark Collar Reviews, & Comparison Guides
Factors To Consider In Deciding What Bark Collar To Buy
- What size dog is the collar designed for? E.g. 5 to 120 lbs?
- What neck sizes does the collar strap fit? E.g. 5 to 22 inches?
- Does the collar require programming and settings selection? Or, can it be used immediately straight out of the box without any programming?
- What bark sensor technology does the collar have? – patented bark sensor technology, a bark vibration sensor technology, a bark sensing micro chip, or something else?
- How many training modes does the collar have, and what are those modes? (how do they work?). For example, Progressive Correction, and User Selected Correction are two examples of training modes
- How many training responses does the collar have? – static stimulation, beep/tone, and vibration … or, just one or two of these?
- How many levels of static stimulation does the collar have?
- What is the power output of the collar – low to medium, or low to high?
- How many sensitivity levels does the collar have?
- Are there any safety shut off features for the collar?
- What batteries does the bark collar use? – rechargeable or replaceable/disposable
- How long do the batteries take to charge, and how long does a full charge last?
- Is the bark collar waterproof or water rated? To what standard? IPX7, IP67
- Does the collar have a display screen showing levels and other indicators?
- Are there any other features on the collar like a low battery indicator?
- What is the warranty and what are the warranty conditions of the collar?
- Is there a return or guarantee on the collar?
- Is there customer service available for users of the bark collar?
- What comes in the collar kit? Contact points? Charger? Collar testing tool?
- How clear and extensive is the operating guide and instructions?
- Is there sufficient safety information that comes with the collar?
- How much does the bark collar cost?
What Is A Bark Collar
An automatic electronic dog collar device that:
- Senses/detects a dog’s unique bark
- And, administers a training cue in response to the dog’s bark in an effort to control/manage problem barking. Contact points on the collar receiver usually administer static stimulation
Bark Collars vs Remote Dog Training Collars
Both of these devices are intended to reinforce training or commands that your dog already understands – so some prior training and obedience before using these devices is usually good.
But, one of the main differences is that bark collars usually rely on automatically sensing barking and administering a training response – a vibration, tone or static stimulation.
Remote dog training collars however are manually operated by the human holding the handheld transmitter – they can instantly send a signal to the collar receiver to perform a certain function.
It’s arguable that you will get better value for money by purchasing a remote dog training collar, and doing bark training manually. You are able to directly/manually control your dog’s collar device at the right time (when your dog barks) this way. You don’t have to rely on a bark collar recognizing the barking and administering stimulation by itself
Automatic bark collars overall can be hit and miss/unreliable for some owners – sometimes they are able to detect barking by themselves and administer stimulation at the right time, but sometimes they don’t. Bark sensing technology, and whether the contact points are in contact with the skin, are some of the variables affecting this. But overall, owners can waste money when they don’t work reliably or consistently
Of course though – do your own due diligence on what the best and safest method of bark control is. You may have to ask your dog’s vet, or a professional dog trainer for their expert opinion on what method/training is best
Types Of Bark Collars
Bark collars might be categorised by the type of training stimulation they provide:
- Static stimulation
- Citronella spray
- and so on
They may also be categorised as bark collars for small, medium and larger dogs.
Why Use A Bark Collar, & When To Use One
Bark collars are usually used for problem barking (as opposed to natural or warranted barking)
They are usually used when a dog is barking all the time, or in problematic places, or at problematic times.
Make sure there isn’t a legitimate/warranted reason your dog is barking before using – such as there being a threat in the area (like another dog or animal), the dog being irritated from a lack of exercise, the dog being hungry, there being a noise or something else irritating the dog, or some other preventable or legitimate reason.
Some trainers and bark collar instruction manuals may also suggest you attempt to address problem barking with leash and positive reward training (after basic obedience training), and WITHOUT electronic dog devices, before trying a bark collar.
Bark collars usually aren’t used for aggressive dogs, sick dogs or unhealthy dogs, dogs under 6 months (or dogs that are otherwise too young), and some other types of dogs or in some other types of circumstances.
How Does A Bark Collar Work, & How To Use One
Each individual bark collar comes with instruction on how they work and how they should be used – so read and follow those instructions.
