Choosing the Best Bark Collar for Your Australian Shepherd

February 19, 2024

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The energetic and intelligent Australian Shepherd is a popular companion and working dog breed. However, their tendency to bark excessively can become a nuisance. A bark collar can be an effective training tool to curb excessive vocalization when used correctly.

This comprehensive guide will help you understand how bark collars work, factors to consider when selecting one, and provide bark collar recommendations specifically for the Australian Shepherd. By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to choose the best bark collar to successfully train your Aussie.

Understanding the Australian Shepherd Breed

Australian Shepherd Breed

The Australian Shepherd, affectionately called the Aussie, was originally bred as an intelligent herding dog in the western United States. They have high energy levels, are eager to please, and bond closely with their owners.

Aussies thrive when given a job to do. Without adequate physical and mental stimulation, they are prone to developing nuisance behaviors like obsessive barking, chewing, and other destructive habits.

What Causes Excessive Barking in Australian Shepherds?

Australian Shepherds are naturally vocal dogs and do use barking to communicate specific needs. However, excessive barking for no clear reason can be frustrating. Common causes include:

  • Boredom – Lack of exercise and mental stimulation. Aussies need active owners.
  • Loneliness – Being left alone for long periods. Aussies crave companionship.
  • Stress/Anxiety – Reaction to unfamiliar sights, sounds, people.
  • Territory guarding – Barking at passersby, mail carriers, or other dogs.
  • Attention seeking – Barking for your attention and interaction.
  • Compulsive behavior – Barking has become a habit.

Are Bark Collars Safe for Aussies?

When used correctly, bark collars are generally safe training tools even for a sensitive breed like the Australian Shepherd. However, there are some precautions to take:

  • Avoid bark collars on Aussie puppies under 6 months old. Their necks are still developing and training should focus on positive reinforcement at this age.
  • Properly fit the collar snug around the neck but with room for two fingers to fit between the collar and your Aussie’s skin.
  • Gradually increase static stimulation levels and monitor your dog’s reaction. Set at the minimum level needed to curb barking.
  • Never leave a bark collar on an unattended dog or for more than 12 hours a day.
  • Check the contact area on your dog’s neck daily for any irritation. Discontinue use if irritation occurs.
  • Use vibration or citronella spray bark collars for dogs under 10 pounds or with very thick fur. Static electricity may not penetrate thick coats effectively.

Bark Collar Types and How They Work

There are various types of bark collars available. Here is an overview of the main technologies:

Static Electric Bark Collars

  • Delivers a small static shock when the dog’s vocal cords vibrate from barking. Intensity of shock is adjustable.
  • The static shock surprises and interrupts the barking behavior. As the dog associates barking with the unpleasant shock, the undesirable behavior decreases.
  • Most effective bark collar option but requires proper fit and supervision. Only use respected brands that limit the number of shocks.

Ultrasonic Bark Collars

  • Emits a high-pitched ultrasonic tone only detectable by dogs when activated by barking vibrations. The irritating noise startles the dog and deters barking.
  • Safe deterrent but effectiveness varies by dog. Ideal for mild barking issues.

Citronella Spray Bark Collars

  • Sprays a burst of citronella scent when the dog’s vocal cords vibrate from barking. The unpleasant citrus odor deters barking.
  • More humane but effectiveness depends on dog’s sensitivity to aroma. Bulky citronella cartridge requires periodic replacement.

Vibration Bark Collars

  • Delivers a vibrating sensation when activated by the barking sound. Helpful for deaf dogs.
  • Gentler deterrent best suited for small dogs or puppies. Results vary.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Bark Collar

Your Aussie’s Age, Size and Temperament

  • Puppies under 6 months old should not use bark collars and require positive reinforcement training.
  • For larger, thick coated Aussies, look for collars with stronger static shock. Smaller dogs do better with vibration or citronella spray.
  • Nervous Aussies may find collars with an audible warning beep before static shock less startling. Confident dogs adapt quicker to static.

