How to Use a Bark Collar
When you invest in a bark collar for your dog, you can’t just put it on them and expect all barking to stop forever. There are specific training techniques you have to use for your dog to associate the stimulation from the bark collar with their barking, and not to you or the collar.
The first thing to note is the difference between a bark collar and a training collar.
The Difference Between a Bark & Training Collar
What is a bark collar?
A bark collar is a collar worn by your dog, that upon sensing barking will send your dog a stimulation. It depends on what bark collar you use as to what correction your dog gets; it could be a static shock, citronella spray or vibration.
The main thing to note is that it gives corrections automatically for barking only, you don’t have to push a button.
What is a training collar?
A training collar is a collar that gives your dog a stimulation when you tell it to via remote control. You push the button to stimulate your dog, which allows you to correct them for any negative behaviour they need trained out of them and not just barking.
How To Use a Bark Collar
These are the training tips we recommend you implement when starting with a bark collar on your dog. We recommend following these tips to avoid overcorrection.
1. Don’t Make A Fuss
Whenever you put the bark collar on your dog, do not make a fuss. It is not a special or unusual occasion and should be a casual experience. When putting the bark collar on the dog in a non-event type fashion, your dog won’t associate this event with any correction the bark collar gives.
2. Keep it Turned Off
We know this sounds crazy, but for the first 3 to 4 days of putting the collar on your dog, don’t turn it on. This is so your dog can get used to the anti-bark collar, and not associate it with the corrections it gives.
3. Now, Turn the Bark Collar On
Once your dog has worn the bark collar for a few days, and you’ve become an expert at putting it on in a calm way, you can turn it on. Do not leave the bark collar on your dog for more than a few hours at a time; this is to make sure it doesn’t irritate their neck too much.
It’s also ideal for you to be home whilst they wear it. This is so you can make sure your dog reacts appropriately to the collar and avoids overcorrection. Do not keep the collar on your dog for more than 10 hours at a time.
Another reason we recommend you also monitor your dog in the collar is to make sure that its neck is ok, and the collar is sending corrections when it should be.
You Won’t Need the Bark Collar for Long
If you are using a static shock collar, you’ll find that your dog won’t need to wear it for long. Most dogs learn fast and won’t need to wear the collar for more than a few weeks.
If you are using a citronella bark collar, your dog will still learn fast, unless they are very stubborn. Super stubborn dogs can continue barking through the citronella puffs, as it may not be enough of a distraction for them.
Being there when your dog is wearing the device will give you a good idea about how much they are affected by the citronella.
Don’t Stop Them From Stressing
Having a habit be trained out of you can be stressful; make sure you give your dog ways to manage that worry. Dogs like to lick and chew to work through their stress, so make sure they have plenty of options to engage with. Use chew toys, stuffable toys and chew treats to give your dog something to do to self soothe.
Remember, Dogs Learn at Their Own Pace
Keep in mind that every dog will learn differently. For some dogs, it is a quick process to teach them to stop excessive barking. For other dogs, they may need a few more sessions with a bark collar to nip that excessive barking in the bud.
No matter what training you undertake, keep your expectations realistic. Using an anti-bark collar will not stop your dog from barking at anything ever again, but it will help.
What Happens When You Don’t Follow Bark Collar Advice
If you don’t follow these training steps, your dog could have their behaviour overcorrected.
What is Overcorrecting?Overcorrecting is when we react too strongly to offset a perceived error or issue. In the context of dog training, our reactions as humans are usually out of proportion compared to what our dog is actually doing.
A good example is when your dog barks outside (you think unnecessarily) and you go out there, tell them off, pull them away and make them sit in a specific spot. You’re controlling parts of the behaviour, but your dog still wants to bark.
How to Avoid Overcorrecting
Avoid overcorrection by ensuring your dog is corrected for the right things at the right time. There is no point in telling them off for digging a hole 8 hours later; they will more than likely associate that telling off with you going outside.
You have a 1-2 second window after the desired behaviour to give a correction to your dog and have it associate that correction with their action.
With a bark collar, being there to ensure the bark collar is correcting as necessary, and not more than it needs to, is the key.
What Are Your Bark Collar Options?
You have some choice when it comes to bark collars, mainly the type of correction it gives. There are citronella bark collars and static shock bark collars.
Static Shock Collars
A static shock collar sends a static shock stimulation to your dog when it senses barking. We recommend these dog training collars to owners who have a stubborn, determined dog, and they’ve tried everything.
These collars have a bad reputation due to their scary name, and the scary one in a million stories we hear of a dog owner being inhumane with the collar.
These collars are excellent training tools; they quickly train the excessive barking out of your dog and are more economical than working with a dog trainer consistently. We recommend using them for a few hours at a time under supervision; they should not be on your dog for more than 10 hours at a time.
We understand how it feels to use a static collar on your dog; no one wants to. Usually, you hit a point of desperation and need the barking corrected out of your dog; otherwise, you run the risk of losing your dog.
Your dog won’t need to use a shock collar for long, and they are completely humane. We strongly recommend you try the collar on yourself in the palm of your hand before you put it on your dog, so you know how it feels.
Citronella Dog Collars
Citronella dog collars emit a puff of citronella spray when they detect barking. These anti-bark collars provide enough of a distraction to stop your dog from continuing its barking.
Citronella bark collars are the collars we recommend to people who simply cannot fathom using a static shock collar. They are useful for most dogs, but we have heard some stories from customers with super stubborn, determined dogs finding that they weren’t enough of a distraction.
When customers ask us what we recommend, we say to start with a citronella collar. You may find it's the perfect solution, or it might not be quite right, but it's a good entry point to see how your dog reacts to being corrected.
Our best selling citronella dog collar is the Barktec BT-100 Citronella Spray Collar. This collar has helped many dogs to stop barking excessively and is one of our best-selling items.
If you need help training excessive barking out of your dog, browse our range of bark collars. And if you have any questions about bark collars, don’t hesitate to talk to our customer service team, we love to help!