In general …
They usually require programming, selection of modes or settings, and a quick test with a tester tool (that comes in the starter kit) first to make sure they are working as they should be. Some collars don’t need any programming though – they are ready to go from the beginning.
Then, the collar strap can be placed around the neck and buckled in place so it isn’t too tight, but isn’t too loose around the dog’s neck.
The contact points should be in contact with the skin – so, long or thick fur may need to be trimmed or shaved. The collar device usually has to be around the front of the dog’s neck
Some collars also require certain positioning against the neck in order to be able to sense or detect a dog’s bark or vibration in their vocal cords.
The technology used in the bark collar automatically picks up vocal cord vibrations, or the dog’s individual/unique bark, and administers a training cue like a beep and vibrate, or a beep, vibrate and static stimulation. Depending on the training mode selected, the sensitivity level selected, and other settings and modes – the response can be different each time.
Good bark collars have safety features like some form of safety shut off to protect the safety of the dog.
What Size Bark Collar To Get
You might look for two key things when looking for a size of bark collar to fit your dog:
- The size of dog the collar is designed for e.g. 5 to 120lbs
- The length of the collar strap to fit a range of neck sizes e.g. 5 to 29 inches
So, weigh your dog and measure their neck size before ordering a bark collar.
Can A Puppy Use A Bark Collar?
Ask your dog’s vet when it’s safe to start using bark collars and electronic dog training devices on a young dog.
Also, refer to the bark collar product operation guide, instructions, and safety information for the age of dog their product is designed for.
Some sources might say 6 months is the age dogs can start using a bark collar, but some might say later. Some might also mention that a dog should understand basic training and obedience prior to using any electronic training device.
Alternatives To A Bark Collar For Bark Control Training
Some popular alternatives to a bark collar for bark control training might be:
- Regular positive reinforcement or redirection based training, with or without a leash
- Positive reinforcement or redirection based training with a dog clicker, or dog whistle
- Training with a professional dog trainer
- Training with a remote dog training collar
Some Safety Considerations For Using A Bark Collar
Safety is extremely important with a bark collar.
Always always get your vet’s advice or the advice of an animal health and/or training expert – nothing is a substitute for professional advice.
Some general safety guidelines for using a bark collar humanely and safely might be:
- Buy from a reputable company who put proper use of the bark collar and the safety of the dog as a priority
- Read and follow the operating guide, instruction/safety manual and training guide that comes with the bark collar system from the manufacturer for operation and safety instructions and guidelines
- Pay attention to any warnings issued by the manufacturer
- Monitor your dog’s response both mentally and physically to using a bark collar. Take the collar off immediately and discontinue use of the system if you notice any negative implications or reactions
A good bark collar that uses static stimulation should simply stimulate the muscle (to the point of reflex) to get the dog’s attention, but should not cause pain (it might be slightly annoying for the dog to act as a small deterrent – but shouldn’t cause pain or harm). It certainly shouldn’t cause a ‘sharp pain’ to the muscle or body.
To get a safe stimulation level – it helps if the bark collar can be set to the lowest stimulation level, and increased as required manually up to a level that gets the dog’s attention (such as changing body language when a stimulation, vibration or tone is administered) without any visible sign of pain or harm (such as yelping, or showing signs of stress).
A good bark collar company should give you all the necessary safety, use and training instructions, and should have a dedicated customer service line to help when you being using the collar.
Good bark collars usually also come with a safety shut off features for static stimulation in case a dog keeps barking.
The static stimulation function does not need to be used either – tone and vibrate training modes can be used instead on bark collars that have them.
Some owners like to even use their bark collar as a temporary training tool, and may go back to using body or verbal bark training commands once behaviors are reinforced (if suitable).
Other general safety considerations for bark collar might be:
- Don’t leave the collar on your dog without your supervision
- Don’t leave the collar on your dog for more hours than the operating guide/instructions recommend
- Make sure the collar isn’t too tight
- Test the collar for safety and proper functioning with any collar tester tool first (especially for static stimulation)
- Start with the lowest static levels first
- Reposition the bark collar regularly to avoid irritation of one section of the neck
- Remove the collar immediately and contact the manufacturer ASAP if there are signs of redness, irritation or harm. Consult a vet if required
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