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How do bark collars work: How Do Bark Collars Work?


How Do Bark Collars Work?

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Bark collars punish your dog for barking by emitting an irritating, high-pitched sound, a spray of citronella, or delivering a painful static shock via metal prongs on your dog’s neck. The collar detects sound and (sometimes, vibration from your dog’s vocal cords) and delivers a punishment when your dog barks.

If the level of correction is mild, the dog may choose to bark despite it. Some collars increase the power of the punishment if the dog continues barking, until they are finally subdued.

Can bark collars work stop yappy dogs from barking? Absolutely.

Should you use one if you’re at the end of your rope, and need to get your dog to stop barking lest your landlord kick you out, or you have to rehome your dog? Learn the facts and decide for yourself.

How Bark Collars Work

You strap a bark collar to your dog, and you fit it carefully to ensure that the metal prongs are protruding past her fur, pushing into the soft skin of her neck. Or, you make sure the “box” is below her nose so she’ll get a faceful of citronella spray when she barks.

Then, she’s sitting by the window and spots the mailman, dropping off a delivery. Her heartbeat accelerates, and she goes into “alert mode.” Her instinct to protect her family and home kick in. She opens her mouth to speak up, and lets out a bold, powerful bark.

Suddenly she’s in pain, or overwhelmed with a powerful spray of a scent that stops her cold. She barks again, and she’s punished again.

She makes the association – that when a stranger comes to the door, and she barks, she will be punished.

She will not suddenly “understand” that barking is bad, or that it annoys you, or pisses off your landlord. She only understands that bad things happen to her when she barks.

Alternatively, she might be wearing her bark collar when you leave the house. She hasn’t been properly introduced to her crate, and the idea of being alone, so naturally, she barks, because she knows that sometimes gets your attention. Again, she’s punished, and associates not only barking, but the situation with a punishment. She may get a warning beep on her first bark, so the fear of punishment will keep her silent, rather than an actual shock or spray, this time.

She’s still on alert when strangers arrive, her heartbeat rapid, her nerves on edge. She’s still unbearably lonely when you leave – now, just silent.

Fallouts Of Bark Collars

A Cornell University study of just 8 dogs showed that, while half of the dogs continued to bark despite static corrections from a shock collar, all of them stopped barking when wearing a citronella collar. However, the citronella collar was triggered by the sounds of other dogs barking, and one dog owner reported that it stained their furniture.

Shock collars, in general, have been shown to have long and short-term consequences: fear and aggression. With a device that isn’t 100% accurate in delivering corrections at the appropriate time, there’s an even higher risk of fallout.

Why Your Dog Needs Her Bark

Most of the time, a dog barks when she thinks she needs to be on alert, but 99.9% of the time, she’s wrong. In that other .01% of the time, you’re in danger, or your house is being broken into – and her bark can scare away a criminal.

She needs her bark to communicate that she’s scared, on alert or angry.

Without her bark, she’ll express herself in the next best way possible – by resorting to attack.

If her issue is barking related to separation anxiety, her anxiety can cause her to destroy items in your home, have accidents, or chew her paws or tail to the point of rawness.

Have You Really Tried Everything?

If you’re here, you’ve already noticed that this is a blog post against the use of bark collars – and you’re still listening. If you use or have considered using a bark collar, you’re not alone, nor are you a bad dog owner.

It’s tough to have a dog that barks, especially when you’re not around when it happens. Your neighbors may be complaining. Your landlord may be threatening to evict you. You want to keep your dog.

But there are still better options, with fewer risks of causing other behavioral problems.

Positive reinforcement training can take weeks, even months, but the results are long-lasting, and you won’t need batteries or refills to keep up the good work.

It’s important to prioritize the reason behind your dog’s bark, rather than focusing on the noise they make, even when their bark is causing troubles for you.

The Warning Bark

Dogs who bark at strangers do not necessarily intend to bite them. Barking is a warning sign. It tells intruders “don’t come any closer.”

A dog that is not aggressive can actually be provoked to attack if they experience a punishing shock when they are trying to warn off a visitor or intruder. This is known as redirected aggression – the dog’s natural response is to attack whatever is causing it pain, and when it cannot attack the bark collar, they may redirect their aggression to the nearest target – an individual that they believe is dangerous.

It’s ideal for your dog to bark once or twice to warn and alert. They should be able to settle down once you give them the “quiet” cue. Expecting your dog to be silent when people come to your house is unreasonable, especially for breeds designed to guard and alert: Chihuahuas, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Scotties and Westies, to name just a few.

Dogs seem to respond well when they’re thanked for barking. When your dog barks, go to the window, acknowledge who or what your dog is barking at, then tell your dog, “Thanks for alerting me, we’re safe.”

This puts your dog into a habit of being able to focus on you, even when they’re engaged in alert. This is important because dogs look to us in uncertain situations. They’re reassured when they see that we’re calm.

Separation Anxiety Barking

Set your phone or laptop up near your dog’s crate, or wherever they are when you leave the house, and hit “record.”

Take a walk around the block, go back home, and watch the video. What does your dog do when you’re not home for a short time?

