Is the Citronella Dog Collar A Safer Alternative to Electric Shock?

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Dog in FieldCitronella dog collars have been gaining in popularity ever since studies were released showing the negative psychological effects of electric shock collars on dogs. Furthermore, studies by the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine suggest that citronella dog collars are even more effective than electric shock collars.

How Does A Citronella Dog Collar Work?

A citronella dog collar is a type of spray dog collar. Spray dog collars work by spraying a substance (in this case citronella, but versions also exist that use water or lemon juice) in the dogs face when the collar senses (via a microphone) that your dog is barking. The idea is that the dog, discomforted by the citronella spray, will learn to stop barking to avoid being sprayed in the face. Pet owners consider the citronella dog collars to be more humane than the electric shock dog collars, and citronella collars have been proven to be more effective than shock collars (in some instances a dog given an electric collar would keep barking despite the shock, whereas with the citronella collar, the odor was so unpleasant that later a substitute could be used and the dog would still not bark, fearing the smell of the citronella spray).

Are Citronella Dog Collars Humane?

While there’s no doubt citronella dog collars are more humane than electric shock collars, we should still consider the psychological impact of the spray collar on your dog. There have even been instances reported where the spray collar’s microphone sensitivity was such that it would pick up other dogs barking. The problem here is obvious: Your dog could be punished with a spray of citronella despite having done nothing. Even more problematic, however, are the psychological implications of such punishment. After all, barking is a natural reaction for any dog, and can often be a way for dogs to protect their owners. It would be terribly ironic if, for example, your dog was about to save you from a burglar, but because of repeated citronella sprays to her face, she would do nothing to alarm you of the intruder. That example aside, we feel it is simply wrong to impede or constrain such a natural function. We feel that as the dog’s owner it is your responsibility to train and take are of your dog. (For other dog training tips, head over to our “Dog Training Advice” article.) After all, barking is part of what you signed up for. Now you have a living being, a life, on your hands that deserves just as much care and nurturing as if it were your own child.

Best Citronella Barking Collar

PetSafe Gentle Spray Bark CollarIf training just doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, you might want to consider adding some paw-sitive reinforcement and this citronella collar might be the thing you’ve bee s-praying for. All jokes aside, we love the Petsafe Premier GentleSpray collar as an addition to your already-in-place training regime because it’s a cinch to operate, it’s harmless to your pet and family, and it holds up to 25 sprays. Each box comes with a nylon collar and spray device, a three-oz. can of stain-free, citronella spray, a six-volt alkaline battery, and an operating guide. It also works on dog six pounds and up, and six months and older, so you don’t have to wait for your dog to develop a nasty barking habit to add in this training option.

The information contained in this article and website is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional safety advice; it is provided for educational purposes only.

About The Author:

Alex holds BS degrees in Management Science from the University of California at San Diego, and Computer Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is the co-founder of Canine Journal and his first dog was a Dalmatian named Domino. Alex and Domino quickly became best pals as dog walks, hikes, an uncanny sense of what Alex was going through at any particular time, and other canine adventures enhanced Alex's life and well-being.

Alex's experience as a parent to several dogs since then have given him over 15 years of canine insight and perspective that he brings to Canine Journal. While he's been versed in everything from basic dog training techniques, canine diet and health, to pet insurance, the takeaways he holds most dear are the inspiration to live every moment to the fullest, and start each day with gusto and a tail wag.

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Jaclyn Dunn Civins
May 20, 2019 3:41 pm

I walk my 2 dogs in NY. My one dog barks at other dogs while she is on the leash. It is very annoying while walking her to have her bark at other dogs. When she is at the groomer she is free Unleashed and there is no problem. While she is boarded, she roams free with other dogs and there is no problem. I would like to try the citronella collar to use when I walk her outside. please comment.

March 23, 2019 11:32 am

I got my 12-month-old Golden Retriever from a family member who couldn’t keep him anymore, largely due to his unruly behavior. I did my best to use distraction and positive motivation techniques to curb his demand barking, but nothing was sticking. He would stand and bark at me when he wanted attention or food. Worse, he would demand-bark at my senior dog and at my cats, who would hide under chairs to get away from him. I got the Pet Safe citronella collar as a last resort.

Having used it now for three days, I am amazed at the difference in the tone of the house. He only needed 3-4 corrections, and now his barking has stopped completely. And because he can’t bark anymore at the cats, he doesn’t get as revved up when he tries to play with them. I’d say his harassment of the cats has been cut down by 50%. He just seems calmer overall now that he knows he can’t demand things. I do want him to bark outside, though, so I always remove it when he’s in the house. And I also remove it when we’re about to go outside to play, as my other dog got excited once and barked standing next to my Golden, accidentally setting it off. Overall, I’m very pleased with the results.

