Bark Bark Bark

Some canine behavior problems, such as house soiling, affect only a dog’s owners. However, problems such as escaping and excessive barking can result in neighborhood disputes and violations of animal control ordinances. Therefore, barking dogs can become people-problems. If your dog’s barking has created neighborhood tension, it might be a good idea to discuss the problem with your neighbors. It’s perfectly normal and reasonable for dogs to bark from time to time, just as children make noise when they play outside. However, continual barking for long periods of time is a sign that you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

The first thing you need to do is determine when and for how long your dog barks, and what’s causing them to bark. You may need to do some detective work to obtain this information, especially if the barking occurs when you’re not home. Ask your neighbors, drive or walk around the block and watch and listen for a while, or start a tape recorder or video camera when you leave for work. Hopefully, you’ll be able to discover which of the common problems discussed below is causing your dog’s barking.

Bored and Lonely

Your dog may be barking because they're bored and lonely if:


Expand your dog’s world and increase his people time in the following ways:

Guarding Territory

Your dog may be barking to guard their territory if:



Your dog’s barking may be a response to something they are afraid of if:


Separation Anxiety

Your dog may be barking due to separation anxiety if:


Separation anxiety can often be resolved using counter-conditioning and desensitization techniques – ask us for help.

Bark Collars

Bark collars are designed to deliver an aversive/correction whenever your dog barks. There are several different kinds of bark collars.

Citronella Collar

This collar contains a reservoir of citronella solution that sprays into your dog’s face every time they bark. A citronella collar is considered relatively humane. One possible drawback is that the collar contains a microphone, so the aversive is delivered in response to the sound of the bark. Therefore, other noises are likely to set off the collar, causing your dog to be sprayed even if he hasn’t barked. Also, some dogs can tell when the citronella reservoir is empty and will resume barking, or will bark until the collar is empty to relieve stress and allow for barking. Dogs wearing citronella collars are just as likely to have increased barking due to increased stress, develop other behaviour problems, or shut down emotionally as they are to quit barking.

Aversive Sound Collar

This collar emits a high-frequency sound when your dog barks. Some are activated by the noise of the bark, while others are hand-held and activated by a handler. The rate of success for this type of collar is reportedly rather low although the collars are more humane than the other two collars mentioned here. Used properly, the sound interrupts the behaviour (barking) and allows you to tell your dog what to do instead i.e. come here. The collar is rarely effective all by itself as the dog learns to ignore the sound.

Electric Shock Collar

We don’t recommend an electric shock collar to control your dog’s barking. The electric shock is painful to your dog and many dogs will choose to endure the pain and continue barking. Dogs have been known to bark themselves into a pain-stimulated frenzy, to be shocked when other loud noises happen, and to have injuries including burnt skin, holes in the neck, and severe burns from wet weather. This does not happen with all collars or with all dogs however the possibility of these inhumane situations is much higher with this type of collar and is something we would not recommend under any circumstances. The success rate of this type of collar is less than 50%.

The main drawback of any bark collar is that it doesn’t address the underlying cause of the barking. The collar interrupts the barking but does not teach the dog what to do instead. You may be able to eliminate the barking, but symptom substitution may occur and your dog may begin digging, escaping, or become destructive or even aggressive. The use of a bark collar must be in conjunction with behavior modification based on the reason for the barking, as outlined above. You should never use a bark collar on your dog if their barking is due to separation anxiety, fears, or phobias because punishment always makes fear and anxiety behaviours worse. Always ask a trainer you trust, or two, before buying or using a bark collar on your dog.


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