Starting Bark Collar Training Picking A Style

Before you start training your dog to control his or her barking, you need to understand the reasoning behind its problem and choose a training method. Perhaps most importantly, you need pick a style of training collar that will work best for your specific pooch.
Today, there are four different types of bark collars that are popular with pet owners and trainers. Check them out below:

Which Collar is Right For Your Dog?

  • Static Bark Collars: This is the most popular type of bark collar. When most people think of a bark collar, they think of static collars. Just like the "old-school" traditional shock collars, these give stimulation to your dog via prongs when it barks too loud or incessantly. These collars are known to be very effective in training, but can sometimes cause irritations to dogs with very sensitive skin.
  • Spray Bark Collars: These are the latest bark collars on the market, but they are quickly increasingly in popularity. Just like other bark collars, the Spray Collars have a sensor that detects when Fido is barking. Instead of a static shock, though, the dog receives a harmless blast of citronella spray near the dog's snout. The squirt of liquid is meant to grab the dog's attention so that you can give them a "no" warning. It also is an annoyance to your dog and quiets them quickly.
  • Vibrating Collars: Some static collars come with rubber covers for prongs or have "vibrate-only" settings. The vibration can get your dog's awareness from barking and allows them to realize that it is only triggered when they are barking.
  • Ultrasonic Collars: Dogs are able to hear pitches that humans cannot. These collars take advantage of that virtue. By emitting an ultrasonic sound that is only audible to dogs, your pooch will be startled and discouraged from barking. According to studies, ultrasonic collars work best for young dogs.

Which Dogs Should Avoid Bark Collars?

There are only a four types of bark collars that are commonly used by pet owners, but all of them have their perfect place in bark training. Since some of the collars can be harmful to certain sizes of dogs or canines with health conditions, it's important to know your dog before buying a collar. Also, consulting a vet before using a bark collar is wise. Below are some conditions you should be aware of with your dog before purchasing a collar.

  • Skin Problems: If your dog has irritated skin, scabs or an unusual amount of flakes and rashes, you should avoid static and vibrating collars. The stimulation and rubbing from the collars can make the skin problems even worse.
  • Aggressive Dogs: Behavior problems can make all types of training difficult for a pet owner. Dogs that are overly aggressive can quickly become angered from any form of stimulation. It's best to work on a dog's behavior issues before considering a bark collar of any type. A bark collar will not fix any behavior problems for overly aggressive dogs.
  • Puppies/Untrained Dogs: Bark training should not be the first type of command that your dog learns. To successfully train your dog, your pet should be able to learn and comprehend basic commands to be able to understand the stimulation it receives its bark collar. As a rule of thumb, four to six months old is OK for dogs to start bark training, but they should already know how to "sit" and "stay."
By Sean Bowes

Fitting Your Dog's Bark Collar

Bark and Training Collars come in a variety of styles and sizes to fit dogs that range in size from 4lbs to 200lbs. When you are shopping for a collar, it is essential that you purchase the appropriate collar for the specific size of your dog. Most pet brands label their collars from Small to Extra Large. Below is a chart for the different sizes of dogs.

  • Extra Small (XS) Dogs: 4-8lbs.
  • Small Dogs: 8-15lbs.
  • Medium Dogs: 15-40lbs.
  • Large Dogs: 41-70lbs.
  • Extra Large (70lbs +)

Putting On The Collar Properly

After you have purchased the right sized bark collar, it is time fit it on your dog. The most important part of fitting a collar is ensuring that the contact points have direct contact with your dog's skin. The contact points should be on the bottom side of your dog's neck.
To make sure the collar will work effectively, be sure to follow this procedure:

  1. Take off any other collars, bandanas or accessories that could come in the way with prongs.

  2. Double check that the battery is removed from the Bark Collar while testing the fit of the collar.

  3. Install the Bark Collar. It should have the prongs centered below your dog's neck and the collar should be near its ears.

  4. Make sure the prongs are touching your dog's skin, not just its hair. If you have a particularly furry dog, trim some hair away or purchase longer prongs to touch the contact points. Do not shave your dog's neck - This can lead to irritation.

  5. Check the snugness. It should not feel like you are constricting your dog's neck. You should be able to put one finger in between the prongs and your dog's skin.

