Last Updated on December 29, 2021 Ashley Camelia
Causes of barking in dogs
Barking is the language that your dog uses to express his emotions: joy, stress, fear, etc.
The barks are normal in different situations and only become a problem when the dog feels the need to do so without stopping. However, frequent barking might be a problem.
The most common causes of uncontrolled barking in dogs are the following:
- Stress: Lack of coverage of your basic physical needs. A dog can get stressed if he does not have enough space to run if he does not walk enough or even if he is not eating enough (or his diet is bad).
- Genetics: There are races more predisposed to barking. Chihuahuas, for example, are a nervous race, they often communicate in this way.
- Health problems: The dog’s old age is accompanied by health problems such as deafness or blindness. Sometimes these sensory problems can also occur in young dogs. The lack or loss of their senses can make dogs feel insecure and bark out of fear.
- Loneliness or separation stress: The dog is an animal that used to live in a pack. Spending a lot of time alone can be hard for the barking dog demanding attention or company. Keeping the dog entertained and avoiding long periods of loneliness will be essential.
- Territoriality: When someone comes home a couple of barks to alert are normal, but if those barks do not cease quickly your dog may be claiming his space. A territorial animal will bark to claim that the intruder leaves and will not cease barking until the intruder gets away.
- Bad socialization: Some dogs bark at objects unknown to them because they cause fear and insecurity. If the puppy has not had contact with the environment objects like bicycles, motorcycles or children may pose a threat to him to bark.
How to Prevent a Dog from Barking?
We must understand barking as one of the dog’s many forms of communication, and not all types of barking are the same and have the same meaning. Some may be alert to the presence of strangers, while others will appear to be left alone, as a way of expressing their anguish. To solve this problem we must find out why our dog barks and, only then, can we start working to stop barking.
It is very advisable to visit a professional adviser, such as a veterinarian specialized in ethology, who will help us identify the cause but, in addition, will offer us management guidelines and can help us with behavior modification sessions. In any case, we should not apply guidelines that are not specifically prescribed for our case, since then we run the risk of aggravating the situation.
While we wait for the visit of the specialist we can follow some basic tips to prevent a dog from barking, as well as improve the quality of life of the dog in different ways: increasing the number of walks, working basic obedience, performing more physical and mental games, etc.
Other Methods Not Recommended to Prevent Barking
Finally, we wanted to share with you other techniques that are not recommended:
- Use of physical punishment: some people resort to physical punishment to stop barking. However, we are still talking about a positive punishment that, again, can cause fear, phobias, aggressiveness, and a broken bond with the tutor. The possible negative effects are, therefore, the same as we have explained about training collars.
- Use of muzzle inside the home: a muzzle is a tool that should not be used for more than 60 minutes for dogs. In addition to causing discomfort does not solve the problem, so it is not advisable.
- Removal of the oral cords: This surgical procedure involves removing part of the tissue from the vocal cords of the dog. When the dog recovers from the operation it can still bark, but its volume is much smaller because it has less tissue to create the acoustic vibrations. It can cause behavioral problems and, again, we are not solving the cause of barking. It can also cause health problems.
Once again we highlight the importance of going to a professional to discover the underlying cause that is causing the barking of the dog and, only through the guidelines of a specialist, starts working to solve it. It is a process that will require patience and effort, but that will be more positive and effective in the long run.
Steps to Correctly Select a Great Dog Bark Collar
Dog collars are designed to control the barking of dogs. Keep in mind that they are not designed to stop dog barking since barking is natural for dogs and is a way of communicating. In most cases, the barking of a dog is not the real problem, but the fact that it is becoming excessive, constant, and driving you and your neighbor crazy. This is where the importance of a dog bark collar comes into play. However, with all the models available in the market, how do you select the right one for your best dog? Here are some insider tips:
1. Best value for money
When selecting a bark collar for your dog, the first thing to ask is if the model you are considering buying is able to offer you the best value for money. Is the brand your dog will wear reliable? Is the price too good to be true? Is it worth the purchase? In most cases, you will want to choose a model that bears a brand that you know you can trust. Today there are many manufacturers of dog bark collars, but not all of them can offer the quality you are looking for. You can always opt for the cheapest model you can find, but don’t expect it to be as good as the expensive ones, which are obviously much more durable and of higher quality.
2. Select device based on size
Size is important when choosing a dog collar. Consider the size of the collar and the size of your dog. If you have a smaller dog breed, choose a model that does not look and feel too bulky for your pet. Think about how you would choose a wristwatch. If it is too large and bulky, you will not feel comfortable to use. The same goes for bark collars. As much as possible, you will want the collar to be lightweight and not become a burden for your dog.
