No-bark collars: is it mistreatment?

No-bark collars are used when training dogs that tend to bark very often. They are designed to correct this sometimes downright harassing behavior. In recent years these accessories have raised a lot of controversy, as there are many people who consider their use a case of mistreatment of animals. Below we will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of using these tools.

Types of collar

Electronic collars detect the vibrations produced by the dog’s vocal cords when he barks .   When they detect these vibrations, they emit a small electric shock that hits the animal’s neck. Some pet shops that sell this type of product claim that these shocks are similar to what we ourselves experience every day by touching, for example, a metal railing or other people who have become charged with electrostatic charges in some way. .

This type of collar is strongly criticized by some animal rights organizations, as they consider the use of tools that cause pain to animals as a form of mistreatment. In fact, this type of collar has been abolished in Australia. Similarly, the effectiveness of this type of collar has been questioned by some veterinarians. Some studies state that five out of ten dogs subjected to this tool have not reported any reduction in the frequency of this behavior.

Another type of collar is the one that uses lemongrass spray. They are used by various organizations that deal with the adoption of stray dogs to keep excessive noises under control. The device has a microphone that detects when the dog is barking. As soon as it receives the signal, spray some of this Asian fragrance towards the animal’s nostrils.

These products often have some drawbacks. Sometimes the sensitivity of the microphone is not set correctly in fact it could even detect the barking of other dogs, punishing the animal for something it did not do. This situation confuses the dog and can be counterproductive in modifying his behavior.

Another drawback is that some dogs quickly get used to the smell of lemongrass, thus eliminating any possible effects.

Why do dogs bark?

The Society for the Prevention of Maltreatment of Animals does not recommend the use of electric collars and encourages the search for other methods to reduce excessive barking in dogs. But why do dogs bark?

According to the organization, dogs often bark because they have noticed some reaction to their cries. If a dog barks and receives some attention immediately afterwards , he will learn that after barking he will always receive your attention and that through these annoying noises he can get what he wants, be it food or a play session. If your dog carries his toy towards you and barks, barking is a good way to start the game.

Dogs may also bark in response to the anxiety they experience when their owners are not around. This usually happens soon after the owner leaves the house and is referred to as separation anxiety.

For many owners, any of the above causes is sufficient reason for using such anti-bark collars. However, there are cases where using it is a serious mistake, as the dog may bark because it is in pain, is a little deaf, has cognitive problems or brain diseases that cause it to bark excessively.

To rule out the presence of some of these diseases, it is recommended that you take your dog to the vet before using any type of collar. A thorough check up before starting with trying to change any kind of behavior is the right thing to do.

Furthermore, the decision to use an anti-bark collar is always a free choice of each owner.  Don’t forget, though, that it’s best to try alternative ways to change your dog’s behavior first. Your vet will be able to recommend specific exercises to train your dog to reduce barking and to keep him quiet when needed.

Learn to recognize the triggers that cause your dog to start barking and work hard to eliminate as many triggers as possible, which often cause stress in the pet. Choose this route, as it is often much more effective than using electric collars or sprays. And remember: as with humans, there is no magic cure for changing behavior. You simply need to be patient and encourage positive behaviors.

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