Customer Reviews: PetSafe Gentle Spray Bark Collar
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on May 10, 2010
I've never reviewed anything online before, but I had to get back on Amazon and review this collar.

I read all the positive reviews of this collar before buying it, and felt fairly confident that I'd done my homework on it. I realize now I should have read some of the one-star reviews.

What happened:

We followed all instructions, put the collars on our two dogs (a English Springer Spaniel, and a Jack Russell Terrier), as tightly as recommended, and without other collars to interfere, and then observed. First thing to happen: the Springer shook his head to get used to the collar. The vibration, or maybe the noise of his ears flopping, set off the collar and it sprayed him in the face. Second thing to happen: the Jack Russell licked her paws, and made a swallowing noise, which set off the collar, and sprayed her in the face. The Springer then did bark at someone on the road, and the collar sprayed him, which was good, but the citronella made him sneeze, and each sneeze elicited another spray from the collar, in an endless loop: sneeze, spray, sneeze, spray, sneeze, spray. I finally took the collars off both dogs, and planned to return them.

Before returning them, I called the manufacturer and explained the problems I was having with the collars, to see if there was something I was doing wrong. The woman I talked to verified I had the latest model of the collar (I do) and then said she didn't have any troubleshooting tips, and recommended I return the collar.

I just went to return the collar, and Amazon will not accept it, since it is a "hazardous or flammable material." I haven't yet resolved this, but plan on trying to call and talk to an actual person at to see if I can get a refund of any kind.
3030 comments| 804 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 1, 2006
My doxie is a major league, Hank Aaron barker. This product is 100% effective for him. He is a little shy (although stubborn sometimes), which might make a difference. He weighs 19 lbs. I really am not sure I could bear to shock him, as I am a bit tender-hearted towards him, but I probably would if that was what it took to stop heavy barking.

There are a lot of nice extras about using this collar.

-- It doesn't seem to cause him any pain, it just startles him.

-- He seems to be comfortable with it, as large as it is (we keep it loose), and can run, jump, and sleep with it on.

-- It allows him to bark at a very subdued volume, which I think is nice. It's a pleasant deep soft sound, not at all bothersome, and it lets him satisfy his bark urge to a degree. It also lets him communicate when he needs something.

-- If he does bark, it keeps the mosquitoes away!!

-- The spray does not smell bad at all -- it's almost pleasant

-- It WORKS (for my doxie); after two or three single barks, he stopped completely.

-- Strangely, he doesn't seem to object when I put it on him. He really lets you know if he doesn't like something, and he doesn't mind wearing this collar hardly at all.

Here are the bad things:

-- If you leave it turned on, the battery will run out.

-- The collar itself is quite hard to size for a smaller dog; I had to use scissors and Scotch tape, which does not hold up well.

-- It IS quite large on a small dog.

We had him wear it for three weeks. Now, we just put it on him for a booster course if he barks twice in one day.

You have to remember to turn it off when you take it off, and turn it on when you put it on your dog. This becomes automatic quickly. The citronella lasts a long time; at least, it lasts a long time if it works. Some dogs apparently are not impressed by the spray and bark the reservoir empty.

There is a problem with recommending this collar, because it may or may not work for your dog. It is either the greatest thing since cut bread, or a total waste of money.

My personal experience has been great with this product. It stopped a major behavioral problem immediately, without any pain inflicted on our dog. It's a bit expensive for a product that may not work at all in an individual case. The upside though is a big one, it is a FABULOUS product if your dog responds to it.
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on October 13, 2005
I've had my dog for almost 3 years now and I will admit he's not very social, especially to other dogs. I would always dread taking him for walks because he would just make SUCH a ruckus. He would back and scream bloody murder if even the dog was on the other side of the street. Well imagine this 6 o'clock in the morning when the whole neighborhood is asleep. I'm sure you could imagine the embarrasement. Well I got this collar last week and I swear it's been a miracle. I'm kicking myself in the a## for not buying this collar earlier.

The first time he barked, he was startled out of his mind. The second time, same reaction. The third time, he just barked once, then kept quiet once the spray went off. Now he doesn't even bark. You could tell he wants to, but just knows the consequences. Words can't explain how thrilled I am to have purchased this collar. Now I'm saving up to purchase the one with the remote. That way I can use it when I get home and he's screaching, waking up the neighborhood, and announcing my arrival.

