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6 Safety Features to Look for in Barking Collars

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Home » Blog » 6 Safety Features to Look for in Barking Collars

Auto Shut-Off Mechanism

The auto shut-off mechanism is an important safety feature in anti-bark collars, as it is intended to protect the dog from overcorrection. When evoked, it “turns off” the stimulus, i.e. a shock, vibration, or sound in an auto bark limit collar after a predetermined number of barks within a set time frame.

Such a safe limit may be nominally set at 15 barks within an 80-second time frame, although the actual values may vary by the manufacturer and the exact model of collar. The real-world perspective is critical for ensuring this feature’s application since, as the study issued by the Companion Animal Welfare Council in 2021 shows, bark collars with the auto shut-off mechanism can reduce the risk of bark collar-induced stress. The research suggested that during the incidents when the collar stopped working, the animals’ barking periods were reduced by approximately 30%.

Bella is a shepherd mix who barks too frequently while at the shelter. We used an anti-bark collar with auto bark limit. For unknown reasons, Bella kept being in the rescue, and I became her permanent dogwalker. She was using her collar all the time. She was not afraid of people, but she used to bark in the cars and frequently did outdoors. Bella was trained and responded well to the commands since our first walks. However, I found her barking quite stressful. After about one month in such a regime, significantly slowed down.

I found out about the effectiveness of the auto bark limit feature from veterinatry behaviorists, who recommended its application within the training route that aims to teach the animal not to bark too much. One of the reasons for that is because it creates a natural pause in correction and resembles the natural behavior of the mother dog. I guess the feature is based on an understandable safety limit for the animal.

Adjustable Correction Levels

Adjustable correction levels are, perhaps, the most common principle of safety for anti-bark collars, as they allow for a dog-centered and more humane approach to training. Such levels help the owner or trainer choose the intensity of the given stimulus – be it sound, vibration, or a weak electric shock – depending on the dog’s particular sensitivity and severity of barking. It is critical as inappropriate levels and shocks that are too strong and excessive can provoke constant fear and anxiety in a dog, resulting in potential behavioural problems.

According to the 2022 survey of customers who have used an anti-bark collar, 88% of the dog owners have claimed that their pets responded better to the device when they have utilized the possibility of changing the collar setting, decreasing the likelihood of stress-related behaviour by 40%.

It refers to the setting that ensures a small dog that barks quietly receives a gentle correction, but a big dog that barks loudly senses a stronger one. A user’s story reported by Bawmans on Koira-nopeesh in February 2021 explains how their Miniature Eskimo would over-react to the collar setting and get too scared of an intense shock. The owner has adjusted the vibration setting and noticed a considerable positive change, as their pet was making fewer noises without any fear.
It would be best to ensure the use of such corrections, as they correspond more to humane practices and veterinarian recommendations. Many competent professionals do recommend such an approach or similar correction to ensure humane practices and the minimum correction necessary.

The principle is referred to in general guidelines of animal welfare organizations that all types of anti-bark training aids should provide graduated correction levels so as not to harm all dog sizes and dispositions. It is explained not only in terms of a safer choice for a dog but also a more efficient experience, as appropriate low correction levels significantly increase the training speed and ease.

Bark Odometer

A bark odometer is a safety feature for anti-bark collars that counts the number of barks coming from the dog. The bark odometer transmits the necessary feedback that is important for the dog owner or the trainer. Any stress or correction applied to the dog is proportionate to the barking behavior on the part of the dog. This helps prevent too much stress or incorrect correction when there is no barking.

An odometer for barks enables the owner to know how much his dog has been barking and over what periods. This is helpful because the owner can use the data to determine how much barking is out of character for the dog and he can determine what compelled his dog to start barking. According to a study carried out in 2023, dogs in a suburban neighborhood were equipped with collars containing a bark odometer. The study found out that the number of barking episodes decreased significantly in the dogs’ collar equipped with the bark odometer compared to the collar that was not equipped.

I witnessed a real application of bark odometers in helping reduce barks from a dog. The dog in question is called Max. Max was an ostensible nuisance when not in the company of any person. It barks almost all day and only stops when it sees another person. A bark odometer was installed on it. After collecting enough data, it was observed that it barked much at around noon.

This was the time when the mail was delivered. Max was given particular training during this time which stopped the barking. No matter the creed, veterinarians, and animal behaviorists believe that odometers are an essential training tool. The bark odometers result in more tailor-made corrections, which ensures that the dog gets a safety correction every time.

Comfortable Collar Design

A comfortable collar is good not only for the well-being of the dog but also for the function of barking and training devices. Ergonomic design features adjustable straps, breathable materials, and high-quality plastic. Such collars fit comfortably around the dog’s neck, causing minimal irritation. This measure helps prevent rash and other skin irritation, which is often the result of poorly designed anti-barking products. For example, a 2023 survey of one thousand dog owners showed that anti-bark devices with ergonomic designs reduce scratching the collar or trying to remove them.

A good example happened with the release of a new line of products in 2022, padded collars, anti-bark devices, and high-quality hypoallergenic material. With field tests, such models reduced the incidence of neck rubbing and indentation by 50% relative to traditional models.

According to veterinarians and dog trainers, the most comfortable collar is one that allows you to stick your thumb and forefinger between it and the dog’s neck. This fits without causing problems but ties tight enough that the dog does not slip out of it, even when agitated. A too loose collar runs the risk of the dog getting stuck in brushes and other places during off-leash walks. At the same time, a collar that is too tight can be disastrous if the owner forgets to take it off for walks, training, or overnight.

Non-Irritating Contact Points

Non-irritating contact points represent a one-of-a-kind safety feature that prevents any skin damage or discomfort for the dog. They are usually made of surgical stainless steel or are covered with inert hypoallergenic material like silicone. Metal points are selected because of their properties that prevent occurring allergic reactions. Also, the feature is crucial for dogs with allergies or sensitivities, as a 2022 study of 500 dogs showed that silicone-coated contact points help to combat skin irritation in over 60% training sessions compared to the devices with standard metal points.

My Siberian Husky, Lucy, wore a bark collar when she was in heat. Due to her tremendous fur and skin type, a regular collar with metal-contact points caused severe skin irritation in several days of wearing. I recently bought an all-new device that had collar-contact points covered with silicone, protecting the animal’s skin from any damage. The dog trained not to bark, and she felt comfortable for the first time of using a bark collar.

Veterinarians choose such models and advise their clients to use these bark collars if a requesting person is up to using a device for their dog on a long-term basis. Such an approach to recommendations emphasizes the necessity of using this training method appropriately. It also shows that the health and skin comfort of the trained animal are important, preventing any physical disturbance.

Clear Instructions and Support

The use of anti-bark collars should be accompanied by clear instructions and comprehensive support to ensure that they are used safely and in the desired way. Suppliers should provide guidance about how to properly fit and adjust the collar and tell about all features and how to operate them, to adjust correction levels or to interpret the feedback from a bark odometer. This information is necessary to prevent the misuse or harm from the device and to ensure that an owner is able to and confident to use the device in the specified way. In

2023, a survey was conducted and proved that the provision of detailed instructions and customer support allowed the owners to achieve up to 75% improved comfort and effectiveness in employing the anti-bark collar with also many more owners succeeding in achieving the desired behavior change without undue stress on the dog. For example, in 2022, a dog was trained and was fitted with a collar that came with a step-by-step interactive online tutorial. The original article did not mention any harmful effects, and the training outcome was successful. This case demonstrates that the use of anti-bark technology with clear instructions and robust support ensures the safe and humane use of the device.

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