Barking is a natural behavior for dogs. It’s how they communicate; but some dogs (especially small dogs like my chihuahua, Taco) feel the need to communicate more than others.
If your dog is barking on a constant basis, you may be looking for a way to control the shrill, often nerve-wracking sound. A bark collar can offer you the solution to your dog’s incessant yapping and make you – and him – much happier.
If you’ve never purchased a bark collar before, you probably have a lot of questions. In this guide, you’ll find the answers to some of your biggest questions.
Types of Bark Collars on the Market Today
There are a lot of top rated bark collars for small dogs on the market. In order to determine which collar will work the best for your little yipper, the first thing you need to do is understand the different types of collars that are available.
There are four main bark collars:
- Static Collar
- Vibration Collar
- Spray Collar
- Ultrasonic Collar
All bark collars work by interrupting a dog while it is in the middle of barking; how these collars differ, though, is the manner in which they interrupt the dog. Here’s a look at how the four different bark collars work.
Static Bark Collar
The static bark collar is one of the most popular options. It works by sending out a brief static pulse whenever a dog starts barking. The collar contains sensors, and when these sensors detect the dog is barking, a device delivers the static pulse.
The level of intensity of the pulse the static collar delivers can be modified. For small dogs, a low pulse is usually recommended. Some static shock collars also boast other features, such as an interruptive tone or a vibration, in addition to the static pulse.
Vibration Bark Collar
This type of bark collar also contains built-in sensors that detect a dog’s barking. Unlike the static collar, however, when the sensors are activated, a device delivers a vibrating pulse instead of a static pulse. The level of intensity of the vibration can be adjusted, and like with the static bark collar, a lower level of intensity is recommended with a vibration collar.
Citronella Spray Bark Collar
With this type of bark collar, a burst of spray is emitted when a sensor detects a dog is barking. The spray is usually scented with citronella or lemon, and is non-toxic to dogs, humans and the environment. When the spray is emitted, the odor interrupts a dog’s barking, thereby helping to curb the loud behavior. Spray collars are highly recommended for small dogs; more so than any other type of bark collar.
Ultrasonic Bark Collar
An ultrasonic bark collar delivers a high-frequency sound when a dog barks. Sensors detect the barking and a device within the collar sends out the high-pitched sound that is inaudible to humans. The sound catches the dog’s attention and disrupts the barking. There are some ultrasonic bark collars that also deliver a vibration in addition to a high-frequency sound.
Ultrasonic bark collars have been proven to be an effective tool for training smaller dogs when barking is inappropriate.
Bark Collar Tips for Small Dogs like Taco
As we discussed above, each of the four types of bark collars can effectively help to control a small dog’s barking; however, there are some tips that can help to improve the effectiveness of these collars and get that non-stop barking under control.
Find the Right Size
Before you start shopping for a bark collar for your small dog, make sure you measure his neck. Bark collars come in various sizes and you want to make sure that you buy one that will fit comfortably around your pup’s neck. If you buy one that is too big, it will likely fall off, rendering it ineffective.
Additionally, a large collar increases the risk of your dog getting stuck on something or possibly choking himself.
Keep Your Dog’s Temperament in Mind
You also want to make sure that you keep your dog’s personality in mind when you are shopping for a shock collar. A lot of smaller dogs are timid or scare easily, which means that a collar that delivers too much intensity could scare your pup or cause him to bark even more. However, keep in mind that not all small dogs are timid and easily scared; if your small pup has a strong will, he might need a more powerful vibration or static pulse, a louder sound, or a more intense spray.
Remember, Praise is Important
Dogs love being praised, which is why it is such an effective tool when training a dog. While a bark collar can certainly help to control your small pup’s park, it doesn’t offer the praise that he seeks. If you really want to ensure your dog’s success, make sure that you don’t forget to offer praise when he is doing the behavior that you desire; not barking when the mailman walks by or when a squirrel runs up a tree, for example.
Tips to Remember When Purchasing a Bark Collar
Here’s a look at some additional tips that can help you find the best bark collar for your pup…
Look for an Adjustable Size
You certainly want to measure your dog’s neck before you buy a collar, but you should also look for one that has an adjustable size. In other words, you want to be able to tighten or loosen it, as this will ensure the best fit possible.
Look for Adjustable Intensity
You also want to find a collar that allows you to adjust the intensity of whatever the collar uses to interrupt barking. For example, if you’re using a spray collar, look for one that allows you to adjust the intensity of the spray. When you can adjust the intensity of the collar, you will be able to find the ideal setting for your dog.
Alternatives to Bark Collars
While bark collars have been proven to be an effective and human way to control a dog’s barking, if you aren’t keen on the idea of using this tool, you may be wondering if there are other ways to quiet your dog’s incessant yipping.
Here’s a look at some alternatives that can help stop barking that don’t involve a collar:
- Limit exposure to whatever causes your dog’s barking; for example, if your dog likes to bark at things while looking out of the window, close the curtains or reduce his ability to look out of the window in some other way.
- Distract your dog. When he’s exposed to things that trigger his barking, distract his attention.
- Offer supplements. Many dogs bark a lot when they are irritable or aggressive, which can happen if they aren’t receiving the proper nutrition. Talk to your vet about supplements for your pup.
A bark collar can be a highly effective tool for putting a stop to your dog’s barking. To ensure success, choose the right type of collar and one that is comfortable for your pup to wear. Also, don’t forget to offer praise and try to distract your dog from things that trigger his barking.