Kathy T.
August 20, 2018 5:02 pm

My dog barks when outside as it chases things up trees and then sits at the base of the tree barking. I am sure it wants me to run out and shoot whatever it is but that is not going to happen. My dog was a rescue, is about 7-9 months old. I hate to curtail any barking at an intruder; however, I cannot just let her bark in my yard. She is very active and needs and wants to be outside a lot. I have contemplated using a muzzle or a shock collar but and this sounds like a much more humane way to stop this behavior. If there really is a way to stop this hunting behavior, I would love to hear it, but aside from spending hours outside running thru the woods trying to spank, spray, yell or otherwise let the dog know to STOP BARKING, I am at a loss. Coming to me when called is yet another issue altogether….

August 9, 2018 5:36 pm

Yes, dog should be allowed to bark as a warning, but endless barking needs to stop because your neighbors’ needs to enjoy peaceful living. It is your responsibility to train your dog from excessive barking that disturb the peaceful living your neighbors are entitled.

July 23, 2018 5:50 pm

Are these good training devices to keep dog from running?

June 27, 2018 11:34 pm

I’m very happy to learn the pros and cons everyone discusses about the use of Citronella and other training methods. I just wish people would cut down on the absolute judgments about what “responsible dog owners” should or shouldn’t do. Most, if not all of us here love dogs wit a passion and would never hurt them. But not everyone is in the same position to provide ideal training, ideal space and playtime, ideal amount of attention from owners. Some of us work, others don’t. Some have big homes, some don’t. Some can afford the best trainers in the county, others are lucky if they can pay for dog food. So let’s be a little more understanding and a little less judgmental. I’m in total agreement that whatever methods we use must be humane. There is no simple way to decide what is and what is not humane, which is why this discussion is so useful. Please keep it going. If something seems cruel or dangerous, please point it out. But blanket statements about dogs having every right to bark are not ok. Dogs are our pets and live in our environment. They’re not out in the wild. We must compromise to live with them, and so do they. Barking may be natural in the wild, but if they live in our house, they are allowed to bark only as much as the owner (or his/her neighbors) can tolerate. The alternative is worse. Thank you.

Andrea Calhoun
June 3, 2018 6:01 pm

I need your help … have 2 jack Russell … one is 3 years old and the other is 1. Our 3 year old suffers from severe separation anxiety … barks and whines when we leave etc… does this collar really work? We tried the sonic egg and after 3 days .. she started barking again .. tired of spending money on things that wont work … honest truth . Hiw good is this citonella collar?

Mr MacGregor
March 29, 2018 6:54 am

We have used citronella collar before, they didn’t work for long on our Kelpies…maybe 3 days. Two barks and they understood there would be a spray….but soon they worked out that if they ran in a zigzag, and barked at the ‘zig’ and ‘zag’ point, the spray went out into the air where they had just been but were no longer. So it took them maybe 15 seconds to empty the spray tank without getting any spray near their clever little face. The Maltese, on the other hand, sulks (quietly) as soon as the collar goes on. Its a bit sad to see, but she can obviously choose NOT to be a yappy little horror if the price of doing so is a stinky spray.

January 31, 2018 3:55 pm

Lori, I’m in the same boat as you and have tried everything to get my 9 month old golden puppy to stop eating my 10 year old golden’s poop. I’m at my wits end and was told about the mist collars as well. I’d not heard of them before now so I am hoping to learn a bit more before going ahead. We’ve tried a muzzle, For-Bid, pumpkin, activated charcoal…all to no avail.

July 6, 2018 6:38 pm
Reply to  Sarah

Sarah I’ve heard that feeding a dog pineapple will stop the poop eating as they like the taste of it going in but not so much when it comes out

July 5, 2018 12:45 pm
Reply to  Sarah

Our puppy also ate the other dog’s poop. Our vet gave us For-Bid, which is a power that you put in their food. It worked great because the puppy can smell it in the stools of the other dog. My puppy is now almost 2 years old and no longer has that aweful behavior. It took about 3 weeks of consistently using the power and the behavior stopped.

January 24, 2018 3:26 am

I’m looking at this collar, not for barking but to curb my dog eating poop. She is tenacious and willful. She started eating poop right after she was spayed and it has gotten to the point where nothing deters her. We have tried positive treats to lure her away, the leave it command, cleaning as soon as she poops. We have two dogs and if you’re not right on top of them she is faster. She defies all the standards of what other dogs do. For example most poop eaters won’t eat loose stools but she does. The thing I am attracted to in the Petsafe collar is they have a remote Control model so I can trigger it when she tries to go for poop. I just want to be sure the citronella is sufficiently diluted to not poison my puppy. She is a 7 month old pointer mix.

