Crisis of Conscience – Ultrasonic

Recently, I had a number of products sent to me for review.  They included several ultrasonic devices.

These devices emit a high frequency sound that is used to deter barking and other nuisance behaviours.  I had heard that these products worked for some, while other dogs failed to react.  I had also heard that a small percentage of people can hear the noise.

And so, I tried it out on myself first.  Yes, I can hear it.  I would characterize the sound as unpleasant.  Before you try this on yourself, warnings inside the packaging state that the device should be kept away from human ears.  Distance varies based on make and model.

The product I tried was a remote activated hand-held device.  You, as the owner, pressed a button when you wanted to correct the dog.

Here’s the dilemma.  Kip heard it.  He reacted badly, crouching low to the ground and then attempting to flee.  There is no doubt in my mind that he hated the ultrasonic.

Not dislike – hated. 

There was another sample, a bark activated ultrasonic box.  The inserts claim that you can prevent your dog from barking in the yard.  Or, you can install the box and have it correct your neighbour’s barking pets.

Each time a dog barks, a high pitched sound is emitted.  All dogs within range would hear this sound.

Think about this for a minute.  Imagine you live in an urban environment where yards are small.  Imagine that a barking dog lives nearby.  Your dog however, is calm, well-mannered and trained.  Each time the OTHER dog barks, ALL dogs in hearing distance are corrected.  You, as a human probably will not even know that this is happening.

Your dog can be punished for living in close proximity to a barking dog.

How is this a crisis of conscience?

I think people need to see how some dogs perceive ultrasonic sound.  Imagine if your dog started acting strangely, but you could not figure out why.  How does ultrasonic impact some dogs?

The question is, do I post video of Kipper and his reaction for the greater good?  Should people see the type of reaction they might expect, especially since they may be completely oblivious that their dog is being corrected?

I struggle to understand how anyone can legally use these devices on other people’s dogs, without their knowledge or consent.  Owners are generally liable for their dog’s behaviour, yet neighbours can secretly meddle with other people’s dogs.  How is this at all right or just?

Those that have to endure nuisance barking might point out that they have a right to quiet.  I’d agree.  The problem is, you’re punishing ALL dogs, not just the barkers.  There are other options.  Police do respond to noise violations in most municipalities.

If I posted video, some people may claim that it can’t be that bad if I would risk filming and posting video.  Others may say, “How could you do that to your dog?”  They will say that I am being cruel and no amount of justification warrants causing my dog a moment of unnecessary discomfort.  It’s the dilemma of greater good versus knowingly causing a moment of suffering.


No matter how long and hard I think this through, I cannot come up with a satisfactory answer.  I am torn between two wrongs.  So I’m tossing it out there for all of you to please tell me what you think.  Would it serve the greater good to show this?  Or is never worth momentary discomfort even if it’s for the greater good and I know that I can ensure Kip has no lasting side effects?  Thoughts?

84 thoughts on “Crisis of Conscience – Ultrasonic

  1. Negative reinforcement is an antiquated way of training dogs. Dogs often do not understand why they are being punished and instead of correcting an undesired behavior, it makes the dog timid, afraid, and/or more likely to act out.
    The modern way of dog training is positive reinforcement. Dogs respond much better to positive reinforcement because you are clearly telling them what you WANT them to do. Your dog wants to make you happy! Surely this involves more effort on your part, rather than sitting around while your dog is shocked with a bark collar or submitted to painful noises. It is the same with choke collars. Invest the time in your dog and they will be happier, well trained, and not in pain which they do not understand.

    Different dogs will respond to different types of positively reinforced behaviors, but for my dog, anytime she starts to bark I tell her to come and immediately reward her. The result of this is that everytime she wants to bark, she instead comes to me. Kikopup on YouTube has many amazing videos on positive reinforcement dog training.

    I appreciate you writing this article! It is good to think about. Even if you don’t want to do positive reinforcement training to correct this behavior, you are very right in pointing out that it scares, upsets and potentially traumatizes neighboring dogs who aren’t even barking when only one dog around is. It’s just not worth it.

