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Do Bark Collars Work for Whining? 

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Some dog owners swear by them to stop barking, but do bark collars work for whining? Bark collars can cause stress, making them a poor and counterproductive choice for dogs that whine in pain or due to anxiety. They can work for dogs that whine for attention or when overexcited. 

Bark collars are designed for barking, but they can work for whining in some cases.

Before you purchase a bark collar, you need to understand why your dog is whining though. 

To help you find out we uncover why dogs whine, the different types of bark collars you can get, the pros and cons of using one, and alternatives to using a bark collar to stop your dog from whining. 

Note: We do not recommend bark collars to combat whining, as they are designed to detect barking.

Why Do Dogs Whine? 

Dogs whine to communicate when they are in pain, feel afraid or excited, need or want something, or want to apologize.  

Before trying a bark collar to stop your pup from whining, you have to understand the behavior or whining.

Here are the top five reasons why dogs whine:  

  1. Pain
  2. Fear
  3. A need or a want 
  4. Excitement 
  5. Apologizing/Submission 
Why Do Dogs Whine

When Not To Use a Bark Collar to Stop Whining

You should not use a bark collar to stop whining if your dog has an underlying medical condition that causes excessive whining. 

Bark collars are designed to stop barking. They are not recommended to stop whining. However, if you are determined to use one, make sure that your dog’s whining is not related to illness or injury. 

Illness and injury can cause pain and an increase in whining. If you can’t detect an injury or illness, look out for degenerative joint disease, like arthritis and osteoarthritis, or a musculoskeletal condition, like hip dysplasia, and dementia.   

Degenerative Joint Diseases and Musculoskeletal Conditions 

Conditions like arthritis, osteoarthritis, and hip dysplasia become more noticeable as a dog ages. Dogs can suffer from one or a combination of these conditions. 

Symptoms of degenerative joint diseases and musculoskeletal conditions:

  • Whines when laying down.
  • Avoids sitting or struggles to sit.
  • Lies in unusual positions.
  • Walking circles in bed before laying down.
  • Gets up moments after laying down. 
  • Stiffness and limping.
  • Struggles to get into a position to urinate or defecate.
  • Loss of muscle mass in limbs.
  • Lethargic.[1] [2]

Dogs with arthritis, osteoarthritis, and hip dysplasia struggle to get comfortable and whine when laying down. This is because laying down puts painful pressure on affected joints.[3]

They whine at night, get up often and whine in the morning, particularly when cold. 

Take your dog to the vet if you suspect an injury, illness, degenerative joint disease, or a musculoskeletal condition. 

A vet can prescribe painkillers and advise on natural supplements that support joint health, reduce inflammation, and slow the progression of arthritis, osteoarthritis, and hip dysplasia.  

Old Dog Degenerative Joint Diseases

Cognitive Dysfunction/Dementia in Dogs 

Increased whining is one of the many symptoms linked to dementia, also known as cognitive function dysfunction. 

Symptoms of Cognitive Dysfunction/Dementia

  • Gets lost in familiar places 
  • Failure to recognize familiar people 
  • Heightened anxiety 
  • Increasingly clingy or irritable. 
  • Sleeping more during the day 
  • Frequently waking at night.[4]
  • Urinating and defecating indoors.  
  • A decrease in play
  • Restlessness
  • Repetitive behaviors like licking. 
  • A decline in memory and learning.[5] 
  • Staring blankly.
  • Pacing.

Take your dog to a vet for a check-up if you suspect your dog has dementia. There is no cure, but a vet can prescribe medication for related anxiety[6]  and advise on supplements to slow down the progression of cognitive decline. 

What Are Bark Collars?

Bark collars are dog collars with electrical devices attached to them. They are used to stop excessive barking or whining by delivering a shock, spray, or vibration when the dog barks or whines. 

Bark collars are triggered by either a microphone or by the vibration of the dog barking. [7] 

There are three kinds of bark collars:  

  1. Shock collars 
  2. Vibration Collars
  3. Spray collars

1. Shock Collars 

Shock Collars
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A shock collar (also called an electric collar), delivers an electric shock of varying intensity and duration to a dog that barks or whines. 

Some shock collars have a vibrating function, but they are not to be confused with vibration collars.[7] 

2. Vibration Collars

Vibration Collars
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A vibration collar delivers a vibration, sometimes along with an ultrasonic noise, designed to distract the dog from barking. They do not deliver an electric shock.[8] 

3. Spray collars

Spray collars
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A spray collar works by emitting a spurt of air, water, or citronella when the dog barks. The dog is distracted from barking by the hissing sound of air, the spray, and the smell of citronella.

What Is the Best Dog Collar to Stop Whining? 

