Does your dog bark or yap incessantly? Are you looking for a quick and kind way to teach them to be quiet? If so – look no further than a citronella dog bark collar. This handy device works while you’re at home or away and can have your dog sitting quietly within minutes.
Best Citronella Bark Collar
PetSafe Spray Bark Collar
Runner Up Citronella Bark Collar
PetSafe Gentle Spray Bark Collar
Best For Small Dogs / Young Dogs
PetSafe Elite Little Dog Spray Bark Collar
What Is A Citronella Dog Collar?
The citronella bark collar works by emitting a strong odor, which is a deterrent for your dog. They are incredibly effective…even for the most vocal of pooches!
While not as well known as the static shock collar, many well-known dog trainers, including Cesar Millan and Zak George, have both recommended the use of a citronella collar when training your noisy canine to be a more considerate neighbor.
But how do they work? Well, it’s pretty simple. When your dog barks, the collar can pick up on the noise or vibration of their vocal cords. Upon detecting this, the collar releases a spray of citronella. This scent doesn’t harm or hurt your dog in any way – it merely distracts and discourages them from continuing the behavior.
There are a few different sensor types available – those with noise sensors and those with remote control are two options. And, for multi-dog households, before you worry that your other dog barking might set off the collar, there are some incredibly well-designed products that take this into consideration, so your dog won’t get a face full of citronella from their furry friend’s betrayal!
After having tried multiple brands, we’ve found that Petsafe is the only brand that offers high-quality products that we feel work consistently and stand the test of time. Therefore, we will only be reviewing their products in this guide today.
What Makes A Good Spray Collar
Bark Sensor Type
Did you know that collars use different types of sensors to detect when your dog is barking? The most common type is a vibration sensor that sits around your dog’s neck, on his vocal cords. When this sensor detects a vibration, it releases the citronella spray. Other sensors are sound-based, and the top end citronella bark collars integrate both sensors for much more reliable and accurate bark detection.
Most anti-bark citronella collars come with a refillable cartridge that sits on the collar. This is what sprays the citronella when your dog barks. Having a cartridge with a high capacity makes it easier for you to ensure that the diversion and distraction will be provided consistently when your dog starts barking!
A collar that automatically sprays out a small amount of citronella when your dog starts barking is fine and dandy, but controlling when that spray occurs is even better! Imagine, if you will, your dog is at the park and you can see that a fight might be about to break out.
Rather than looking on helplessly, you can use your remote control to release a spray of citronella, which will snap your dog out of his possibly defensive mindset and provide you with enough time to call him back to you!
You would think that all dog collars are waterproof. After all, you never know where your pooch is going to end up or what the weather will throw at you. But, actually, some battery-powered collars are not suitable for use in water. If you happen to live in a rainy climate, this could render your new purchase unusable, so please make sure to check before making a purchase.
Are you the proud owner of a feisty and yappy little Jack Russell? These small, yet big-hearted breeds can be incredibly vocal, but finding an anti-bark collar that fits them can be a challenge.
Make sure to pay attention to the weight of each collar you’re considering, as some may be too heavy for your smaller canine pal.
Finding a collar that can be recharged can save you money, but finding a collar that is powered by batteries means you’ll be able to switch out the batteries and have the collar back up and running in two shakes of a dog’s tail! Both are handy in their own ways and it really comes down to personal preference.
Ease of Refill
Refilling most anti-bark collars with citronella is a simple, quick, and painless task – but be sure to buy a collar that is known to be easy to fill. Some collars can be finicky, to say the least, and even result in leaking cartridges if not re-filled correctly.
#1 PetSafe Spray Bark Collar:
Best For Most Dogs
- Size: Dogs over 8 lbs and up to 27” neck size
- Spray Capacity: 35 sprays per cartridge
- Bark Sensor Type: Both microphone and vibration
- Waterproof: Water Resistant
- Built-in rechargeable battery.
- Notifies you when the spray or battery is running low.
