Does your dog tend to bark excessively?
Well, let’s face it, which dogs don’t?
Luckily, there are many ways you can fight back when your dog is barking inappropriately.
Training collars, also known as bark collars or no-bark collars, come in many variants. Some correct your dog using static shock while others use tones or vibrations. Many of these collars come with multiple modes so you can work your way up to static shock gently.
The problem is, many dog owners dislike the idea of using any form of static correction. While this shock is only in line with the small static shocks you occasionally experience yourself, even the thought of this doesn’t appeal to all pet owners.
Spray collars, commonly known as citronella bark collars, step in to fill this gap.
You get a collar that fits on your dog just like a regular dog collar. Where this one differs is the cartridge of metered sprays included. Typically citronella – dogs despise the smell of citrus – but sometimes unscented, when the collar determines your dog is barking excessively, he’ll receive a short, sharp burst of spray all over his snout.
Now, if your dog is anything like most, a saturated snout should be enough to put him off barking too much even without that smell of citrus.
So, today, we’ll be exploring 5 of the leading spray collars so you can see at a glance which would make the best fit for the temperament and type of dog you have at home.
Alongside these reviews, we’ll also be giving you all the information you need to use one of these collars even if you’ve never considered it before.
To kick off, take a quick look at the leading benefits of the best spray collars on the market…
I. Our Picks For Citronella Bark Collar
|Products & Features||Image & Price|
PetSafe Remote Spray Trainer Our #1 Pick
Downtown Pet Supply Citronella Spray Collar
PetSafe Remote Spray Trainer with Citronella Spray
PetSafe Elite Little Dog Spray Collar
PetSafe Spray Bark Collar
II. What Kinds of Citronella Bark Collar Are There?
OK, when you’re looking for citronella bark collars, you’ll be faced with two main varieties:
Automatic collars are ideal if you leave your dog at home when you’re out all day and you’re concerned about him barking too much and disturbing the neighbors. Slip on an automatic collar and your pooch will receive correction any time he gets carried away.
Manual collars, on the other hand, come with a remote control so you can correct your dog from a distance when you’re out and about. Some of these collars come with ranges of up to 1000 feet so you can stay in control of your dog even if you’re in large outdoor spaces.
So, once you have the type of collar that best suits in place, what else should you be looking out for on the buying trail?
III. Things You Should Consider
The mistake many pet owners make when looking for a collar is to underestimate the amount of moving parts in this buying decision. While it might seem like a simple piece of kit, there are several factors to double down on if you want a smart training tool rather than a wasted hunk of nylon and plastic.
- Type of Sensor
- Cartridge Capacity
- Ease of Refilling
Type of Sensor
Different spray collars make use of different kinds of sensors. They differ in the way they can determine when your dog is barking.
Perhaps the most common variety uses a vibration sensor positioned on your dog’s neck. This sits on his vocal cords. As soon as this sensor picks up on movement in your dog’s throat, it releases a sharp blast of citronella spray.
Other sensors come with sound-based recognition.
You can find some more upscale spray collars that harness both of these modalities so you can the most dependable and precise bark detection possible.
The majority of spray collars come with a refillable cartridge bundled. This is positioned over the collar and it’s this unit that sprays the citrus-scented spray in the event of excessive barking.
The capacity counts if you want to make your life easier. The last thing you want is to be constantly topping the cartridge up – more on how to do that down below.
Capacity is especially important if you’re looking at always-on collars to stop your dog from playing up when you’re out of the house.
Note: Despite the name, always-on collars should not be left on your dog permanently. Use these collars for no more than 12 hours in one unbroken stretch.
Ease of Refilling
Along with capacity, you should also check plenty of user reviews to make sure there’s not a body of negative opinion concerning ease of refilling. Let’s face it, any product that’s a pain to use doesn’t end up getting much use does it? Don’t invest in a poor quality collar and fall prey to that.
Not only are collars which give you problems with refilling awkward, the cartridges are likely to end up leaking, too.
Look closely into whether or not the collar you’re considering is waterproof. Only you know how much this matters to you. After all, if you live somewhere without much rain and you don’t go walking by the ocean or river, chances are you won’t be too bothered.
You should also, after analyzing your likely use, consider whether a waterproof collar is sufficient or whether you need a collar that’s completely submersible. Make sure you buy in line with your needs and you shouldn’t experience any issues.
The weight of the collar is significant if you have a small dog. Many small dogs are amazingly vocal so you need to make sure you find a collar tailored to these breeds.
Look for the weight of the collar and check for what weight dogs it’s designed to fit. You should also check that your dog’s neck size falls within the quoted band.
You should also, of course, make sure the collar is comfortable overall.
Spray collars come with either rechargeable or replaceable batteries. Each has their pros and cons.
Rechargeable batteries are cost-effective and also save you the hassle of swapping out your batteries. The drawback is that you’ll need to remember to give them a burst of charge. Also, you might end up with flat batteries right at the time you’re heading out for a walk.
You can avoid getting caught short with replaceable batteries but you might find the cost starts mounting over time.
