A very common question that we get asked when a customer has got to the point of needing to get a collar to stop their dog barking is, “Should I go for a citronella collar or one of those eletric zappy ones?”.
So hopefully this may clear things up for you a little. All motives for living things generally, to carry out particular behaviours are based on drive levels. Dogs are no different. Your dog barking issue and how you solve it is based on getting above his/her drive level to do it. Simple as that.
So now consider a dog that is wearing a citronella collar but emptying the fluid reservoir daily and still barking. We can safely say that the citronella spray collar is not getting above his drive level, so the barking continues. The drive to bark is higher than the deterrent.
Unfortunately some dogs particularly what I would classify as working dog breeds generally have stronger drives than many breeds that people consider more of a pet type breed. An obvious comparison could be a Cattle Dog and a Maltese for example. Many Maltese owners would probably say a spray collar works great. I know many Cattle Dog owners would say they are not worth the packet they come in. Now, before all the owners of those type of breeds dispute that statement, I know there are exceptions to the rule! From experience, it is a reasonably accurate assessment though.
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, some dogs aren’t overly worried about either the spray in the face or the citronella scent. We even get people who said their dog liked the citronella?? Secondly there is rarely the ability to change levels of correction. One exception is the Multivet Deluxe Collar that has two spray settings. Static collars on the other hand all have multiple levels that either auto adjust or manually adjust. Point being, they increase to get above the drive level of your dog.
I find it quite amusing sometimes to read other websites where statements are made claiming that citronella bark collars are better than static electric bark collars. You know the ones, “scientifically proven to be the most effective bark deterrent…’ or ‘Studies have shown that citronella collars are 40% more effective than shock collars!” etc etc.
Now don’t get me wrong, spray collars have their place. They can be a very effective anti-bark measure for some dogs. However to make all these unreferenced statements stating they are the best or better than static electric collars is a complete nonsense.
How do I know? The best measure is simply our customers. Weekly we would speak to several dog owners who have tried spray bark collars and need to upgrade. Static bark collars on the other hand are nearly fool proof providing the collar is fitted properly and you have the right model to suit your dog. The rate of static bark collar customers calling to say the collar is not effective is nearly zero (once we help them get it fitted properly!).
I will re-iterate here that selecting a bark collar is as much about the owner being comfortable in using it. If you’re not, that’s fine. What I have outlined here is just the plain facts from my perspective. Citronella Anti Bark Collars do have a good success rate in certain types of dogs. I just think it’s fair to have an idea of the likely success of the collar before purchasing.