Finding the Best Bark Collar for Your Shih Tzu or Maltese

February 19, 2024

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As any Shih Tzu or Maltese owner knows, these petite pups can be prone to nuisance barking. While some vocalization is normal, excessive barking can create issues with neighbors and disrupt your household. In certain cases, it can even lead to legal complaints as covered in this article on bark collars for dobermans.

If your fluffy friend tends to be an overly vocal alarm system, a quality bark collar can help control problem barking. Used alongside positive reinforcement training, bark collars are an effective management tool.

With so many collars on the market, however, it’s tricky finding the right match for your pint-sized pooch. This comprehensive buyer’s guide will provide everything you need to choose the best bark collar for your Shih Tzu or Maltese.

Common Causes of Excessive Barking

To select the most effective bark collar, you first need to understand why your dog is barking excessively. Typical motivations include:

  • Boredom: As sociable companion breeds, Shih Tzus and Maltese thrive on human interaction. When left alone for long periods, they can become distressed or bored, leading to barking. This is also a common reason for barking in border collies.
  • Loneliness: Shih Tzus and Maltese form close bonds with their people. Barking and whining can become an ingrained habit to gain your attention.
  • Lack of exercise: These lively dogs packed into a petite frame need daily brisk walking and playtime. Pent-up energy from inadequate activity can manifest as nuisance barking.
  • Anxiety/fear: Alarm barking at sights and sounds from passerby or neighborhood activity is common. Some dogs also bark due to separation anxiety when left home alone.
  • Territory guarding: As watchdogs, Shih Tzus and Maltese will vocally sound the alarm about any perceived intruders encroaching on their turf.
  • Medical issues: While less common, pain or age-related cognitive decline could provoke vocalizations. Have your vet examine your dog to identify any underlying health conditions.

Bark Collar Training Tips

While useful tools, bark collars should never be used as a substitute for proper training. Follow these tips to get the best results:

  • Reward quiet: Use treats to reinforce silence and redirect your dog’s focus away from bark triggers. This positive conditioning teaches what you DO want them to do.
  • Reduce exposure: Block access to windows and fences where your dog barks. Also desensitize them to noises that provoke barking using audio recordings. This technique can help ease anxiety in noisy breeds like the Yorkie.
  • Exercise: A brisk 30-60 minute daily walk plus playtime helps prevent barking from pent-up energy. Mentally stimulating games provide important enrichment too.
  • Obedience training: Basic commands teach impulse control. “Quiet” cues them to stop barking on demand. All family members should use the same training techniques for consistency.
  • Crate training: Teach your dog to relax in their crate when unsupervised. This prevents anxiety from escalating into nuisance barking.

What to Look for in a Bark Collar

To safely and effectively discourage problem barking, your Shih Tzu or Maltese’s bark collar must be:

Petite Size

With tiny necks and frames under 10 lbs, size matters. Standard collars are too bulky and heavy. Look for a lightweight collar designed specifically for small breed dogs.

Customizable Correction

Start at the lowest setting and only increase if needed. Multiple progressive levels allow you to tailor the stimulation intensity to your dog’s unique temperament and response threshold.

Activation Method

Collars that activate by vibration from vocal cords rather than just sound avoid inadvertent corrections. This is essential if you have multiple dogs.

Safety Features

Built-in safety mechanisms like automatic shut-off prevent over-correction. This avoids harm, which is especially important for little dogs like the Shih Tzu and Maltese.


Waterproof collars maintain functionality when your dog gets wet. Shih Tzus and Maltese have long coats that tend to absorb water.

Rechargeable Battery

Rechargeable lithium batteries are a smart long-term investment over disposable batteries. Just be sure to regularly recharge the collar.

Top Bark Collar Picks for a Shih Tzu or Maltese

Based on the above criteria, here are my top recommended bark collars to curb excessive vocalizations in your fluffball:

Overall Best: PetSafe Elite Little Dog Bark Collar

Petsafe Elite Little Dog Citronella Anti Bark Collar


  • Designed for petite pups 5-22 lbs
  • Progressive 15 levels of static correction
  • Vibration activation works for multi-dog homes
  • Fully waterproof and rechargeable
  • Safety features prevent over-correction

With a lightweight design perfect for little necks and progressive stimulation levels, the customizable PetSafe Elite is my top overall pick. It’s comfortable, effective, and safe for small dogs.

Shop PetSafe Elite Little Dog Bark Collar on Amazon

Best Spray Collar: PetSafe Spray Commander

Petsafe Spray Commander Dog Training Collar

For Shih Tzus and Maltese with thick fur that reduces static correction, the gentler citronella spray deterrent of the PetSafe Spray Commander is ideal. The scentless spray provides a harmless yet unpleasant stimulus. Many dogs respond to just the sound of the spray release. It’s also a great alternative for the noise-sensitive Great Pyrenees.

Shop PetSafe Spray Commander on Amazon

Best Budget: Hoont Dog Bark Collar

Hoont Dog Bark Collar

For pet owners looking for an inexpensive bark collar option under $25, the Hoont Dog Bark Collar delivers solid performance. While not loaded with extras, it provides customizable static correction levels to discourage nuisance barking without breaking the bank. It offers a cost-effective solution for breeds like the vocal Beagle.

Shop Hoont Dog Bark Collar on Amazon

Most Reliable: Dogtra YS300 No Bark Collar

Dogtra Ys300

For pet owners seeking a premium bark collar with the latest technology, the Dogtra YS300 stands out. It boasts an industrial-grade rechargeable battery for all-day use even for energetic breeds like the Siberian Husky. With 7 precise stimulation levels and advanced accelerometer sensor, it’s engineered for reliability and control of stubborn barking.

Shop Dogtra YS300 No Bark Collar on Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

Are bark collars safe for Shih Tzu and Maltese puppies?

I don’t recommend bark collars for dogs under 6 months old. Allow normal puppy vocalizations during early development. Wait until at least 6 months before introducing progressive static or spray correction. If excessive barking is unmanageable before 6 months, the PetSafe Deluxe Little Dog collar on the lowest citronella setting can be carefully used under close supervision and for limited periods after 3 months of age.

How tight should the bark collar be on my Shih Tzu or Maltese?

Proper tightness helps ensure consistent functionality, especially for energetic breeds like the Labrador that wear their collar all day. Fit it snugly so you can slip one finger between the collar and your dog’s neck. Avoid excessive tightness restricting breathing. Regularly check the fit as your puppy grows.

Can overuse of a bark collar hurt my small dog?

Bark collars are not harmful when used correctly, but it’s important to closely monitor your dog and avoid overuse. Never leave the collar on an unsupervised dog 24/7. Carefully introduce the sensation and watch closely for signs of stress. Increase correction levels cautiously and only as needed for hardheaded barkers like the Dachshund. Don’t over-correct.

The Bottom Line

Selecting the right bark collar customized to your Shih Tzu or Maltese’s size and temperament can quickly help control nuisance barking. But there are no quick fixes. Patience and consistency are key.

Always use a bark collar in combination with positive reinforcement training and lifestyle adjustments to address the root cause of excessive vocalization. With time, you’ll restore peace to your home and maintain the best possible relationship with your furry friend!