Vibrating collars are known as a safe and gentle solution to control excessive barking in dogs. But do they actually work? Yes, these collars do work, provided that you use them in the correct manner. These collars also have other uses and can help improve communication between a dog and its owner.
Quick Facts – E-collars and shock collars keep getting better and better. Overall the market has grown more than 150% from 2016 through 2021 (source). According to Sgt. Rod Hampton, Canine Unit Supervisor of the Round Rock (Texas) Police Department Canine Unit, the most effective use of e-collars is controlling dogs at a distance (when verbal commands are harder to hear) and preventing accidental bites (source).
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Table of Contents
- What is a vibration collar?
- Electric Vibration bark collars
- Why use a vibration collar?
- Is a vibration collar the same as a shock collar?
- Are vibration collars effective?
- Are vibration collars a long-term solution?
- Do vets recommend the use of vibration collars?
- Can you use vibration bark collars for training?
- Can you use vibration bark collars for deaf dogs?
- Are there other bark collars?
- A word of caution
What is a vibration collar?
A vibration collar is a training device for dogs. The collar is worn around the dog’s neck and is designed in a way that discourages it from barking excessively. These collars are usually battery-operated. There is a vibration component attached to the collar. When your dog barks, the collar is triggered and vibrates.
Electric Vibration bark collars
Many collars have automatic bark detection and vibration triggers placed in them. Some collars are remote-controlled, where the owner manually presses the button when their dog barks.
Electrical Vibration collars have been a controversial topic because these vibrations are often compared to low-level electric shocks. People who advocate or sell the collars claim that these are practically painless. But many animal organizations believe this is cruel and that it falls under animal abuse.
Why use a vibration collar?
All dogs do not need vibration collars. These collars are essentially useful for dogs who are “nuisance barkers”. These are dogs that continuously bark for some reason, be it territorial, or as a learned behavior.
Before resorting to a vibration collar, it is a good idea to try other methods. If your dog is barking constantly, try to figure out the specific reason and address it, and this may resolve the issue.
With proper training, vibration collars work well. See our training article here.
We recommend this vibration collar for training.
Is a vibration collar the same as a shock collar?
Simply put, a shock collar uses static correction to give the dog a mild shock-like feeling. In contrast, a vibration collar simply gives varying levels of vibrations.
Vibration collars are milder in sensation and are considered a much humane method as compared to shock collars.
Are vibration collars effective?
Yes, vibration collars can be effective many times. Other times, they might not work because there are many factors at play. For instance, your dog’s temperament, reason for barking, or simply a reaction to the collar.
If your dog is stubborn or not easily affected by the collar, they may choose to ignore the vibrations and continue barking. Some dogs have an anxious temperament and they might get scared of the collar and bark even more if it is making them stressed.
If the reason your dog is barking is not addressed, they will most likely ignore the collar and continue the behavior.
Are vibration collars a long-term solution?
Generally, vibration collars act as a deterrent or quick fix in the short term. There is a chance for some dogs to become habituated to the collar over time and stop responding favorably to it.
Plus, a high relapse rate is often seen in dogs who had initially stopped barking. So, you can try out this method but keep in mind, that the results can vary, especially in the long term.
Do vets recommend the use of vibration collars?
Vets are strongly against shock collars and highly discourage their use, unless absolutely necessary. In contrast, vibration collars are considered acceptable (see video from vet at top of article above).
Most vets hold the opinion that while vibration collars do not cause pain, they are still a form of negative reinforcement or punishment to correct a certain behavior. Positive reinforcement or incentives should still be the first step, as dogs are highly responsive when they are rewarded for good behavior.
In any case, the best route to go when your dog has a barking problem is to take it to a veterinarian. You should ask them to do a full checkup and guide you towards a behavior modification program first.
Can you use vibration bark collars for training?
Vibration collars can also be used as a training method for dogs. You can use them to teach the difference between good behavior or bad behavior. It is best to use a vibration collar in combination with positive reinforcement.
For instance, if you are training your pet dog to stop gnawing on shoes, you can use a collar when you see them do it. Then, you can direct them over to a gnaw on a toy instead and offer them a treat instead.
Can you use vibration bark collars for deaf dogs?
Vibration collars can even be used to effectively communicate with hearing-impaired or deaf dogs. This can be very beneficial when your dog is not in your field of vision.
With the vibration collar on, you can use a remote control to communicate with your dog and make them understand that you are calling him. With some training, your dog will learn to take cues from the sensation and respond accordingly.
Are there other bark collars?
There are some alternative bark collars that one can use instead of the electric collar. However, using these will require some additional research to understand how effective or safe they really are. Let’s take a look at these collars:
Citronella bark collars
These collars do not use vibration as the primary means of negative reinforcement. They rely on a small microphone placed in the collar to detect barking. It then releases a citronella fragrance, that is scientifically proven by The Cornell University to stop or reduce barking.
Many organizations believe this is a preferable method to control barking. However, the design can pose issues such as microphone sensitivity or failure in some instances.
We recommend this citronella bark collar.
Ultrasonic Bark Collars
Ultrasonic bark collars use a microphone to detect barking and then release a high-pitched sound that dogs don’t like. Sometimes, electric shocks are also incorporated in these collars. Keep in mind that these collars have not been studied thoroughly.
We recommend this ultrasonic bark collar from Petsafe, a major trusted brand in the e-collar industry.
A word of caution
In some circumstances, a bark collar should never be used. If your dog is in pain and is not feeling well, the collar should be avoided completely.
In addition, dogs who have brain diseases, deafness, or cognitive problems naturally bark excessively and a vibration collar should not be given to them.