Collar Fit and Design

  • Measure your dog’s neck size and buy a properly fitted collar with room for two fingers between the probes and skin.
  • Avoid metal prongs touching your dog’s skin. Choose collars with rounded plastic contact points.
  • Prioritize light-weight collars with adjustable straps for comfort.

Range of Stimulation Intensity

  • Look for at least 15 adjustable levels of static or vibrations. This allows you to find the right deterrent level for your Aussie’s sensitivity.
  • Features like automatic level adjustment after a period of no barking prevents over-correction.

Number of Sensors

  • Dual sensor collars, one on each side of the throat, provide more accurate bark detection compared to single sensor models.
  • Any vibration against either sensor will activate the collar. This reduces false corrections.

Battery Life and Rechargeable Options

  • Rechargeable lithium ion collars offer weeks of use per charge. This avoids regularly replacing disposable batteries.
  • Built-in bark counters let you monitor daytime barking during training.

Waterproof Rating

  • Waterproof collars allow bark training during water activities like swimming. This is useful for water-loving Aussies.
  • Look for waterproofing up to 10 feet depths.

Automatic Safety Features

  • Features like automatic shut off after repeated activations in a short span prevent over-correction.
  • Some collars automatically increase warning tone time after periods of consistent good behavior.

Warranty Coverage

  • Opt for at least a 1 year manufacturer warranty. This ensures collar replacement if defects occur.
  • Bonus perks like free training guides and support helplines provide extra value.

How to Use a Bark Collar Correctly

Using a bark collar properly is just as important as choosing the right product. Follow these tips:

  • Gradually introduce the bark collar duringsupervised training sessions. Don’t immediately rely on it for a prolonged period.
  • Fit the collar properly so contact points touch your Aussie’s skin through the fur when barking.
  • Slowly increase static intensity over multiple sessions to find the right deterrent level based on your dog’s reaction.
  • Keep training sessions short, consistent and positive by pairing collar use with treats for quiet behavior.
  • Remove the collar after brief training sessions and provide exercise or playtime as a reward.
  • Be patient. It can take 2-3 weeks of consistent use along with positive reinforcement to see a reduction in excessive barking.

5 Best Bark Collars for Australian Shepherds

After careful evaluation of numerous products, these bark collars emerge as the top picks specifically for Australian Shepherds:

1. SportDOG NoBark SBC-R Rechargeable Bark Collar

Best Overall

Sportdog Nobark Sbc R Rechargeable Bark Collar

The SportDOG SBC-R is the perfect blend of heavy-duty performance and key safety features.

Designed for dogs as small as 5 pounds, this collar offers 10 customizable static levels. Dual detection sensors ensure highly accurate bark detection. The automatic safety shut off after 15 consecutive activations prevents over-correction.

This waterproof collar is also very easy to use. Three operation modes – warning tones, vibration, and static – provide flexibility. Simply charge it as needed with the included charger.

With a low-battery indicator and bark counter, you remain in control during the training process. Backed by impressive 1 year warranty and the reliability of the SportDOG brand, the SBC-R is worth the investment for Aussie owners struggling with nuisance barking.

  • Suitable for dogs above 5kg
  • 10 Levels of static stimulation
  • 3 Modes of operation
  • Vibration-activated – suitable for multiple dog scenarios
  • Waterproof
  • Rechargeable
  • Automatic safety shut off
  • Low-battery indicator
  • Bark counter
  • 30-day Performance Guarantee
  • 1-year Warranty
Shop SportDOG NoBark SBC-R on Amazon

2. The BarkCollar by DogWatch – No Bark Trainer BT-7

Best Value

The Barkcollar By Dogwatch

The DogWatch BarkCollar BT-7 offers premium features at an affordable price point.

While suitable even for small dogs, this collar provides strong static correction. With rapid charge batteries, it can go for weeks between charges.