  2. I bought one of these hand held devices and on the first go, it terrified my westie to the point he trembled and shook violently for over 3 hours solid, trying desperately for me or my daughter to pick him up, whining and crying… he has never acted like that before.
    I decided not to use it ever again, strange thing is tonight he started acting exactly the same, he was absolutely terrified, clambering up around my neck yet the device was in another room… I regret buying this as I have no idea how to help him and it’s frightening to see him like it, can’t calm him

    • If your dog is facing anything that scares them, you can countercondition them to it. Ex: If a feral/wild cat came into your house, and was scared of everything….over time you might notice they start to like the can opener. Because can openers predict food. Woo hoo can openers. You can do the same thing on purpose with other things. Ultrasonic sounds were used with animals as silent directional cues in military training. It’s entirely possible to teach them to like the sound.
      If you get a trainer to help you out…just make sure they know how to do classical counterconditioning.

        • Hi Eva. Just in case you weren’t aware. Many blogs (like mine) have a human approving comments. It’s done to prevent spam, bots and other things. If you don’t see your post go up right away, it’s likely in review. If you post late at night, no one is up. 🙂

  3. I have a neighbor with two full time dogs (and two part time dogs – her new boyfriend). Her property is 1/4 acre and the dogs bark at anyone and everyone that passes by, especially other dogs. We cannot even sit on our porch and have a conversation in the evening, especially not when other dog owners are walking their dogs or neighbors are walking for exercise. And lo and behold the other dogs rarely ever bark. You know why, because their owners have invested time and money in training their dogs.

    I have considered the ultrasonic devices and almost purchased one the other day when they barked and carried on for an hour.

    My other thought was to start up my portable gas generator (which makes a ton of noise) and sit it next to their fence when the dogs do this again and wait for them to ask (all innocently and confused) why I am running it?

    I believe the simple answer is that most dog owners are considerate and treat their neighbors as they would wish to be treated. Others simply are not and are not good neighbors.

    I understand “awesomedogs” is a dog lover and does not want this device used. But this article does far too much excuse making for inconsiderate dog owners. A basic understanding that the rest of the neighborhood does not give a flying rip about your “precious oopsy woopsy” would go a long ways to keeping peace in the neighborhood.

    • If you read through my comments Mark, please notice that I don’t excuse *dog owners*. My neighbour bought a helicopter. Not a drone. A real personal helicopter. Built the landing pad right behind my back fence line.
      It’s legal. My feelings about having a helicopter there are irrelevant. I can tell you that helicopters going up and down are way louder than a dog barking.
      If the issue breaks the law, go get law enforcement to deal with it.
      If it doesn’t, and you think it should. Deal with it.
      If it’s part of “normal legal human noise,” suck it up or move. Same choices I have with the helicopter. Honestly, I’m letting it go. When you live next to a landing pad for someone’s personal transportation by flight, come complain to me about dogs barking.

      • ​Seriously???Awesomedogs, how many people live next to neighbors with helicopter pads and how many next to neighbors with nuisance dogs. Get real!!

        • It doesn’t matter. Everyone does something to annoy their neighbour in some way. The question is whether you, I, the person next door is human enough to say, “I am human and probably not perfect.” What’s easy is to complain about dogs and assume that because you aren’t creating a dog problem that you’re a peach to live next to. What the world needs is more people trying to be kind and tolerant and understand that we ALL do SOMETHING.

    • Nobody lives in the same situations so it should not be judged on how they choose to resolve a problem with an inconsiderate neighbor. Like Mark stated some neighbors are just not good neighbors – they don’t care and to me choosing to allow your dog to bark shows 100% disrespect and most adults realize you cannot rationalize with people like that. So, trying to discuss it with them is a waste of breath.

      I live out in an area that has no laws about it, unfortunately. We are all on about 1 acre lots. the folks across our culdesac have 3 labs, one of which has now been trained to bark for a long time because he wants them to put the hose on and hang it from this hook in the middle of the yard so he can pay in the water…and yes he is one of those that barks the ENTIRE time he plays…so yes, the dog trained the people. I have gotten frustrated to where I have sat in our boat blowing the horn until they came out and stopped the dog by bringing him inside….one time I did have enough of it and in my front yard screamed “shut that F***ng dog up ” it had been barking for 45 minutes on my saturday afternoon …..the guy was out in his yard and his response was “‘he’s playing in the water”. Seriously!???? So, yes I am thinking of getting the sonic device. My hubby is home right now from an injury and has said that it barks for hours every day. I do have to say I am much less tolerant as that is the biggest pet peave (no pun intended) that I have in life is barking dogs – an yes I understand it is really the owners, but there are many times when I just want to ring the dogs neck.