The best bark collar to stop whining is the one a dog trainer or behaviorist recommends for your dog’s size and temperament. A trainer can also ensure it is fitted correctly and show you how to use it. 

The Pros and Cons of Bark Collars 

There are benefits and downsides to using a bark collar. There are also studies with contradictory findings on the impact these devices have on a dog’s physiological well-being. 

Pros of Bark Collars Cons of Bark Collars 
Corrects the dog so that you don’t have to.Punishment-based training technique that causes dogs stress. 
A study found that although there was an increase in stress when using a bark collar, it was short-lived. A study found that dogs previously trained with shock collars displayed more signs of stress than dogs trained without the collars.
Saves time when training a dog. A dog can learn that they only need to be quiet when the collar is on. 
Technological advancements allow for the continual improvement of products. There are no regulations in place to verify the safety of these devices. 

Pros of Bark Collars 

It Corrects Your Dog So You Don’t Have To

A benefit of a bark collar is that it corrects the dog so that you don’t have to. This makes it an appealing option for dog owners who find training their dogs stressful and time-consuming. 

Bark Collars Has Been Found to Reduce Barking

In a four-week study of adult shelter dogs, researchers found that using either a shock or spray collar for 30 minutes a day resulted in a significant reduction in barking by the second day. 

The researchers looked at the dog’s blood cortisol levels as an indicator of stress and found that there was a significant increase in stress on the first day but not on any of the other days. 

Pros of Bark Collars 
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Cons of Bark Collars 

Bark Collars Function as a Form of Punishment 

A bark collar is a form of punishment-based training that causes dogs stress. 

Bark Collars Can Increase Anxiety 

For a dog who whines because it is anxious, this method can exacerbate the anxiety.[9] 

A 2004 study on the long-term effect of shock collars found that dogs previously trained with shock collars displayed more signs of stress than dogs trained without the collars when walking on a training field. Signs of stress in a dog include a lower body posture, panting, lip-licking, yawning and paw lifting as well as yelping, squealing, snapping, and avoidance.

A 2007 study on shock collars found that poor timing and inappropriate use of a shock collar with high-level electric pulses puts the dog at high risk of severe and ongoing stress.

Safety Standards Are Not Regulated

A notable downside to bark collars is that there are no regulations specifying the performance or reliability of these devices. This means the safety of these devices can’t be verified.

Malfunctions Are Possible

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) point out that these devices can malfunction either administering no shocks or nonstop shocks.[9] 

Dogs Can Outsmart It 

Bark collars can not be left on 24-hours a day, and a dog can learn that it only needs to be quiet when the collar is on.

How to Use a Bark Collar

It is advisable to only use a bark collar under the guidance of a professional dog trainer. A trainer can ensure you get the best type of collar for your dog and fit it correctly. 

The American Kennel Club recommends consulting a professional dog trainer for advice on bark collar devices.

A dog trainer or behaviorist will be able to advise you on the best training method to help your dog stop whing. If this includes a bark collar, the trainer can help you select the best type, ensure it is fitted correctly and show you how to use it. 

Bark collars are only meant to be used for a limited time during the day and can’t be worn 24-hours a day. 

How to Use a Bark Collar
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How to Stop a Dog Whining Without a Bark Collar

You can stop a dog from whining excessively without using a bark collar. Start by making sure your dog has a set routine, gets a daily walk, and is trained not to whine for attention or when overexcited.   

Anxiety (particularly separation anxiety) and excitement are two causes of excessive whining that can be addressed with exercise and behavioral training. 

Here are steps you can take today: 

  • Set a routine for your dog. A routine helps an anxious do know what to expect and eliminates fears of the unknown. 
  • Take your dog for a daily walk. Walking helps burn off excess energy and releases serotonin to help calm both the easily excited and anxious dogs. A 2015 study found that dogs with separation anxiety get less daily exercise than dogs who do not suffer from the condition.[10] 
  • Ignore your dog when it’s whining for attention or when over-excited. If you show affection or even yell at your dog, you are giving it the attention it craves. Instead, wait for your dog to come to you calmly and then reward it with your attention. 
  • Consult a dog behaviorist or trainer. Experts are there for a reason, use them.

Will a Shock Collar Stop a Dog From Whining? 

A shock collar can stop a dog from whining however, they cause considerable stress, can exacerbate anxiety in an already anxious dog, and have long-term implications for your dog’s mental health. 

About Monique Warner

Monique is an avid dog lover who grew up with dogs, cats, and budgies as pets. She has worked as a pet sitter and dog walker. With her passion for dogs and pets alike, she writes articles with the intention of helping pet owners solve their biggest struggles.

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