Citronella bark collars are considered the most humane type of training device to stop your dog from barking too much. While a static shock collar is undeniably a strong disincentive for your dog to bark excessively, not everyone is happy using this type of disciplining. The shock from this type of collar is only in line with the static shock you might receive after brushing fingers with a friend but do you want your dog in any discomfort?
If not, a citronella spray is the perfect middle ground. This type of collar comes in both remote-controlled and always-on versions. With the former, you’ll be able to initiate the spray on demand from a distance. The latter administers a metered dose of spray when it detects your dog is barking too much.
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Part of the effect comes from the simple act of the dog’s nose being sprayed while this is amplified by the fact dogs really hate the smell of citrus-tinged citronella. If, for whatever reason, you don’t want to use citronella, you can get these collars with an unscented spray. These can be equally effective. Coming into their own with smaller dog but also useful for larger breeds, much of the success of a spray bark collar depends on the temperament of the dog. If the dog is especially stubborn, you might need to consider ramping things up to a static shock collar.
Today, we’ll take a look at 7 of the best citronella bark collars so you can see at a glance what’s on offer. We’ll then walk you through how these collars work in detail along with giving you some simple guidance on training your dog the easy way. We’ll then round out with some frequently asked questions. First, though, we’ll jump right in with those reviews representing a hand-picked selection of the wide array of collars we tested…
Table of Contents
I. Top 7 Best Citronella Bark Collar
1. Our Pick: PetSafe Remote Citronella Spray Trainer
Our overall pick is not cheap but the best things in life seldom are. When you factor in the expenses of owning a dog and the fact you can sidestep costly professional training with this collar, it suddenly seems like a bargain.
We’ll point out off the bat range is slightly limited with this remote device. You’ll be pegged to roughly 300 YARD so the PetSafe works best either indoors or in smaller yards.
When you load up the collar, you should expect 35 sprays.
Flick easily between a long or short spray to give your dog a shot of a smell he’ll hate every time he goes OTT with the barking.
The collar use a pair of standard 6-volt disposable batteries and you’ll get a couple included.
As with all remote trainers, you can enjoy a precious extra layer of humane assistance when you’re working with your dog to eliminate unwanted behaviors. From barking to aggression to general disobedience, use sound and spray together to teach him right from wrong.
Things We Like
- Choose from citronella spray or an audible beep
- Suitable for all sizes and breeds of dog from 8 pounds upward
- Responsive US-based customer service if anything goes amiss
Things We Dislike
- Among the most expensive no-bark solutions but superb value nevertheless
2. Runner-Up: PetSafe Gentle Spray Bark Collar
PetSafe stormed in to claim the runner-up spot in our hunt for the best citronella bark collar with this gentle training device priced more reasonably than the remote control version above.
Unlike the remote version, this collar will issue automatic correction in the form of a controlled burst of citronella spray when your canine barks too enthusiastically.
If you like the principle of a spray collar but don’t fancy plaguing your dog with citronella – they really do hate the smell! – you can get spray refills unscented, too.
As with the remote variant above, you’ll get several hundred sprays from a single can and the collar holds enough to administer around 25 bursts before it needs topping up.
Superlight at just 12oz, you can use this collar on dogs of all breeds and sizes up to a neck to 24 inches around.
PetSafe stand fully behind their products. Customer care is first-class and US-based. If you run into any problems, you can call or email 24/7. While we normally steer clear of reviewing multiple products from the same brand, in the case of anti-bark collars, PetSafe stands above the competition and our remit is simple: to bring you nothing but the very best regardless of brand.
Things We Like
- Lightweight and suitable for dogs as light as 6 pounds
- Instantly sends a fine mist of spray when your dog barks excessively
- Spray included and refills available in both citronella and unscented form to bring ongoing costs down
Things We Dislike
- Some issues with build quality but robust replacement warranty in place
3. PetSafe Spray Bark Dog Collar
Yet another PetSafe collar up next with this cartridge-based device coming in at a mid-range price-point.