October 19, 2017 3:26 pm

Ok. I’ve read a lot of opinions here about the use of a citronella collar. We have a Jack Russell-Dachshund mix that we rescued going on 9 years ago or so. We spend a lot of time with him. When we are not interacting with him, he chooses to sit outside on the patio. He likes to be outside. However, he also likes to occasionally bark at a variety of things. Not at length. Just short bursts.

We just moved to Germany. He’s been here about a week. It is a much different environment than what he is used to. We moved from a 2-acre lot where he had plenty of space to explore to a much smaller yard here in Germany. He barked before. He still barks. Not all the time. He does bark when he sees someone walking by. However, the expectations here are different.

We are considering the citronella collar. We are also considering some professional training. Just not sure if it’s too late for that.

Beth Peterson
April 15, 2018 11:51 am
Reply to  Robert

Try professional training first! Or do it at home by yourselves. Let your dog know he’s doing something wrong (Ack!), then tell him what to do (Leave It) then redirect his behavior – call him to come to you (when he does immediately – don’t forget to play), or go find a bone or toy, etc.

If he barks at strangers – after his FIRST bark – tell him Good Boy, Leave It. Praise him when he looks to you for direction &/or doesn’t bark.

You could begin to use the cue, Quiet, after he stops barking.

Good luck! 🙂

August 16, 2018 2:47 am
Reply to  Beth Peterson

Training doesn’t always work when the incessant barking only happens when no humans are in the direct vicinity of the dog! I.e. when we are out, at work, at school, at the store!

Susan Kelly
June 27, 2017 8:28 pm

It’s a cruel and inept solution to a problem that requires patience, unless, of course, the dog owner is prepared to wear one. Dogs bark, as humans speak, for a variety of reasons. Separation anxiety is a sad and stressful situation for both the dog and owner, often necessitating a friend, family member or neighbour checking in on the dog during the owner’s absence. Squirting lemon juice in the pet’s eyes serves only to exacerbate the animal’s stress. It’s cruelty masquerading as a solution.
There are countless papers and books detailing solutions to problems like excessive barking but few advocating spraying citric acid in the face or eyes of any breed.
We wouldn’t do it to a crying child. There is no justification for doing it to an upset creature of any kind.

Toni Phillips
July 10, 2018 2:30 pm
Reply to  Susan Kelly

I agree Susan , I work but I made it my mission to train my dog properly without the use of these collars. Just because people work they shouldn’t use this as an excuse to not spend time training your dog correctly , If I say …enough…my dog stops barking. Yes it takes a long time and a lot of effort But it is worth it in the long run. Positive re inforcement is definitely better than punishing your dog. If these people don’t have time to train their dogs then there are other alternatives. I don’t understand people who use work as an excuse.

October 7, 2018 12:24 pm
Reply to  Toni Phillips

I have a reactive dog. He’ll bark at every little noise, person, animal..even objects. I’ve spend countless money on trainers assessing him. They say it’s probably genetic. The barking is excessive and annoying. Nothing I have tried has worked and he will not redirect. I dont work a whole lot, and have spent 4 months with no head way on this issue. I might try this collar just because nothing else has worked..

August 16, 2018 2:54 am
Reply to  Toni Phillips

And who says “enough” when we are at work? We earn $10 an hour and dog sitters charge the same. Dogs are very smart. They know they can change their behavior when “mom and dad” leave. Just like teenagers throw parties when parents go out of town despite endless “enoughs.” Walk a mile in the shoes of others before you go spouting off that what works for YOU is going to automatically work for everyone else. Trainers are expensive and many dogs simply don’t respond to any amount of training when it comes to separation anxiety related barking. And believe it or not there are entire populations of people who are not blessed with family, friends or neighbors that are willing to “stop by” every day to calm our dogs. They are more likely to give evil stares, call in complaints to landlords and cops. Think about the people who need dogs just how the dogs need people.

February 22, 2018 8:20 am
Reply to  Susan Kelly

Most people have JOBS, Susan. Do you suggest we all quit? Or allow even more dogs to die on the streets rather than taking them in? The only reason we don’t do this to children is because it’s unfortunately illegal. And because kindergartens/nannies exist. No such luxury for dogs in most areas, or the pricing is absurdly unaffordable.

