The 3 best bark collars and deterrents in 2021

  • If you’ve already tried training methods preferred by the Humane Society, you may want to try a non-static bark collar.
  • Types of no-shock bark collars include spray collars, ultrasonic collars, and vibration collars.
  • Always consult your veterinarian before introducing a bark collar to your dog.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Karie Johnson, veterinarian and co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, a mobile vet service in the south suburbs of Chicago.

Bark collars are designed to help break excessive barking habits. We spoke with veterinary behaviorist Katherine Houpt, a professor at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, to better understand how these collars work.

It’s important to understand that barking is a natural way that dogs communicate with each other and with humans. Training your dog to stop barking by identifying the root of the behavior and using positive training techniques should always be your first attempt.

“Dogs hardly ever bark just for the sake of barking — they usually have a reason for it,” Houpt said. “If you can find the reason for it, you might be able to eliminate the barking without having to punish the dog.”

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The collars in this guide work by administering an unpleasant stimulus when your dog barks. The stimulus could be a vibration, high-pitched sound, or scented spray. Other anti-bark collars administer a static shock, but we do not endorse their use as they can cause both physical and psychological harm to a dog. You can read more about each type of collar at the end of this guide.

The various types of no-shock bark collars can be safe and effective when used properly. Houpt explained that timing is important with these collars. The collar must be triggered immediately after the bark in order for the dog to make the association. The stimulus is meant to deter a dog from barking through causation — a dog will associate barking with discomfort. However, if used incorrectly, they can create additional stress for a dog.

Based on this information, we researched the best spray, ultrasonic, and vibration bark collars. If you’ve been thinking about getting one for your pet, be sure to consult your veterinarian first.

Here are the best bark collars in 2021

  • Best spray bark collar: Petsafe Remote Spray Trainer Collar
  • Best vibration bark collar: DogRook Bark Control Collar
  • Best ultrasonic bark deterrent: Modus Ultrasonic Bark Control Dxevice
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With three levels of correction, a spray, a tone, and a vibration, the Petsafe Remote Spray Trainer Collar is one of the more versatile bark collars available. 

Pros:Three training options, remote range of 300 yards, includes one unscented and one citronella cartridge, rechargeable

Cons: Not for dogs under 8 pounds, manual control only, refills needed frequently

Spray collars work by releasing a plant-based fragrance, usually a citronella spray, each time a dog barks. While we humans may enjoy the smell, dogs typically do not.

Houpt conducted a study comparing citronella collars to shock collars and found the spray collar to be more favorable. “The owners of the dogs were happier with the citronella collar. Also, it may annoy them, but it doesn’t hurt the dog,” she said.

The Petsafe Remote Spray Trainer comes with three training options: a spray, a tone, and a vibration. Each training option must be manually activated using the remote control when within a range of 300 yards of the rechargeable collar. A tone can be set to accompany either a spray or a vibration.

The collar can be loaded with a scented or an unscented canister. The scented canister emits a lemon odor that is 1% citronella and 99% aerosol, while the unscented canister is 100% aerosol. Each canister provides up to 35 sprays and can be used on dogs larger than 8 pounds.

According to Houpt, the use of citronella won’t have any adverse effects on the dog or make the dog sick. Although this is her preferred type of bark collar, she said that some dogs, particularly larger ones, will get used to it and it will lose its effectiveness.

According to Houpt, the use of citronella won’t have any adverse effects on the dog or make the dog sick. Although this is her preferred type of bark collar, she said that some dogs, particularly larger ones, will get used to it and it will lose its effectiveness.

The best vibration bark collar

With seven levels of vibration and sound, the DogRook Bark Control Collar is a shock-free alternative to static shock collars. 

Pros: Seven levels of vibrations and sounds, water-resistant

Cons: Not for dogs under 11 pounds, may not work for large dogs or those with thick coats

Instead of emitting a shock, the Dog Rook Bark Control Collar vibrates when it detects barking, offering seven levels of sound and vibration. When your dog barks, the collar will administer a short beep, then a longer beep, then a beep plus vibration, and so on up to seven levels. Once the collar reaches the seventh level, it will enter a one-minute hibernation mode.

The Dog Rook Bark Control Collar comes with two sets of plastic prongs, one shorter and one longer, for both short- and long-haired dogs. The prongs are designed to detect movement of the vocal cords so the collar should not activate if another dog is barking nearby.

