Citronella collars, which use citrus spray, offer a humane method to quiet dogs who bark persistently. The collars emit citrus spray beneath the dog's nose. The strange smell won't bother you but will perplex your pooch, who should quiet right up. As with all behavior modification training, consistency is key.
Prepare a citronella collar for your dog by pouring the citrus spray into the collar's release chamber.
Insert a battery in the battery chamber, then slide the chamber shut. These collars only work when a microphone picks up the bark, so batteries are required to operate the microphone and should be included in your collar kit.
Fit the filled release chamber onto the collar by threading the collar fabric through the slots on the side of the release chamber.
Turn the collar on so your pup's bark can activate the citrus spray. If the collar is worn in the "off" position, it cannot be effective.
Test the collar before putting it on your dog. With the device on, blow into the microphone. If you assembled the collar correctly, the valve should emit a quick blast of citrus spray and you will smell citronella in the air.
Attach the collar to your pup so the citrus spray valve points up, toward your pet's face. If you attach the collar with the spray valve pointing down, the collar can't do its job. When the collar is on correctly, the microphone should face out (toward you) and the spray valve should point toward your pup's face.
Observe your pet's behavior while the collar is on. When your dog performs nuisance barking, such as barking at a passing pedestrian or barking at a truck outside, the sound will activate the citrus spray. A dose of citronella to the nose may cause your pup to sneeze, shake his head or startle.
Wait until your pup calms down, then verbally praise him by saying "good, quiet." This reinforces anti-barking behavior.
Microphones on these collars pick up noise from up to 4 inches away. If you have multiple dogs in the home, one pooch might get sprayed if the other barks too close to him. Turning down the microphone may alleviate this.
Be consistent in having your pet wear the citronella collar to get the best results.
An Item You Will Need
- Citronella collar kit
- Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar's Way to Transform Your Dog . . . and Your Life; Cesar Millan, Melissa Jo Peltier; 2007
- Cornell Chronicle: Study: 'Nuisance-barking' Dogs Respond Best to Citronella Spray Collars
- The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook: The Definitive Guide to Keeping Your Pet Happy, Healthy and Active; Besty Brevitz; 2009
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images