If they’re staring out the window, try window film, curtains, or take any other measure that will block their view. Windows stress dogs out.

Try the exercise again, doing whatever you can to get a relaxed, quiet dog when you’re gone for just 10 minutes or so… without a bark collar.

A few things that can relax a dog that barks due to separation anxiety:

  • A Kong or other puzzle toy, filled with yums and frozen for an extra challenge
  • Soft music, television or radio
  • Eliminating a long goodbye – try to leave without her noticing
  • Leave when she’s too sleepy to care
  • Put her in a quiet room, away from windows and outside sounds
  • A pet sitter – many professional pet sitters can work with you on your training to help prevent barking

Barking At The Mailman

When your dog’s barking problem is due to people ringing your doorbell, you’re in luck – you have a lot of training options, and since you’re home when this happens, there’s a lot you can do to quickly solve the problem.

Your dog barks at the mailman to make him go away. Since the mailman has a route to tend to, your dog’s actually right – he will go away if she barks.

Your mailman likely comes at the same hour each day. Or, you can practice with a friend.

Hang out in the same room as your dog, and actively train her. Ask her to do all of her favorite tricks, and give her lots of praise and treats.

As the mailman walks up to your house, rapidly click and treat – or just praise your dog and treat her – from the time the mailman or friend walks up to your mailbox to the time they leave. If your dog is especially alert, you may have to give her small bites of bacon, rapidly, for this entire time. Ideally, you start before she can start barking, and she can go the entire visit without barking once. If she does, that’s okay.

The important thing is that you do not fall into that tired routine of having your dog bark and yelling at her.

Dogs depend on us to tell them how to react to situations. When we remain calm and continue training despite a visitor, our dog realizes that visitors are nothing to stress over. When we yell at our dogs for barking, they don’t always realize we’re yelling at them – they instead anticipate a high-stress situation whenever visitors come, and can’t help but bark when someone arrives.

Do Ethics Matter?

I could never spray, shock or yell my dogs into shutting up, no matter how annoying they can be. When I look into those brown eyes, I feel their innocence, their love and their trust. I understand that not everyone is a mush like I am.

But this is not just about ethics.

Training your dog not to bark addresses the reason for their reaction. It’s how you can reduce their anxiety and need to alert. It’s how you can stop barking without recharging a device every week, or buying refills of a stinky spray.

Truth: There’s no quick fix to stop a dog from barking. There never will be.

To me, a “woof” is a beautiful thing.

In 15 years or so, when your dog is merely a memory and a box of ashes from the vet, there’s nothing you won’t do to hear that “woof” again.

So, please take the time to train your dog so she will know what to do instead of barking. It’s so worth the time, and once you learn to do it with one dog, you’ll always have those positive training skills to help every dog in your life learn to be calm, quiet and happy.

Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You’ll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.

Do Bark Collars Work on Dogs and Are They Safe?

Does your dog bark way more than the shelter or breeder led you to believe? Does he bark at inappropriate times all day and night? If you are looking for tools and solutions to train your dog to stop barking, you’re probably finding a lot of information about bark collars, also known as anti-bark collars.

As training devices, all bark collars interrupt unwanted behavior such as barking so that you can redirect your dog. Each type of bark collar does so differently. Types of bark collars include vibration, static (shock), spray, ultrasonic, and combination. 

While they all resemble a traditional collar, bark collars emit some negative stimulus like an unpleasant scent, static shock, or high-frequency sound when your dog barks. 

To answer the question, “do bark collars really work,” the short answer is yes, they work if used properly. That said, some dog owners and trainers question whether anti-bark collars are humane, and they prefer other methods of dog training, which we’ll cover in the last section of this article. 

Do Bark Collars Really Work?

Yes and no. Yes, bark collars can curb unwanted behavior in many dogs, but that doesn’t mean bark collars work on all dogs. There are several reasons why a bark collar may not help stop your dog from barking. 

First and foremost, as the trainer, you must properly use the device. Failure to follow instructions on correct fit and position of the collar can hinder the collar’s usefulness, as can a lack of prompt corrections to your dog’s behavior. 

You need to understand the reason behind your dog’s constant barking. Whether it be the result of frustration, separation anxiety, attention-seeking, or merely compulsive barking, the underlying explanation needs to be resolved for a bark collar to be fully effective in ceasing your dog’s behavior.

With a commitment on your part to appropriately and consistently address your dog’s barking, and its underlying reason(s) through positive reinforcement (praise and treats) training — also known as the train, treat, repeat method of dog training — along with a bark collar will help ensure his relentless barking stops. 

However, a training tool, such as a bark collar, is only as good as the person using it and is meant to be used in conjunction with training techniques such as the train-treat-repeat approach.

Are Anti-Bark Collars Safe?

Most dog owners want to know if a bark collar is safe to use on their dogs. Anti-bark collars use an annoying ultrasonic noise (that humans can’t hear), a spray of citronella or lemon, or a quick electric shock or vibration that will cause your dog to stop in the middle of his barking. All of the interruption stimuli are brief and have no long-lasting effects. 

