Ask a Trainer: “Do bark collars work?”

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Here’s another question from our Ask a Dog Trainer section. Do bark collars work?

  • “If used correctly, bark collars might work for some dogs, but I do not recommend them. There are other, more humane ways to teach a dog to be quiet and calm that will not cause the dog pain or accidentally condition a fear response. (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • I do not use aversive training methods” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • Yes, they do have a reasonably high success rate depending on the type of collar you are asking about.  Bark Busters does NOT use them and would never recommend any collar that hurts the dog. You have to understand that where a collar works on sound (dog barking) that another similar sound might also set the collar off when the dog is lying quite. I would definitely try other options first. Education through training can work wonders.” (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))
  • They do something for some dogs, for some amount of time. The “something” they do is (at best) “correct” the bark – they temporarily stop it. Some dogs however won’t care, and most dogs will get used to them or learn to bark “around” the collar or “through” it. But even if they work perfectly for your dog, you still need to combine them with a regimen of training, counterconditioning and desensitization: the collar might temporarily stop the barking, but what will keep your dog calm, peaceful, and obedient long-term is his relationship of respect and understanding with his leaders – which means you.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • Yes and no. The right bark collar for your dog can be very effective. If you want to give a bark collar a try, consult a professional to find the right collar for your dog. They do, however, have two major drawbacks. One, the dog only learns not to bark when wearing his bark collar. No problem you say? Just keep the collar on all the time?  That’s great, unless you have an intruder picking the lock on your door. Then you want your dog to bark. Our approach is to teach your dog when to bark and when to be quiet.” (Dr. Mary Travers-Smith,  Superpaws Dog Training,  mary@superpawsk9.com,  www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)
  • “Yes, they can, but not always.  Many times a bark collar does not work because the volume or stimulation is set too high causing the dog to go into a panic mode, inhibiting them to think and make the connection between the stim and the bark.  Many times it is set too low, where the connection is made, but the bark is still greater than the reward.  Lastly, the collar is not fitted in the right manner and renders the device almost inoperable or worse…. inconsistent.” (James Colella Dedicated Dog Training (888) 370-7477 www.DedicatedDogTraining.com)

(NOTE: We do not endorse any particular trainer or their training ideas – this is here to give you perspectives from different trainers for training issues. Please do your research before hiring a trainer and avoid any that use methods that seem abusive. Here are some additional resources to read on why and how to train: ASPCA Guide to Training, APDT How to Select a Trainer, LiveScience on Training)

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