  6. With the battery off, let your dog wear the collar for several minutes. This will allow the collar to settle and form to your dog's body. This also loosens up the collars material as it breaks in. Re-adjust the size if necessary.

  7. If there seems to be too much length on the collar, remove it and trim away excess material from the strap. Use a lighter to burn off any frayed edges.

Your dog's collar should now seem comfortable. The contact points should be centered on the bottom side of your dog's neck with the clasp correctly. Avoid attaching a leash to any bark or training collar. It is also smart to invest in a body harness and separate leash when you are ready to start lessons. Now you are ready to begin training your dog to control its barking habit.

By Sean Bowes

Bark Collars Beginning Training

Once you have purchased the appropriate bark collar for the size and temperament of your dog, you can start to think about training your pet to quiet down. A pooch that is an incessant barker can be a hassle and it can put a strain on the owner/pet relationship. However, a training collar can be useful tool in controlling a dog's bad barking habit.

After you have purchased your collar, you should have fit and adjust it for your dog and the prongs shouldn't seem uncomfortable. Before you charge or install the batteries for the collar, be sure to give your dog a bath. This will be a weekly ritual while you are Bark Training. Oils from your dog's skin can make the collar's prongs ineffective, so it's important to keep those clean, too. You will also want to make sure that you rinse the collar with mild hand soap every week to keep it operating seamlessly (don't worry, the bark collars are waterproof.)

The First Training Sessions

Before the first training sessions, make sure to play and exercise with your dog. You do not want your dog to become too distracted or excited for the first lessons.

Now, you can install the batteries and/or take the collar off the charger. After your dog has settled down or after a nice walk, you can put on the collar. A familiar place like a living room is a good place to start. For some dogs, the static or stimulation from the collar can be confusing and frightening at first, so it's vital for the owner to stay nearby when the collar is triggered. A calm but assertive attitude along with positive reinforcement is important to ease your pet.

Most dogs rapidly understand that their bark is triggering the stimulation and quickly learn that quieting down can stop the shock, spray, vibration or sound (depending on your collar's feature). If your dog barks even more during the first corrective stimulations, soothe and try to relax your dog. Do not panic or yell commands at your pet, as it could stress them. Instead, try petting your dog and speaking calmly. Eventually, your dog should settle down and cease its barking.

Continuing Bark Training

As far as training goes, the first day or two of wearing a bark collar is the most difficult for dogs and owners alike. It may take awhile for your dog to understand the correlation between the stimulation and its barking, but patience and persistence should generate positive results.

You should not leave the bark / training collar on your dog for more than 12 hours. The area where your dog's skin touches the contact points should be inspected regularly, too.

After the first seven days of training, you should notice dramatic results. However, it's important to keep the collar on anytime you don't want your dog to bark continually. A lapse in wearing its collar and not being corrected is a serious setback in bark training for your dog.

Sometime during the second week of training, it's common for dogs to "test the limits" of the bark collar. Now that your pet has become familiar with the stimulation, it will try to "act out" and revert to its old barking ways. During this rough period, it's imperative to remain tough and keep the collar on at appropriate times. Ideally, the barking problem will be controlled within a few days. The key to success with a collar is wearing it daily and keeping it well maintained.

Maintaining Your Bark Collar

By now, you should be noticing some improvements with your dog's behavior after starting bark training. Congratulations! A bark / training collar is one of the most useful tools to subdue a dog's problematic barking habit. The maintenance of your dog's bark collar is imperative when training him or her to curb its barking. In terms of cleaning and upkeep, owners need to follow a few steps to keep the collars working optimally.

Weekly Maintenance

Every week there are a few different procedures that pet owners can do to ensure that their bark collars remain in good condition. The upkeep for bark collars allows for safer and more reliable training lessons.

  • Washing Your Dog: Your dog's fur has oils that are rapidly produced. These oils are important for your dog to keep a healthy coat, but it can also make the prongs on bark collars inoperable. Be sure to give a weekly shampoo and wash to your dog's neck region to help keep reliable contact points.

  • Checking Your Dog's Fur: For heavy shedding dogs or canines with thick fur coats, you want to make sure that the prongs have a clear contact point on your dog's skin. Shaving your pooch can irritate its skin, but trimming excess hair is necessary for the collar to work consistently. Use scissors to cut away extra fur.

