Let me begin this article by asking you a few questions:
Are you at your wit’s end because of your dog’s barking?
Are you fed up with excessive barking and want to find a way to stop it quickly, safely, and humanely?
Have other forms of anti-barking training failed?
If you answered ‘yes’ to at least once of the above questions, you’ve most definitely come to the right place. In today’s piece, we’re going to delve deeply into the world of anti-barking devices, looking at what types are currently available on the market, how they work, whether or not they’re effective, and which are the best options of the currently available products.
As the owner of a very ‘barky’ dog, I know exactly how you’re feeling right now. Even though barking is a dog’s primary form of communication and it’s all they know, there are times when it causes issues not only for them but everyone else in your household – and it’s at this point it’s time to step in and be proactive.
To give you a helping hand, we’ll cover everything you need to know about barking behaviour and anti-barking devices, covering the following topics:
Why do dogs bark?
Which anti-barking device should I use?
What different types of anti-barking devices are currently available (and which are the best)?
Does my dog need an anti-barking device?
Once you’ve read the entirety of this article, you should be fully equipped not only to judge whether or not your dog requires some form(s) of anti-barking device but, if so, which type of anti-barking device(s) are best suited to your dog and you.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
In order to determine whether or not a barking device with a) work and b) work effectively, it’s essential to understand the reason(s) why dogs bark. Although it’s relatively straightforward to figure out why your four-legged friend is barking in most situations, given there are many different triggers that do induce barking, it’s important to look at each in turn, as this may help you understand why your dog is barking a little better. And, once you’ve identified these triggers, you can set about doing something about them.
Barking is the primary type of vocal communication used by our canine friends; however, it can mean a variety of different things and can be induced by a plethora of different causes. Let’s take a look at the main reason why a dog may bark and for what reason.
#1 – They’re Territorial
If someone or something enters your yard, i.e. a place your dog considers to be their territory, barking is soon to follow. As the person or thing gets closer, the barking will typically go up a notch both in volume and ferocity, and other signs of aggression and alertness may be visible.
#2 – They’re Scared
Some dogs merely bark at any object or noise that startles them. This is just confined to happening at your home and can occur anywhere.
#3 – They’re Bored
Just like humans, dogs can get bored…and when some dogs get bored, they tell us (and the whole street) all about it! Remember, dogs are pack animals; therefore, if they’re left alone for several hours on end, they may become bored and unhappy and may vent their frustration in the form of barking.
#4 – They’re Saying Hello
My dog does this – all the time. If someone comes into the house, he’ll say hello in two ways: firstly, he’ll send a few loud barks your way, and secondly, he’ll run up to you and give your hand a little lick. Oh, and he might jump from time to time too! Either way, a bark can sometimes just be a greeting and your dog showing everyone that they’re excited (and want to be played with!).
#5 – They’re Seeking Attention
Just like children cry for attention, dogs will bark to get your attention. This can be because they need to go outside to relieve themselves, because they want to play, because they want their tea, or a myriad of other reasons! Remember, barking is a dog’s primary method of communication, so they’ll use it for a wide array of reasons.
#6 – Separation Anxiety
Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety will typically bark (usually excessively) when left alone. However, excessive barking isn’t usually the only sign of separation anxiety in dogs; destructive behaviour, (repetitive) pacing, and depression are also common symptoms. It’s been suggested that excessive barking caused by separation anxiety if merely so the dog can hear the sound of its own voice.
Now we’ve looked at the six primary reasons for (excessive) barking, let’s examine the various types of anti-barking devices currently available.
Which Type Of Anti-Barking Device Should I Use?
Figuring out which anti-barking device is best for your dog and circumstances isn’t the easiest and most straightforward of decisions to make as there are several elements that must be taken into consideration.
These include, but are not limited to: your dog’s temperament, your dog’s ‘trainability’, your budget, whether you want a manual or automatic device, as well as your personal feelings on the mechanisms by which anti-barking devices work. For example, if, like most people, you’d never want to use a ‘shock’ collar on your dog, you can exclude ‘shock’ collars straight off the bat.
To give you a massive helping hand, we’ve detailed the three primary types of anti-barking device below, namely collars, sound-emitting devices, and sprays. However, given that some collars utilise sounds and sprays (as well as vibrations), there is certainly an overlap between these three categories, which is something to consider when thinking about which type(s) is best suited to you.
For example, if you like the idea of a spray but don’t want (or can’t) be right next to your dog every time he barks, a collar with a spray function might be the best option for you, rather than a manual spray.
In addition to information about each of the three primary anti-barking options currently available on the market, we’ve also included two of the best products in each category; after all, we’re here to make your life that little bit easier, so we hope it helps!
What Different Types of Anti-Barking Devices Are There?
Where anti-barking devices are concerned, there are three primary types currently available to buy – so let’s take a look at each in turn. However, before we begin, it’s important to point out that anti-barking devices use negative reinforcement to teach your dog that barking isn’t an acceptable behaviour through a minor punishment. Only use anti-barking devices if you’re 100% comfortable with this.
