This page is part of Section One:
the Your Dog section of

Electronic Collars

The principle of the electronic collar is straightforward enough. You simply fit your dog with a battery-powered collar that senses his vocal activities. Then, every time the dog barks the battery dispenses a small electric shock.

If the concept is new to you it may seem cruel, but quieting your dog through slight electrical stimulation is actually among the most humane of interventions. For one thing, the dog is in charge. He will only receive stimulation from the collar if chooses to bark.

Therefore, he can avoid the stimulus and just go about all his normal daily activities. As long as he does not bark, the collar will remain inactive.

For some reason electric shock seems to be the all-time most effective form of punishment. Man and dog alike will go well out of their way to avoid even a taste of it, which is precisely what makes it a safe and humane intervention. It just takes a tiny amount of electrical stimulation to quiet a dog, and certainly administering that small stimulus is no more cruel than smacking the animal with your hand, which, realistically, is about your only alternative.

Electrical stimulation may actually be the kinder intervention because even a small stimulus is so effective that the dog is unlikely to be shocked many times before he stops barking. Also, most electronic collars will allow you to set the level of intensity, so you can adjust the device to deliver the minimum amount of stimulation necessary to get results.

The dog should be at least six months of age, however, because reportedly, younger dogs sometimes react negatively to such devices.

With the electronic collar in place, the vast majority of dogs will still bark at threatening intruders and sound the alarm in other serious, emergency situations. But frequent, gratuitous, recreational barking will quickly become a thing of the past.

I am of the opinion that, when a dog is barking inappropriately, for most people, bark training is the best solution to their problem. After all, the technique is simple. It doesn't cost anything. It's not all that much hassle and it can be accomplished fairly quickly.

Still, for some people, for one reason or another, it may be best if they opt to go with an electronic collar. For example, some folks have physical limitations that prevent them from walking out to where the dog is located, and others don't have a minute to spare. And some have vicious dogs that they dare not correct with a smack on the nose. Therefore, there will be some people who will need to choose the high-tech alternative.

If you do decide to use an electronic collar, there are several things you should keep in mind. First, the collar will not truly bark train your dog. It will quiet the animal for as long as he wears the device, so for all practical purposes it should solve your barking problem. But unless you also bark train the dog, when the collar is removed, the old barking habits will remerge. The device will, however, cause the dog to associate barking with undesirable consequences, which should make it a little easier to bark train him in the future if you should ever decide to take that step.

Secondly, a dog should not wear an electronic collar for more than ten out of any twenty-four hour period, because it can irritate his skin. The irritability has nothing to do with electricity. It is just that the contact points that extend out from the collar can cause a mechanical irritation in some dogs if the collar rests continually over one spot and is left on for too long at a stretch.

People often ask how they can tell if the electronic collar they purchased for their dog is working properly. When a shock collar is functioning correctly, each bark will be followed by a little yelp as the dog reacts to the stimulus, as seen in the video below.

Please note, however, that the particular brand of collar worn by the dog in the video allows the animal to bark several times before the stimuls is dispensed. As noted below, it is much better to go with a collar that delivers the shock for each and every bark. has no affiliation with any of the companies mentioned on this site and is in no way compensated for providing links to their sites or information about their products.

Tri-Tronics Bark Limiter G3

At this time, the Bark Limiter is the only electronic collar recommended by this site. We favor it over any other type of anti-barking device, and it has several advantages over other shock collars as well.

First, it is compact and comfortable enough to be worn by every breed from Chihuahuas to Mastiffs.

Also, to operate the Bark Limiter, you set the device for one of five levels of intensity, and thereafter, unless you change the setting, the thing will deliver that same stimulus every time the dog barks. Many other brands give no shock or dispense a lesser shock for the first bark in a series, and then gradually increase the intensity as the dog barks more. You don't want that, because it constitutes intermittent punishment. And the research clearly shows that punishment is the most effective when it is dispensed at optimal intensity for every transgression, which is how the Bark Limiter delivers it.

Also, many other brands deliver the barking dog a shock only after first emitting a warning tone. That is another feature that you want to avoid. You will be far better off purchasing a device, like the Bark Limiter, that lets you set the level of intensity and then delivers that same level for each and every bark, without it being preceded by an auditory warning tone.

You may pay a little more for the Bark Limiter, but in our experience it works, and who knows what type of aggravation you may be in for with a lesser product.

We would very much like to hear about your experiences with the Bark Limiter. Please email us at, and let us know how it did or did not work for you, so that we can pass that information along to our other readers.

The Dog Science Network also sponsors a course in dog training, featuring a free workshop in canine
, as well as an advanced course in obedience training, street safety, and watchdog work.

This page is part of Section One:
the Your Dog section of