Should Bark Collars be Banned?

Bark collars were invented as a solution to the frustrating problem of dogs barking all the time, for no apparent reason. If you have the bad luck of living in a neighborhood where there are many such dogs, your life can turn into a nightmare.

Originally, there was one style of bark collar, the static or ‘shock’ collar. As with many new technologies, there were some unforeseen complications. The device wasn’t able to tell one dog’s bark from another and it often reacted randomly, even if the dog wearing it wasn’t at fault. Some dogs that were not supervised during their first days of wearing the collar ended up with physical or psychological trauma.

technology has advanced within past years, yet the idea that led to the invention of bark collars is the same.

They are not intended to cause pain, but startle the dog, which results in a cessation of the offending behavior. (Not only these collars can correct excessive barking, but they can also teach the dog to avoid other annoying behaviors).

Nowadays, bark collars come in three versions - static, sonic and with spray. The bark collar in the first category use a strong scented citrus spray that annoys the animal and make it stop barking. This spray is not harmful for the dog. The sonic one uses high-pitched sounds only dogs can hear. Both the sonic and citrus collars are safe to use on animals that are very sensitive to physical stimulation. The collar with citronella musn’t be used on scent hounds, which are extremely sensitive to scents.

People seem to like static collars best, due to their constant innovation. When the collar detects barking of a certain range of frequencies and volume (both audibly and vibrationally) for a preset number of times, it will then be triggered. The system does not react to other dogs’ barking. Also having a volume and frequency requirement helps prevent the collar from being triggered by fear, pain, or other vocalizations not tied to problem barking. These devices have adjustable steps and automatically shut down if the dog barks for a period longer than the one preset. This collar can also reset to a lower level if no barking occurs for a certain amount of time. This system helps in teaching the dog to bark only when needed.

Like all training aids, a bark collar works best when owner helps the dog understand what the desired behavior is. They shouldn’t be used as a single method of training. Praise and play for good behavior, exercise to help reduce restlessness and anxiety, and activities to keep the dog occupied when alone are all positive items that can help reduce the perceived need to bark for attention.

These devices are most recommended, over their alternatives - giving the dog away to a dog shelter or subjecting it to a stressful debarking surgery that comes with high risks.

Even though the first versions of bark collar weren’t perfect, they have been improved in time. Most types of dog collars can be adjusted manually or digitally. If you want to find out more about different types of bark collar, click here.

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