Choose from 5 intensity levels for customized control of your Aussie’s barking. The dual sensors provide bark detection even through thick coats. An automatic safety shut off prevents over-correction.

If you want an easy-to-use yet high performing bark collar for your Australian Shepherd without breaking the bank, the DogWatch BarkCollar BT-7 is a great choice. It offers quality construction and effectiveness comparable to pricier models at a more wallet-friendly cost.

  • Suitable for dogs above 5kg
  • 5 Levels of static stimulation
  • 2 Modes of operation
  • Vibration-activated – suitable for multiple dogs
  • Bark Counter
  • Waterproof
  • Rechargeable
  • Automatic safety shut off
  • 30-day Performance Guarantee
  • 1-year Warranty
Shop The BarkCollar by DogWatch on Amazon

3. E-Collar Technologies – BarkLess Pro Bark Collar

Most Features

E Collar Technologies

The versatile BarkLess Pro collar by E-Collar Technologies is packed with useful modes and customization options.

Choose from 8 static levels, a warning vibration, or warning beeps to correct excessive vocalization. The dual sensors provide precise bark detection even with multiple dogs. This collar is also effective at deterring howling or whining.

With the included remote, you can deliver a corrective static stimulation manually as needed for immediate feedback during training sessions.

If you want maximum control over fine-tuning your Aussie’s barking habits, the breadth of options on the BarkLess Pro collar make it a top pick.

  • Suitable for dogs above 5kg
  • 8 Levels of static stimulation
  • Warning vibration and beep mode
  • Suitable for barking, howling and whining
  • Vibration-activated – suitable for multiple dogs
  • Bark Counter
  • Waterproof
  • Rechargeable
  • Remote for manual correction
  • 30-day Performance Guarantee
  • 2-year Warranty
Shop E-Collar Technologies on Amazon

4. DT Systems Ultra Min-E 2090 Bark Collar

Most Comfortable

Dt Systems Ultra Min E 2090 Bark Collar

The Ultra Min-E 2090 bark collar prioritizes comfort and safety.

The snug yet gentle fit makes it ideal for sensitive Aussies that dislike bulky collars. The rounded contact points prevent irritation. At just 2 ounces, it’s one of the lightest static collars available.

With 8 intensity levels and accurate dual detection sensors, it provides effective deterrence. The automatic safety shut off prevents over-stimulation.

While budget-friendly, this collar doesn’t compromise on quality. The waterproof rating allows use during water play. With enhanced comfort and safety features, it’s a great option for first-time bark collar users.

  • Suitable for dogs above 5kg
  • 8 Levels of static stimulation
  • Vibration-activated – suitable for multiple dogs
  • Waterproof
  • Automatic safety shut off
  • Lightweight – only 2 ounces
  • Affordable price
  • 30-day Performance Guarantee
  • 2-year Warranty
Shop DT Systems Ultra Min-E 2090 Bark Collar on Amazon

5. SportDOG NoBark SBC-8 Rechargeable Bark Control Collar

Best for Hard-to-Train Dogs

Sportdog Nobark Sbc 8

For Australian Shepherds that require stronger bark deterrence, the SportDOG SBC-8 delivers.

With 8 intensity levels and a dual sensor for precision, this collar provides instant static correction even for stubborn, frequent barkers. The automatic safety shut off prevents over-correction.

If your Aussie’s barking is more ingrained, the SBC-8 offers the power and consistency needed. Combined with positive reinforcement training, it can humanely curb even the most persistent barking behavior.

