Do Anti-Bark Collars Work?

Anti-bark collars can effectively reduce excessive barking.
i barking brown dog image by Paul Retherford from

Anti-bark collars are designed to reduce excessive barking by delivering an unpleasant stimulus in response to unwanted behavior. Most anti-bark collars do successfully minimize nuisance and excessive barking more rapidly than traditional behavior modification techniques alone. There are different kinds of anti-bark collars, and some are more effective than others.

Types of Anti-Bark Collars

The most popular and reportedly most effective type of anti-bark collar delivers a small shock of electricity to a dog’s neck immediately after he barks. The second most popular and effective type of anti-bark collar emits a spray of citronella mist to the dog’s face immediately after he barks. Other types of anti-bark collars utilize sound as a deterrent. Some emit a loud sound to startle the dog immediately after he barks while others emit an ultrasonic sound that is audible only to animals. Anti-bark collars that utilize sound as a deterrent are not as popular as and are reportedly less effective than shock or citronella mist collars.

How Anti-Bark Collars Work

In order to deliver the deterrent stimulus in a timely manner, anti-bark collars must detect a dog’s bark. Some anti-bark collars are equipped with sensors that pick up the vibration of a dog’s bark and trigger to deliver the negative stimulus. Other anti-bark collars are equipped with microphones that detect the sound of a dog’s bark. In an effort to increase effectiveness, some anti-bark collars utilize both sensors and microphones to detect barking in dogs. Certain anti-bark collars also allow remote delivery of the negative stimulus.


Anti-bark collars are most effective when used in conjunction with more conventional behavior-modification techniques.

Anti-bark collars are not recommended for use in multi-dog households because most collars cannot distinguish which dog the barking is coming from and may deliver the deterrent stimulus to the wrong dog.

Some animal experts believe that anti-bark collars are inhumane and that they should be used only as a last resort when trying to modify unwanted behavior.


Anti-bark collars should not be used indefinitely. Limit anti-bark collar use to no more than 12 consecutive hours at a time; remove the collar before allowing your dog to engage in positive activities like playtime.

Some dogs become fearful and may develop psychological trauma from repeated exposure to anti-bark collars. Always use caution and follow directions closely when using anti-bark collars.

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