- Replace cartridges easily and with no mess.
- Option for scented or unscented sprays.
- Also works with dog whining.
- Replacement cartridges can get expensive.
This is the new generation PetSafe spray bark collar, it can accurately detect barking with the help of both a microphone and a vibration sensor. It gives off a faint yet efficient spray, just enough so that your dog doesn’t want to bark again immediately.
This collar can be worn both indoors and out and it’s easy and safe to use, powered by USB, and comes with a free USB charging cable. It lets you know when the battery is running low or when the cartridge needs changing through the front-facing led indicator.
The major downside of this upgraded version of a previously best selling spray collar is the need to purchase replacement cartridges, as opposed to using a refill bottle. These can get expensive, especially if your dog is a heavy barker.
#2 PetSafe Gentle Spray Bark Collar:
Best Budget Option
- Size: Dogs over 6 lbs and up to 24” neck size
- Spray Capacity: 25 sprays per refill
- Bark Sensor Type: Microphone only
- Waterproof: Water Resistant
- Spray can refillable.
- Incredibly lightweight.
- Battery included.
- Other loud noises near the collar can set it off.
- Hard to tell when the battery needs replacing.
The PetSafe gentle spray bark collar works just off a microphone, but don’t let that “deter” you (pun intended). It is still very accurate and effective, only it will sometimes go off in the presence of other loud noises.
When the collar is out of sprays, just refill it with the included spray can that works for around 10 cartridge refills as is very cost effective.
#3 PetSafe Elite Little Dog Spray Bark Collar:
Best For Dogs Under 55 lbs
- Size: Dogs from 5 to 55 lbs and up to 20 inch neck size
- Spray Capacity: 30-40 sprays per refill
- Bark Sensor Type: Both microphone and vibration
- Waterproof: Yes – Up to 5 feet
- It works for young dogs too.
- Waterproof up to 5 feet.
- Easy to replace the nylon collar.
- Highly accurate bark detection.
- No programming required.
- Both scented and unscented refills.
- Won’t go off when other dogs bark.
- Hard to tell when it needs refilling.
- Might mistake a cough for a bark – whoops!
The PetSafe elite little dog spray collar packs a lot of features into a small and compact unit. From the duel sound and vibration sensors that make it the most accurate on the market, to the lightweight yet durable casing that is waterproof up to 5 feet of depth. This has been the number one selling citronella spray collar for as long as I can remember and it is not uncommon to see five year old versions of this exact product still being used today. It is a testament to how well designed and built it is.
This spray collar is simple to use, it works strait out of the box and is fitted with both a fully adjustable and replaceable collar as well as a low spray and battery indicator light. Just fill the collar using the supplied citronella spray can (additional cans can be purchased separately) and away you go.
Why You Might Need A Citronella Bark Collar
Stop Your Dog From Barking
Not only is barking annoying for you to deal with and most definitely for your poor neighbors – it can also cause injury to the dog’s larynx (voice box).
Injury to this area can result in laryngitis, which often requires medical attention from your veterinarian to ensure that breathing isn’t restricted. The larynx is an incredibly important part of your dog’s body and injury to it can be life-threatening.
Works Even When You’re Not Home
We all know how hard it can be when your dog barks during the working day and you’re stuck having to leave him home alone while you dash off to the office. We get it – everyone has bills to pay! But, while it might not seem like a big deal to you, your neighbors likely think otherwise and, with the risk of becoming a public nuisance, it’s vital that you take your neighbor’s complaints seriously before it becomes a big deal.
Some dogs bark because they’re bored, so having a set-up with multiple toys, interactive treat dispensers, and a citronella collar can be an awesome combination to distract him from those unwanted behaviors, such as barking.
It’s important to consider why your dog is barking. If it’s simply from boredom, having this type of set-up and increasing his walks every day can do the trick. But, if he’s suffering from separation anxiety, you’ll need to really put some time into training and maybe even look into doggie daycare, or having a dog walker come by every day.