  • Suitable for dogs above 5kg
  • 8 Levels of static stimulation
  • Vibration-activated – suitable for multiple dogs
  • Bark Counter
  • Waterproof
  • Rechargeable
  • Automatic safety shut off
  • 30-day Performance Guarantee
  • 1-year Warranty
Shop SportDOG NoBark SBC-8 on Amazon

Bark Collar Precautions

While bark collars are effective training aids when used correctly, there are some precautions every owner should take:

  • Never leave a bark collar on your Aussie for more than 12 hours per day or when unsupervised. Monitor your dog’s neck daily for irritation. Discontinue use if irritation occurs.
  • Avoid using bark collars on puppies under 6 months as their necks are still developing. Focus training on positive reinforcement.
  • Do not shave the fur on your Aussie’s neck in order for the collar probes to make better contact. This can cause skin irritation.
  • Be patient during training. It takes 2-3 weeks of consistent use to see a reduction in barking. Use rewards like playtime or walks when your dog is quiet.
  • Check the fit regularly as your Aussie grows. You should be able to easily insert two fingers between the collar and your dog’s skin.
  • Never use a bark collar on a dog that has respiratory illness or a throat/trachea injury. Consult your veterinarian before use if your dog has any health conditions.

Teaching Your Aussie the Quiet Command

A bark collar will curb excessive vocalization but teaching your Australian Shepherd to respond to a quiet command enhances the training. Here are some tips:

  • Start indoors and wait until your Aussie starts barking at a trigger like a passerby.
  • Make a quiet hand signal (finger to your lips) and say “Quiet” in a firm tone when they start barking.
  • When your dog stops barking even for a few seconds, provide lavish verbal praise and a treat/toy reward. Be generous!
  • Increase the duration of barking before you give the quiet command over many short training sessions. Reward longer silent periods.
  • Practice this regularly, especially before walks when your Aussie may see bark triggers. Pairing the “Quiet” voice command with the collar corrections will reinforce the training.

Getting Help from a Professional Trainer

If your Australian Shepherd’s chronic barking persists despite consistent collar use and training, consult an experienced dog trainer or behaviorist. They can evaluate if your Aussie’s excessive vocalization indicates an underlying condition like anxiety that requires specialized intervention beyond a bark collar. Working with a professional can help ingrain good behavior faster.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what age can I start using a bark collar on my Australian Shepherd?

Avoid bark collar use until your Aussie is at least 6 months old. The sensitive developmental stage before 6 months requires only positive reinforcement training. Also, ensure your puppy has learned basic obedience commands before introducing a bark collar.

How tight should a bark collar be on an Australian Shepherd?

The collar should be snug but you should still be able to slide two fingers between the band and your dog’s skin. It should not slide around freely but also not be uncomfortably tight. Check the fit regularly as your Aussie grows.

Are bark collars cruel?

When used responsibly, bark collars are humane training devices. Using the lowest effective static level, monitoring your dog’s tolerance, and pairing with positive reinforcement prevents cruelty. Avoid shock collars that only rely on punishment.

Do bark collars work straight away?

It’s unlikely you will see an immediate decrease in barking. As the deterrent sensation is new to your Aussie, it will take 2-3 weeks of consistent collar use along with verbal praise for quiet behavior to see a significant reduction. Be patient!

Should I use a bark collar at night?

We don’t recommend overnight use of a bark collar unless you can actively monitor its effects. Your dog’s barking frequency naturally reduces at night anyway. Use the collar consistently during the day first before considering nighttime use if excessive late night vocalization is an issue. The automatic shut off features of quality collars will prevent over-correction if night use is unavoidable.

Final Thoughts

Selecting the right bark collar for your active Australian Shepherd requires understanding your individual dog’s sensitivity and vocal triggers. From design to safety features and adjustable controls, small factors can determine a product’s suitability and training success.

This guide provides detailed insight into proven bark collar recommendations for the Aussie breed. By optimizing features like static levels, automatic shut off, and sizing, you can curb excessive barking and restore peace.

When paired with rewards-based training and lifestyle adjustments to provide your energetic Aussie adequate exercise and stimulation, a quality bark collar is a useful tool to reduce nuisance barking. Investing in one of the thoughtfully picked products above will have your happy dog communicating more acceptably in no time.