Jimmy Jammy
June 7, 2018 10:50 pm
Reply to  LongName

Why do you think it’s illegal to spray acid in your child’s eyes?

August 16, 2018 2:57 am
Reply to  Jimmy Jammy

I have used lavendar essential oil very diluted in water in a spray bottle to spray the air around a errant, fussy or upset child. It calms and distracts them immediately. It is not abusive it is gentle and smart. Better than beating or yelling. This product spritzes the nose not the eyes of the dog.

me omy
May 11, 2017 1:41 am

We got the PetSafe collar to help train our terrier not to ‘nuisance bark’ where he’d just stand there and bark at anything and everything. It only took about three or four sprays for him to make the connection. Now, he rarely goes off on a barking snit and when he does, all I have to do is hold the collar up and show it to him. In short, it worked for us.

April 1, 2017 9:13 am

I have read a lot of these posts and none of you fools answer the question how do you get your dog to stop barking all day when your not home. You keep going on and on about what you do when your dog barks and how old your dog is and what you do when it barks when you are there. . Please just get to the question and give an answer.

February 21, 2019 6:31 pm
Reply to  HOME ALONE

I have 8 dogs and train many others. The best approach I have found for most bad behaviors including excess barking, chewing, etc is to lovingly kennel train your dog. All my dogs love their kennels because I threw yummy treats in there and left the door open for several days/weeks while training them. Then I started slowing closing the door and sitting near by. They now all go in and out of their kennels all day long when I am home and put themselves to bed every night just by me saying “kennel”. Be sure if kenneling them that you try to exercise them before you kennel them. Let them drink water a while before they go out and then lovingly put them in their kennel while gone or in bed. My dogs go at least 8 hours every night in their kennels without needing to go out unless they are not feeling well. They also all love having the kennel covered with a sheet (or blanket in winter) because dogs love to sleep in dens. When my dogs bark while I am at home if it is excessive I get up and find the one who is barking the most and firmly say “enough”. I have one really stubborn one who has to have the last bark every time and for her it helps for me to use a squirt bottle with plain water in it near her face. Don’t back down on the follow through to make sure they completely quit barking, try to keep making eye contact with them until they get bored and forget what they were barking about. So again, to summarize: Give them water, maybe small amount of food, exercise them, then kennel them. They can have some water before kennel but the more you feed and water them the more they will have to go out. I feed mine mostly when I am home and they have time to go out. Hope that helps!!

August 16, 2018 2:59 am
Reply to  HOME ALONE

Totally agree! How do we ethically solve the issue of pissing off neighbors and roommates when we are not home! Training is based on the presence of the trainer!
May 8, 2016 8:58 pm

In regards to the Citronella Spray. Our doggy – Maltese is almost 16 and continually howls while we are at work, we do a lot with him on weekends, and my husband is home by 3pm every day. He is still fit and doing well for his age as we look after him, but if I am gone for 20 mins to drop my daughter off to school, I can hear him down the street started already. My question is I want to know he is partially blind in 1 eye and completely blind in the other – the spray won’t hurt his eyes, as I am not fussed on it spraying in the face.

Mr MacGregor
March 29, 2018 7:03 am

We have 2 Kelpies and a Maltese. The spray collars work on the Maltese because she knows what they do if you bark and she sulks (and stops her incessant yapping) when she has to wear it. We only use it when we are desperate to have sleep. We take it off at other times and she goes straight back to yapping. The Kelpies learned how to empty the tank in under a minute.

Jackie Riggs
March 5, 2016 12:57 pm

It’s all fine and good to say that barking is what you signed up for when you got a dog & that you should train them. That’s not a very fair comment for people who take on rescues that come with all kinds of habits including excessive barking.

Norma Parkway
September 2, 2017 4:39 am
Reply to  Jackie Riggs

I agree we have had dogs for 30 years and for the first time the latest rescue dog is proving a challenge. Guests are barked at even when they get inside the house and the poor tradesmen have to wear earmuffs! I am going to purchase a collar to put on her as a friend said it worked on her yapping chihuahua.

September 24, 2015 4:47 pm

Dogs bark, but to bark all day at every sound is useless, very disturbing to neighbors at home sleeping at night or during the day, sick at home, working from home, caring for a sick family member. Be a pet parent and teach them it’s not okay to bark at everything. It’s useless & lazy parenting. If something really happened, how would you know if it were barking for a good reason or being stupid & untrained. Very annoyed with lazy neighbors. We live near eight! Barking dogs in small suburbs. We moved to a brand new home & guess who moved in. Four homes each with 2 dogs. Doggy doors = lazy owners.

