Bark Collars

Written by Sarah Provost
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Bark collars, when used properly, provide a safe, effective and humane way to stop excessive barking. Whether it's the constant yip-yip-yip of a Pomeranian or the rafter-rattling woof of a St. Bernard, nuisance barking alienates your neighbors and is mighty irritating to you as well. About 90 percent of all dogs can be quickly and effectively trained by the use of bark collars.

Three Types of Stimulation from Bark Collars

Bark collars work by sensing the dog's barking and activating one of three responses: a noise, a spray or a shock. Collars that release a citronella spray get your dog's attention by using several senses. He hears it, sees it, smells it and feels it. The citronella scent is unusual enough to get your dog's attention, but is not offensive to humans.

Other collars work by activating a sonic cue, administering a mild shock, or both. Most collars can be set to several different levels, so you can use the mildest possible stimulation. You may be rightly concerned about the safety and humaneness of electric shock. Safety is a given in any reliable collar, with the caveat that you choose a strength that suits your dog. You don't want to give the same shock to a Chihuahua that you would give to a German shepherd. The stimulus is about the same level as the static shock a human might get from walking across a carpet and touching a doorknob.

Many styles respond to barking with a noise first, followed by a mild shock. If the barking continues, both the sonic warning and the electric stimulus increase in strength. This assures that your pet will not receive a major jolt after he has learned to heed the sonic warning. While some people may feel that any shock system is inhumane, I believe that it's ultimately better for your dog's psychic well-being to receive an impersonal and consistent response to his barking that to be constantly yelled at by his owner.

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