4 Types of Collars to Control Nuisance Barking
Petsafe is the most widely known brand when it comes to anti-bark dog collars. The company offers four main types of bark control collars. I'll provide a brief overview of each one, along with a more detailed review of the Petsafe bark collar that I personally own (the PetSafe Deluxe Little Dog Bark Control Collar).
PetSafe Bark Collar
Type #1 - Spray Collars
These anti-bark collars release a scented mist when the dog barks. Petsafe happens to use a "lemon" formula, while other manufactures use a citronella spray. Citronella spray collars for dogs are a humane alternative to pain-based collars, and have been shown to actually be more effective. I assume that Petsafe's lemon scent produces similar results. There are collars available in both big dog and small dog sizes. One model simply listens for a bark, but all of the dogs I spoke with think that method is unfair because another dog's bark can set it off. There are other Petsafe dog collars that both listen for a bark sound and also feel for vibrations in your dogs neck with a vibration sensor. These are typically labeled "deluxe" and cost a little bit more, but they ensure no false positives when it comes to detecting your dog's bark.
Type #2 - Static Collars
"Static" is a nice way of saying "electricity." These Petsafe bark collars emit a small shock through two prongs to the dogs neck when a bark is detected. There are models that detect a bark based on sound, based on the vibration of your dogs neck, or both. PetSafe's system is unique in that the collars begin by administering a very small buzz of electricity. The voltage is stepped up over time if the dog continues to bark. The collar will remember the level of voltage that worked last and will use that level of correction in the future. You, the pet owner, can always reset it back to level 1. Static collars are the mostly widely known type of anti-bark collar.
Type #3 - Ultrasonic
These devices are available from Petsafe as both collars and free-standing units. They work by emitting an annoying, high pitch sound whenever a bark is detected. Don't worry, you won't be able to hear the sound yourself unless you have super hero hearing. Dogs begin to associate barking with this irritating sound and it deters them from barking (at least that's the theory). I have not tried these devices myself, but the reviews on amazon for these types of devices are not very good. You'll find comments like "I can hear the noise myself," "my dog's movement sometimes sets it off," and "my dog destroyed this device."
Type #4 - Vibration
As you might expect by the description, these Petsafe bark collars deliver a vibration (there are 10 different varies/sequences of vibration) when the dog barks. Please note that this vibration is not a code word for electricity--it is simply a vibration, which is designed to interrupt and distract the dog from the act of barking. These collars detect barks based on the methods I've described previously (neck vibration, sound, or a combination of the two). I have not used these vibration devices myself, nor are there many accounts from customers, so I cannot attest to the efficacy of vibration anti-bark dog collars.
My Review of the PetSafe Deluxe Little Dog Bark Control Collar
The Petsafe bark collar I own is the one pictured above. It delivers an electric shock based on both sound and vibration sensors. I opted for the vibration sensor so that my dog wouldn't be punished for other barkers in the neighborhood. The collar will start with a very small shock, and slowly increase the intensity if the small shocks are not working.
In a nutshell, I give this collar a B+. It is difficult to get the collar on my dog's neck tight enough for the sensor to feel the vibration, but not so tight that it is choking my dog. As a result, there are many barks that go undetected. However, I have noticed a reduction in barking as a result of the collar. This product has not solved the problem, but a reduction in barking is better than nothing.
It is also important to note that most of these Petsafe brand bark collars, if not all, use a battery supplied by the company. The sales rep at Petsmart suggested I would need to change the battery every 3-6 months, so that is another cost consideration to keep in mind.
There are few things more annoying than a barking dog. Fortunately, Petsafe offers a wide variety of anti-bark products to try. Remember that these devices are not 100% effective, and every dog is different. I've found the "static" collar to be effective in reducing nuisance barking, but not eliminating it entirely. I hope you have even better luck than I did with one of these four varieties of Petsafe bark collars.