August 16, 2018 3:02 am
Reply to  crosswind

Are you serious! Dog doors are a revolutionary invention. You clearly can’t see through the eyes of people who have to earn their living outside the home.

Jennifer Myers
April 9, 2018 1:36 pm
Reply to  crosswind

I wouldn’t call us lazy I work 10 hour days and that is the reason I have a dog door

Debbie B
May 10, 2018 11:49 pm
Reply to  Jennifer Myers

I think it’s wonderful that you have a doggy door! I hate hearing of pets who are not able to relieve themselves all day, because there is no one home to let them out!

August 29, 2015 2:10 pm

I am buying the Citronella Dog Collar because my dog barks 24/7. She never stops and we think this will work. But, could I make my own water/lemon juice for it so it would spray? How would that work?

Kimberly Alt
August 31, 2015 12:01 pm
Reply to  Korie

You could mix the water/lemon juice into a spray bottle and use the bottle when your dog is barking. So if your dog is barking, grab the spray bottle and use it to discomfort your dog to get him/her to stop barking.

August 16, 2018 3:04 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

Lemon juice is WAY different than an essential oil. Essential oil has a very strong scent. Lemon juice does not. And just spraying it at the dog in a bottle as someone suggested is a bad idea because it could get in her/his eyes. This collar is designed to release the SCENT so the dog associates barking with the scent. Lemon juice is a completely different effect.

February 22, 2018 8:24 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

That did absolutely nothing for my dog :(. Didn’t even flinch by the 3rd spray. Which is why I’ve been skeptical about Citronella, but I’m really out of options…

August 16, 2018 3:06 am
Reply to  LongName

Read above, citronella essential oil and lemon juice are completely different.

Kimberly Alt
February 22, 2018 9:14 am
Reply to  LongName

Sorry it didn’t work 🙁

Camille Perreault
July 5, 2016 9:10 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

The only problem with that, is that your dog identifies the spraying to you, which is apparently not super great, hence the positive “neutral” spray from the collar.

Kevin Wells
October 19, 2016 1:59 pm

Exactly right. Doing this may mean that your dog doesn’t bark when you are around but may correct it when you are physically there.

dwight schrute
July 21, 2015 11:51 am

Our dog trainer has used the citronella collar on my dog when we are in class when Elly was barking (she was distracted and a distraction to other dogs and this did change her behavior) and it works well in that circumstance.

I wouldn’t want to keep the collar on her continuously. When we are out and she is misbehaving (barking or aggressive behavior), I carry a can of compressed air, which mostly stops the behavior. Over time (she’s a rescue that we have for 3 months), we are using the compressed air much less.

January 6, 2017 12:39 pm
Reply to  dwight schrute

Compressed air makes people high when inhaled. I don’t think it’s a good idea to spray it at a dog.

Brian Bourassa
December 2, 2017 4:03 am
Reply to  Jenn

What? It’s just air that’s been compressed so that a large volume of it can be placed in a small can. It’s the same air you’d find anywhere. If it’s so poisonous than someone should alert every single recreational diver in the world lol

December 7, 2017 6:06 pm
Reply to  Brian Bourassa

Common compressed air, like to clean electronics, can and will cause frost bite if sprayed on skin. Depending on the type of compressed air (I can safely say I doubt they are using a scuba tank) it can be vary dangerous and against the instructions to use it on a living thing. However they do make small, safe, air spray cans which may be what the op was referencing.

December 7, 2017 1:20 pm
Reply to  Brian Bourassa

Canned air has propellants in it that can make you high. The air divers breathe doesn’t contain these.

July 12, 2015 10:53 am

Really good information, but let’s not be judgmental with those that may choose one option over the other. My case – I have a senior, 16 year old Dachshund that due to a change in living conditions has to be crated sometimes during the day and always at night. Therefore training is not realistic for her. It is an apartment complex and that says it all. There’s certainly anxiety and maybe some dementia, when I’m gone and any time she is in the crate. It’s sad but I choose to not do the surgery and must go with the collar as my first choice. Your post do not really discuss senior dogs so maybe in the future you might think of that. Safe travels…

April 27, 2016 4:22 pm
Reply to  Gary

What a sad life living in a cage.

July 24, 2017 11:41 pm
Reply to  JBens

Actually, a vast majority of dogs that have anxiety issues are relieved to be in the crate. Dogs are den animals. And I’m sure his dog comes out when his owner comes home. What it’s still better that giving your dog away or taking it the pound.