Only you know which is the best option for you. This should certainly not be considered a deal-breaker but it’s worth looking for.
With those basics sketched in, it’s time for the main event with our capsule reviews of the 5 best citronella spray collars up for grabs.
IV. The 5 Best Citronella Bark Collars
1. Our #1 Pick: PetSafe Remote Spray Trainer
We appreciate that not all pet owners are happy using static shock to correct their dogs and this is where spray collars step in to fill the void.
PetSafe has a deep bench of these products and this is our overall favorite. The base unit gives you the ability to train more than one dog by adding extra collars. This saves you money and stops you needling to juggle remotes.
The spray cartridges give you the option of either citronella spray or an unscented liquid. This allows you to experiment and find out which works best to stop your dog from barking excessively.
Range extends to fully 900 feet so you can keep your dog under control even if you’re walking in wide open spaces. If you’re anywhere near the water, you’ve got no worries there either.
If you run into any snags, you’ll benefit from responsive, US-based customer care.
For anyone who hasn’t tried training their dog with a spray collar before, you should be aware that not all dogs will respond to this form of correction. If you aren’t certain that your dog will comply, why not consider checking out a multipurpose dog training collar with multiple modes? If you’re confident a sharp spray of citrus will do the trick, you’re in safe hands.
2. Downtown Pet Supply Citronella Spray Collar
If you want to break the PetSafe stranglehold, Downtown Pet Supply has a pocket-friendly and versatile spray collar well worth your further attention.
You’ll be all set regardless of your dog size as long as he’s hit the 8-pound mark. Slip on the collar with its lightweight spray device and you’re good to go. When the collar recognizes your dog is barking excessively, he’ll receive a metered spray of citronella spray on the snout. If he’s anything like most canines, this should be enough to bring him into line. If not, he’ll get another blast! Unlike static correction, spray collars are totally humane while still typically effective.
You can tweak the collar so it fits your furball like a glove. As with all training collars, you should frequently check the skin around your dog’s neck to make sure he isn’t showing any signs of irritation after wearing the collar.
The only real issue with this collar is one you’d expect at this price point: durability could be improved. That aside, you’ll get a lightweight, compact, and humane training solution at a price you’ll love.
3. PetSafe Remote Spray Trainer with Citronella Spray
If you find your dog barks too much, there’s no need to tolerate this aberrant behavior. You can combine positive reinforcement with humane correction – a metered spray of citronella – and, after a reasonably short training period, you should notice a significant difference.
If you go out for lengthy walks in large parks or down by the beach, you’ll find the range limited. This model works most effectively for indoor training or when you’re out in the yard. Check out one of the PetSafe collars with longer range if this sounds restrictive.
For anyone concerned about the ongoing costs of citronella spray refills, you can expect anywhere from 300 to 400 sprays from a single can. We’d argue that represents great overall value rather than a prohibitive expense.
The collar is light and comfortable and runs on a pair of replaceable batteries.
The inbuilt kicker with this collar is the addition of a tone warning so your pooch is left in no element of doubt when he’s barking too much.
US-based customer care completes a winning package from an industry legend.
4. PetSafe Elite Little Dog Spray Collar
Do you have a small dog who just won’t seem to stop barking? If so and if you don’t fancy the idea of employing static shock correction, the PetSafe Elite steps in to plug the gap.
You’ll get a lightweight and rugged collar you can easily adjust to fit your smaller dog. As long as your pup is lighter than 55 pounds and has a neck less than 16 inches around, he’ll find this collar comfy enough to wear all day.
Since this is a model you leave on your dog, you’ll stop him from barking excessively when you’re out. The collar will pick up on unwanted noise and correct your furball with that sharp shot of citronella all over his snout. When you’re training your dog initially, remember to use lots of hugs and treats as positive reinforcement. Using the stick without the carrot seldom yields dividends.
Although the spray can contains up to 500 sprays, you’ll find you get through a fair amount of citronella if your dog can’t contain himself from barking. On the plus side, you can keep a completely clear conscience since this is a humane method of correction with absolutely no static shock.
5. PetSafe Spray Bark Collar
Last but certainly not least in our quest for the best citronella collar, yet another entry from the inimitable PetSafe.
This collar runs on rechargeable batteries capable of delivering up to 40 hours of runtime. If you get caught short before heading out for a walk, you can impart a quick charge in just 2 hours then enjoy walkies without being menaced by excessive barking.
A flexible collar in terms of sizing, this model is good for all dogs from 8 pounds and up with neck sizes to a thick 27 inches. As long as your dog responds poorly to his snout being doused with citronella – and he certainly should! – this might be the smartest investment you make this year.
Right then, with our reviews put to bed, you should by now have a solid overview of the different varieties of collars suitable for different dogs.
How, then, do you actually use these collars?
V. How To Use a Citronella Bark Collar
Spray collars contain citronella. This non-toxic and completely safe essential oil acts as a humane and gentle deterrent to stop your dog from barking too much.
What is the goal of using this spray then?