3. It should be waterproof
Not all models of bark collars are waterproof, so be careful when choosing one. This is important since your dog can play with water and wet the device.
4. Look at the overall design
The overall design of the collar you are considering buying is also critical because it plays a very important role in determining the durability of the device. As far as possible, you would not want a model with outstanding controls, since dogs can be really playful and, sometimes, the activities in which they participate can scratch, move or totally damage the external controls of the device.
What is Bark Collar?
Many of us know how unpleasant a dog can become when it barks and more if he does it constantly and that is when these cases happen, the first option is usually that of the bark collar, as it will help us correct that inappropriate behavior that has our pet, however, is it good to make use of an electric bark collar or is it harmful?
In the market, there is a wide variety of models of dog bark collars, although most of them have the same structure and operation, so only the aesthetics and its configuration change.
It is a completely normal collar, with the difference that it carries inside a tiny electronic box that is able to identify the sounds that our dog emits, whether they are barking or howling.
When the collar’s electronic system detects a bark, it first emits a sound that will alert the dog. If our dog does not pay attention to the sound and continues with its barking, then the collar will emit a vibration that will eventually become an electric shock that will intimidate it until it finally stops barking.
Types of Bark Collar
On many occasions, we find stores or websites that sell collars, however, and what they never tell us is that there are different types of necklaces and that each one has a specific function.
1. Citronella collar
This is a recommended collar for use in small dogs since it has no electric shock.
This collar has a container that works like a spray and every time our dog barks it emits a quantity of citronella, it expels a fairly strong smell of herbs next to a lemon flavor every time our dog barks, but this spray is not harmful, it is only uncomfortable for our pet.
This method is often more effective than electrical or sound methods since the smell of citronella is very unpleasant for dogs, apart from the fact that it is a harmless collar since it does not cause any direct effect on our dog’s body as in the case of others bark collars.
2. Ultrasound collar
This collar uses a sensor that can detect noises and sounds, and when this happens it emits a very high-pitched sound that we cannot hear but dogs if, when our dog starts to bark, this sound will cause it to be distracted and therefore stop bark.
This is undoubtedly one of the best options in anti-bark collars next to the citronella spray collar, but with the only difference in price.
3. Electric collar
This is a bark collar recommended for dogs that are large. It works by emitting a small electric shock once it detects the sound of the bark, using a very low voltage that will not hurt the animal.
This collar is also widely used in pet training.
The Pros and Cons of Bark Collar
At present there is no study that states that using a bark collar is beneficial to our dog, moreover, it is the opposite. Many of the times our dog barks, it does so for some specific reason, whether due to stress, fear, anxiety, or as a warning signal.
If our dog receives an electric shock while it is barking, it will not know what the reason it is receiving punishment is and less who is punishing it, therefore we will only leave it very confused and at the same time insecure.
Possibly our pet begins to be afraid and these fears end up becoming even more antisocial and aggressive behaviors.
The only benefit of a bark collar is that our dog may no longer bark steadily. However, there are so many negative effects that the use of a bark collar can generate that really does not compensate at all for its use.
The most advisable is to use more natural and appropriate measures to ensure the welfare of our pets.
Physical Consequences of Wearing a Bark Collar
There are many types of Bark Collar, and all have consequences for the health of dogs. These types of devices are located in the throat of the animal, which is one of the most delicate parts of its body: in the throat are hormone-secreting glands, including the thyroid. In addition to being branched, some of the most important nerves in the body connect directly to the spinal cord; therefore, with the rest of the body and with the brain.
Most of these collars are electric. That is, they send an electric current through the neck and, therefore, from the main nerves of the body – each time they detect vibration in the neck. Manufacturers say it is a very low voltage: for the punishment to be effective, it must be harmed, however slight it may be.
Any tension or pain in the neck has consequences for the rest of the body since it is distributed through the spinal cord: electric shocks cause muscle contractions, contractures, neuronal problems, tachycardia. They alter the normal functioning of the lymphatic system, the circulatory system and they can affect the metabolism since it is in direct contact with the thyroid.
The collars that emit ultrasound affect the ear and can cause tinnitus, which is a very difficult condition to diagnose in animals. They affect balance and orientation. In addition to causing physical pain and deep discomfort.
