There is a huge range of training collars for dogs and a vociferous debate among owners and trainers as to whether these collars are humane and effective or whether they are cruel and counterproductive. Different types of collar are used for different purposes. The two main uses are for distance control, when the dog is out of the trainer's immediate reach and is not on a leash and the second aim is to control excessive barking. The distance training collar enables the trainer to administer a shock to the dog, by using a handheld transmitter which causes an electric pulse in the collar. This distracts the dog from whatever undesirable behavior it is currently doing and lets the trainer get his attention. Critics of these collars maintain that they are inhumane and hurt the animal, partly because it is difficult to know how severe the pain is.
This can disorientate the dog, so that it doesn't associate the shock with the desired effect. Such confusion is obviously counterproductive. For instance, your dog won't come when you call him and pays you no attention, so you clicj the remote. He may well associate the pain with being called, so every time you call him you provoke a nervous or aggressive reaction, depending on the dog's temperament. If the dog has a naturally aggressive nature he may attack you, because he sees you as the source of his discomfort and the fear that you are hostile to him.
If the dog has a nervous disposition and doesn't realise why he is being punished, this will only make him worse. That's the case for the prosecution. There will be many people who claim that one of these collars has saved their dog' life.
They cite cases, where a normally obedient dog has one undesirable trait which cannot be controlled, such as chasing cars or bikes, or worrying farm animals. If they can instantly stop this bad behavior, even from a distance, then this can save the dog's life. Another huge area of the market for control collars is aimed at stopping or controlling excessive barking. These products are different from the distance control collars, because they are not activated by the owner but by the dog itself.
There are broadly three categories of anti-barking collar: those that emit a spray, that the dog finds objectionable: those that emit a high-pitched noise, which humans can't hear: and those that administer a static shock, similar to the distance collars described above. These collars are often worn by the dog when the owner is not present, for instance to stop a dog from barking while the owner is out at work. This situation can cause its own set of problems. If the dog is exposed to this unpleasant or painful stimulus for hours at an end, what state will he be in when you get home? If you have the time, the patience and the knowledge, then by far the best solution is to train your dog to bark at appropriate times and to get him to "Speak and be "Quiet" on command.
There are plenty of excellent training courses available at reasonable prices. More details in the links below. However, if all else fails, you may want to choose from these three types of anti-barking collar. 1) Citronella Spray Collar: This works by spraying a mist of citronella in front of the dog's nose.
Citronella is a colorless or light yellow liquid with a distinctive smell of wood or grass, which dogs find offensive but people quite like it. The spray is triggered when the dog barks. Citronella is not quite as innocuous as the manufacturers may infer. The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for this product states: "Used as an insect repellent : Physical data - Appearance: colourless or light yellow liquid with characteristic odour of wood or grass : Flammable : Toxicology - May be harmful if ingested in quantity. May act as a skin or eye irritant".
2) Sonic Control Collar: This is an electronic collar which emits a high-pitched sound, when triggered by the barking. The sound is above the frequency audible to human ears but the dog finds it annoying and is discouraged from barking. These devices usually have a control to adjust the sensitivity. 3) Electric Shock Collar: Not normally described by the manufacturer or the retailer in these terms but that is what it does. This would appear to be the least popular of the three products, precisely because it causes the dog some degree of pain and it is difficult for the owner to appreciate how severe that pain is.
Get it right and you'll have friendly neighbors, peaceful nights and a happy dog! Copyright (c) 2008 Ken Charles.
Should you use a collar to stop your dog barking or is there a better way?