With no need for batteries, this rechargeable device gives you increased convenience while also saving you money over time. A red LED flashes when you need a burst of charge. You’ll see a yellow light when the spray in the cartridge is running low.
Unlike the regular models featuring a spray can, this bark collar makes use of cartridges. We would advise you that if your dog doesn’t bark too much then this can be economical. If, on the other hand, he’s a little feistier, you could end up spending more than you bargained for on cartridges.
Like all PetSafe collars, this is waterproof and submersible so perfect for walks along the river, by the lake or out in the rain.
The usual PetSafe customer service completes a winning package. This is one of the best citronella bark collars combining affordability, performance and economy
Things We Like
- Recharge collar via USB so no need for the ongoing expense of batteries
- Replaceable cartridges for ease and economy
- Suitable for dogs of all sizes, breeds and temperaments
Things We Dislike
- Fairly hungry on cartridges so think about how much your dog barks since heavy use can become expensive
4. Downtown Pet Supply No-Bark Citronella Spray Collar
Downtown Pet Supply offers a complete training kit and an incredibly keen price-point so this is for the bargain-hunters among you.
Along with a lightweight collar, spray, refill and battery, you’ll also get some valuable guidance on training your dog. This makes a solid choice of no-bark collar if you’re a new pet owner.
The collar is easily adjustable and fits pretty much any dog from 8 pounds and upward.
While you might question whether a no-shock anti-bark collar really works, we can assure you your dog will recoil from the burst of citronella spray. You can expect reasonably rapid behavior correction if you use this collar correctly. Always remember to use positive reinforcement as part of your training strategy, something outlined in the included manual and key to achieving best results.
The only real drawbacks are a warranty that could be slightly longer and the fact that customer service is somewhat hit and miss. That aside, this spray collar is a great mixture of price and performance from a reputable brand.
Things We Like
- Everything you need thrown in including a helpful training manual
- Use citrus-scented spray in place of shocks or beeps for a completely humane training solution
- No-quibbles 2-month warranty taking the sting out of purchase
Things We Dislike
- Customer care can often be awkward to deal with
5. PetSafe Elite Little Dog Citronella Spray No-Bark Collar
We’ve got one more PetSafe collar for you up next in the form of the bright blue Elite model.
Battery-powered and coming with a single can of citronella spray, one great bonus with the Elite is the way you can replace the collar itself if it shows signs of wear and tear.
With up to 40 sprays per refill and a full 500 doses of spray in the can, this model delivers unbeatable economy and low operating costs.
Administering a blast of citronella spray is usually enough to deter even stubborn dogs from persistently barking. The spray is considered the single most effective humane alternative to no-bark shock collars and using it couldn’t be much easier…
All you need to do is top up the refill part of the collar from the spray can provided and then any time your dog barks too much, a gentle mist of spray will encourage him to cut down or get another blast.
In the pet care business since the early 90s, PetSafe is a customer-centered company and you can expect helpful and highly responsible service if you need to contact them by phone or email.
Things We Like
- Great for larger dogs up to 55 pounds with necks as broad as 20 inches while also serving smaller breeds
- Reduced false corrections thanks to intelligent sensor
- Collar is replaceable if it gets worn and comes with quick-release buckle to make your life easier
Things We Dislike
- Warranty invalid unless purchase from authorized seller so watch out for this
6. JK Tech No-Bark Spray Collar
As we edge to the end of our quest for the best citronella anti-bark collar, this stellar effort from JK Tech is well worth adding to your shortlist.
If you’re looking for a budget training device, this is the cheapest model we tested that didn’t compromise quality.
While this collar is inexpensive, you will need to buy the citronella spray separately. Invest in some PetSafe refills at the point of purchase or you’ll end up disappointed.
Rechargeable through the microUSB cable that is provided, you’ll save the cost of constantly buying batteries.
Suitable for dogs from 8 pounds right through to larger breeds with necks up to 22 inches in diameter, this is a flexible and good-looking take on the citronella collar – just remember to get some spray in first!
