The best bark collars

  • Dogs will bark – it’s part of their nature – but sometimes, nuisance barking can become a problem. If you’ve already tried training methods preferred by the Humane Society like stimulus desensitization and “quiet” commands to break your dog’s excessive barking habit, you may want to try a non-static bark collar.
  • Types of non-static bark collars include spray collars, ultrasonic collars, and vibration collars. Of course, you should always consult a vet or dog-training expert before you try one.
  • For nonaversive collars, check out our guide on the best dog collars you can buy.

Dogs bark – it’s their natural way of communicating not only to other dogs but to humans as well. Some dogs tend to bark more than others, however, and it can be a problem if you live close to your neighbors.

Training your dog to stop barking on command and identifying the root of the barking should always be your first attempt, according to the ASPCA. But should all other options fail, there are special collars that could help you control your dog’s excessive barking.

Bark collars for dogs are designed to help break bad barking habits. When you’re not around to implement positive training methods like stimulus desensitization and “quiet” commands, a bark collar can potentially discourage barking.

We spoke with Dr. Katherine Houpt, VMD, a professor at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, to better understand how these collars work. “Dogs hardly ever bark just for the sake of barking – they usually have a reason for it,” Dr. Houpt said. If you can find the reason for it, you might be able to eliminate the barking without having to punish the dog.”

“The [use of a bark collar] has to be effective, and it has to be administered just when the dog is misbehaving,” she added. “Basically, the dog needs to understand why they are being punished.”

Anti-bark collars work by administering an unpleasant stimulus when your dog barks. This stimulus can be anything from a quick static shock, a vibration, a high-pitched sound, or a scented spray. These stimuli are meant to deter your dog from barking through causation – your dog will associate barking with discomfort.

The various types of bark collars can be safe and effective when used properly. However, if used incorrectly, they can add additional stress to your dog. Houpt helped us understand how each type of bark collar works.

These are the four types of bark collars:

  • Spray bark collar: These collars will release an unpleasant plant-based scent around your dog’s nose. Most spray collars use citronella, which is a natural repellent. While we may enjoy this smell, bugs and animals do not.
  • Ultrasonic bark collar: A dog’s hearing is far more sensitive than ours, making them able to hear pitches and frequencies that we can not. Ultrasonic bark collars, when triggered, will produce an “annoying” high-pitched sound that only dogs can hear.
  • Vibration bark collar: A vibration collar, when triggered by your dog’s bark, will activate a series of vibration intensities in your dog’s collar. These are more of an annoyance to the dog, and if used properly, the dog will associate the vibration as a result of the bark.
  • Static shock collar: First and foremost, it should be noted that Dr. Houpt advises against the use of a shock collar. When your dog barks, a static shock will be administered through electrodes on the dog’s collar. These shocks are similar to what we feel when we get shocked by static electricity. Many collars offer various settings and intensities depending on the dog’s size and severity of the barking.

Based on this information, we researched the best bark collars you can buy, but if you’ve been thinking about getting one for your dog, we recommend that you first consult your vet or a dog-training expert.

Here are the best bark collars you can buy:

Updated on 11/12/2019 by Lisa Sabatini: Updated prices, links, and product information for PetSafe Spray Commander Dog Training Collar and DogRook Bark Control Collar. Added new category (Best ultrasonic bark deterrent) and pick (Modus Ultrasonic Bark Control Device). Removed categories and picks for best bark collar overall (SportDOG NoBark 10R), best static bark collar (Dogtra Yapper Stopper No Bark Collar), and best high-end bark collar, all of which are shock collars. At Insider Picks, we only want to recommend safe and humane products for your dogs, and shock collars are not recommended by the veterinarian we consulted for this guide.


The best spray bark collar

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Amazon

With three levels of correction, a spray, a tone, and a vibration, the PetSafe Remote Spray Trainer Collar is one of the more successful bark collar methods available.

Spray collars work by releasing a plant-based fragrance, usually a citronella spray, each time your dog barks. While we humans may enjoy the smell, dogs for some reason do not.

Dr. Houpt conducted a study comparing citronella collars to shock collars and found the spray collar to be more favorable.

“The owners of the dogs were happier with the citronella collar. Also, it may annoy them, but it doesn’t hurt the dog,” she said.

The PetSafe Remote Spray Trainer comes with three training options: a spray, a tone, and a vibration. Each training option must be manually activated using the remote control when within a range of 300 yards of the rechargeable collar. A tone can accompany either a spray or a vibration at any time.

The collar can be loaded with either a scented or an unscented canister. The scented canister emits a lemon smell that is 1% citronella and 99% aerosol, while the unscented canister is 100% aerosol. Each canister provides up to 35 sprays and can be used on dogs larger than 8 pounds.