Well, as your dog is distracted, you then get chance to step in. Using a spray collar is an interactive experience.
When your dog barks, the first part of the collar kicks in automatically (assuming you have an always-on collar).
As your dog gets a blast of lemon-scented spray all over his snout, you should step in and give him a command to be quiet. He’ll forget what he was barking about as his mind is consumed with the spray and you should then get him to focus on you more readily.
Perhaps the most crucial part of training comes when your dog obeys. Shower him with hugs and give him a treat so he’s incentivized to behave!
How to Refill a Citronella Bark Collar
All spray collars are slightly different so you should check the instructions provided to make sure you’re getting it right.
Here’s a simple overview of refilling a PetSafe collar:
- Take the collar off your dog and switch it off
- Place the collar on a flat surface with the Refill Port facing up
- Hold the spray can upright then firmly depress the nozzle into the Refill Port
- Hold this down for 10 seconds and release
- Switch the unit back on and you’re all set
If any spray starts leaking out, you might need to press a little harder. This will complete the seal.
So, when do you know your collar cartridge is topped up?
How Do I Know if My Citronella Bark Collar is Full?
We’ll give you the good news immediately: it’s not possible to overfill your cartridge.
Since all you need to do is top it up for roughly 10 seconds, you shouldn’t find any issues here.
How can you go about testing your collar if you run into any problems, then?
How to Test a Citronella Bark Collar
From time to time you might find your collar starts playing up. You can easily check to see if the collar is working, though.
- Hold the device 2 to 3 inches from your mouth
- Blow sharply on the mic just like you’re trying to blow out a candle
This should be enough to activate the device and initiate a spray. If this doesn’t work, you should call customer care. If you buy a PetSafe collar you’re in luck since their customer care department has a rock-solid reputation.
1) Is a citronella bark collar humane?
Absolutely. This level of deterrent is roughly in line with the nail polish that stops you from biting your nails except it’s an unpleasant smell instead of an unpleasant taste your dog is confronted with. There’s no static shock involved.
2) Do citronella bark collars have any side effects?
Citronella bark collars don’t have any serious side effects. The issue is that some smarter dogs can bark then avoid the spray turning the training tool into a game with the opposite results to those you intended. That said, this is certainly not the norm. Since citronella is non-toxic and completely safe for use with animals, you should be absolutely fine. If you have any concerns, speak with your vet and consider starting with a patch test.
3) Can other dogs barking set the collar off?
Some poor quality collars do suffer from this problem but none of those we review today. If you have several dogs at home, this is more important so check that no user reviews report this issue.
4) Does a spray collar work to combat howling and whining?
The vast bulk of collars are not sensitive enough to pick up when your dog is whining. You could train your dog in this area by using a manual collar with a remote control, though.
5) Do citronella collars work for separation anxiety?
In principle, yes. In reality, it’s vital to address the underlying symptoms. Bottom line, dogs are pack animals and they typically respond poorly to be left alone. Take your time and tackle the issue with patience and training.
6) How frequently do you need to change the battery on a spray collar?
Battery life varies from collar to collar. Some collars come with replaceable batteries. All that counts here is getting enough runtime for your needs rather than obsessing about battery life for the sake of it.
7) Can you control a spray collar remotely?
Yes, you can. Most of these citronella collars are always on but you can find a few manual models allowing you to administer spray from a distance. This allows you to train your dog when you’re out and about at distances of up to 1000 feet.
8) How long will my dog stop barking for after the collar has been used?
All dogs behave differently and have different temperaments so it’s hard to determine the length of time it will stop your dog from barking for. Also relevant is how long the problem has been in place. Since spray collars start working almost immediately, you shouldn’t need to stay frustrated with excessive barking for too long.
9) Do spray collars teach dogs not to bark?
They can when used properly. You should use the spray of citronella to distract your dog from barking while you issue a quiet command. You should also include plenty of positive reinforcement.
10) What’s the problem with static shock correction?
Although this type of no-bark collar only delivers a static shock of similar magnitude to those you get yourself from time to time, many dog owners understandably don’t want their beloved pooch suffering from any pain at all. To fill the gap, citronella spray collars are completely humane.
Well, by now you should be absolutely clear on what citronella spray collars do and why you should consider using one for your dog. Equally, you should be clear if this is not the right type of correction for the temperament and breed of dog you’re trying to train.
Remember, as with all types of dog training, you should make absolutely certain to focus on positive reinforcement, too. Give your pooch plenty of hugs and treats when you’re training him not to bark excessively. Not only is this the kindest way to train your pup, you’ll get longer lasting benefits into the bargain.
As well as a sound idea about how to use these spray collars, you should also now be well-placed to determine which of the options we outlined would make the best fit. We’ve tried to include something for all type and sizes of dogs so you should find the ideal collar without too much difficulty.
Before you go, don’t forget to bookmark BarkVA. We’re only a young site but we’re hard at work to build out the ultimate resource for you and your beloved furball. Come back soon as we update our content regularly. See you soon!