Based on the above, the answer to whether anti-bark collars are safe is yes, except, there are some cautions. Bark collars mustn’t be used for more than 12 consecutive hours as they can irritate your dog’s skin, nor should they be used while your dog is crated, asleep, or when he’s engaged in positive playtime activities.

Anti-bark collars are also not recommended for puppies younger than six months or dogs under eight pounds.

What Are Alternatives to Bark Collars? 

If you want to stop your dog’s barking but you’re not keen about trying a bark collar, or you’ve had a negative experience, there are alternatives called ultrasonic trainers or repellers. This type of device might be the right training tool for your dog and situation.

One such repeller is the versatile BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool. This handheld device never comes into contact with your dog and can be used at a distance of up to 40-60 ft. And, unlike many anti-bark collars, with The BarxBuddy, you are solely in control of when to emit the stimulus (ultrasonic sound). A quick press of the button and your dog will stop barking in seconds. When he does, it’s important that you immediately correct or redirect him with a command, followed by positive reinforcement, including praise and/or treat. 

While most bark collars are specifically designed to handle a dog’s excessive barking, ultrasonic trainers like The BarxBuddy can be used to help rid your dog of other behaviors such as chewing on furniture or jumping on people. Read our blog post on the best anti-bark collar and visit our site for more information on BarxBuddy and how it can help you change your dog’s unwanted habits for the better.

Best Bark Collars for Dogs in 2021

Bark collars are designed to help break excessive barking habits. We spoke with veterinary behaviorist Katherine Houpt, a professor at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, to better understand how these collars work.

It’s important to understand that barking is a natural way that dogs communicate with each other and with humans. Training your dog to stop barking by identifying the root of the behavior and using positive training techniques should always be your first attempt.

“Dogs hardly ever bark just for the sake of barking — they usually have a reason for it,” Houpt said. “If you can find the reason for it, you might be able to eliminate the barking without having to punish the dog.”

The collars in this guide work by administering an unpleasant stimulus when your dog barks. The stimulus could be a vibration, high-pitched sound, or scented spray. Other anti-bark collars administer a static shock, but we do not endorse their use as they can cause both physical and psychological harm to a dog. You can read more about each type of collar at the end of this guide.

The various types of no-shock bark collars can be safe and effective when used properly. Houpt explained that timing is important with these collars. The collar must be triggered immediately after the bark in order for the dog to make the association. The stimulus is meant to deter a dog from barking through causation — a dog will associate barking with discomfort. However, if used incorrectly, they can create additional stress for a dog.

Based on this information, we researched the best spray, ultrasonic, and vibration bark collars. If you’ve been thinking about getting one for your pet, be sure to consult your veterinarian first.

Here are the best bark collars in 2021

Updated on 5/05/2021: We updated this guide to include additional information about the types of bark collars you can buy. We are currently testing bark collars for an update to this guide in early summer 2021.

How Do Bark Collars Work?

A bark collar is a device used to curb excessive barking. A variety are available, though the most common are collars that deliver a shock every time your dog barks. Some bark collars spray citronella or emit an unpleasant sound instead. While some people have had success using bark collars, these tools can be misused, and many dog trainers and veterinarians believe they can worsen behavior in dogs and cause fear. Only use a bark collar under the supervision of a qualified trainer or veterinarian.

Picking Up Noise

Most bark collars respond to vibrations in the dog’s throat. Collar designers test several frequencies to determine which ones sound most like a dog barking, and the collars can only pick up barking that is right against their sensor. The vibrations in the dog’s vocal chords trigger the sensor, which emits a shock when the vibrations continue for a set amount of time. Thus a nearby dog barking will not set off the collar, and it is unusual — although still possible — for noises that are not barks to cause the collar to emit a correction.

Collar Warnings

Most collars produce a warning sound or vibration before correcting your dog. The first few times you use the collar, your dog is unlikely to recognize these sounds as warnings, but will gradually develop an association between a tone, a vibration or some other signal and a punishment if the barking does not stop.


If the dog does not stop barking after the collar emits the warning, the collar will deliver a correction. Typically the correction is a mild shock that may increase slightly if the dog continues barking. These collars work using two metal prongs that become mildly charged when they pick up barking. Should the barking continue, they administer a shock. Other collars spray citronella, a scent that is irritating and obnoxious to a dog’s sensitive nose. A few collars emit high pitched sounds that are unpleasant and even painful. While the correction may repeat itself a few times if your dog continues barking, most collars are designed not to continually deliver punishments.


While bark collars may work with some dogs, these tools should be a last resort when other training techniques have already failed. Further, because of the dangers these collars pose, they should only be used after consultation with a veterinarian and a dog trainer. Bark collars can cause your dog to develop a fear of collars or generalized fear that may lead to aggression. They can also injure your dog if not used correctly, and very young and very old or sick dogs should never wear bark collars. Perhaps most importantly, a bark collar does not actually train your dog not to bark. It merely stops your dog from barking when he is wearing the collar. In some cases, a dog may continue barking even after the shock is administered, increasing a dog’s risk of injury. A trainer can usually help end barking without punishment.