  • Check Prongs for Tightness: Remove your collar's battery and discharge it. For most bark collars, the battery can be removed using a large coin to twist the back of the collar open, and then you can easily remove the circular battery. With the battery removed, put the collar back on your dog and check the contact points / prongs for tightness. You should be able to fit one finger between the prong and your dog's neck. The prongs should also be snug on the collar, use your hands to adjust if necessary. Do not use a wrench or metal object to tighten the prongs.

  • Clean The Collar: Mild hand soap is perfect for keeping your collar in good working condition. Use a soft washcloth and scrub dirty areas. Most collars are waterproof, but check the manufacturers instructions just to be sure. Also, a deep cleaning with alcohol can keep the prongs in perfect condition, too.

  • Inspect Your Dog's Neck: One of the main criticisms of bark collars is that they have the potential to irritate some dogs' skin. Dogs with sensitive skin and epidermis troubles need to be checked regularly for rashes and irritations that could be caused by a bark collar's prongs. If your dog does have an irritation, stop training with the collar and wait for it to heal. Then, contact a veterinarian for an opinion on re-starting training.

  • Test The Bark Control Collar: Testing your bark collar is easy and doesn't require asking your husband to put it on and say "woof woof." Every week, you should put the collar in "Test Mode." Hold the unit 6-10 inches away from you while watching the Indicator Light. Loudly say "Testing" into the collar and the Indicator Light should flash three times. If your collar does not have an Indicator Light, make sure your collar is "On" and rub the contact points across a rough surface. A coarse counter top or a piece of wood is perfect. After rubbing the probes on area at least 10 inches long, you should hear a beep or see that the probes are producing a static charge.

Discharging The Battery

Knowing how to discharge your dog's bark collar is essential to the maintenance of your collar, and it could save you from zapping yourself with a static charge, too.

Discharging a collar is an important step any time you want to clean your dog's collar or check the probes for tightness. First, remove the battery from the system and wait a moment. Then, rub the contact points across a rough surface (the same way you test to see if the collar is working). The collar may still have enough "juice" without the batteries to produce a charge. Continue to rub the collar across the surface until the Indicator Light shuts off or if it stops beeping.

Do not touch the sensor probes until you have completely discharged your collar.

Testing and Troubleshooting Your Bark Collar

Bark Collars are one of the most useful tools for teaching canines the proper way to behave in public and at home. For years, the pet community has been using the products with much success. Due to the quality and durability of most modern collars, pet owners will rarely have any issues with the functionality of the training tools. However, any time there is electronics involved, there is always a chance for a malfunction.

One of the biggest fears for pet owners is that a Bark Collar will trigger a stimulation without their dog barking. This action is extremely unlikely and collars have specifically been designed not to give a static charge without a bark. Also, a collar will not be triggered when nearby dogs bark, either.

Much more likely, a collar that is not functioning correctly will fail to beep, trigger or have a weak stimulation. Below are the three most common malfunctions with bark collars:

How is Your Collar Malfunctioning?

  • The Bark Collar Does Not Beep: Most bark collars have a buzz or beep that is triggered at the same time your dog barks. This happens when the prongs give a static charge. The beeps allow owners to hear when their dog is being stimulated and it also helps you see when the collar is working. If your collar fails to beep, remove the collar and test it. Testing a collar is simple: Rub the prongs across a rough surface (like a wooden countertop) and see if the collar beeps. If it still fails to beep, check that the batteries are installed correctly and test again. If it continues to fail, replace the batteries and try again. Then, if it still doesn't work, contact the manufacturer for further instructions.

  • The Collar Beeps and Buzzes, But My Dog Keeps Barking: This is especially common with longhaired dogs. The prongs on a collar need a clear contact point to your dog's skin. To ensure a reliable contact point, you must keep your dog's neck hair trimmed (don't shave it, though - this may irritate their skin). Also, make sure the collar is snug. If that doesn't work, try a new battery.

  • Indicator Light Won't Stop Flashing: There is a malfunctioning battery. Check to see the batteries are installed correctly. If the blinking persists, replace the batteries.

  • As with any pet product, it's important that you keep the receipts and register your collar with a manufacturer as soon as you buy it. If your collar is within warranty, you should be able to replace the product with relative ease after you provide proof of purchase. It is also vital to keep up the weekly maintenance of testing and cleaning your collar to ensure that it operates reliably. Avoiding dirt, grime and oils can make your bark collar last for years.

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