Excessive barking, how can you control it?

Barking dogs are one of the most common reasons for council complaints in Australia.  Some dogs enjoy waking the whole neighbourhood in the middle of the night, while others prefer to let everyone know that they are protecting their property by barking all day while their owner is away.  These situations can become incredibly frustrating for neighbours and owners alike, resulting in neighbourhood rifts and sometimes more dramatic outcomes.  Dogs need to communicate naturally with their barking, though we also need to indicate to the dog that there is an acceptable limit to this behaviour.  A barking collar is one of the most effective ways to achieve this.

Different correction types

There are four main correction types used in barking collars: static electric, spray, vibration and ultrasonic.  Which correction method is going to be most effective for your dog depends on several factors including their breed, age and reason for barking.

A static electric barking collar delivers localised mild static electric pulses to the dog’s neck when they bark.  This form of correction uses TENS technology to contract the muscles just beneath the skin, creating an uncomfortable sensation for the dog and breaking the barking cycle.  Static electric collars are the most effective form of correction because the correction intensity can be adjusted to match the barking drive of each individual dog.

A spray barking collar deploys a burst of citronella or scent free mist in front of the dog’s snout when they bark.  Spray correction is designed to affect multiple senses, with the sound of the spray being released, the sight of spray, the feeling of the spray hitting the snout and the scent of the spray when using the citronella option.  Citronella spray collars are generally an effective correction method for easily startled, pet breed dogs.

Vibration collar and Ultrasonic barking collars are the least effective methods of correction as most dogs quickly get used to the correction and are not bothered by it.  Vibration collars will only vibrate when the dog barks, just your mobile phone for example, and most dogs do no find this to bothersome or distracting.  Ultrasonic collars emit a high-pitched tone that humans cannot hear, but dogs can.  The ultrasonic tone is designed to break the barking cycle when it activates, though very few dogs tend to react because they are not susceptible to the tone, and a lot of the time they probably can’t hear it over their barking!

Differences in quality

There are hundreds of different barking collars available on the market, though only a small portion are designed by reputable manufacturers that hold to strict safety standards.  Low quality, poorly designed collars can be dangerous to use and generally don’t last more than a couple of weeks before they fall apart.  They are also generally quite cheap, so if you are paying $49 for a collar, odds are it will not be the best for your dog.  It’s also important that the business you purchase off can be contacted by phone, explain how the collar works and also handle any technical questions you have.  If they can’t do this, it’s a good idea to look for another retailer!