April 26, 2015 8:08 pm

My dog is a 2 year old chihuahua mix who we rescued from a local facility. She was a stray who had a puppy at the age of 6 months and had a hole in her ear (likely from another dog’s bite). She is the most loving little thing who wants nothing more than to be cuddled and adored. Inside our house, she is extremely well behaved and knows up to 12 commands. Unfortunately, she is extremely reactive to other dogs and is inconsolable if a dog comes within 10 feet of us on a walk. After 7 months of training and no progress, including private training and a class called “dog reactive”, we decided to try a citronella collar. It has been amazing. Now, we are able to use the techniques that we learned in class and in training to direct her away from other dogs, since the spray interrupts her and she is then very attentive to us and our commands. We put the collar on her on walks only, and only turn it on about half the time. She is slowly learning to make different choices (walking away, turning her head, asking for us to pick her up) even when she is not getting sprayed. This product has seriously changed her life and strengthened our bond.

July 15, 2015 1:21 pm
Reply to  Natalie

Thank you!! I am having a hard time with a Shih tzu that I adopted from someone who couldn’t keep him because they were moving into an apartment and I now know why. My neighbors are all retired so my dog barks constant for hours when anyone is in their yard next to ours. I tried the barkwise with no success. But, he is a love. So I will try this so I do not have to get rid of him.

June 17, 2015 4:46 pm
Reply to  Natalie

Thank you, Natalie. My neighbors are completely fed up with my dog, who was also a rescue. I tried the training as well, but it didn’t work and reacts the same way your dog does. I don’t mind her barking once or twice because of the safety aspect,
but she goes absolutely crazy around anyone she’s not used to! My last resort is the citronella spray collar, and this is exactly the advice I was looking for.

Michelle Schenker
April 27, 2015 4:56 pm
Reply to  Natalie

Wow, thank you Natalie for sharing this story. It is a true testament to how training tools, when used correctly and responsibly, can be highly effective. We are so happy for you and appreciate your comment. Hope to see you around Canine Journal more in the future!

Butch Rogers
March 25, 2015 10:49 am

I like Citronella sprays because it’s just more of any annoyance to the dog than a shock or volt from the collar.

March 16, 2015 9:58 pm

I found this site because my dog’s daycare decided to use Citronella on him without consulting me first. I would have liked to have had time to research it. Also, it would have been nice to warn me before sending home a pampered inside dog who reeked of insect repellant. By the way, it’s a really nasty smell that lasts and lasts. Not sure if the DC relationship is going to have the same staying power. 🙁

Kevin Wells
October 19, 2016 1:56 pm
Reply to  Anonymous-2

We have NEVER noticed any type of lingering smell on our Rottie after wearing the collar. The smell itself even when going off is strong but smells just like lemons. Perhaps it was a defective collar they were using? Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

January 10, 2015 8:44 pm

Dogs bark. It’s what they do.

August 16, 2018 3:15 am
Reply to  ChipsAhoyMcCoy

Many many humans have behaviors that infringe on the ability of other humans to operate. Should we just say “humans steal its what they do” “humans drink and drive, its what they do” “humans kill, its what they do” or should we as a collective society identify tools and methods to rehabilitate and recondition towards progressive and constructive human behavior?

april reese
August 1, 2016 2:47 am
Reply to  ChipsAhoyMcCoy

Sometimes they recklessly bark. I just “pssst” and “that look” at the dogs and they stop.

Citronella HYDROSOL (true water distillate) should only be used for flea control. It won’t stop the dogs from barking. It’s the “act of spraying” that stops them from barking. So you can just refill it with water.

August 16, 2018 3:12 am
Reply to  april reese

I don’t know what dogs you are used to but very many dogs love water spray and lap it up. Who says “psst” when no one is around? Its the scent that works. And allll the people here testifying how well this product works are what? Lying?

Clair E.
November 22, 2013 11:04 am

What's happened to traditional training? Why can owners be responsible for what habits they reinforce, commit some time to their dog to find out what the trigger is in the first instance?? Humans are guilty of creating problems and want an instant fix to their problems.

Ask yourself:

1) Do you hug your dog?

2) Do you face your dog at the time when you do so to read what behavior your dog is displaying, lip licking, head turning, yawning, panting, just some small subtle changes, shifts of emotions that your dog is trying to communicate with you. YES, very subtle I'm sure you're thinking, but huge to a dog! These signals get missed and ignored, not always intentionally on our behalf but through ignorance of not truly understanding what our dogs are trying to say. Please look at Lilli Chin's doggie drawings in the Google image search and she allows free downloads so it's a great one to have on your fridge for gentle reminders. I suggest this with all my clients.

3) Do you study your dog's posture? In all environments? Even in the comfort of their own bed? Own home? During their walks?