Should I use an anti-barking collar to treat my dog’s barking problem? – RSPCA Knowledgebase

There are some products on the market that are aimed at preventing dogs from barking such as sound collars (collars that emit a high-pitched sound when the dog barks), electronic collars (collars that deliver an electric shock to the dog when it barks) and citronella collars (collars that spray the dog’s face with citronella scent when it barks). RSPCA Australia is opposed to the use of these devices.

RSPCA Australia is opposed to the use of any electronically activated or other devices which deliver electric shocks, such as anti-barking collars and invisible boundaries. Such devices are inhumane as they inflict pain, involve punishment and can be used to abuse animals. RSPCA Australia is also opposed to the use of collars that deliver aversive stimuli such as sound or scent, including citronella collars and high-pitched sound-emitting devices.

  1. This type of training is called ‘punishment’ as the dog is effectively punished by the collar for every bark.  Punishment, as a method of training, is often ineffective as dogs often do not associate the punishment (the citronella spray, sound or shock) with the behaviour. Positive reinforcement is a preferable training technique as it provides an incentive for desirable behaviour. In this case, you would reward your dog when he stops barking and remains quiet, by offering her a tasty treat or play with a favourite toy. Food treats are good to start with but as training progresses your dog should recognise verbal praise and a pat as a treat.
  2. Electronic anti-barking devices inflict pain and distress on the animal and therefore should not be used.
  3. This type of behavioural modification does not tend to be successful because it fails to address the underlying cause of the behaviour.  Dogs bark for many reasons: play, fear, separation anxiety, frustration, environmental factors, boredom etc. These devices will not necessarily solve the underlying cause of the barking and will only temporarily mask the problem.
  4. Scientific evidence shows that dogs will eventually habituate to the collar and barking will resume again.
  5. Sometimes it is appropriate for dogs to bark (e.g. as a means of communication) in which case the collar punishes them for normal behaviour.  Because the collar does not discriminate between problem barking and normal canine behaviour, there is a potential for abuse if the collar is routinely left on for too long.
  6. Dogs have far more sensitive noses than we do, and therefore what we may smell as a relatively nice citrus smell, can be overpowering for a dog.

The treatment of nuisance behaviours such as excessive barking should begin by determining the root cause of the problem and then attempting to address the underlying cause humanely.

Talk to your veterinarian, they can provide advice and may refer you to a reputable animal behaviourist (who uses reward-based training methods) to assess the behaviour and provide advice on how best to humanely manage and address it.

Should I use an anti-barking collar to treat my dog’s barking problem?

What’s Wrong With Anti-Bark Collars?

So-called “anti-bark collars” aim to silence a dog’s voice by delivering electricity, odours or ultrasonic sound to the dog’s senses. The use of these devices can have serious short- and long-term welfare implications for the dog, so why do dog-loving people use them?

Deceptive Marketing

Across the bench, the language used to promote anti-bark collars and similar devices is misleading, presumably to dispel any lingering doubts a potential customer might have. Apparently, people do have doubts about these gadgets and rightly so. But instead of properly addressing those doubts and being clear about possible side-effects, the product descriptions are full of meaningless labels.

Undisclosed Fact: Anti-Bark Collars Aim to Silence Your Dog Via “Positive Punishment”—A Method Which Is Neither Safe nor Humane

The marketers are at pains to ensure you that the devices are

“safe”, “harmless”, “gentle”, “without pain or fear” and “humane”.

and their modus operandi is a benign

“correction”, “vibration” or “stimulation”.

Despite this lack of unpleasantries, the collars are obviously designed to stop your dog from barking, so we are made to believe that a

“safe static correction“, a “gentle, yet effective, spray”, a “spray of harmless citronella” or a “harmless but effective ultrasonic sound”

can do just that.

Of course, all of this sounds a lot better than naming the actual process behind the reduction in barking. We can’t know how the dog feels about whatever “stimulation” they receive, but if it does indeed lead to less barking in the future, then the correct term for the process of how this was achieved is punishment (or more correctly: positive punishment—more on that below).

Putting the word punishment on the product description isn’t so good for sales, I would assume. But, more importantly, naming the exact mode of behaviour modification by which those collars operate would call for full disclosure regarding the known risks associated with it.

Undisclosed Fact: Your Dog Always Barks for A Reason and May Not Be Able to Just Stop

The companies also want to assure you that your dog’s barking is

“unnecessary”, “excessive” and a “nuisance”.

Thus, the use of anti-bark collars is completely justified, because—clearly—your dog barks for no reason and way more than they should. So, it’s perfectly fine to give a them a “reminder” to turn their annoying barking off. Nothing wrong with a little zap to zip it, right?

But, who makes that call? Who decides, if or when your dog’s behaviour is unnecessary or excessive?

Where in the product description is the suggestion to consult with a qualified canine behaviour expert to identify why the dog is barking in the first place?

Dogs do not bark “unnecessarily” or “at nothing” or “for no reason”. Just because the reason isn’t obvious to us, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Proponents of anti-bark collars want us to ignore this. They try to make us believe that our dogs are not normally functioning biologically beings but rather something we can turn off on a whim, like an annoying TV commercial.

