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Health: is the anti-bark collar really recommended for your dog?

If your dog is barking too frequently, don’t rush on anti-bark collars. (©Nitiphonphat / AdobeStock)

It front of nuisance barking of your dog, you may be thinking of purchasing an anti-bark collar. But are you sure it will be effective and above all painless for your pet?

The question deserves to be asked since the electric shock collar – the best known model – is banned in several European countries and regularly denounced by animal advocates, including veterinarians.

“I have no hesitation in saying that I am absolutely opposed to its use “, announces Claude Béata, veterinarian specialist in behavior and member of the French Association of veterinarians for companion animals (AFVAC).

The principle of this collar is simple: it sends an electric shock when the dog barks to dissuade him from starting again.

“It’s about hurting the animal to punish it, by associating the pain with a behavior. It is an unacceptable method of education because it is painful. A single strong shock can create lasting and irreversible trauma in dogs with a particular sensitivity, and it is precisely these dogs that are likely to bark when left alone or when something frightens them. »

Claude BeataBehavioral Veterinarian

A method that the veterinarian also considers ineffective because “nothing is associated with the electric shock to propose another solution to the dog. We are therefore absolutely not working on the cause of his barking and on his motivation to bark. When a dog barks, it has something to say. »

Less painful collars

There is also spray collars, painless and possibly effective provided they are not automatic. “If you want to teach your dog not to bark, you have to be able to offer him something else to do, so you have to be present. If the dog continues to bark despite being told to stop, we can spray it with a remote control and then suggest that it do something else, and that may work. »

Some vibrating collars can be used in the same way, using a remote control, in order to get the dog’s attention. But be careful if you choose these models because they are often also electric.

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As to ultrasonic collarsthey turn out to be useless “unless pushed to a power which would become painful and even deleterious for the animal’s eardrums”.

Call a professional

It is normal for dogs to bark occasionally, at set times and easily controllable. But “those who bark excessively when alone are showing behavioral pain. Without support and understanding of the problem, there is very little chance that a bark collar will work. »

For Claude Beata, make a diagnosis is therefore essential. “We must not confuse the education which is of the order of the normal animal and the diseases like anxiety or depression that trigger behaviors that can generate nuisance. »

If your dog barks too frequently or disturbs your neighbors in your absence, it is therefore advisable to consult a professional before deciding on the purchase of an anti-bark collar. “These collars should only be sold on medical prescription after diagnosis because it would help to understand why dogs bark and to treat the cause and not the consequence of their barking. »

Moreover, we observe more than 80% good results with appropriate care for barking that creates a nuisance, with a veterinarian trained in behavioral medicine and with respect for animals. “And if the vet prescribes a collar, it will never be an electric collar.”

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