Anti Bark Collar Review
So you're having trouble with your dog barking too much?
Sure I know what it is like! It's downright annoying and very frustrating at
times - not to mention disruptive for your neighbours.
But don't forget that not all barking is bad. Your dog has a voice and needs to use it to alert you from time to time. But when it becomes excessive, and out of control, it is time to do something about it. And nothing seems to polarize opinions more than the use of those electronic anti bark collars, or e-collars. Some people are dead against their use, while others see the solution justifying the method.
While there have been scientific studies proving that these bark control collars are harmless to dogs, many still are against their use. But either way it still begs the question about how to solve problem barking. Do you ignore it? Do get your dog de-barked surgically? Do you give up your dog to a shelter? or do you use an electronic barking collar when you want your dog to stay quiet?
OK, so this review is about these anti bark collars. Although I'd love to spend more time covering all methods of stoping your dog from barking, we need to take the time now to review the electronic collars that are available for you to consider.
Ever heard of a guy called Pavlov? Well he was famous for demonstrating 'Classical Conditioning' in dogs. It was like an associative learning theory where he would condition a dog to respond in a certain way following a defined stimulus. These anti bark collars use this same principle - the dog will stop barking once the collar provides the stimulus. Then, the dog will learn to associate the stimulus with his barking and refrain from continuing that behaviour. When you think of it - this is what happens in nature all around us. What happens to a pup in a litter if it bites too hard on its mother... Well the mamma dog will growl or even snap back at the pup. Sure the pup will feel the pain, but that pup will soon be conditioned to associate his behaviour to pain and stop being so naughty.
If you've got children, then no doubt you parent in much the same way. Or what about the old saying 'Once bitten, twice shy'. You put your hand in fire, you'll get burned - sure you'll feel the pain but you won't do it again will you? It's the same thing with these no bark collars. Ok so I think by now you get my point.
The three main forms of "Stimulus" an electronic bark collar can use are 1. Static pulse, 2. Spray (eg lemon or citronella), and 3. Sound (eg ultra sonic). Their effectiveness in teaching your dog to stop barking is in the same order.
1. Static pulse
This is by far the most effective and quickest way to stop your barking dog. Each time he barks, a short static electric pulse is delivered to associate the bark with the static pulse. The more he barks the higher the level of static delivered. The less he barks the lower the level. The quicker your dog learns to respect the static correction, the quicker your problem is solved. This method is by far the most popular and effective, and it is where all the technology is. The other thing to note, is that you don't leave this collar on your dog 24/7. It is only needed at times when he is most likely to excessively bark. At other times you take it off. Many dogs only need to use it for about 2 weeks and then the problem is solved. Although these are more expensive than the other types, you'll certainly get your moneys worth. Oh and if you'd rather not invest in the whole collar, you can simply rent an anti bark collar and then send it back when you're done with it. The problem with these barking collars, has more to do with people thinking they’re cruel. When they're referred to as Electric shock collars, we imagine some form of electrocution torture on our dogs. But the reality is it's static electricity - the same zap we get after touching something after dragging our feet over carpet. It's uncomfortable, but not painful.
2. Spray bark collars
If you are dead set against the static pulse method then these are your next best thing. Although not as effective, they still work because they follow the same conditioning principles. Instead of a static pulse, your dog will get a nose full of a Lemon or citronella spray. These sprays are harmless to your dog, but they are smells your dog will find terrible. Once they associate the smell with barking, they will hopefully stop the unnecessary and excessive barking. One thing you will need to consider is that you too will smell the spray and that you will need a supply of refill cans to keep the spray collar topped up at all times.
3. Sonic bark collars
These collars emit an ultrasonic sound each time a dog barks. It's a sound we can't hear, but apparently your dog can. Of all the anti bark collars, this type is the least obtrusive. If you don't fancy any of the other methods, but still need a solution then a sonic bark collar could solve your problem. Unfortunately you won't have a lot to choose from - since there really is only one model available! The sonic method is also useful if you have a dog that only barks in a certain locations around your home, eg the at the gate, or at your back door etc. because there are stationary anti bark solutions available. There are stationary sonic emitting devices that you can position where your dog likes to bark the most. Then when he starts to bark, he hears the ultrasonic sound and stops barking. And there's no need to keep a collar on! you can choose either an Internal or External model.
How to choose the right Anti bark collar
The first thing you need to do is choose the type or method of correction - For example static pulse. Once you do (except the sonic method), you will be confronted with an almost daunting range to choose from. Although it's great to have such choice, it can get a little confusing. So let me try and simplify it a bit for you. I have prepared a simple bark collar comparison chart. There you can see there are a number of features each model has. But which features do I really need, you may ask?
First things first, you need to know that there are three main brands to choose from for e-collars. These are the market leaders and are renown for their quality and how well they actually work. The three that you should choose from are either , Innotek, Petsafe or Sportdog. These three brands offer a range of barking collars, and all have slightly different features. So if you select a model form one of these manufacturers you can't go wrong.
Next the most commonly requested feature is whether the collar is waterproof or not. If your dog is likely to swim, then you must ensure the bark collar is water proof. All collars are water resistant meaning they'll cope if it rains etc, but only the waterproof ones are designed to cope with being submersed in water. So decide if you need the anti bark collar to be waterproof or not, and using the comparison chart, identify the models that would suit.
Next, would you prefer the collar to be rechargeable or not. The rechargeable collars are slightly more expensive, but you won't have to stock up on batteries. The non rechargeable collars use specific battery types, meaning you will need to keep a few handy just in case. In the comparison chart, identify the models that suit.
Did you know that a bark collar is only effective as it is able to detect a "Bark". Not all bark collars have the same level of ability to detect a bark. If it doesn’t recognize a bark, or worse still is triggered by something else, then it may cause the collar to miss-fire. The most common activation method is by 'Vibration'. The collar senses the vibration in your dogs voice box and then triggers a stimulus. Most anti bark collars use this method. But some also use the sound as well as the vibration generated from a bark. These collars contain a microphone as well and are more accurate when triggering a response to a bark. These collars need to sense both a vibration as well as hear the sound before triggering. You can clearly identify which collar uses what activation method in the comparison chart.
Size of your dog
Yep... size does matter. OK, if you have a small doggy, then there are collars specifically designed to suit your pooch. Just like if you have a big and rambunctious hunk of a dog, there are bigger collars for you. Bark collars are made to suit different dog sizes for a reason. Not only is it to do with the physical dimensions, but also the strength of the stimulus.
Levels of Correction
This really only applies to the static or electric bark collars. Sonic and spray bark collars only have an either on/off system. With the static pulse bark collars, if the dog barks, a low level of static is delivered. If the dog continues to bark the level or intensity of the static impulse continues to increase automatically until the dog stops barking. The beauty of this feature is that your dog will only receive an impulse at a level that is needed to stop your dog barking. For many dogs, they don't need much of an impulse to get the message. So preferably, select a model that offers the most correction levels as you can.
So long as you stick with a quality brand, and select a bark collar that offers the features you need, you won't go wrong. Anti bark collars are easy to use and dogs respond really well to them. Also if you are undecided about whether or not to buy one outright or not, you may consider renting an e-collar first. Then if you stop your dog barking, you can send the collar back and save a few bucks. Or you may find that after you've tried it, you do need to invest in owning one.