Are Bark Collars Cruel?

On the fence about whether you should get a bark collar for your dog or not? We delve into the ethics behind bark collars, and how they work.

Written by Sarah Connor - Pet Nutrition Expert. Updated on 27/07/2023.

Bark Collars: Are They Cruel?

We adore our dogs, and every pet parent wants a dog that's a pleasure to live with. Unfortunately, plenty of unwanted behavior is rewarded during puppyhood, and once a behavior like excessive barking is established, a variable reinforcement schedule will strengthen this behavior.

If we look at excessive barking, there are so many triggers: stress, boredom, lack of exercise, cats, depression, frustration, lack of environmental stimuli, and so forth...

Bark collars are designed to help pet parents get the "quiet" back in their homes, and their use does not always mean "shock" mode training. Today reputable dog bark collar brands embrace positive training and dog families that only want the best for their dogs.

Dog bark collars are not meant to be used forever. Still, they may be an excellent temporary solution to help initially suppress unwanted behaviors and correct behavior while working with your veterinarian and positive trainer.

Understanding dog behavior and the positives of positive training is key when using dog bark collars and will allow for a no punish approach when working with your pup.

Written by Sarah Connor, an experienced canine trainer and nutritionist for over a decade. Her positive reinforcement methods and passion for pups make her a go-to for dog owners.

Barking as Natural Behavior

Barking is a natural behavior, but excessive barking can be problematic for everyone, including neighbors. As such, top-selling bark collars like BarkBeyond and the Sofrid Anti Bark S2 have become an increasingly popular choice among pet parents to control their dog's barking. This is because they allow you to use beep and vibration modes to help deter nuisance barking.

What are Bark Collars?

Bark collars help train dogs to stop barking excessively. When used with positive training, bark collars via beep and vibration modes effectively discourage excessive barking.

Bark collars allow you to train your dog almost any time of the night or day while you work, sleep, run errands, and so forth. If you keep a training chart, you can keep track of your progress and work with your trainer to end nuisance barking with positive training methods and dog bark collars using the beep and vibrate modes.


The AKC says you should consult a professional trainer first for advice on these devices and how to use them on your dog. Taking your dog to the veterinarian for a full health check is also best to rule out any health or pain issues contributing to your dog's excessive barking.

Bark Beyond & Sofrid S2 Bark Collars

Bark collars like the Barkbeyond and Sofrid S2 are safe and humane alternatives that allow for effective training without the use of shock. Instead, they utilize beep and vibration modes that effectively disrupt excessive barking. Customers say that the BarkBeyond anti-bark collar worked on the first night, putting an end to disruptive barking.

The Bark Beyond anti-bark collar gives you the flexibility to customize intensity and functionality without ever having to use the zapper feature. The best thing about the Bark Beyond bark collar is that you can only use the vibration function to end excessive barking completely.

Do Bark Collars Work?

Most pet parents are happy with the results and explain that the adjustable sensitivity level options in anti-bark collars allow for optimal results. This does not mean you have to use the shock mode, but you can only use beep and vibration modes to deter nuisance barking.

Are Bark Collars Safe?

Bark collars like the best-selling Barkbeyond and Sofrid S2 are safe and humane alternatives that allow for effective training without the use of shock. Instead, they utilize beep and vibration modes that effectively disrupt excessive barking.

Customers say that the collar worked on the first night, putting an end to disruptive barking. Most bark collars include beep and vibration modes to allow for more humane training. As always, it's best to consult your veterinarian before choosing a bark collar for a puppy, senior dog, or dog with health issues.

Understanding Barking Behavior

Each type of barking serves a distinct function for a dog, and if he's repeatedly rewarded for his barking—in other words, if it gets him what he wants—he can learn to use barking to his benefit. For this reason, it's essential to train your dog to be quiet on cue so that you can stop his attention-related barking and teach him to do another behavior instead—like sit or down—to get what he wants. - ASPCA

Different types of barking serve various purposes for dogs, such as communication, warning of danger, or seeking attention. Understanding the underlying reason for your dog's barking is essential before resorting to corrective measures like bark collars.