Rounding up the sales pitch are often entirely inappropriate qualifiers such as

“deluxe”, “attractive” and “exclusive”

to cause further distraction from exactly how these devices work. More glitter thrown into your eyes.

Anti-Bark Collars Need to Come with A Risk Statement Until A Total Ban Is in Place

Maybe the product descriptions were written by people in the marketing department who are more accustomed to selling the latest lifestyle gadgets or fashion accessories. Advertising a product that aims to change the behaviour of a living organism is a whole different ball game. It requires disclosure about exactly what will happen to the individual who is exposed to the device and how this will affect their short- and long-term behaviour and well-being.

Positive punishment—which is what all these collars rely on—has known risks, and everyone who considers buying these products needs to be made aware of it. Add to that the risk of leaving your dog alone with a device around their neck that can not only malfunction but function in a manner you did not expect.

What we need clearly displayed on anti-bark collars (and related devices, such as electric fences) are risk statements, similar to what we see on cigarette packs. Better yet: Let’s just ban all of these contraptions and stand shoulder to shoulder with other progressive countries that have already done so, instead of being the laggards.

The Risks Associated with Anti-Bark Collars

The science of Animal Learning and Behaviour tells us that behaviour is controlled by environmental conditions (external and internal). So, a dog’s barking might be triggered by the neighbour’s children playing in their yard, a noisy truck rumbling past the property, a hot air balloon flying over, a burglar breaking into your house or because the dog is in pain or suffers from fear or loneliness. Internal conditions are impossible for us to fully understand but we can detect them by watching the dog’s behaviour and body language.

In addition to triggers, behaviour is also controlled by consequences: A behaviour is likely to occur more often in the future, if it leads to favourable outcomes for the animal (reinforcement), and less often, if the results are not so good (punishment).
Anti-bark collars operate via positive punishment (adding something to the dog’s environment to reduce the behaviour of barking). Punishment can be a very effective way to reduce behaviour, so what’s so bad about it?

Aversive Consequences Can Create Negative Associations with Any Trigger Or Anything In The Environment

The timing and “clean” execution of positive punishment may be easy enough in a laboratory, but there is no guarantee your dog won’t form unintended associations when they receive the shock, spray or sound from the anti-bark collar. Anything that the dog may hear, see, smell or otherwise perceive at that time may become associated with the negative experience. The neighbour’s kids, the cat on the fence, a hot air balloon flying over—anything. Now the dog feels even more motivated to bark when confronted with those elements in the future. Anxious and aggressive behaviour can easily follow.

Aversive Consequences Can Cause Apathy, Anxiety And Aggression

Attempting to block or suppress an individual’s behaviour by providing aversive consequences has known risks. Dogs who are happy and confident may become anxious, apathetic or aggressive following the use of anti-bark collars. This can manifest itself only in certain contexts or it can generalise and affect the dog’s behaviour in other situations. The frightening part is that dogs who show less behaviour overall, i.e. dogs who become less active or even apathetic, are often labelled “well-behaved” dogs. But a decrease in overall behaviour is not a sign of being well. It’s a sign of being mentally or physically ill.

For dogs who bark out of anxiety, for example those who suffer from separation anxiety or noise phobias, the use of aversive consequences can be particularly catastrophic. The collars simply heap more nightmarish experiences onto the dog’s already troubled mind.

When an individual is at the mercy of forces they cannot control, their quality of life is seriously compromised.

The Well-Being of Beings Is All About Control

It may seem the use of an anti-bark collar means giving your dog a choice: “Shut up or suffer the consequences. It’s up to you!” But, the dog may not have such easy control over their barking, and even if they do, how does it affect their emotional health, if they can’t speak up anymore?

There Is No Joy In Confusion And Frustration

Let’s imagine you attend a show by one of your favourite comedians—the type that makes people laugh so hard that their bellies ache and their eyes water. But soon you realize that something is wrong. Every time you laugh out loud, a bug that is stuck deep down in your ear starts buzzing. When you stop laughing, the buzzing stops. You have no way of removing the bug from your ear or squashing it. You try to suppress your laughter to avoid the annoying buzz, but the comedian is just so darn funny, you can’t help but burst out laughing. Would that drive you mad?

It depends. Maybe you get used to it after a while and keep laughing out loud. Or maybe it is so frustrating or even painful that you leave the show, see a doctor and get that buzzing bug out of your ear. Lucky you for being able to seek help.

And Then There is Only Panic

Now assume you get yourself trapped in a secret room in a medieval castle and no one knows you’re there. You yell out for help when all of a sudden a high-pitched sound causes a sharp pain in your ears. You are momentarily confused why your cries for help would seem to trigger this ear piercing tone, but your intense fear to be forgotten and die a slow and horrible death in this room is overwhelming. So, you keep screaming at the top of your lungs despite the pain in your ears and you bang on the door until your hands bleed. Finally, with your voice failing, your ears pounding and your fingers broken, you realise that no one is coming to rescue you. You are all alone.

Hopefully, by that time you wake up and realise it was all just a bad dream. Lucky you.

If the latter scenario sounds fantastically dramatic, just think: How panic stricken does someone have to be to mutilate their own body? Separation anxiety can do that to a dog. They do not bark for no reason. They are screaming for help.