      We have two large dogs and they rarely bark …only if someone comes into our yard. They bark for a minute or so if a deer goes running through …but we trained them when they were young…that’s all it takes….it’s a lot of work but it is the owner’s responsibility. One of our dogs is 16 years old now, and has barked so rarely at nothing, that I don’t even recognize it is her when she barks….that’s how you train a dog.

      • I don’t understand how sitting in a boat, blowing a horn wouldn’t be offensive to everyone around … not just the person who is upsetting you. Would suggest that alone would cause anyone to get defensive and likely not respond well to what you are asking. Which is my point about the ultrasonic. EVERYONE has to hear the war or deal with a war that they have no ability to control or do anything about. Just because one person is doing wrong it does not mean that we escalate and put fuel on the fire. All the other people now have to deal with both factions arguing past each other.

  4. I have dealt with the neighbors too long. I wear two hearing aids and the sound of three dogs parking is painful. If I take my hearing aids out I can hear nothing. Can not talk to my husband or anyone else. The lady that owns the dog knows this. She doesn’t care. She lives at least 250 feet away from my house. I wants a dog silencer that will actually stop the dogs from barking. Have done research but not certain any of them will work. Please help if you know of a silencer that actually works 250 or 300 feet away.

    • There are warnings about the damage that these can cause to hearing on the inserts. Never mind that the tone might cause other dogs to bark in response to the strange noise causing you MORE discomfort.
      Keep track of the instances – which, how long, how often. See if it violates noice laws or not. Some people are jerks. This is true. When that happens, follow the laws to deal with it.

  5. Great post. My boyfriend recently acquired a stray and he purchased a sonic collar for it although hasn’t used it of yet. I told him I thought he should do some research into the item first seeing as it’s beyond our hearing range so we can’t be sure how it’s affecting the dog. Was just doing some online searching when I came across your post and I’m so glad I did because the indirect effects never even occurred to me! Obvious now that it’s been pointed out, feeling a little slow now haha Anyhow! Not sure if you found a solution to your problem but perhaps you could ask friends or post a local ad asking if anyone uses the device and if so may you take a short video of the dog and device in action. They’d be using it regardless of your filming and maybe this way you’ll even change theirind on the topic. Best of luck and thanks again!

    • Thanks. If there is anything that I realized from the comments is that some people actually seem to be happy to think that dogs might be in discomfort, and that they don’t care if others are punished regardless of their behaviour. I am deeply saddened.

  6. Again and again you say the quiet dog is harmed. Yes, you did correct/harm your own dog needlessly. I researched these products and found the maximum unobstructed ( no fences, bbuildings trees heavy foliage etc) to be 50′.
    One neighbor with two dogs they leave outside can set the whole neighborhood barking including my two inside the house. I tried to talk to them and they are either in denial or do not care. The dogss are also aggressive and charge the fence. Owners response: don’t walk by my house.
    So the device is pointed at an area nearest my back door and bedroom windows. One continues to bark loudly at all hours. Just a bit less, and further away. Also seems to not be setting off other dogs as much (none of which are within range of the cone sound field).
    So my own dogs are actually happier, and if they hear the device activated, do not seem to be as bothered as by the other dog barking. Also, since the device is activated by barking, it is not doing anything unless nuisance barking is occuring.
    Sad to have to resort to this. They have zero concern for other humans, dogs, or their own by leaving them outside because they want to or maybe can’t deal with the barking in their own house!

    • I spent 15 seconds googling and found one that says it works to 300 feet. Which fits in line with one sample that was sent to me that stated 250 feet.
      If it only goes to 50 feet (15 meters), that’s like 15 large footsteps. In which case, what a waste of cash. It wouldn’t reach the end of my driveway.

      • Thanks! I did find a model with an extender remote!
        And since the 50′ outside one is having a positive result on crazy neighbors incessant barker, (she calls him her “child” but leaves him outside day and night, and is a preschool teacher~God help the world), I may try that one in the future if Mr. Construction’s dog across the street, (also left out unattended continually) does not adjust to the increase in quiet in the next few weeks :).