One thing to keep in mind is that this collar does not work for high pitched screaching like my dog does when I get home. Hence the reason for buying the one with the remote. Oh, and for those wondering if it will work on your small dogs, it will. My dog is a chihuahua/pomeranian mix.
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on November 16, 2012
(Most recent at bottom of review)

It used to be that when I let my dog outside, she would go do her business, drink some water, then go bark at the sky, or a tree, or a bush, or a ... you name it. When the doorbell rang, she would launch into a fit of barking and wouldn't stop sometimes even after she discovered who was at the door. I hooked this collar on her and rang the doorbell. She barked one time, the collar sprayed, and she stopped. I tried it again about 5 min later with the same results. I put her outside, she did her normal routine... then I heard one bark out of her before she stopped. She walked around patrolling the yard, but this time instead of being a nuisance, she did it quietly.

I remove the collar when she comes back inside. The collar is easy to adjust and the clip is easy to release and attach.

UPDATE: 12/17/2012

As of 12/3/2012 (less than one month!) the Collar has stopped working. At first it appeared the battery was bad, so I bought some "Petsafe" brand replacements at my local store. After installing them, the collar worked one time and never worked again. I have tried several different batteries, thinking that might be the issue, but now I suspect the microphone inside the collar is out.

Will contact the manufacturer for help and update as necessary.

As an interesting side note, the petsafe website has a battery replacement plan where they send you a new battery every 3 months over a 12 month period. On the same page is a not stating that one can expect the battery to last 1-2 months.

Update: 3/1/2013

I RMA'd the original one with petsafe, who replaced it for free. The new one I got is working fine and I have only had to replace the battery once so far. Upping my review to 4 stars.

Update: 5/20/2013

My new bark collar stopped working properly at the beginning of May. It seems like the collar developed a leak or something because I could fill up the collar, put it on my dog, and a few hours later it was empty. Save your money, the reliability on these collars just isn't there. They work fine for a while and then they just die.
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on February 27, 2005
We are very happy with the citronella bark collars. We have three dogs, all are terriers and they can get into a bark-fest. These collars have worked wonders, and are truly humane-- they work without pain. I wouldn't use one of the shock collars. They are not "humane"- they shock and they hurt! If you don't believe me, put it on your own neck and give it a try. I have seen dogs with burns on their necks from those. (As an aside, yes, I tried this citronella collar too. I let it spray me full in the face. Not pleasant, but not painful.) If you love your dog, try this method. BTW, don't buy the expensive replacement batteries here. They are a standard size and can be obtained at any Walgreens, Target, etc for around $3.
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on November 4, 2004
Being that my wife and I have tried all of the tricks and training techniques to keep our little beagle from barking so much. We had almost given up. While online one day I thought I would see if there were any products that were a safe and humane way to train your dog. After a couple of hours of searching, I found a couple of different collars, one being a shock collars which I was completely opposed to and the citronella collar. I was a little skeptical at first, but after some research and reading a couple of independent studies I found this collar was more effective than the other collars. So I bought it. After a short two day wait, I received it in the mail. I put it on our dog and after two sprays of citronella he understood that barking is what set it off. Since then it has been peace and quiet. I still put the collar on him, but I haven't had to turn it on it quite some time.
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on May 29, 2006
Well here's the story of two occasional barkers and one terribly nasty neighbor.

About my dogs:
Ginger: Jack Russel/ Beagle mix, 30lbs, 3 years old, short hair, spayed, female.
Guppy: Sheltie/ Beagle mix, 28lbs, apox 6 years old, med-long hair, spayed, female.

Both are crate trained, however they are not generally crated on a regular basis and never more than 6-8 hours. They have never barked while crated. In fact the only time they do bark is at the rabbits in my yard, or when the doorbell rings, or maybe once when they need to be let outside. I am currently unemployed so my dogs have been able to play out in the yard since the spring. They have had more than adequate attention, exercise, and walks as a good chunk of my day is spent playing with them, or working in the yard supervising them. We even have central air, when they are alone even in summer, they are always comfortable. They have kongs and other toys to keep them busy. They travel with us on family vacations and they participate in camping, hiking, etc. They're alone about 50% of the time. We do not spend so much time with them that it would seem abnormal to them to be alone. Generally speaking they are very well behaved, well socialized, healthy, and well taken care of dogs. Previous to our townhouse, we lived in an apartment complex and received no barking complaints what so ever.

About my Housing:
I have lived in my townhouse for over three years, and got along with the neighbors just fine. Then one day our one neighbor started complaining about dog poop. Our yards are fenced off, so I have my own yard. I pick up poop twice a week, and none really gets near the fence. No one, including my landlord, understood the sudden BS from that neighbor. There wasn't much poop to speak of, and my yard is my yard. Period. And so, I suppose, the feud began.