No matter, if your dog barks out of joy or concern, to talk to other dogs in the neighbourhood, raise the alarm or cry for help, it is a valid expression of their personality and their state of mind. If we simply put a lid on it, we may do a lot more harm than we ever imagined.

How To Reduce Your Dog’s Barking Without The Fallout

Make Your Dog Feel Safe

If there is any suspicion of separation anxiety, address this right away. This is a welfare issue and any attempts to suppress your dog’s cries for help will only make matters worse. With the help of a vet or behavioural vet and trainers who are experienced in desensitisation protocols for separation anxiety, you can make your dog feel better and remove the reason for their barking.

The same goes for noise phobias or any fear- and anxiety-related problems. Get help so you can help your dog.

Make Your Dog’s Life More Interesting

Lack of stimulation is a problem for most dogs who spend too much time alone, especially when there is not much going on in their lives even when you are home. Taking your dog to the park or for a walk before you go out for the day and leaving them with food puzzle toys rather than feeding from a bowl is a good start. However, depending on your dog’s individual needs, a 10 minute walk around the block and a toy with dry kibble might not cut it. So, find out what activities it takes to make your dog happy and tired. Sports, games, interactive toys, food puzzles and positive reinforcement training are all good options.

Keep Your Dog Inside

Noises in the neighbourhood are often a trigger for barking. If your dog has noise phobias, this is a serious matter which falls into the same category separation anxiety and requires expert help. Even without a strong fear response, your dog might become distressed or highly aroused from exposure to certain noises. Since, unfortunately, you can’t control the world around your home, this means the dog must have access to the house or a place that muffles the outside sounds.

Consider leaving your dog inside while you’re out, at least during certain times when specific neighbourhood noises in your area are more likely to occur. Many dogs do much better when they can sleep inside the house during your absence. There are less distractions and they are less likely to be woken up by noises. Leaving the radio on or a white noise machine can help too.

Combine this with increasing your dog’s physical and mental stimulation and you have a recipe for success. No need for reach for a gadget that promises you quick relief but doesn’t mention the real price you pay.


Pierce W.D. and Cheney C.D. 2017, Behaviour Analysis and Learning. A Biobehavioral Approach. 6th edn, Routledge, New York

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Sylvie Martin

The Shocking Truth – Separation Anxiety and Bark Collars

Baldwin the Bulldog barked and barked and barked when he was left home alone. Because his guardians, Samantha and her fiancé Paul, received complaints by their landlord and neighbors about the noise, they purchased a “bark collar” in hopes of quieting Baldwin. First, they used one that sprayed citronella in Baldwin’s face when he barked, but that didn’t motivate him to stop. So, they upgraded to a collar that gave Baldwin an electric shock when he barked, which did work … until it didn’t.

Since a good number of individuals who reach out to us for help ask about using some sort of electronic collar for their dog’s separation anxiety, I thought it would be helpful to talk about what they are, how they work, and what we think about them.

Separation Anxiety

First, let’s review what separation anxiety truly is (and is not). A dog with separation anxiety is truly panicked about being alone — we’re talking an extreme fear or phobia. While it seems totally rational to us that a dog would learn that people always come back after they leave the house, when anxiety kicks in, rational thinking tends to goes away.

How many of us are genuinely fearful of spiders (raises hand quickly), and how many of us are actually in danger by the presence of a spider? Not so rational, right? The odds that you will be killed in an airplane crash are reported to be one in 11 million, and yet the odds that you will be killed in a car crash are one in 5,000. Why then are so many people deathly afraid of flying but not of car rides? You see? When anxiety is in play, rational thinking leaves the room. There are so many more examples, but I think you get the gist.

A dog with separation anxiety does not just “get it” that someone will return home. And, when dogs with separation anxiety do such things as bark, chew up the doorframe, and pee on the rug, it can be easy to jump to the conclusion that they are behaving out of spite or are just being naughty — but they are not. They are scared. They are so scared that they basically “wet their pants.” How scared would you have to be to do that?

The Quest for a Quick Fix

One thing that I understand unequivocally (as a parent to a sep-anx pup and as a trainer), is that there are many problem behaviors associated with separation anxiety that are quite difficult for guardians to handle. Complaints from neighbors about barking is one of the top concerns, but there are also mounting costs from destructive activity and, in some cases, even veterinary costs due to the dogs injuring themselves when left alone. Some dogs urinate or defecate in the house each time they are left alone as well, which can be very distressing to deal with every day.

When faced with these difficult behaviors, it makes perfect sense that we would want the problem fixed — preferably right now. Complaints from neighbors and landlords can be so stressful that it can feel like if the barking continues for even one more day, we will just crumble.

Bark Collars

Because of this, one commonly recommended method of quelling the vocalization is a bark collar.

For these collars to be effective, the dog must find the zap or stinky spray frightening or, at the very least, startling. While many people will say that electronic collars don’t really hurt the dog — “it is just a tickle, a spray, or a little stim,” — they would simply not work if they weren’t at least somewhat aversive. The dog must want to avoid the spray or shock, or there would be no motivation to stop barking.