Things We Like
- Exceptional price/performance ratio
- Sleek monochrome aesthetics
- Uses PetSafe refills for increased choice and convenience
Things We Dislike
- Citronella spray not included so make provision in advance
7. PAWONIT Ultra-Light Citronella Spray Bark Collar
Last but not least today is a bright red beauty from PAWONIT at a pocket-friendly price.
Using citronella refills from all the usual brands including PetSafe, you will need to buy some of these separately, often the case with cheaper collars.
The collar itself is waterproof and light enough that even teacup breeds can be trained without overburdening them.
Any time your dog barks too much, the mic picks up on this and the collar will automatically administer a fine mist of citronella spray to discourage him from continuing.
Finished in a bright red ideal for making statement, this is a budget spray collar that won’t stiff you on the performance front.
Things We Like
- Ultra-light and ideal for dogs from 6 pounds and up
- Compatible with all major brands of citronella refills including PetSafe
- Each refill holds a class-leading 32 sprays
Things We Dislike
- A few complaints about over-sensitivity
With our reviews giving you a solid overview of the most effective citronella spray collars at all price-points nailed, it’s time for some guidance to streamline your training.
Firstly, how do these collars work?
II. How Do Citronella Bark Collars Work?
A citronella anti-bark collar used a spray of citrus-scented citronella to discourage your from barking excessively.
These collars can also be used to train your dog against other forms of antisocial behaviour like aggression.
This type of collar can be either battery-operated and always-on or remote controlled and refillable.
Once your dog starts to bark too much, a sensor on the always-on version automatically activates the spray and your dog will get a burst of citronella he won’t appreciate. The collar detects any movements from your dog’s vocal chords and the spray is released directly onto the nose. This should prompt an abrupt halt in barking.
Not only do dogs find the smell of citronella unpleasant, having the nose made wet with spray jolts them to their senses as well.
The majority of dog trainers favor this kind of bark collar and they consider it the most humane variety of correction device. While static shock collars can be effective, they are undoubtedly harsher on your beloved furball.
This type of collar also works brilliantly with puppies and young dogs as well as any small breed dogs.
There are a couple of slight catches, though…
Some dogs develop a slight immunity to the spray causing the collar to lose its effectiveness.
Also, some of these collars tend to be slightly too sensitive. This can cause them to be falsely triggered by the barking of other dogs.
So, despite delivering very mild discomfort, these bark collars are completely safe to use on your dogs and arguably offer the best balance between educating your dog when to stop barking without causing them any pain or distress.
How do you get the most from your citronella bark collar?
III. Tips to Use Citronella Bark Collar Effectively
The effectiveness of citronella bark collars depends on a lot of factors.
It’s not solely down to the bark collar to control your dog’s unnecessary barking since you need to play an active part as well.
Here are some tips any dog owners should follow to make a citronella bark collar work effectively:
- Observe when your dog usually starts barking continuously. If your dog barks non-stop during the night, especially when continuing to do so until the wee hours, you should put the citronella bark collar in place after dinner when people start to go to bed.
- Put the citronella spray bark collar on your dog’s neck to test it out. Leave the bark collar for an hour after placing it on your dog’s neck and observe what happens when it barks and monitor its reaction when the spray goes onto its snout. If your pet suddenly stops barking when the spray comes out and then stops barking each time the citronella spray wets its nose, there’s every chance this method of training will yield dividends
- Leave the bark collar on your dog’s neck for the whole day or night depending on when it usually barks unceasingly. After continuous sprays after every incident of excessive barking, your pet will soon realize that it’s his barking that causes the citronella spray to be activated. Due to that realization, he should begin to control his urge to bark in order to prevent getting sprayed over and over again. Not only is the spray itself bothersome, dogs also hate the smell of citronella. To avoid these new annoyances, your dog is highly likely to stop creating unnecessary noise
- Remove the bark collar after 10 to 12 hours to let the dog’s neck rest from the device. It’s imperative to take off the bark collar after this length of time to give your dog a respite from the collar. You don’t need to remove the collar every hour or so like you would with a static shock collar but don’t leave it on around the clock either
- Put the bark collar on again if the nuisance barking is repeated. Observe your dog to see if it starts barking incessantly again. If it does, place the collar back on again. This way, it will understand that discomfort fro the spray will continue being delivered if the noise is not kept under control. Let the collar stay on its neck over a period of several days further train your dog. Remove it again and see if your pet has learned its lesson. Repeat the process if there’s no improvement
- Use positive reinforcement. As with any attempts to train a pet, it’s not the most effective approach to use nothing but punishment. Rewarding your dog for good behavior is equally valuable. Reinforce positive behavior with treats and cuddles. A combination of the carrot and stick approach should pay dividends and teach your dog how to behave
1) Why do dogs dislike citronella sprays?