About the Barking:
After the feud started, and in three years, we got two complaints about barking: One was when our beagle/jack russel mix was just adopted, and the other was a year and a half later when the neighbor called the police. The first time ~I~ was actually barking and making a racket while teaching my dog the "Speak" command. If you can teach them to speak, you can tell them not to speak. The other involved a police officer standing in my front bushes shinning a flashlight into my window. The first time was a human making noise, the second...well if someone shines a light into my house, while climbing in my's my dogs JOB to bark. As far as I am concerned: Case Dismissed. No other complaints were ever made by any neighbor. So on a whim we decided to video tape our dogs and take a 15-20 minute walk. They howled. They howled non-stop. We were pretty surprised because we can't imagine any behavior this bad, since the feud started, and ~not~ having been cited by the police or evicted in three years. So it must be fairly new. The video tape also revealed my neighbor pounding on the wall and yelling non-stop. It's not clear if the wall pounding or the barking started first...but it was clear my neighbor had successfully reinforced my dogs barking behavior. Surprisingly both dogs howled, and one has a history of abuse prior to her adoption, and hardly makes noise of any kind, let alone howl. So this was a problem. A big problem. As they did not bark when we were home, and how could I control or punish this behavior if I was not home? That night the police showed up right after we made our video. They said if we actually got caught, we would have been fined. My neighbor has a long history of harassment, and even if my dogs were tempted to bark by my neighbor, I knew it wouldn't be good for my lease if I actually got cited. Although two complaints in three years seemed really minor. So if they barked this much on a regular basis I would have expected more than two complaints and I did not.

The Solution:
I am vehemently against electric shock collars and de-barking surgery, and consider them to be ~~exceptionally~~ cruel. (Electric shock collars are even illegal in some countries for this reason.) So those were not options for me. I would move first. After a long night on the internet I decided to try the citronella collar. Independent studies have shown they are much more effective than shock collars for barious reasons, and many many reviews here at Amazon and pet supply websites were positive. So we gave it a try.

You can not put the collar on the dog and have a quick fix! As with anything concerning dogs, you have to be there to further the training. If you want a quick fix...this is not necessarily it. It takes several days to work. far as barking goes......that is pretty quick. We decided to use it on Ginger, as Guppy seemed to howl with her but only after she started. Ginger is also the most persistent barker, while Guppy gives an occasional warning low bark at the doorbell etc. The manual states that you should be there to supervise the dog in the beginning. This is important because the collar holds about 25 barks/sprays. If your dog was persistent enough, and smart enough, they will quickly learn that after barking for 5 minutes, they are now scott free to bark all they want. I think if you reach this point, the collar no longer has any meaning and you can forget about it working if they learn to out smart it. So if you're going to spend the $100.....make sure you have a weekend to put into the training.

Also it is crucial that you adjust the collar so that it has just the right amount of space between the dogs throat and the spay-box. Too much space and the collar will go off at random noises, too tight and it might not go off at all. The manual suggest that gravity keeps the box at the dogs throat, so if they scratch and it gets kicked to the back of their neck, it should gently fall back to place at their neck when they sit up. That's been the best rule of thumb for me. It is not supposed to pick up the barking at the mouth, it is supposed to pick up the vocal cords at the throat.

Also it should be noted that this is not intended to control whimpering or crying. This is to control the full blown bark. Living in an apt attached to another apt all I really needed to do was to control full blown barking. They will learn quickly that they can fly under the radar with a whimper. I don't' particularly care about that myself. Dogs bark. You wouldn't want to spend the whole day totally silent, and neither do they.

I only use this collar about 20 hours a week. It should NEVER be used 24/7. In fact once it is used properly for a few weeks, you should not need it at all. The key to this collar is that it disrupts barking consistently. It does not necessarily punish the barking. The spray is fast, slightly loud, and lemony fresh. So they feel it, hear it, and smell it. It is designed to take away attention from what makes them bark. They even sell non-scented spray for anyone who finds the odor offensive. I hardly smell it at all myself, and it isn't sticky.

Personally I still felt bad in using it. My dogs did not understand where the spray was coming from, and they will run from it at the beginning. They don't run from the collar, but they do know now what it does. And they will not bark when it's on.

Actually Ginger does not have to wear it anymore at all. We got a new neighbor whose dog barks NON STOP. And Ginger would bark right back at her nonstop. We tried for days to socialize the dogs so they could be outside at the same time. Guppy would give up after a few minutes, but Ginger and the neighbors dogs would bark at one another until hey were raw. After we used the citronella collar, and Ginger learned barking was unacceptable, she didn't bark under most circumstances. The neighbors dog still barks non stop at her but she just stares or whimpers. We had 5 baby bunnies the in the backyard, and she did not bark. We visit a friends farm occasionally where Ginger's run into turkeys, cows, goats, and cats....things she generally only sees once a year or so. So she has been exposed to a number of things which would make her bark, and a few new things since. There has been very very little or no barking since the collar and without her having to wear it.