Do bark collars work? Yes. They can — for at least a while. But, any time a dog is made to feel afraid or uncomfortable, there is a risk of “fallout” problem behaviors developing. And when we use such devices on already fearful dogs? We now also run the risk of exacerbating the problem.

Let’s look at it this way – if you are afraid of flying on an airplane and start to scream in panic, and I whack you upside the head, will that make your fear better or worse? Think that through for a moment. We are coupling a debilitating INVOLUNTARY panic response with something aversive. You may snap out of it for a moment to address the whack on the head, but will your anxiety actually subside? Not likely. You may be afraid to make more sounds, because I might whack you on the head again if you do, but your actual underlying panic will remain.

The same is true with dogs. The shock or the spray in the face may halt the vocalization, but the collar is adding a further scary stimulus to the already frightening occurrence of being left alone. We are coupling something quite unpleasant with something that is already terrifying to the dog. Often times, when using these collars, we see that the dog stops vocalizing (typically temporarily) but then has a “pop out” of some other anxiety related behavior — destruction, elimination, self-mutilation, or a host of other things.

Thus, a bark collar, in my opinion, is not at all an effective strategy

Desensitization works!

Going back to what I said earlier, I absolutely understand that these dogs are wreaking havoc on their guardian’s life — trust me, I totally get it. So, I do appreciate that something needs to change.

The good news is that we can change it, because treatment is possible — without resorting to fear or punishment, which again has that fallout.

Rather than do things that might scare away the symptoms of separation anxiety, by tackling the fear itself and teaching the dogs to feel safe, the problem behaviors actually go away. We do so by using a process called “desensitization,” where we gradually increase absence durations — at a length the dog can handle — until he or she no longer feels scared when the door closes and the feet walk away.

Are Quick Fixes Actually Quicker?

So, how did things turn out for Baldwin, Samantha, and Paul? Well, after a few weeks, Baldwin’s fear of being left alone grew so much bigger that even a shock to the neck did nothing to quiet him. Now he wasn’t just barking —he was barking nonstop and, because of it, he ended up getting shocked continually.

After Samantha broke off the engagement (because Paul wanted to keep using the collar and she found that too upsetting), she had an even bigger mountain to climb to help Baldwin feel safe again.

Quick fixes are … as they say … “quick,” but they seldom are a long-term solution. You could starve yourself for a few weeks to drop a few pounds but what will happen when you start eating again?

I urge you to look at this problem in such a way that takes the welfare of your dog into play. I won’t, for a moment, pretend that YOUR stress and worry aren’t happening, but please know that there is a solution that doesn’t involve fear, startle, or pain.

Collar or drops on the withers

When choosing seasonal protection against ticks for a pet, many cat and dog owners are faced with a choice problem. There are many products on the market with different protection durations and application methods. Let’s consider the main advantages and disadvantages of popular tools.

Flea and tick collar

Protective collars can be roughly divided into two categories: for destruction and for repelling parasites.

Collars for the destruction of ticks and fleas are a polymer tape, with the insectoacaricides contained in it in various combinations are gradually released, providing a protective effect for a long period of time. Collars from different manufacturers differ significantly, the safety and effectiveness of protection, resistance to external influences and other conditions depend on the concentration of substances, the combination of substances.

The effectiveness of the collar’s protective action largely depends on the exact implementation of the manufacturer’s recommendations.It is imperative that the collar fits snugly around the pet’s neck, allowing contact between the garment and the pet’s coat. This is a prerequisite for protection. Read the instructions before use!

Repellent collars scare off parasites due to their essential oils. These oils are volatile and insect intolerant, while not irritating to humans or animals. These collars do not provide long-term protection.

Dog tick and flea collars

Flea and tick collars for cats

Pros of collars:

  • Long service life.
  • Ease of use.
  • Due to the gradual release of protective substances, they have a more delicate effect on the pet’s body.
  • Reasonable price, taking into account the period of protective action.

Cons of collars:

  • Require careful adherence to instructions.
  • The collar does not start protecting immediately.
  • Possible allergic reactions.
  • You will have to remove the collar when bathing your dog.

Spot-on drops on withers from ticks and fleas

The principle of action of spot-on drops is similar to the effect of pills and collars. But the drops allow you to create a supply of protective substances in the dog’s sebaceous glands. The coat of any dog ​​has a natural layer of fat, which gives the hair elasticity and protects from moisture. In turn, after applying the drops, with the natural renewal of the fat layer of the hairs, the protection is also renewed.

Important! Drops on the withers must be selected depending on many factors, since they differ not only in the combination of drugs, but also in the concentration of substances. Insufficient content of substances will not provide adequate protection, and excessive content can harm the health of the pet. Check with your veterinarian.

Drops for fleas and ticks for dogs

Drops for fleas and ticks for cats

Pluses of drops on withers (spot-on):

  • Ease of use and dispensing.
  • Many of these drugs affect not only external but also internal parasites, successfully relieving dogs of worms and ear mites.
  • Drops begin to act relatively quickly.
  • Affordable price.