Anti-barking collars are exactly like a regular dog collar, except for the fact they carry a tiny device that emits a (relatively) small electrical shock whenever barking is detected, which is passed through two metal prongs that are in contact with your dog’s skin.
As you can imagine, anti-barking collars are exceptionally controversial. When in the wrong hands, i.e. someone who doesn’t know how to use one correctly or misuses one, it will always have an adverse effect on the dog’s psychological and physiological health. Sadly, anti-barking collars in bygone days were far too powerful and easily abused, resulting in a mass of (fully justified) negativity; however, newer anti-barking collars are much milder, and most will merely contain a vibrating device rather than one that emits an electrical shock.
If misused, anti-barking collars will undoubtedly do more harm than good; however, the right collar in the right hands can positively affect both dog and owner. The vast majority of modern anti-barking collars produce output tantamount to a static shock, which will induce surprise rather than pain.
If you’re considering using an anti-barking collar, we highly recommend you speak to a professional before using it.
What Are The Best Anti-Barking Collars?
PetKing Premium Anti-Barking Collar (Sound & Vibrate)
This anti-barking collar from PetKing uses sound and vibration technology to ensure 100% safety when your dog is wearing the collar. With adjustable controls*, the collar can be set to your requirements, meaning you’re in complete control of what level of sound/vibration is used (and when). The adjustable strap has been designed to fit all sizes of dog – from 2.5kg all the way up to 55kg and is constructed from durable, waterproof ABS plastic to ensure it can be used whenever you need, regardless of location or weather.
*The adjustable settings are as follows:
Level 1: Sound stimulation.
Level 2: Increased sound stimulation.
Level 3: Increased sound stimulation + vibration.
Levels 4-7: Intense sound stimulation + vibration.
This product includes: Collar (with buckle), anti-barking device, control book, user manual, reflective cover, comfort nodes (x2), 6V battery (x2).
This anti-barking collar from PetKing is one of the most highly rated currently available on the market, which is no surprise given its build quality and price. How effective it will be will, of course, depend on how it used and your dog’s response to the device, but to date, thousands of dog owners have has stopped or reduced excessive barking utilising this device.
SOYAYO Anti-Barking Collar (Sound, Vibrate & Spray)
If you’re looking for an anti-barking collar that has sound, vibrate, and spray functions, this collar from SOYAO is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best on the market. Having the option of three different methods of stopping excessive barking gives you the best chance of reducing or completely eradicating this behaviour. When coming up against a dog who barks excessively, you often need all the help you can get!
The device comes with three spray modes, two more than almost all of the other currently available devices, in addition to sound and vibration modes – and a handy light which is great if you’re walking in low-light conditions. As you would expect from a device of this quality, it is durable and waterproof* and can be adjusted to fit any dog size or breed. Plus, a two-hour charge will give you between seven and twelve days of use.
*Although the collar is waterproof, the manufacture recommends not using it if your dog will be fully submerged in water, e.g. when swimming.
Offering you a ‘three-pronged’ approach to excessive barking and coming it at under 50GBP, it’s easy to see why this anti-barking collar is so popular. Although having three methods at your disposal doesn’t automatically guarantee success (success depends on your dog’s temperament, your training methods and consistency, and how quickly your dog learns), it does certainly give you the best chance of finally putting a stop to excessive barking.
As you can probably guess from the name, sound emitters produce a sound designed to stop barking in its tracks. However, the sounds used by anti-barking sound emitters are really rather quite special in so much that we humans are unable to hear it. Instead, the sounds produced are of a much higher frequency than the human can detect – but not out of the frequency range of canine hearing; therefore, whenever your dog barks, the sound emitter will produce an unpleasant noise that can help to reduce barking (don’t worry, it can’t damage their ears or hearing in any way, shape, or form, just in case you were concerned).
There are two main types of anti-barking sound emitting devices currently available on the market:
Option 1: A device that can be placed anywhere inside or outside of your house that uses sensors to detect barking (and then emits a high-frequency sound accordingly).
Option 2: A sound-emitting collar than works in exactly the same manner as the above mentioned anti-barking collars, except it uses a high-frequency sound rather than a shock or vibration. Unlike the anti-barking device (option 1) that work automatically, the collar must be operated manually through a remote.
What Are The Best Anti-Barking Sound Emitters?
SiBei Automatic Ultrasonic Anti-Barking Device
If you’re looking for an anti-barking device that can be used both indoors and outdoors, SiBei’s Automatic Ultrasonic Anti-Barking device should be high up on your list of potential purchases. Why? Well, for several reasons:
It uses high-pitched ultrasound technology designed to get your dog’s attention quickly without causing any harm whatsoever.
It has three different sensitivity levels that can be adjusted to your dog’s breed/size/disposition.
Its highly-sensitive microphone can pick up barking from as far away as 50 feet.
