Are Bark Collars Cruel?
Bark collars are cruel in that they inflict discomfort and/or pain as a method of stopping barking. There are better and more humane ways to deal with barking that don't hurt your dog and also will address the root of the problem. Bark collars do not address the reason for the barking. Barking is a normal behavior, so punishing your pet for just being a dog is a cruel choice.
How Bark Collars Work
Bark collars react to the sound of barking or the vibration of your dog's vocal chords by spraying the dog with citronella, emitting a high pitched sound, or shocking the dog. All of these punishments fail to address the reason for the barking. In the best cases, they make the dog fearful and uncomfortable. In the worst cases, they cause pain.
Alternatives to Bark Collars
Inflicting pain and discomfort shouldn't be a method any pet owner is willing to try. Fortunately, there are plenty of humane ways to stop excessive barking such as:
- Ignore It: If your dog is looking for attention by barking, ignore him completely. Don't say "no." Don't act annoyed. Just walk away. When the barking stops, give your dog the attention he craves. He'll learn to associate barking with being ignored and being quiet with getting attention.
- Find the Cause: If you can figure out what is triggering the barking, you can deal with that directly. For example, if he barks at people walking by, consider keeping him in a back room or blocking the windows during high traffic times of day.
- Professional Training: If the methods you try at home don't do the trick, invest in professional training. You'll learn how to use positive reinforcement to stop unwanted behavior. If you suspect the barking is due to separation anxiety, seek the help of a vet or animal behaviorist at once. The problem will only get worse if left untreated.
Whatever is causing excessive barking, punishing your dog isn't the way to go. Rather than inflicting pain with a bark collar, find a training method that is positive and healthy and that will bring out the best in your pet.
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