Cons of drops on withers from ticks:

  • Drops are quite toxic, therefore, after application, you can not hug the dog or brush it. Exclude contact with other animals and children.
  • For effective protection, the application instructions must be strictly followed. Apply to the skin, do not wash the animal for several days before and after application.
  • Short exposure time. It is necessary to update the protection frequently enough.


  • The number of parasites existing on the pet. Drops after a single use can rid the pet of fleas, the collar is softer and not so fast.
  • Persistence of protection. It is recommended to remove the flea and tick collar when washing the dog, but it must be remembered that the resumption of the protective effect after washing will take some time.
  • Age and weight of the animal.
  • No contraindications.
  • Defense speed. If, after applying the drops, you can safely walk with your pet on the street after a few hours, then the protective effect of the collar begins only after a couple of days.

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90,000 How to use sheet metal around trees

The price trees in your yard are more than playgrounds, shelters, and food sources for common garden pests like squirrels, rats, and raccoons. Rats like to hide in dense clusters of dead palm leaves that hang under a healthy canopy. Squirrels collect leaves and sticks and build their own nests in the trees. Raccoons are dastardly bandits who are most problematic for stealing fruit from fruit trees. The coarse texture of the bark, combined with their tiny claws, makes it easier for these garden pests to climb trees, but they cannot get a hold on the smooth sheet metal collars.

Use sheet metal strips to keep squirrels out of the trees.

Step 1

Measure the circumference of the tree trunk. Cut a piece of sheet metal 2 to 3 feet wide and 6 to 8 inches longer than the circumference of the trunk. Use thin, easily flexible sheet metal, such as 26 gauge, that bends easily around trees. Draw lines with a permanent marker and use a pair of pewter scissors to cut through the sheet metal. Wear thick leather gloves and long sleeves so you don’t cut yourself on the sheet metal.

Step 2

Load sharp edges of sheet metal and corners using a flat file. Cutting sheet metal is a razor sharp, so you can also use duct tape to fade edges and corners.

Step 3

Mark one edge of the sheet metal with two pilot hole markers; place the marks 2 “from the edge, one 2” from the top and the other 2 “from the bottom. Mark along one of the two to three feet edges, not along the circumferentially cut edges.

Step 4

Drill a 1/8-inch pilot hole through each of the marks using a power drill and a high speed titanium drill.Mark holes to indicate where the pilot holes are on the opposite end of the sheet metal. Drill two more pilot holes at each mark.

Step 5

Move sheet metal around the tree with pilot holes at each end lined up. The top of the sheet metal must be at least 5 feet from the ground; if you have a tree with no low branches, place the top sheet metal up to 8 feet off the ground. Grab a helper to hold the sheet metal in place as you push a piece of aluminum tie wire through the holes, wrap the wire towards the front of the sheet metal and twist with pliers to tighten. Tighten the wires tightly so that the metal clamp stays in place; this method saves you the trouble of drilling damaging holes in the tree trunk.

Step 6

Remove the wires and the sheet metal collar as the tree trunk grows. The extra 6-8 inches added to the length of the sheet metal allows you to adjust the collar size rather than using a new piece of sheet metal. Move the collar and insert a marker through the pilot holes to mark the location for the new pilot holes.Attach the sheet metal with new connecting wires.

How to choose a collar for fighting dogs?

How to choose a collar for fighting dogs?

Dogs of fighting breeds are distinguished by a powerful constitution and great strength, while the body size remains average. Such dogs often have an aggressive disposition, so their training becomes especially important. Dogs use collars, a leash, and a muzzle as a containment measure.The types of collars can be different (collar for everyday wear, collar for fleas, for training, etc. ).

How to choose a training collar?

A deterrent and treat is used to train the dog. It is very convenient to use special training collars as a restraining effect of different strengths. These collars are of three types: strict collars, strangleholds, and electric collars. Every dog ​​of the fighting breed needs a daily collar and a special one for correcting behavior.A large and aggressive dog needs mild pain to develop obedience.

Features of different types of collars for training

– Parfors – collars with spikes inside. With sharp jerks of the dog, the collar is tightened and the spikes press on the neck in front. When the tension is released, the collar also opens and the spikes stop acting. These collars are made from metal links. Such a collar is often put on over the dog’s head, but there are models with a fastener.

– Strangle collar. The design is similar to the pull-on hinge. When jerking, it tightens, and when loosening, it does not cause any inconvenience. It is made more often from metal chains, but it also happens from other materials. When choosing a parfors or a stranglehold, you need to bring the dog for fitting, since you need to choose such a size so that it can be put on over the dog’s head, but so that it cannot turn its head out of it on its own in the most weakened state.

– Electric dog collar – the most effective training collar option.In this case, the educational effect can be provided remotely using the remote control. This is an ordinary collar with a small box, which has a well-regulated electric shock. As soon as the dog tries to do an undesirable action, the owner immediately presses the button, then goes and shows how to do it right. With the help of such a collar, it is very convenient to train a dog to the toilet, to wean it from useless barking and other undesirable actions.

Little secrets when choosing a collar

The size of an ordinary leather collar should be selected so that when fastened between it and the dog’s neck, the index finger passes freely.