A Negative Reinforcement-Free Solution
Not knowing where to turn when your new dog comes with the added “bonus” of non-stop barking, or trying to figure out how to quiet your rambunctious pup from vocalizing at all hours of the day and night can be frustrating, to say the least.
But, just like with kids, while it can be easy to shout and punish them – it’s far more effective to communicate with your dog to let them know that this behavior isn’t what you want, and to distract them before they can get into their full barking flow!
Works For Dogs With Mild Separation Anxiety
If your dog is just beginning to feel a little anxious about being left home alone, they can quickly work themselves up into a frenzy and begin to bark a lot more than usual. This can be common after transitioning from a long holiday when you were with your dog every day.
To help make your pooches transition easier, taking them for a long walk before work, buying them some new toys (that are suitable for unsupervised play), and popping on a citronella collar can really help to distract and calm them while they settle back into your normal routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Not at all! Citronella bark collars are akin to painting that gross-tasting nail polish on your kid’s nails, to stop them from biting – it just distracts them from a behavior and doesn’t harm or hurt them in any way.
It depends on the collar that you choose, as some do have this flaw. Of course, if you’re the parent of a sole-pooch family, it’s not something that you really have to think about. But, for multi-dog households, it’s best to buy one with a built-in safety feature that stops this from happening.
That depends on which collar you end up buying. It’s definitely worth looking at the battery life of each collar before making your decision on which one to buy. After all, if you’re going to be at work all day and the battery runs out before you arrive home – it won’t help to teach your dog to stop barking.
There are few side effects associated with the use of a citronella bark collar, but one that has been seen with exceptionally bright canines is that some dogs learn to bark then quickly scoot backward to avoid the spray. Having said that, this is incredibly rare, and you could overcome this if you opted for a remote-control version, so you can manually set off the spray after they have scooted.
If your dog suffers from sensitive skin or a sensitive respiratory tract, a citronella collar can, in theory, aggravate this. However, citronella is non-toxic and completely safe for use with animals. But, if you are still worried that it might have adverse effects, have a chat with your veterinarian and ask them to perform a patch test!
In essence, yes it can. But, you need to think about the underlying problem of separation anxiety and not just mask the symptoms. This is a really big deal and not just a cry for attention – dogs are pack animals and can become utterly distraught when left home alone. But, don’t worry, with time, patience, and behavior modification training, you can teach your dog to deal with separation anxiety and learn that being alone is only a temporary state and, therefore, not something to treat as though it were the end of the world.
Many automatic collars aren’t quite sensitive enough to pick up on a whining dog; however, an easy workaround is to purchase a remote-controlled collar and to manually hit the spray button when your dog starts howling or whining.
Well, that’s hard to say. Each dog is unique and, without knowing the cause of barking, the length of time that the problem has been present, and his general demeanor – I wouldn’t think anyone can give you a definite answer on that. However, many collars start working within minutes – but, it’s up to you to incorporate positive reinforcement to keep this good behavior going strong!
When not combined with other training, yes, this is a distinct possibility. However, responsible dog owners should merely be using the citronella bark collar as a training aid. The collar helps distract your canine from the undesired behavior which allows you to teach a quiet command. Once your dog is fluent in this command, there’s no need for the collar anymore and you can start teaching him to bark on command, as well, therefore, removing any nervous energy surrounding the act of barking.
Though some training collars have this feature, at this point in time we are not aware of any citronella spray collars that operate with a remote control.
Being a dog owner is tough, you want the very best for your fluffy friend, but when behavioral issues pop up – it can be hard to find time to deal with them in an already packed schedule, trust me, I get it!
However, as hard as it can be to skip your evening Netflix binge and instead spend some quality training time with your dog – if you catch behaviors early and put that time in, it can be incredibly fast going to get your dog back on the right track.
So, take your time, don’t be afraid of using humane training tools and, most of all, treat your dog like he’s one of your kids – you know he’d do anything for you, you’re his family!