It doesn’t require a remote, meaning it’s 100% automatic and will do the job even when you’re not there.
It’s constructed from durable and waterproof materials, so it can be used indoors or outdoors in any weather.
The built-in battery will work for up to 30 days after a single five-hour charge.
With all these features and priced under 30GBP, it’s no wonder this device tops our list of the best sound-emitting anti-barking products.
Homme Ultrasonic Anti-Barking Device
Homme’s Ultrasonic Anti-Barking device is second on our list for one reason; it’s range – 32 feet – is slightly less than SeBei’s device. Aside from that, it is equally as good and has many of the same features, i.e. it emits a controllable range of high-frequency, ultrasonic sounds that are completely safe for dogs and humans; it works automatically without you needing to be present; it works for up to days once fully charged; it can be mounted anywhere, indoors or outdoors, and it has a high-quality microphone capable of barking from as far as 32 feet away.
In our opinion, this is the best budget sound-emitting anti-barking device currently available. In fact, using the word ‘budget’ is doing this product a disservice. The only thing ‘budget’ about Homme’s Ultrasonic Anti-Barking device is the price; its features are from it.
As the name suggests, this form of anti-barking device relies on a spray to tackle your dog’s (excessive) barking behaviour. In most instances, the spray will consist of water and Citronella (a completely harmless substance that dogs really don’t like!). A quick spray to the face when your dog is barking will show them what happens when they bark, giving them the negative reinforcement needed for them to learn. Sprays can either be performed manually using a spray bottle or via a specifically designed collar, which sprays your dog when barking is detected.
One important point to note is that spray designed for anti-barking purposes should never be pointed directly at your dog (particularly in their face), as this can cause potential physical and psychological harm and can, in some instances, illicit an aggressive reaction, e.g. more intense barking, biting etc. Furthermore, they should only be used on adult dogs who understand basic commands; using sprays on puppies isn’t recommend.
What Are The Best Anti-Barking Sprays?
If you’re looking for an anti-barking spray collar, we highly recommend the SOYAYO collar mentioned above as this is, in our opinion, the best anti-barking spray collar currently available. However, if you’re looking merely for a spray or for a spray to put an ant-barking collar, here are a few products we’d recommend.
NAF OFF Anti-Barking Spray (Citronella)
If you’ve read anything anti-barking sprays, you’ll have no doubt comes across Citronella. Why? Because it’s a smell that dogs really aren’t a fan of! Therefore, spraying in your dog’s general direction when they’re barking can help to reduce or potentially even completely eliminate excessive barking or barking in specific situations. Furthermore, Citronella sprayed on your dog’s coat can ward off midges and other little nasty creatures, so it’s handy to have around just in case your dog is particularly prone to being bitten.
Pet Corrector Spray For Dogs
Although not technically a spray, Pet Corrector can be used for anti-barking purposes. Instead of emitting a spray, it merely releases a (harmless) ‘hiss’ of air to interrupt your dogs barking. The ‘hiss’ it releases is designed to mimic the warning sounds that other animals, such as cats, make and helps you to retrain your dog to stop barking in certain situations.
If used in short bursts, the Pet Corrector uses around 1ml per ‘hiss’, meaning you’ll get 50 ‘hisses’ from a 50ml bottle, 200 from a 200ml bottle etc. Based on current prices, this works out at around 16p per spray, which may seem – and is – a little expensive, but if it works, then it’s money well spent, for sure!
But is it worth using? From our experience and reading the hundreds of reviews out there, it’s safe to say that Pet Corrector is more successful than unsuccessful. Given that you can pick up a small 50ml bottle for under a tenner, it’s certainly worth trying if you’re on a budget or don’t want to use an anti-barking collar or device.
Does My Dog Need An Anti-Barking Device?
Although it wouldn’t be accurate to say that anti-barking devices should only be used as a last resort, it’s important to distinguish between regular, frequent barking and excessive barking.
Because regular, frequent barking is actually fairly typical behaviour for many dogs and isn’t a sign of anything more than playfulness, attention-seeking (from time to time), and getting a little too excited. Excessive barking, on the other hand, i.e. barking that happens hour after hour, day and night, day after day, week after week, month after month, etc., does require intervention, and anti-barking devices are certainly one avenue to explore.
It’s always wise to try and use positive reinforcement training techniques to stop your dog’s barking before resorting to negative reinforcement methods, such as the three options/products mentioned in this article. While there is a lot of debate surrounding negative reinforcement-based training because it, in effect, ‘punishes’ a dog, in some instances, it is warranted provided that it is done in as safe and humane a way as possible.
Another important point to understand is that anti-barking training and devices are to stop excessive barking or barking in certain situations, not barking altogether, which is why they shouldn’t be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout your dog’s life. Eventually, your dog will learn to stop barking excessively. At this point, your anti-barking device will be put to one side, unless your dog decides to start barking excessively again, of course (hopefully not!).