All dogs bark but some dogs don't know when to quit. Problematic barking occurs when the dog does not obey the commands of his owner to stop barking or he starts barking again as soon as his owner is out of sight. Bark collars fit around a dog's neck as a normal collar would but they include an apparatus that emits an electrical shock, a piercing noise or a puff of citronella when the dog barks in an attempt to discourage the dog from further barking.
- There are two types of electronic shock collars: ones that operate independently with a bark detector, and ones that emit a shock to the dog's neck only when activated by remote control. While both are capable of delivering a painful electrical charge to the dog, only the remote controlled shock collar can be used when the dog's owner or trainer feels a shock is appropriate.
The upside to an electronic shock collar is that the dog may quickly change his barking behavior to avoid pain. The downside, according to Linda Colflesh, author of "Making Friends Training Your Dog Positively," is that an electronic shock is nothing more than punishment and that it could make a dog timid, frightful and anxious. In addition, indiscriminate use may make some dogs mean and aggressive.
- Some no-bark collars detect a bark and emit a high-pitched squeal that is very uncomfortable to a dog's sensitive ears. Most noise collars work as a single unit on the dog's neck and have a sensitivity adjustment. While these collars may be an effective barking deterrent for some dogs, if the sensitivity is not adjusted correctly, nearby sounds of children playing or other noises may trigger the squeal, unfairly punishing the dog.
- Designed in the same manner as the shock collar and the noise collar, the citronella version either detects a bark or is triggered by remote. Colflesh reports that citronella may startle the dog but will not harm him and she approves of the use of these collars with dogs that aren't sensitive. She advises that a sensitive dog may still become fearful and that the success of this collar depends upon additional hands-on training for the dog and his owner.