Bark collars, also known as no-bark collars, anti-bark collars, or training collars are one potential tool you can use when training your dog not to bark excessively.

If you’re a first-time pet parent, you may have no idea how tightly you need to fit one of these collars. Today’s guide will clear up any confusion.

All you need is to fit the collar tightly enough that it won’t move from side to side on your dog’s neck but no tighter.

How Tight Should a Bark Collar Be?

The first thing to bear in mind is that a bark collar needs to more tightly fitted than a regular nylon or leather collar.

If this makes you question whether it might hurt your dog to tighten a collar more than normal, consider this: dogs have extremely tough necks, much tougher than our necks. So, as long as a collar doesn’t obstruct your dog’s breathing, it can be tightened without causing him undue duress.

Your key objective when fitting a bark collar is to fit it tightly enough so that the collar doesn’t move laterally on Rover’s neck. A loose collar will result in inconsistent and unreliable performance.

You also need to make sure that the metal probes can touch your dog’s skin. If you have a breed with a thick coat, you may need to shave away some hair for seamless contact between probes and skin. If the metal probes are unable to contact the skin but the sensor detects barking, the battery on the device will run down quickly, no corrections will be delivered, and your dog will continue barking – a failure on all fronts.

Now, if you’re still not sure how tight is too tight, you can use the two fingers rule. What is this?

How to Use the Two Fingers Rule


The two fingers rule states that you must insert your middle and index fingers between the bark collar and your dog’s neck to determine the optimum fitting.

If you find that those two fingers slide in with ease, you have the perfect placement.

If, on the other hand, you need to apply force to slide two fingers between the collar and Fido’s neck, the collar is too tight.

Perhaps you find that your fingers slide in too freely. If so, this indicates that the collar is too loose. Unless you tighten it, functionality will be compromised.

As long as you buy a collar that caters for the neck size of your dog, you should find that most models are highly adjustable and allow you to get the snug fit you need for the training collar to work effectively.

How Can You Determine if Your Dog’s Collar is Too Tight?

Whether you fit a bark collar to your dog or a regular collar, there are some easy signs to pick up on that alert you to the collar being too tight.

If your dog’s collar is too tight around his neck, it can make him feel uncomfortable. It can also cause shortness of breath and make it difficult for your dog to consume food and water.

These are the main signs that a dog’s collar is fitted too tightly:

  • Coughing: If you find that your dog is coughing, this could be due to a collar that’s too tight. Loosen it and see if you detect any improvement.
  • Shortness of breath or lethargy: If your dog suddenly becomes less active, this might be indicative of his collar being too tight, especially if this is accompanied by shortness of breath. A collar fitted too tightly will place too much pressure on the vein’s around your dog’s neck, potentially triggering lethargy when he find it difficult to breathe.
  • Chafing or fur loss: Excessive collar tightness is the primary cause of fur loss and canine chafing. Tight collars grip and cause friction, itchiness, and irritation.

Types of Bark Collar

There are four main types of bark collar differing mainly in the method of deterrent used. 

  1. Shock collar
  2. Ultrasonic collar
  3. Vibration collar
  4. Spray collar

Many collars also include multiple methods of correction (shock, ultrasonic, and vibration).

This means that shock collars, ultrasonic collars, and vibration collars all need to be fitted in the same way. Fitting is slightly different from spray collars and we’ll give you fitting instructions to round out today.

How To Correctly Fit a Shock Collar, an Ultrasonic Collar, or a Vibration Collar


Here’s what you need to do to fit these collars:

  1. Place the collar around your dog’s neck so it sits high up underneath his jawline. This is the narrowest part of your pup’s neck and the optimum placement.
  2. Using one hole at a time, tighten the collar until the mechanism sits securely and cannot be moved from side to side.
  3. It is now time to apply the two fingers rule outlined above. This will give you an accurate idea of whether the collar is too tight, not tight enough, or just right.
  4. If you have the collar fitted correctly, it will not move from side to side on Spot’s neck. If you have fitted the collar in the wrong position, on the other hand, it will be likely to work its way to a narrower part of your dog’s neck over time. If this happens and the collars becomes too loose, it will stop working effectively.
  5. A final note: vibration bark collars must sit snugly and squarely under your dog’s neck with the mechanism facing down and the probes pointing inwards. If you get this wrong, the mechanism will not pick up on the barking and the collar will be ineffective. Fit the collar too loosely, and it may work itself away from this position.

How about a citronella spray collar, then?

How To Correctly Fit a Citronella Spray Bark Collar

  1. You must first make sure that the spray outlet is positioned so that it faces your pup’s snout.
  2. Fit the collar high up on your dog’s neck.
  3. Follow the above instructions to ensure that the collar is fitted tightly enough to prevent lateral movement and to pick up on your dog’s vocal cords vibrating, but not so tight that it causes discomfort.


You should now be clear on how tightly you need to fit a bark collar to your pooch. The most important thing to remember is that the collar needs to be tight enough not to move around on your dog’s neck, but not much tighter.

Beyond this, we also recommend frequently checking the skin around your dog’s neck when he first starts wearing a bark collar. Look for any signs of irritation. If you see anything amiss, discontinue using the collar until the skin heals.

We suggest that you bookmark GO Boxer Rescue before you head off today. We have a very busy content calendar throughout the holiday season, so we’ll be bringing you fresh guides on all aspects of pet parenting daily. See you very soon!

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