Citronella is the extract from lemongrass. While the lemon-tinged smell is attractive to us, dogs hate it. Citronella has long been used as a repellent in the form of pesticide and it’s the odor that repels dogs in and of itself. Beyond this, your dog will be irritated simply by being sprayed on the nose so the combination of the two is a powerful ally in the fight to prevent excessive barking.
2) Does a citronella bark collar work in all cases?
Absolutely not. The effect of this type of device depends on a range of factors including the temperament of your dog and to a lesser extent the size. There’s also a difference between training a dog using a remote control collar and choosing an always-on version that sprays every time barking is detected even if you’re not around. In our opinion, a key part of the success or failure of this type of training is whether or not you complement the disincentive of the spray with some form of reward, whether a doggie treat or a simple hug. By getting the training balance right, a citronella spray collar does work in most cases but by no means all.
3) Are all always-on citronella bark collars the same?
No, they’re not. Some of these collars are activated by a microphone. Others, known as dual-activation collars, make use of both a microphone and a vibration sensor. With the former, any sound of barking causes the spray to be triggered. The second type of collar also picks up on any movement from your dog’s vocal chords.
4) Is there a maximum recommended time your dog should wear a citronella spray collar for?
You should generally refrain from leaving the collar in place for more than 10 to 12 hours. Whether you choose to leave it on all day or all night, remove it for the remainder. You should also pay close attention to your dog’s snout and skin. While citronella is natural and perfectly safe, there’s always a chance your dog might become irritated so monitor for any irritation while also keeping your dog’s neck and snout clean.
5) What type of refill should I use?
You should always follow instructions from the manufacturer. Cheap and unbranded refills can be dangerous because you simply can’t be certain of the ingredients. Beyond this, using a generic refill that doesn’t come recommended by the manufacturer can also wreak havoc on the internal working of the collar itself. It’s one of those situation where trying to shave off a few bucks can have ruinous consequences so don’t take any chances.
6) Doesn’t this make citronella spray collars expensive to run?
While expense is always relative, few people struggle to afford the ongoing running costs of a citronella spray collar. You’ll need to factor in the cost of a couple of consumables, the batteries and the spray refill. That said, when you consider how much you spend on food, for example, the cost of this type of training device is negligible. Rechargeable batteries can bring down the cost in one area and sourcing inexpensive citronella refills (while bearing in mind they should not be random generic refills) means you won’t need to spend a fortune in order to stop your dog from barking excessively.
Well, we trust by now you have a neat shortlist of the best citronella collars for your requirements.
By taking budget into account front and center you should be left with a bare handful of collars and then look for the one that offers you the most appropriate solution for you and your dog.
You should be sure before committing to purchase that this kind of gentle training device is fitting for your dog. If you’ve got a willful working dog or one with a more aggressive temperament, you should consider looking at the anti-bark shock collars we looked at recently. To reiterate, this kind of collar is still considered humane, it’s just a little harsher than a spray.
Once you’ve decided a citronella spray collar would make a neat fit, check on sizing and pay close attention to the handy hints above to help you get the most out of your collar.
Also, not all collars come with the citronella spray included. We have clearly drawn attention to those collars that call for you to buy the spray separately. Make sure you do this to avoid disappointment.
Be sure to bookmark The Prince LA as your one-stop shop for all house-related guidance. We’re continuing to test more products suitable for your pets as well as a range of stuff to make your house look more beautiful.
Come back soon!