The devices that spray do so directly on the nostrils of dogs. The smell is the most important sense in these animals, and applying products as aggressive as citronella can cause loss of sensation or damage the scent glands. They cause pain, inability to communicate through smell, itching, and can damage the mucous membranes (dry out or cause excessive mucus).
Altering the smell of a dog is the greatest harm that could be done to him: it is his way of knowing the world and interacting with other dogs. The smell is essential for your physical and mental well-being.
It has been shown that the use of these devices causes continuous stress in dogs: with stress, blood cortisol levels rise. Cortisol causes bad mood, inability to rest, irritability, digestive problems (vomiting or diarrhea without apparent cause), and, among many other things, a higher emotional state, which leads to worse self-control and, therefore, worse behavior.
Psychological Consequences of Wearing Bark Collar
These necklaces not only have physical but also psychological consequences. The use of continued punishment in dogs not only does not work, but it aggravates their original behavior problems.
The Bark Collars, electrical or of any other type, emit an unpleasant stimulus when the dog is going to use the throat. The dog does not know where the negative stimulus comes from: it is in its neck and cannot see it.
In addition, this can be activated for more reasons than barking: barking that does not sound, snorting or grunting or an error operating the control also cause the device to activate. In this way, the dog cannot foresee the negative stimulus, but he also does not know what causes it.
All this translates into fears, insecurity, and stress. Stressed dogs have worse behavior than relaxed dogs, so with the collar, only the original problem is getting worse or creating new problems. Insecurity creates dogs with unpredictable and unknown responses.
Fear in dogs is the main cause of aggressiveness and, therefore, attacks and bites. Faced with an unpleasant stimulus that can be avoided, dogs prefer to flee. However, since they do not know what is causing them pain and discomfort, they can only face what they find to try to make it disappear.
The psychological damage caused by the use of electric collars, such as insecurity, fear, aggressiveness, in addition to all the bad relationships you learn during your training, can be irreversible or have very expensive and difficult treatment. You can suffer sequels for life.
Therefore, When to Wear a Bark Collar?
In spite of all the technological features offered by the manufacturers, such as the difference in power, impermeability, distance range of the control. None of the Bark Collars is able to distinguish what causes the barking to avoid them.
There are many different types of barks. Some are learned; we have taught the dogs that by doing so they get a reward, but others are emotional – for stress, for pain, for joy – that they are not volunteers and, therefore, the dog does not make them on purpose.
In the first case, a bark collar would not work, since if the cause is not known we cannot stop offering the dog its reward; this can be to get food, annoy the dog on the balcony in front or just get our attention in the form of “shut up!”
In the second case, the collar would not work either, because the dog cannot decide to stop barking: just changing the emotion would eliminate his behavior. Emotional behaviors are involuntary, in the same way, that, if humans start crying, no matter how much they punish us, we are not able to stop. We only stop crying if we are sad: it will only stop barking when your emotional state changes.
The only way to control a dog’s barking is to discover the root and eliminate its motivation. A bark collar is not designed to accomplish this purpose, so they are never a solution to this problem. In addition, its use can have consequences that affect the dog for the rest of his life.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are there alternatives to the bark collar?
Of course, the best alternative to the bark collar is education/training. To do this, we must simply correct our dog correctly when it barks. As the days go by, you will learn that barking is not right and will stop trying to get our attention with that kind of language.
To prevent a dog from barking, perform these simple steps:
- Don’t listen to him when he barks. He pretends to get your attention and if he succeeds, he will bark whenever he hears you. The best we can do when it barks is to ignore it.
- If it barks at our side, we can correct it. With a loud and resounding “No!” Or a small bite, we can make him understand that we don’t want him to bark.
- If he barks when he is left alone, we must correct his anxiety. Many dogs bark when left alone because they suffer from anxiety, something that we can correct by making small exits from the home and lengthening them progressively.
If following these steps we do not get our dog to stop barking or we simply do not have time to apply them, we can use a bark collar that will help us with the learning process almost automatically.
Does it serve all sizes and ages?
Although some manufacturers will tell you yes, the truth is that no. It is not advisable to use a bark collar in puppies of less than six months of life. Nor in mini/toy size dogs, since most models of collars are designed for dogs weighing more than five kilos.
Is bark collar safe for my dog?
Definitely yes. The bark collar that works by emitting beeps, spray, or vibration is totally safe and respectful of your dog and you. They do not harm the dog, do not contain toxic substances for their health, and do not emit any type of electric shock.
This type of collar is fully designed to educate the dog not to bark, without inflicting any damage. They are safe and in the vast majority of cases, very effective.