Bark Collars - Citronella Spray vs Static Electric Collars

Author: Neil Smith   Date Posted:8 April 2012 

The common question

One of the most common questions from our customers is "Should I go for a citronella collar or one of those electric zappy ones?"

 

It's all about your dog's drive

Your dog is excessively barking. You need an anti-bark collar to match your dog's drive/motivation to bark. Simple as that.

Now, consider a dog is wearing a citronella collar but is emptying the fluid reservoir daily and still barking. We can safely say that the citronella spray collar is not getting above their drive level - this is why the barking continues. The drive to bark is higher than the deterrent. Unfortunately some dogs, particularly what I consider 'working breed dogs', generally have stronger drives than many 'pet breed dogs'.

A clear comparison could be a Cattle Dog and a Maltese for example. Many Maltese owners would probably say a spray collar works great. I also 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! However, from experience, it is a reasonably accurate assessment though.

 

Things to consider about Citronella Spray Collars

While citronella spray collars can be a suitable bark control option for timid/sensitive dogs, puppies and senior dogs, there are some things to consider about spray collars if you have a pet breed dog or working breed dog.

Firstly, some dogs aren’t phased about the spray in the face or the scent of citronella. We even get people who said their dog liked the citronella? Secondly, you can't change the level of correction. Lastly, citronella spray collars have an ongoing cost of consumables - citronella refills and batteries.

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. 

Pros of Citronella Spray Collars

  • Suitable for timid/sensitive dogs
  • Suitable for senior dogs
  • Suitable for puppies from 3 months of age
  • Available in models for small to large dogs
  • 75% Success rate

Cons of Citronella Spray Collars

  • The smell and spray of the citronella may not deter your dog from barking
  • Ongoing cost of consumables - citronella refills and batteries
  • You can't change the intensity of the spray
  • The spray is completely ineffective on dogs that are highly active. They will simply run past the spray

 

Static Electric Bark Collars

Generally speaking, static electric bark collars are the most reliable bark control option for pet breed dogs and working breed dogs from 6 months of age. The reason static electric collars have such a high success rate is because they're an effective form of distracting your dog from nuisance barking. Unlike citronella spray collars that only have one level of spray, the static electric collars can be matched to your dog's drive. 

Pros of Static Electric Bark Collars

  • Suitable for pet breed dogs
  • Suitable for working breed dogs
  • Suitable for puppies above 6 months of age
  • Delivers different levels of static stimulation to match your dog's drive
  • Available in module sizes for tiny dogs to extra large dogs
  • A wide range available for different situations (multiple dog situations, single dog situations, stubborn dogs)
  • Available in rechargeable models
  • Most units are completely waterproof
  • 99% Success rate

Cons of Static Electric Bark Collars

  • The static electric shock may not be a suitable option for dogs who are deaf or blind. However, the vibration setting on most static electric collars can be a suitable option for them. If in doubt, feel free to call us on 1300 668 931 to talk to one of our experts.

 

So what's more effective?

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 complete nonsense.

 

What do our customers say?

The most reliable reviews about the collars are from 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.