Dog Rook’s anti-bark collar is adjustable for dogs weighing 11 to 110 pounds, of all breeds and ages. When fitting the collar, make sure that it is not too tight or restricting but that the probes are within a finger’s thickness of the dog’s skin so they feel the vibration.

Although Houpt doesn’t have experience using vibration collars, she said in general, “I think they can wear their [bark] collars all the time, but you have to be careful because if you have them tight enough to be effective, it may actually do skin damage.” The manufacturer advises that the collar be worn no longer than 8 to 12 hours at a time. If worn longer or fitted improperly, the probes can rub and irritate the skin.

The best ultrasonic bark deterrent

The Modus Ultrasonic Bark Control Device is a manual, standalone device that you can use to help curb your dog’s barking or discourage other unwanted behavior.

Pros: Simple and easy design

Cons: Manual control only, some dogs will habituate to the sound, any dog within range can hear it

The Modus Ultrasonic Dog Bark Deterrent emits a high-pitched frequency when a dog’s bark is detected. When your dog barks, just press the battery-powered control device and a 25,000-Hz signal will sound. Most ultrasonic deterrents start at frequencies around 25,000 Hz so that only dogs can hear them. Dogs are capable of hearing frequencies as high as 47,000 Hz to 65,000 Hz, while adult humans cannot hear frequencies above 20,000 Hz, according to the American Kennel Club.

With this collar, your dog will hear the sound when they are within 16.4 feet of the device. But, remember, any dog within range can pick up the frequency, so it’s best to use it in a single-dog home. It should also not be used with puppies younger than 6 months old.

Although there is a range restriction, this device is a great tool because it allows you to correct different types of barking in various situations. Houpt explained that dogs bark for many reasons. Sometimes they bark to alert us of an intruder, and sometimes they bark because they want the Thanksgiving leftovers. 

But this collar may not be a long-term solution. “The ultrasound usually works at first, and then the dogs habituate to it,” Houpt said. What works on one dog may not work on another. Users have found similar results using the Modus, while others have been able to curb their dog’s barking when necessary.

Prior to using the Modus, it’s best to have a veterinarian check your dog’s hearing and assess their demeanor to determine if an ultrasonic deterrent is the best bark-control tool for them.

Types of bark collars

Houpt helped us understand how each type of bark collar works. These are the four types of bark collars:

  • Spray bark collar: These collars release an unpleasant plant-based scent around your dog’s nose. Most spray collars use citronella, which is a natural repellent. While we may enjoy this smell, bugs and animals do not.
  • Ultrasonic bark collar: A dog’s hearing is far more sensitive than ours, making them able to hear pitches and frequencies we cannot. Ultrasonic bark collars, when triggered, will produce an “annoying” high-pitched sound that only dogs can hear.
  • Vibration bark collar: When triggered by your dog’s bark, this type of collar will activate a series of vibration intensities. These are more of an annoyance to the dog, and if used properly, the dog will associate the vibration as a result of the bark.
  • Static shock collar: Houpt advises against the use of a shock collar and some retailers, like Petco, no longer sell these static collars, which can cause both physical and psychological harm. When a dog barks, this type of collar emits a static shock through electrodes on the collar. These shocks are similar to what we feel when we get shocked by static electricity. Many collars offer various settings and intensities depending on the dog’s size and severity of the barking. 
  • Static shock collar: Houpt advises against the use of a shock collar and some retailers, like Petco, no longer sell these static collars, which can cause both physical and psychological harm. When a dog barks, this type of collar emits a static shock through electrodes on the collar. 
    Static shock collar: Veterinarians, including Houpt, do not recommend these collars and some retailers, like Petco, no longer sell static collars, which can cause both physical and psychological harm. When a dog barks, this type of collar emits a static shock through electrodes on the collar. According to a study by the University of Lincoln in the UK, positive reinforcement training is more effective than a shock collar when training a dog not to bark.

What we're currently testing

Below are the bark collars we’re testing for an update to this guide in summer 2021. 

  • PATPET P630 600M No Electric Shock Remote Dog Training Collar
  • Petsafe Spray Bark Collar
  • Petsafe Ultrasonic Bark Control Collar
  • Petsafe Vibration Bark Control Collar
  • Petsafe Elite Little Dog Spray Collar
  • Eyenimal Canicom Spray No Bark Dog Collar
  • Eyenimal Deluxe Lemon Scented Spray No Bark Dog Collar
  • Frisco No Shock Dog Bark Collar

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