Bark collars go by many names, including:
- No-bark collars
- Anti-bark collars
- Training collars
When can you put a bark collar on a puppy, then? And is it safe to do so? Today’s guide will clear up any confusion.
What is a Bark Collar?
Bark collars are devices that you place around your dog’s neck which emit an unpleasant stimulus in response to your dog’s nuisance barking.
The deterrent varies depending on the type of bark collar. Correction can come in the following forms:
- Electronic shock
- Ultrasonic sound
- Vibrating alert
- Citronella spray
Types of Bark Collars for Puppies
Before we tell you how old a puppy needs to be before you fit him with a bark collar, a few words about the different options at your disposal:
Electronic shock collar
A shock collar comes equipped with a pair of metal prongs. These are placed so that they touch your dog’s skin. If the collar detects nuisance barking, static electricity is generated, delivering a mild electronic shock. Not all pet parents consider this type of collar humane. The best suggestion we can give is to avoid these collars unless you feel comfortable with the concept. Additionally, test the prongs on the back of your hand so you can feel the level of intensity for yourself.
Ultrasonic sound collar
This type of bark collar is cheap, simple, and often effective. Dogs can hear frequencies much higher than humans can hear. Ultrasonic bark collars emit piercing sounds in the range of 25,000Hz. This type of collar is unsuitable for puppies less than six months old.
Vibrating alert collar
This type of bark collar operates in the same way as a shock collar or ultrasonic collar. When the collar detects movement in your dog’s vocal cords and/or the sound of excessive barking, the collar sends gentle vibrations that should be enough to temporarily distract your dog, at the same time stopping him from barking. Most vibrating collars offer multiple levels of intensity.
Citronella spray collars
The other type of bark collar uses a metered dose of citronella spray in response to nuisance barking. Citronella is an oil that is derived from lemongrass, a scent that most dogs dislike. Some of these collars also offer unscented sprays. The drawback is the need to buy spray refills, making the collar more expensive to use.
Is it Safe to Use a Bark Collar on a Puppy?
There is no universal answer to this question because all puppies are unique. Any pet parent will tell you that puppies are filled with energy and often into mischief, so properly training a dog from a young age is essential if you want to remain in control of the dog and enjoy a long and cooperative relationship.
The best type of collar to use for puppies is one that utilizes a microphone to detect the sound of nuisance barking. The type of bark collar that uses a vibration sensor is more likely to be triggered by anything like sudden movements or loud noises.
Many pet owners are uncomfortable with the thought of using a static shock bark collar on their furball. There are many other methods of correction at your disposal instead, as outlined above.
When you can put a bark collar on a puppy, then?
When Is a Puppy Old Enough to Wear a Bark Collar?
Although pups of any age could be trained with a humane bark collar, most experts and pet professionals suggest waiting until your new puppy is at least six months old before you fit him with a bark collar.
Use the first six months of Rover’s life to bond with your furball and to establish yourself in an alpha role as pack leader. Once you have created this foundation and he hits six months of age, it’s possible to start introducing training tools like bark collars.
Do Bark Collar Come with Minimum Recommended Weight Limits?
Most bark collars, even training collars for small dogs are not generally recommended for dogs weighing less than 8 pounds.
If you have a toy breed or a teacup breed, you may find that their dainty necks are just not made for bark collars at all. What can you do, then, to train a puppy not to bark if you are unable to utilize a bark collar?
What Are the Alternatives to Bark Collars for Puppies?
Maybe your dog is too small to comfortably wear a bark collar without it being so loose that it becomes ineffective. Perhaps you just don’t like the idea of using any form of unpleasant stimulation at all to discourage your dog from nuisance barking.
If you are averse to using a bark collar on your puppy, there is no substitute for hands-on training using bundles of positive reinforcement.
One way to achieve this without a bark collar is to expose your dog to more and more stimuli liable to trigger barking, continuously rewarding him when he fails to bark. Give him a cuddle and one of his favorite treats. Start increasing the stimulation until your puppy starts to associate refraining from barking with being rewarded.
If you find you are still unable to prevent your dog from barking too much, it might be time to call a professional dog trainer for some advice and assistance.
Pointers to Keep in Mind When You Are Training Puppies
- Pack plenty of patience. Puppies are similar to newborn babies in many ways. Just like humans, dogs learn from experience. Your pup will always be watching you to pick up on the behavioral indications and markers that you give him.
- If you notice that your new puppy is crying, a bark collar is unlikely to be the best solution to this problem. Puppies often whimper, usually to let you know that they are hungry, in distress, or afraid.
- Your aim is not to stop your dog from barking. Barking is the primary method of communication for canines. That said, minimizing excessive or nuisance barking is understandable and acceptable.
- Always check that your puppy is healthy before using any kind of training equipment.
- Include positive reinforcement during training with any device to improve results and to keep your puppy happy.
As long as you wait until your new puppy is at least six months old, you can train them against nuisance barking with a bark collar with no problems.
There is no guarantee that a bark collar will generate a positive outcome, though. If you are unsure about the temperament of your dog and how he will respond to correction, it is well worth considering a training collar that offers multiple methods of correction. That way, you can test whether an ultrasonic beep or a vibrating alert will be enough to distract your puppy from barking. If not, a multipurpose collar will give you the additional option of using various levels of static shock correction.
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