4) Are they comfortable wearing a normal collar and lead?

5) Do you observe, study your dog whilst interacting with other dogs or when there are dogs approaching?

6) How would you say your dog feels after his/her walk? Still charged up? Relaxed and settles down on their own? Needy and must be near you?

7) Would you say that your dog follows you around your home? Even if you get up to leave from one room to the next? Even if your dog is relaxed in their normal place? Do you think if yes to any of these this is normal? Would you get up and follow anyone around the house if they moved?

8) Does your dog bother you when you are relaxed and wants to play ball? Pesters you to interact with him?

9) Can you list the Top 5 (only 5) favorite activities your dog enjoys with you where you both interact with each other or the family?

10) Can you list the 5 favorite toys/ball, etc. your dog has?

11) Can you state which is the best spot your dog desires affection (i.e. on the chest my dog loves being scratched…and always asks for more). Can you say that you respect your dog's personal space and give a 2-5 sec rule of choice to see if your dog actually wants more?

12) Can you read/state which member of the family your dog, taking all the body signaling into consideration they interact with better?

13) Can you say that you truly understand how your dog communicates with you and your family, and the outside world?

14) Does he bark as a form of excitement? Does your display lack of impulse control? (Check out Suzanne Clothier ,a great trainer and author with great easy books.)

15) Does he bark at passersby?

16) Does he bark when he needs to tell you something?

17) Does he bark when people arrive? The postman? Delivery guy?

18) Bark when he/she is playing or wants the ball/toy? Do you throw it or reward this behavior?

19) Does your dog bark to get attention from you?

20) Do you think your dog is barking for no reason?

If you are fed up with reading any of these questions and struggle with just one of them then imho you don't know your dog and your dog doesn't deserve to be punished for barking. A dog should never be punished for expressing their emotions and their way to communicate. To take away the voice of a dog can be extremely detrimental to their outlook and can be rather depressing. It may also cause other undesirable anti social behaviors. Pent up frustration is at the top of the list. Anti-bark collars (sound and citronella) also confuse. Some use it only occasionally as they want to give the message their dog is not always corrected for their behavior. HOW do people expect their dog to understand this? Seriously, oooh I'm allowed to bark now…the area in which the behavior was corrected (fear response) then crawls back…the collar then goes back on!! Shocking, shocking shocking.

IF you find yourself questioning these questions and my response to the usage of causing any confusion, discomfort, emotion stress, short term and long term mental harm, the risk of further undesirable social behaviors…to name but just a few, in a positive way and how you can throw the collar away and choose the correct way of teaching how you can communicate with your dog in a humane and safe way then I commend you, for others that question it in a negative way I have just a few words…YOU DON'T DESERVE A DOG.

Invest time, invest love, patience and understanding but most of all study dog!!

I work with up to 25 different dogs in a grouped, supervised environment, through only use of the two quadrants of operant conditioning (there are four for the people whom may be thinking what is she talking about) on a daily basis. I study and keep up to date with all things new with the cognitive side of stuff, social interaction with dogs and how they communicate. These are of all different breeds, sizes and these are peoples' dogs. For the past 13 years of my life I have had the opportunity to grow with the times and studies to make dogs' lives better by understanding their needs and take away any woes and stresses they may occur through the pressures of keeping up with our busy lifestyles. Setting dogs up for success, providing them with the skills to engage and the choice to disengage is respected.

All dogs need is for us to listen and hear what they are trying to say. Thank you for reading and listening to what is just a scratch on a scratch of the iceberg of a dog's world.

February 9, 2019 6:06 pm
Reply to  Clair E.

You are a joke. I surely could say much about this judgemental and perfectionist attitude. I am an RN and have given years of energy to the physically and mentally ill. People rescue dogs and have busy lives and a heart not to see resumes euthanized. You have some audacity. Can you do the same for your fellow humans? You don’t deserve to offer information to people about dogs, you will just get a deaf ear with your scolding judgementalism. By the way, do you have children? I hope not.

Leah reed
March 13, 2016 6:36 pm
Reply to  Clair E.

