Hollywood's Top Dog Trainers Dish on the Best Barking Remedies

Electra: American Staffordshire terrier (pit bull), 3 years old
Christina Gandolfo

Don't be intimidated by her steely gray exterior. Electra is a playgroup all-star who mingles well with others — she's often used to help gauge newcomers' personalities at the shelter. Electra loves to roll over for a belly rub.

Sound, scent and vibration-activating collars are all methods to curb excessive barking, dog experts advise.

Whether barking at squirrels in the yard or aggressively attacking house guests, Hollywood's top dog experts propose that a quick and proper behavior reading will reveal what your dog is trying to say.

Says Jeffrey Brian Liebowitz of Karma Dog Training, “It doesn’t take long at all. It just takes quieting of the mind and tuning in to your dog’s energy.” If your dog’s incessant barking is caused by aggressive or overprotective instincts, working to make your companion feel comfortable in its environment and used to socializing with other dogs and people can help resolve the issue.

Dog whisperer Cesar Millan (clients include pets of LL Cool J, Teri Hatcher and Bruno Mars) advises combating aggression by keeping calm. Oftentimes, canines will match their energy to yours and relieve their pent-up frustration with more defensive barking. To help them release this repressed energy in a healthier way, dog behaviorists recommend challenging your dog both mentally and physically by commanding its attention with daily walks, at-home agility training, or interactive toy games.

Proper training and professional help will result in lasting change, but if you’re in need of a temporary fix, simply switching collars may be able to do the trick. Sound, scent, and vibration-activating collars are just a few of the devices used by some homeowners to condition their canines and curb excessive barking.

Anti-Barking Collars

GentleSpray Anti-Bark Collar: Spray collars release a spurt of citronella mist around the dog’s face upon activation, leaving a lingering scent that causes slight discomfort for the dog and deters barking. “We use devices like spray collars because the key is to get instant results without hurting the dog,” says Dog Remedy’s David Reinecker. (PetSafe; $55)

Ultrasonic Bark Control Collar: Ultrasonic sound collars emit a high-frequency tone only heard by a dog’s sensitive ear when barking is detected. “The best device to use would be the sound collar,” says Bobby Dorafshar, founder of K9s Only. “It immediately grabs their attention without emitting harm.” (PetSafe; $40)

E-Collars by Dogtra: A vibrating stimulation begins when the collar’s built-in bark recognition sensor is activated. E-Collars, more advanced devices that utilize vibration correction, are managed manually with a handheld remote. “We’re big on keeping things simple and using really valuable tools to help the owner,” says The Good Dog’s leading trainer, Sean O’Shea. “E-Collars offer very effective and humane training.” (PetSafe; from $120)