Why Do Dogs Bark Excessively?

Excessive barking is a hard behavior to stop because there are numerous triggers. This includes new sights, smells, other pets, children, and fast movements.

Stress, anxiety, arousal, and boredom also come into play, and there are also some breeds that are bred to bark for hunting, herding, and guarding specifically. These breeds include:

  • Anatolian Shepherd
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Beagles
  • Akbash

How do Bark Collars Work?

Bark collars use sensors to detect excessive barking by your dog. These sensors vary, depending on the type of collar you purchase, but many use a microphone to detect barking or a vibration sensor that detects the movement of your dog's vocal cords. Once the collar detects barking, it releases a static shock, vibration, or beep to interrupt your dog's excessive barking.

Types of Bark Collars

There are many types of bark collars available on the market. The most common include:

  • Static Shock Collars: This delivers a mild shock to your dog's neck when they bark excessively.
  • Citronella Collars: Sprays a burst of citronella when your dog barks, which is unpleasant to dogs but not harmful.
  • Ultrasonic Collars: Emits a high-pitched noise that only your dog can hear to distract them from excessive barking.
  • Vibration Collars: Vibrates as a warning to your dog to stop barking without any shocking or unpleasant sensations.

Beep & Vibration Collars

These collars work well for dog parents who want to regulate their dog's barking without resorting to painful or potentially harmful methods. Although dog bark collars are not without their challenges, beep and vibration collars are safe and effectively reduce excessive barking in dogs. When used correctly and with positive training, these collars can significantly reduce excessive barking and training time.

Benefits of Beep & Vibration Bark Collars

One of the numerous benefits of beep and vibration collars is that they can be adjusted to suit the individual needs of each dog. Dog parents can adjust the collar's sensitivity levels, the type of vibration or sound, and the duration of the beep or vibration to ensure their dog's comfort.

Some collars also come with smart features like auto-activation and manual activation, making it easier for pet parents to customize the collar's functionality to their dog's specific behavior pattern.


Beep and vibration collars are only sometimes foolproof, and their effectiveness may depend on the type and level of barking a dog exhibits. Some dogs may not respond to these collars, while others may require repeated reinforcement for optimal results. A drawback is that some anti-bark collars may trigger accidentally with nearby barking.

Alternatives to Bark Collars

If you're uncomfortable using a bark collar on your dog, several alternative methods exist for addressing excessive barking. These include behavior modification training, exercise and mental stimulation, and even medication in some cases.

Working with a positive dog trainer or behaviorist can help you understand the underlying causes of your dog's barking and develop a customized plan for addressing the behavior.

Dog bark collars are best used with positive training and should be a temporary solution. You can set up your pup, regardless of breed, not to bark by completely ignoring him.

Alternative Training Methods

While bark collars can effectively address excessive barking in dogs, it’s important to use them correctly and with caution. It’s also important to consider alternative methods for addressing the behavior like working with a professional trainer to develop a customized plan for your dog.

Ultimately, the decision to use a bark collar should be made with your pet’s well-being and safety in mind. If you have questions or concerns about your pet’s behavior, don’t hesitate to speak with your veterinarian.

FAQ's Are Bark Collars Cruel?

Q: Is it inhumane to use a bark collar?

A: he AKC says that you should work with a positive trainer before deciding on a dog bark collar. “These devices have intensity settings, so be sure to set the level only as high as it needs to be to interrupt your dog’s barking," says the AKC. They also explain that dogs may learn to associate the collar with the vibration and may only stay quiet when the collar is on.

Q: Are vibrating anti-bark collars cruel?

A: If used correctly, these collars can effectively interrupt and correct excessive barking behavior in dogs. They help to deter and disrupt excessive barking.

Q: Do bark collars cause anxiety?

A: Barking is communication, but excessive barking is problematic and stressful for dog and pet parents. When using a bark collar correctly, together with positive dog training, you can set your dog up for success. No matter the situation, as long as you understand why your dog is barking excessively, you can help work together toward a more peaceful home.

How to Quickly Stop Dog Barking