HEALTH & CARE

The Best Anti Bark Device: How to Deal with Rover’s Excessive Noise

Barking dog
John Walton
Written by John Walton

There are lots of things that you have to take into account before getting a dog. What breed to pick, how to train the dog, what the dog will need as well as what he or she wouldn’t need, and the list goes one. What most people don’t take into account is the fact that dogs, just like us humans, tend to be either very chatty or overwhelmed by the desire to communicate.

Barking, as we came to call it, is the way in which a dog sort of communicates, but on a more primitive level, letting other dogs and people now how he or she is feeling, as well as alerting everyone in the immediate vicinity if something goes wrong.

That being said, some dogs tend to be a bit too chatty, and they tend to bark excessively. I’m more than sure that you have met this kind of dog before, and you know how annoying it can be to hear the dog barking on and on without a clear provocation or simply because he or she cannot muster the self-control needed in order to not get distracted by the rest of the world. It’s even more annoying when you are trying to sleep after a hard day and you can’t because Fido next door is barking constantly in the yard right next to your window.

So what is there to do? How can you make sure that your dog will not be the dog that annoys the entire neighborhood, as well as keeping the annoying dog or dogs in the neighborhood under control yourself? By looking for the best anti bark devices out there, and as luck would have it, you have quite a generous selection of devices and solutions that you could turn to in order to make this problem a non-issue in the future.

Excessive dog barking

Before moving on, however, you must understand that there are multiple ways of discouraging a dog to bark, and some of them can be a bit inhumane, so think long and hard about your dog and about his or her wellbeing before charging head first at the first thing that you see.

We know how hard and annoying this problem can be, and we can provide you with a list of solutions, as well as the pros and cons tied to every single one of them, in order to help you make the right decision for your dog.

That being said, let’s have a look at the most popular bark deterrent measures and strategies out there.

Harmless and comfortable solutions

These are basically the ones that don’t harm your dog in any way, they don’t cause the dog to lose any bit of comfort and don’t cause the dog to feel forced into something or strong armed into submission.

These are great for puppies and most other dogs, and require a bit of patience on your behalf. These might not be the fastest of solutions, but they are the safest and the most effective overall, not to mention the fact that your dog will thank you for choosing these over the more harmful and uncomfortable ones.

Proper training

I know that this is something that every single dog trainer will tell you, but it is true, and you might want to start paying a little bit more attention to it.

Dog training, regardless of the breed, is supposed to start at a young age, and the dog will be trained to deal with all aspects of life, including barking.

You can have the trainer train the dog to react to a command which will make him stop barking, the dog can be trained to restrain himself or herself and not react to anything and everything, not to mention that the trainer can also teach you a few tips and tricks regarding how to control your dog and how to make him or her stop barking.

Effect of training in the dog brain

There are pros and cons to this, not just pros like some people would have you believe.

Pros:

  • This method is by far the safest, most non-invasive and most reliable one out there.

Granted, when it comes to picking a bark deterrent most people don’t think of training, however it is by far the most effective one, and if anything the dog will be happy to stop barking just to get that feeling of working with the master to achieve a goal.

  • It facilitates control over the dog in a pleasant way
  • It gives both the dog and the owner that extra thread in the bond that they already share.

Even though it might seem a bit hard to fathom, this method does have some cons tied to it, and if they are not taken into account, you might wake up having a few problems on your hands.

Cons:

  • Training tends to be a bit more hectic and more demanding for both the dog and the master if it is done later on in the dog’s life.
  • It requires the owner to constantly practice with the dog and continue training the animal, which most people don’t do after the initial training stage is complete.

Something to note here is the fact that most people expect the dog to be fully trained and accustomed to the commands that they asked for after the training is complete. That is never the case, and in order for the dog to obey said commands, the owner must practice them with the dog constantly, not to mention the fact that the training itself is something that should not be paused or discontinued anyway.

The flex collar

The flex collar is something that is not that uncommon and most pet stores have them. It’s basically a collar that reacts to forces exerted on it. For example, when you pull on it, it tends to flex inwards and tighten itself slightly around the dog’s neck. Don’t worry, it’s not a chokehold and it’s not dangerous for the dog. It is more or less the equivalent of a bib, or a tie that you would wear with a suit.

