Small Dog Shock Collars: Exploring Safer, More Effective Options

Excessive barking is a common complaint among small dog owners. Many small dog breeds are known for being “yappy” which can be an annoyance for both dog owners and neighbors. Many people think the only solution to their problem is to buy a shock collar for their small dog. However, several other more humane options exist that can be just as effective.

If you’re curious about exploring why shock collars may not be the best choice for small dogs and humane alternatives you can consider instead, keep reading below.

Shock Collars: A not-so-gentle approach to small dog barking

Despite their big voices, small dogs have a physical makeup that is much more fragile than their larger counterparts. This makes shock collars a less-than-ideal solution for barking correction.

Here are a couple of reasons why shock collars are often not the best option for small dogs:

  • Pain

Shock collars can cause be painful for small dogs which can lead to negative associations with barking correction. This can lead to anxiety or fear. 

  • Unwanted Negative Impacts

The surprise of getting shocked can be frightening for a small dog. This can lead to a host of unwanted side effects such as worsened barking behavior, urination, and fearful submission.

Want to better understand why your small dog barks so much?

Before we start exploring more humane alternatives to shock collars, lets dig into the reasons why you small dog is barking a lot. Barking might serve various purposes for them, including:

  • Alerting

Small dogs often make excellent watchdogs, and their high-pitched barks can be triggered by anything from another dog walking by to unfamiliar noises. While they may think they’re being helpful or protective, this can be highly annoying for dog owners and neighbors alike.

  • Boredom

Like big dogs, small dogs that are left alone for long periods of time may bark to relieve boredom.

  • Separation anxiety

Usually coinciding with being bored, many small dogs bark when left alone for long periods of time due to separation anxiety. This nervous habit can continue for hours, causing much frustration for neighbors.

  • Attention-seeking habit

Your small dog may also start barking as part of an attention-seeking habit. Any reaction you have to your dog barking, whether positive or negative can reinforce the habit if the dog is seeking attention.  

Before resorting to an anti-bark device, it’s important to pinpoint the reason for your dog’s barking. Depending on the cause, sometimes barking can be corrected by providing more playtime or exercise or working with a trainer to help minimize separation anxiety.

If none of those methods work, you know it’s time to look for an anti-bark device that offers a stronger correction.

Exploring more humane options for small dog barking

Here are some alternatives to an anti-bark collar for small dogs that focus on positive reinforcement and addressing the root cause of barking:

  • Positive reinforcement

Rewarding good behavior is a powerful training tool. When your dog is quiet, praise them with treats, petting, or playtime. For food-motivated dogs, treats can be an especially effective training tool. Buy some small training treats that you can use in your house and while on walks to reward good behavior.

  • Desensitization

For certain triggers, like barking at passersby, gradually expose your dog to the trigger and pair it with positive reinforcement for calmness. It can be very effective to exercise your dog well before exposing them to the trigger so they are in a slightly less-heightened state and more likely to comply.

  • Environmental enrichment

If boredom is the root cause of your dog’s barking, look to weave in more time for regular walks, playtime, interactive toys, and socialization to help keep your small dog mentally and physically stimulated.


Maxbarks: A humane vibration vest for small dogs

If you're looking for a safe and effective anti-bark device to deter your small dog's barking, Maxbarks vibration vest is an excellent solution. Maxbarks is designed specifically for the comfort of small dogs and utilizes a gentler approach compared to shock collars.

Here's why Maxbarks is a great fit for your small furry friend:

  • Safe and Humane

Instead of using a shock, Maxbarks uses gentle vibrations to startle your dog and interrupt the barking cycle, without any discomfort or punishment.

  • Adjustable Levels

The vibration intensity can be adjusted to suit your dog's sensitivity, ensuring a gentle yet effective correction. This allows you to select the level that is most effective for your pet.

  • Effective Interruption

The vest vibrations effectively interrupt the barking pattern, giving your dog a chance to settle down. While not painful, the vibrations can be unpleasant for dogs, which makes them want to avoid triggering it.

  • Lightweight Design

Maxbarks is specifically designed for small dogs, with a comfortable and lightweight build that won't weigh down your pet. Several vibration motors are hidden throughout the vest to provide a more comfortable solution to the large shock collar box that is typically worn on the throat with a shock collar. 


While shock collars for small dogs are not uncommon, they’re also not always the most humane or effective solution. Before investing in a shock collar, it’s important to understand the root cause of your dog’s barking and potential solutions. Maxbarks anti-bark vest can be a highly effective and human way to deter your small dog from barking.