According to Dr. Houpt, the use of citronella won’t have any adverse effects on the dog or make the dog sick. Although this is her preferred type of bark collar, she said, “Some dogs, especially big dogs, will habituate to it,” which some Amazon users noted. In addition, some users felt that the canister ran out quickly and they were reordering citronella refills frequently. -Kate Barrington, Francesca Rea

Pros: Features three training options (spray, tone, and vibration), remote range of 300 yards, includes one unscented and one citronella cartridge (35 sprays each), rechargeable

Cons: Not for dogs under 8 pounds, manual control only, refills needed frequently


The best ultrasonic bark deterrent

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Amazon

The Modus Ultrasonic Bark Control Device is a manual, standalone device that you can use to help curb your dog’s barking or discourage other unwanted behavior.

As an alternate anti-bark tool, an ultrasonic deterrent is a device that will emit a high-pitched frequency when a dog’s bark is detected. Dogs are capable of hearing frequencies as high as 47,000 to 65,000 Hz, while adult humans cannot hear frequencies above 20,000 Hz, according to the American Kennel Club. Most ultrasonic deterrents will start at frequencies around 25,000 Hz so that only dogs can hear them.

The Modus Ultrasonic Dog Bark Deterrent is a manual, standalone device that you can use to help curb your dog’s barking or discourage unwanted behavior. When your dog barks, just press the battery-powered control device (a green light will illuminate), and a 25,000-Hz signal will sound. Only your dog will pick it up within 16.4 feet of the device. Remember, any dog within range can pick up the frequency, so it’s best to use it in a single-dog home.

To turn the device off, simply hold the control button down for 10 seconds and the green light indicator will turn off.

Although there is a range restriction, this device is a great tool because it allows you to correct different types of barking in various situations. Dr. Houpt explained that dogs bark for many reasons. Sometimes, we hope, they bark to alert us of an intruder and sometimes they bark because they want the Thanksgiving leftovers.

“The ultrasound usually works at first, and then the dogs habituate to it,” Dr. Houpt said. What works on one dog may not work on another. Some Amazon users have found similar results using the Modus deterrent, while others have been able to curb their dog’s barking when necessary.

Users of the product indicated a range of reactions from their dogs, including being scared of the sound, ignoring the sound, and bark correction from the sound. Prior to using the Modus, it’s best to have a vet check your dog’s hearing and assess their demeanor to determine if an ultrasonic deterrent is the best bark-control tool for them. -Francesca Rea

Pros: You can control when a correction is needed, simple and easy design, can be paired with other training methods such as commands

Cons: Not to be used on puppies younger than 6 months old, can not be used when you’re not home, some dogs will habituate to the sound, any dog within range can hear it


The best vibration bark collar

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DogRook

With seven levels of vibration and sound, the DogRook Bark Control Collar is completely shock-free and a preferred alternative to static shock collars.

These collars vibrate when they detect barking instead of emitting a shock, which makes them more humane and a better option for smaller or timid dogs.

The DogRook Bark Control Collar offers seven levels of sound and vibration with no shock. When your dog barks, the collar will administer a short beep, then a longer beep, then a beep plus vibration, and so on up to seven levels. Once the collar reaches the seventh level, it will enter a one-minute hibernation mode.

The DogRook Bark Control Collar comes with two sets of plastic prongs, one shorter and one longer, for both short- and long-haired dogs. The sensors on the collar are designed to detect movement of the vocal cords, meaning the collar should not go off if another nearby dog barks.

When fitting the collar, you should make sure that it is not too tight or restricting, but that the probes are within a finger’s thickness of the dog’s skin so that they feel the vibration. DogRook’s anti-bark collar is adjustable for dogs 11 to 110 pounds, of all breeds and ages.

Although Dr. Houpt doesn’t have experience using vibration collars, she said in general, “I think they can wear their [bark] collars all the time, but you have to be careful because if you have them tight enough to be effective, it may actually do skin damage.” The manufacturer advises that the collar be worn no longer than eight to 12 hours at a time. If worn longer or fitted improperly, the probes can rub and irritate the skin.

Some Amazon users noted that the collar was only triggered by barking and whines or whimpers were left untreated. Others noted that larger dogs and fluffy dogs were unfazed by the vibrations and that barking persisted, while smaller dogs responded well to the stimuli. -Kate Barrington, Francesca Rea

Pros: A humane bark collar alternative, seven levels of vibrations and sounds, water-resistant

Cons: Not for dogs under 11 pounds; may not work for stubborn dogs, large dogs, or fluffy dogs


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Margarita Mindebaeva/Shutterstock/Business Insider

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