Dear Clair,
To answer your questions, I do know my dogs. Way more then most people know their dogs. My husband has asked me how I so easily know what they are asking for. He doesn’t have this ability. He loves them to pieces but I can see times when one of our dogs is trying to say to him “I don’t like the way you’re petting me right now.” But since he doesn’t have the ability to “speak” dog, he misses the signal. Does that mean that he doesn’t deserve a dog? Of course it doesn’t. He was blessed with other things that I couldn’t begin to understand. I was blessed with an instinct and a love for dogs so strong that I chose dogs as a profession and could not imagine not being around dogs most of the time! The fact of the matter is that most people do not have this ability. Some try to learn it with different degrees of success. Most people miss the small subtle signals because they just don’t possess the talent. They are busy with jobs, homes, children, laundry, cooking meals, having friends over, paying bills, living life, etc. Add to that the lack of instinct (which is not their fault) and you end up in a situations that needs to be addressed and solved quickly for everyone’s sake, including their dog. The people here trying to find an alternative to shocking their dog. They are clearly trying to be humane. The fact is that they love their dog but some have neighbors complaining, some have home owner associations breathing down their necks and animal control is showing up at their door. Some may be trying to avoid getting hauled into court and losing their dog completely. You may be ok with this since you believe that they don’t deserve a dog anyway!! Well let’s look at that way of thinking, according to the ASPCA in the U.S. there are an estimated 70 to 80 million already homeless dogs (this # does not include cats) and according to humane society’s APPA survey 2015 / 2016 there are 77.8 million dogs in households in the U.S. Lets say only 10% of the owners deserve their dogs. What is your answer for what to do with the rest? Shelters are overrun already. Oh wait, there won’t be anyone adopting anymore because so many people don’t deserve dogs so there won’t be anymore shelters because they must rely on people adopting the dogs. Whoops, I think the plan has a flaw! The point is the blanket statements like you don’t deserve a dog doesn’t do anyone any good. It just makes you sound like a judgmental know it all. You are expecting way too much from most people. I do agree that there are better ways of dealing with barking, but for most people it just isn’t a viable option to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars for trainers. Even those that do spend the cash, find that once the trainer leaves, the behavior continues because the well meaning people just do not have the instinctual ability that it takes. The vast majority of owners do not have the luxury of the time in which it would take to train a dog to not bark continuously when owners are not present. Since you are obviously a trainer, you should realize that this is a very difficult problem to deal with even for some who are quite dog savvy. The people here will still love their dogs and their dogs will still love them. In most cases the dog will still jump around and be so happy when the people get home and the people will feed and water and provide shelter and grab hours from their busy schedules to walk their dogs, visit dog parks, take them for bye bye rides in the car!! They will scratch behind their ears and give belly rubs and throw balls and play tug. They will provide medical care and meet all the dog’s physical needs and do the best job they know how to do with the psychological stuff. The world is not perfect for dogs or people. Everyone is just trying to do the best they can with what they know. In the future I hope that you will save your judgements for those who don’t bother to provide basic care and for those who abandon, beat, starve, hoard, exploit, over breed, overwork and the myriad of other atrocities that deserve to be judged by all of us. I applaud you for being a true dog person and am happy for your dogs that they are blessed with a person who is so in tune to them. I do however think that you may want to work a bit on the people skills. I gotta go my dog is barking 🙂

February 5, 2019 3:59 pm
Reply to  Leah reed

Right on…This was the best reply, I almost started crying. I have my second adoption dog, a chocolate Cocker Spaniel and I adore him but he did come with a few annoying habits as he was abused prior. I know that I can change one of them where I have allowed him to crouch on the back of the couch. When our black lab (older) gets excited and runs by, the Cocker goes crazy barking and jumps off the couch running toward the door. He also barks whenever he hears the door opening but also sometimes when he hears other dogs barking outside. Other than that, he sleeps quietly over night and when we are around. I have tried a couple of other sound/vibrating collars but they would go off when he didn’t bark and he was getting a bit spooked; I really didn’t like that. So I am finally going to try the citronella one as my husband and I are going on a trip for a family wedding and my sister will not keep him if he is barking like he was the last time they kept him. I’m hoping it will only take a couple of times and then I can also use a cue like ‘quiet’. If it works, then it will be a miracle.

August 16, 2018 3:21 am
Reply to  Leah reed

Well put! Best last sentence ever!

December 10, 2017 2:53 pm
Reply to  Leah reed

Right on!

March 21, 2016 1:20 am
Reply to  Leah reed

Well said Leah. 🙂 I have a 11 month old puppy and she only seems to bark between 1am and 5am in the morning… most mornings (when I’m still in bed asleep). She never seems to bark during the day so it’s kind of hard to train her not to bark when she isn’t. I spend a lot of time with her and she is well looked after. Unfortunately, the neighbors are starting to suffer with her barking every morning. It doesn’t bother me too much but I try to show a lot of respect for people living around me. I’m not a big fan of putting bulky type of devices around her neck, but I think this is the only way that she may learn to bark less, especially when there is nothing there to bark at. Otherwise I hope she will just grow out of it. She never really barks at people or other dogs. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.