We often get asked, "If someone is breaking-in, will my dog bark if wearing a bark collar?" or "Does my dog have to wear this for a few weeks, or will it be forever?", or "How often does my dog need to wear the anti-bark collar?". These are all really good questions.
However, the most asked question is, "Will my dog stop barking after wearing a bark collar for a couple of weeks?"
This question can not be answered with a simple, 'Yes!' No dog is the same. They have different personalities, temperaments, motivation and drive levels - and this all impacts on why they bark, how often they bark and how long they bark for.
So, due to this, it is fair to expect that a bark collar is going to have a real impact on a barking dog, however, the time frame, response and end result are all related to the individual dog wearing the anti bark collar.
The same could be said about people when subject to negative reinforcement like traffic fines, jail time or corporal punishment - each person will act respond/react differently. Some will quickly adapt to follow this rules regularly, while others will perform acts of defiance when and where the opportunity shows itself.
It's fair to say that a dogs reason for barking is not going to be at the same level as that of humans in the above analogy. However, dogs will respond differently to the introduction of a bark collar.
Many will be quite surprised at just how little corrections your dog will receive before understanding that their barking is the case for the niggling sensation. This is true for either a static/electric bark collar or a citronella spray collar. So long as the deterrent is strong enough to persuade/distract your dog from barking, the response should be fairly quick.
If you are not seeing any response, you may need to look at how the collar is fitted, increasing the correction level or, in some cases, switching to a stronger collar (e.g. from a spray bark collar to a static one).
With the right collar that is addressing your dog's drive to bark, you should see a stop to your dog's barking. Usually the next step from here is that your dog will connect the bark collar to the correction received when your dog is barking.
This is a common, and beneficial result. If your dog knows that when the collar is on to stop barking, this is a good behavioural pattern to see. It proves the bark collar is achieving results, and gives your dog some downtime from the collar.
There are a number of reasons, however, the most important is to do with the welfare of your dog! A bark collar should only be introduced to control 'excessive' or 'nuisance' barking. It should not be introduced to stop a dogs barking completely.
Barking is the primary form of communication for dogs and barking is a very normal way for a dog to express itself in all manner of situations. It would be unfair to expect a dog to stop barking altogether, just as it would unfair to stop someone from speaking.
To get the best results, it is best to introduce a bark collar with some forethought and planning. Is your dog barking during the day or during the night?
If your dog is barking at night, put the bark collar prior on your dog just before you go to bed and then take it off first thing in the morning. Do this consistently every night for at least one month. By doing this, you will create a change in the pattern of behaviour in your dog.
After a month, you can try leaving the collar off or turning it off/fitting it loosely to see how your dog responds. If there is no barking from your dog, then you have successfully used a bark collar to change your dog's behaviour to not bark at night.
However, if your dog returns to barking, simply reintroduce the bark collar for around three months before attempting to leave it off again. Some dogs may need this approach over a longer period of time. Other dogs may have a very strong drive to bark, which in this case, the bark collar may need to be worn on a more permanent basis.