Health: is the anti-bark collar really recommended for your dog?

If your dog barks too often, don't rush into anti-barking collars.
If your dog barks too often, don’t rush into anti-barking collars. (©Nitiphonphat / AdobeStock)

The front annoying barking of your dog, you might consider buying an anti-barking collar. But are you sure it will be effective and above all painless for your pet?

The question deserves to be asked as the electric shock collar – the best known model – is banned in several European countries and regularly condemned by animal advocates, including veterinarians.

“I have no hesitation in saying that I absolutely am as opposed to its use ”, announces Claude Béata, behavioral veterinarian and member of the French Association of Companion Veterinarians (AFVAC).

The principle of this collar is simple: it transmits an electric shock when the dog barks to stop him from starting again.

“It’s about hurting the animal to punish it, by associating the pain with a behavior. It is an unacceptable teaching method because it is painful. A single strong shock can cause permanent and irreversible trauma in dogs with a particular sensitivity, and it is precisely these dogs that are likely to bark when left alone or when something frightens them. »

Claude BeataBehavioral veterinarian

A method that the vet also considers ineffective because there is “nothing associated with the electric shock to suggest another solution to the dog. We are therefore absolutely not working any further the reason for his barking and on his motivation to bark. When a dog barks, it has something to say. »

Less painful collars

There is also spray collars, painless and possibly effective, provided they are not automatic. “If you want to teach your dog not to bark, you have to be able to offer him something else to do, then you must be present. If the dog continues to bark despite being told to stop, you can spray it with a remote control and then suggest it do something else and that might work. »

Some vibrating collars can be used in the same way, using a remote control, to get the dog’s attention. But be careful if you choose these models, because they are often also electric.

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Compared to ultrasonic collarthey prove useless “unless pushed to a force which would become painful and even injurious to the animal’s eardrums”.

Call a professional

It is normal for dogs to bark occasionally, at set times and easily controllable. But “those who bark excessively when alone show themselves behavioral pain. Without support and understanding of the problem, there is very little chance that a bark collar will work. »

For Claude Beata, make a diagnosis is therefore significant. “We must not confuse education, which is of the same order of magnitude as the normal animal, and diseases such as anxiety or depression that trigger behavior that can generate nuisance. »

If your dog barks too often or disturbs your neighbors in your absence, it is therefore advisable to consult a professional before you decide on the purchase of an anti-barking collar. “These collars should only be sold on prescription after diagnosis because it would help understand why dogs bark and treat the cause and not the consequence of their barking. »

Furthermore, we observe more than 80% good results with appropriate care of the nuisance barking with a veterinarian trained in behavioral medicine and with respect for animals. “And if the vet prescribes a collar, it will never be an electric collar.”

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