The flex collar

It does not cause even the slightest bit of discomfort to the dog, nor does it make it hard for the dog to breathe in any way, shape or form, it is designed to attract the dog’s attention and to make him or her feel a bit more secure, thus slightly reinforcing the command that you have given the dog.

Flex collars are slightly more expensive than regular collars, however the difference is minute and overall the flex collar will help you train your dog better.

Pros:

  • It is something that will help you reinforce the training
  • It will make the dog feel a bit more secure and responsive
  • It will give the dog that feeling of safety and that someone is watching over him or her

Cons:

  • The flex collar tends to suffer a lot as a result of wear and tear
  • It is easy to buy the wrong collar for your dog

A quick note here is the fact that people tend to keep collars a bit loose around the dog’s neck. A flex collar is supposed to fit the neck perfectly, otherwise it will slip off when pulled and the dog can actually escape the leash.

Overall the flex collar is a good investment and not at all harmful towards the dog, however this is where the harmless solutions stop, and the more discomforting ones begin to appear.

The slightly uncomfortable solutions

These are basically the solutions that will annoy your dog and cause him or her to be uncomfortable without hurting the dog in any way. These are the measures that you would never use on a puppy, only a fully grown dog, and dogs that tend to be mischievous and a bit too funny for their own good.

One thing to note here is the fact that they are harmless and will not hurt your dog in any way, shape or form; they will just annoy the dog and cause him or her to simply give up just for the sake of ending it.

These methods are effective, by bark deterrent standards, but they will cause the dog to look at you funny from time to time.

Mild spray collars

These come in a wide variety, with all kinds of concoctions ranging from water to citric extracts, which they spray in the dog’s face or nose in order to make the dog stop barking. These are not particularly harmful, except if your dog turns out to be allergic to one or more of the substances that these collars come with.

That being said, the first thing you will have to do is get your dog to the veterinarian and check to see if he or she is allergic to any of the substances that these collars are packing and if so try to avoid the ones that your dog is allergic to.

Mild spray collars

Your safest bet by default is the one that uses water and sprays it in the dog’s face in order to stop the barking.

Pros:

  • It’s effective
  • It’s cheap
  • It tends to come in a wide variety of substances which means that if your dog becomes immune to it you can switch it up a little.

Cons:

  • Dogs by default tend to find things being sprayed in their noses or faces as being extremely annoying
  • It might cause your dog to be slightly more aggressive than usual
  • You run the risk of having your dog go through an allergy attack if your dog turns out to be allergic to one of the substances that these collars come with.

The dog whistle

This one is by far the oldest method of controlling a dog, and one of the most popular as well. We all know that little shiny and weirdly shaped whistle that might seem broken because you can’t hear anything, but then you look at your dog which is looking at you with a very disturbing expression and you realize that this whistle was meant for his or her ears and not your own.

The dog whistle

Again, this is not a dangerous method, and you don’t run the risk of hurting or injuring your dog, but you will cause your dog a lot of discomfort because that whistle sends out a tune so high pitched that only dogs and very few gifted people can hear it.

I myself am able to hear these high pitched sounds and it is not pleasant at all. The closest I could come to describing it is taking a plunger to your ears and trying to plunge your ear drums out.

Pros:

  • It will make the dog stop barking… or whatever he or she is doing at that moment, immediately
  • It will cause all the dogs around you to stop barking as well
  • You can use it as often and as long as you want without worrying about batteries or substance levels

Cons:

  • Some dogs tend to react negatively to the high pitched sound that the whistle makes
  • The whistle tends to enrage stray dogs or highly dangerous breeds in general
  • Certain humans can hear the sound, and the sound itself is actually incredibly painful and unbearable for a human being’s ears

A quick note here, if you do use such a whistle, or an ultrasonic device in general, and there is another human being around you that can hear it, stop using it immediately. The sound is unbearable for the human ear and you might wake up being charged and battered by said human being.

