I hope you enjoyed my previous post, “What’s the Best Bark Collar for your Dog? 3 Great Bark Collars to Consider“. In my second post in my dog bark collars series, I am going to address some commonly asked questions such as “How do bark collars work?” and “What’s the best option for a small dog bark collar?”
If you don’t find your question below, shoot me a comment and I’ll get an answer to you!
Frequently Asked Questions about Dog Bark Collars
If you get a high quality bark collar and use it responsibly, yes. Like any training collars (chain collars, prong collars, head halters, remote training collars), if used improperly it could cause physical or emotional trauma. Modern bark collars are designed with modes that make them extremely easy to use safely and effectively.
For cases of nuisance, boredom, and alert barking, bark collars work very well. For a dog barking out of fear or anxiety, a bark collar is not the first recommended course of action. Rather, you should do some other obedience training and relationship building with your dog to resolve the cause of the anxiety, then, if barking continues to be an issue you might consider using a bark collar.
Static electric bark collars deliver a momentary electric stimulation to your dog’s neck when the collar detects barking and vibration from your dog’s vocal chords. Modern bark collars are designed with advanced technology so that instances in which a dog might accidentally get stimmed (such as if another dog barked), are greatly reduced.
Most of the higher end bark collars normally recommended by trainers should work fine on a dog down to about 15 pounds. Below that, and you might have to make some extra considerations or modifications to the collar.
First, make sure you have a collar with as many different levels of stim as possible. For a small dog (or a really sensitive larger dog), you’ll want the levels to be more subtle so you can find a level that is corrective but not overly-punishing. Since most collars cover the same intensity spectrum, the more levels a collar has, the more subtle the increase. On a collar with 10 levels, the difference between level 1 and level 2 is half as much as a collar with 5 levels.
The other important factor to consider is fit: ensuring both contact points on the collar box touch the dog’s neck at all times. You can make some modifications to help with this, such as getting longer or shorter contact points or a “24-hour contact pad“. For a small dog whose neck would otherwise fit between the contact points and be unable to make a good connection with the points, a contact pad like this could be the solution.
Yes. You can modify the collar by purchasing longer contact points. You might also want to trim away some of the fur or hair on your dog’s throat where the collar box will sit to assist with making good contact with the skin.
No, a bark collar generally won’t detect or deter whining, especially if no vocal cord vibration accompanies it. In the case of whining, consider if you’re meeting your dog’s requirements for exercise, and satisfying natural drive and mental stimulation. Is your dog getting enough interaction and play time with you? Are your expectations clear to your dog?
Make adjustments to your routine, increase exercise, do some training, make sure your dog has a healthy outlet for his natural drive. In most cases, this addresses nuisance whining effectively.
Bark collars detect barking and deliver stimulation to your dog’s neck. An e-collar/remote training collar comes with a remote control and it can be used to reinforce or correct a wide range of commands, behaviors and boundaries via a user-operated remote control. A good knowledge of e-collars, how to train a dog effectively, and how to read dogs correctly are needed to safely and effectively train a dog with an e-collar.
It is highly recommended that you get the help of a trainer that uses these devices in training and also purchase a higher-end collar that they will recommend.
Yes. Bark collars may be the ONLY thing that works effectively on a deaf dog if they cannot hear verbal interruptions. A bark collar would be introduced and used the same way as with a hearing dog.
No. A bark collar is not a panacea for all behavior problems and it’s not a good idea to place a bark collar on an unstable dog. The barking that a bark collar effectively addresses is alert or nuisance barking, i.e., the dog that barks at every squirrel he sees, or at every person that walks past the house.
For barking that is a symptom of fearfulness, insecurity, aggression, or stubbornness, you’ll need to deal with these behavior problems separately and really get to the root of the problem with obedience training and changing your relationship with your dog. Simply placing a bark collar on your dog’s neck will not be a good solution, even if it addresses some barking in the short term. In the long run, it will probably create more instability in your dog.
Yes. your dog can wear a properly-fitted buckle collar at the same time as the bark collar. You should not place ID tags or anything else on your dog’s bark collar, nor should a leash ever be attached to it.
Be careful of your dog wearing loose collars along with the bark collar (such as loose-fitting chain training collars). In the past, if these collars bumped the bark collar box, it could cause a vibration that could sometimes cause the collar to stim. This may not be a problem in newer collars, but it’s a good precaution to generally ensure that nothing will interfere with the bark collar.
No. The contact points emit no heat. Your dog can get “friction sores” from the contact points if he wears the collar too much or if there is dirt, debris, or moisture between the contact points and his skin. For this reason, it’s a good idea to limit your use to no more than about 6 hours a day.
If he will be wearing it longer than that, rotate the collar box to a different location on his throat so the contact points aren’t always touching the same place. You should also inspect your dog’s neck after wear. If you see irritation, make sure to place the box on a different location on your dog’s throat. Some dogs do have sensitivity or even allergy to the metal, but this is relatively rare.
I hope you found answers to some of your questions related to bark collars. Stay tuned for next week, when I share my 7 Easy Steps for Using a Bark Collar with your Dog.