We've videotaped the dogs at home about 10-12 times now with FANTASTIC results while no one was home, and as I mentioned before she's been taken to a few get togethers at farms and places she's never been, with people she's never met, and there was no barking with or with out the collar.

In fact today Guppy cornered a rabbit just out of her reach, and she barked at it nonstop. I went out and put the collar on her, thought I thought her hair might be a little too long for it, and it worked great. After 3 sprays you could tell she wanted to bark very badly, but she did not.

A Few Tips:
* You really have to start out using it in a situation you know your dog will bark. Especially with occasional barkers. For me I got my other neighbor to bring out her dog. This gave me a chance for my dog to try to bark quite a few times under my supervision with out letting the spray running out and reassuring her she was a good dog. You should do this for a few days to make sure they don't outsmart it. It took me about 2 days with a fair amount of want-to-bark situations to make sure Ginger was properly trained.

* The battery is very odd, but you can find it at photo depts. in Target or Wal-Mart rather than paying the obscene prices at pet stores.

* Once your dog learns what the collar does and the barking is under control, I use it switched off a good part of the time. Maybe every other time I use it I turn it on. This way you don't run down the batteries, but the dogs get pretty consistent feedback. Other people have even bought one collar, trained a number of dogs, then made "Dummy" collars with fake boxes on them that don' spray. Hopefully you will not need the collar after you train, but if you do there are a number of cost effective ways to use it.

*If you must buy the collar in store....bargain with a manager about the price. They normally run $20-30 more expensive in store, and are almost ALWAYS on sale online. Petsmart will honor their own web prices. PetCo only seemed to honor Petsmarts prices, but not the web prices. So find out when they are on sale, or buy them online. Usually they come with free shipping.

* I'm told you can rent them in some states from vets and kennels. Call around. On the off chance it won't work for you, you won't have dropped the $90-100 on the collar. Or check eBay for a cheap one.

*Because they are about $100 I find pet stores don't move them in and out of stock very much. For this reason you may find you bought one that DOES NOT come with an on/off switch. It is an older model...and it is not worth $100. This model runs down the battery significantly. You will not be happy with this model. Return it.

So.....that's the story. I'm sure everyone's situation and dog is different. The collar worked WONDERS for me, and I recommend it to anyone with a barking problem. Most of the negative reviews I've read on Amazon, sorry to say, showed a lot of human error. Really if you follow the manual, and put the time in to train your dog, it works just like it says it does. I haven't had any clogging or operational problems what so ever.

EDIT: It is now November 20th....the dogs are not barking (even when the neighbor ponds on the wall when we're gone hoping to get them to bark). We have not had to buy any batteries or citronella. 7 months and it still works like a dream.
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on December 20, 2004
We live in an apartment complex that is old and has thin walls. Our dog barked for about 2 hours every morning (the rest of the day he was fine) and our neighbors were seriously losing their patience with our attempts to resolve the problem.

We tried ignoring him for 30 minutes prior to leaving and 10 min after coming back home; we tried treat-dispensing toys; we tried to desensitize him by doing short leaves (with gradual lengthening of absent time). Nothing worked.

Our management was pretty cool about it because they knew we were trying to solve the problem, but after 10 days, I knew our days were numbered. Either we would have to move (we have 6 months left on our lease) or give away our dog.

I had never heard of this type of collar before. A woman in our complex mentioned it in passing and I was so desperate, I immediately started doing some research and decided to give it try since it seemed to be our last hope.

It worked the first time our dog barked and activated the spray. He stopped barking immediately. We've only tried the collar now for 3 days and so far, our manager says no one is complaining and they themselves haven't heard a peep (they could hear him barking before).

This collar saved us alot of grief! I don't know how it will work with dogs with severe barking problems, but our's was a manageable problem and it worked immediately without any negative side effects.

If you have a problem barker, I strongly recommend trying this collar before resorting to electric shock collars or worse, de-barking.
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on March 11, 2005
Unfortunately, the collar didn't do anything for our dog. I've tried the collar multiple times (went thru the refill can already), but she is very happy to just be barking away. The only effects I can figure out in our case is that we are out $80, and the dog smells like Citronella.

On the positive side, the device has been pretty durable and sits on the dog well. Citronella just didn't work for us.
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on April 5, 2006
I have a miniature dachshund who is a chronic barker. Having tried the shock-style collar, and finding them too intense, I hoped this would be a better alternative. For my very small dog (9 pounds), I could not get the collar to adjust to the correct position for the microphone to pick up her (very loud) barks. Also, as noted by other consumers, the battery runs out very quickly.
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