The strong and dangerous solutions on the market

Yes, like with everything else in the world, there are some bark deterrent solutions that are very strong and at the same time dangerous for the dog. These are the solutions that you only use as a last option, when all else fails and only in dire situations.

The vast majority of dog trainers, me included, are against the use of these methods, however they do exist, they are viable and they can be used effectively against extremely dangerous and aggressive dogs as well as dogs that resort to extremes in order to get their bark across.

Do note that you should never use these solutions without consulting at least a couple of trainers and behavioral experts first, because you run the risk of harming your dog and possibly altering his or her personality for the remainder of the dog’s life, so proceed with caution.

The shock collar

By far the most inhumane concept of dog control ever hatched up by the human mind, this collar alone is responsible for a lot of grief and a lot of suffering; however it has seen successful usage during the rehabilitation of extremely dangerous fighting dogs and other notorious canine individuals.

Shock collar

Again, remember to consult at least a couple of trainers and behavioral experts before deciding to go with this collar, because this collar will send an electric shock through your dog’s nervous system, and even though some try to argue that the shock is not that dangerous or painful but rather an inconvenience, at the end of the day it’s a shock, no matter how small it is, and it will cause your dog to ache.

Pros:

  • It is effective against even the most stubborn and dangerous of dogs

Cons:

  • It shocks the dog
  • It causes a lot of pain to the dog
  • It causes the dog to live with constant phobia that he or she will get shocked
  • It causes the dog’s behavior to alter in time
  • It can cause some dogs to become very aggressive

Again, this is one of the very last resorts that you could ever turn to.

The inverted spike collar

The spike collar has been around for quite a while now, and we have all grown accustomed to the fact that it is made to distinguish dangerous dogs from the innocent and cute ones; however all of these dogs are wearing it with their spikes on the outside.

The scary thing about these collars is the fact that they have been designed in such a way that they can be twisted around while the dog is wearing it making it so that the spikes face inwards and right in the dog’s neck.

Dog inverted spike collar

It goes without saying that this goes beyond being uncomfortable and right into the realm of pain and suffering.

This is actually a very valid way of controlling extremely dangerous dogs, however using this method to stop your dog from barking too much is excessive to say the least.

Pros:

  • It causes the dog to stop barking
  • It allows better control of the dog

Cons:

  • It stings the dog
  • It can cause the dog to get injured
  • It causes the dog to be in pain
  • It causes the dog to be extremely uncomfortable

Again, remember to consult at least a couple of trainers and dog behavioral experts before trying this method out.

In conclusion

There are a lot of options for you to choose form when it comes to picking a bark deterrent that is right for your dog.

Make sure that your dog is ok with the deterrent that you choose and that he or she is not allergic to anything, and remember to keep away from extreme measures except if everything else under the sun has already failed.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Aaron Musk

    Why do things like the shock collar and inverted spike collar even exist? I mean, they sound really inhuman and even if my dog barks quite a lot, I wouldn’t even consider torturing him like that.

    • Apparently devices like this are used for dangerous dogs who can’t be controlled otherwise. Honestly I don’t support these devices and no dog should ever be tortured like this.

  • Mary Ong

    My dog won’t stop barking too. A neighbor told me he must be lonely. So I keep him inside the house so he can establish himself as a member of my family. Every day I take him out for regular walks too. Now, my dog is being obedient to me now. :)

    • John Walton

      Barking is a form of release of tension against a particular stimulus. It is also their defense mechanism if they feel threatened. The intervention that you did works because after keeping him inside the house and engaging him into regular works, he obtains the feeling of safety.

  • liber8tor .

    Dogs bark because they are bored and want attention. My neighbor has 7 dogs and operates a puppy mill and boarding kennel in his back yard. The dogs bark day and night: at the mailman, kids, bicycles, cars, birds, squirrels, anything and everything. I do not think there is anything on the market that can stop this habitual barking?

    • John Walton

      Your situation has two roadblocks, first being the dogs aren’t yours and second is that barking is a resonating habit. So even if you got an anti-barking device on one, the others will keep on barking.

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