        • Or your short range model is giving you a placebo effect and you’re escalating based on that.
          Or your neighbour has been working on the problem and is actually a nice person who is trying, completely unaware that their neighbour is interfering, and perhaps even slowing progress.
          You should go knock on the door and tell her what you’re doing. It’s the neighbourly thing to do.

  7. The bottom line here is this: YOU are the one who decides if your dog is exposed to this “correction”. If you don’t want him exposed to it, YOU go talk to the neighbors with the noisy dog or you keep your dog inside.
    My neighbors have at least three dogs and, at first, all of them would raise a ruckus every time I went outside. They trained one. I’m not sure what happened to him, but he went away for a while and came back different. The rest they boot outside several times a day and when they get bored, the dogs raise a ruckus. Not anymore.
    I’d go talk to them but the last time I did they threatened physical violence. I called Animal Control and those folks suggested to the neighbors that they file false charges on me–felony charges. Two of their dogs attacked me one day IN MY OWN YARD and fortunately I was able to make it inside my house before being bitten. If I had been bitten, the attacking dogs would have been euthanized.
    It’s my right to place ultrasonic devices in my own yard, period. It’s MY yard and I expect relative quiet there; the occasional woof woof and even dog conversation are ok and even welcome. Barking for hours on end is not, and I have yet to see another dog owner try and talk to these people. Since they won’t take action, I will, and it’s either ultrasonic or euthanasia. I chose ultrasonic because I have lived with dogs before and don’t want my neighbors to lose theirs.
    I just wish they would take better care of them!

    • You’re suggesting that I, with the quiet dog that is being punished should go to the neighbour with the noisy dog and say, “Stop the barking because someone who has never come to me might be upset, and they might take matters into their own hand? And they are scared that you’ll attack them so they want me, the owner of the quiet dog to come to you and risk the attack instead. Of course, I don’t know if there is an untrasonic device there because I can’t hear it.”
      You want people to mind read and deal with your problems for you without being told to do it. Or they can stay inside and hide in their homes and be punished for a war between two other families?

    • I have sold these over many years….and I always inform the purchaser that there is a range to them….usually 15 meters……so will only be effective for a neighboring yard……AND just a quick educational note here…..Dogs are PACK animals….there is a place for all….and if YOU are a Submissive person? One of the Dogs will step into the Alpha role…..hence the increased barking without consequences……most Owners of excessive Barkers are Submissive….they do not know how to “stop” bad behavior because they are not consistent……talking with these type of owners does no good, because they just say “I know, I have tried to get him/her/them to stop” but truly don’t know how. And going to the local Parliament or Authorities does absolutely no good….you either get the owner pissed at you….or nothing gets done because it is a low priority. If you are concerned about this effecting your pet while in use?…Keep them inside (out of range) until the other dog(s) stop barking.

      • Actually, dominance is between conspecifics. Members of the same species. So unless you’re a dog…..
        And dogs are not predatory pack hunters. They are obligate scavengers. That’s why you find feral dogs hanging out at dumps.
        Perhaps it might be a good idea to verify the information that you find online that keeps repeating “dogs are pack animals – be the alpha” to make sure it’s correct first?

  8. My roommate recently got one and I’m pissed about it. It works but now my dog is acting odd. She’s also pregnant and now I’m concerned about the puppies. I also have a Quaker Parrot and worried it might hurt her. She is acting out lately and I’m convinced that my roommate tried that sonic blaster on her. Anyone know the effects of this product on unborn puppies and birds?

  9. Regretfully though my city has laws on “the books” to make owner’s responsible for their nuisance dog Animal control will NOT enforce the law unless YOU get an affidavit signed by 3 separate neighbors. So the dog can keep your whole family awake and there is NOT a thing that the city will do since their are only two neighbors next to the offending dog owner and one is next to deaf. So I am left with me and my family suffering, taking the neighbor to court, or trying to train their dog for them with ultrasound. In this case ultrasound wins hands down though I would rather have the owner crouching then their poor neglected animal. And this is NOT a case of them NOT being home. Granted that is the problem about half the time but for the last few nights they have been sitting comfortable in their home while their dog has been yapping up to an hour straight both nights.

    And to add insult to injury they just went out and got ANOTHER dog!

    • I don’t at all agree with this. If it were me, I’d dump it in a politician’s lap. Squeaky wheel….
      As one person pointed out in the discussion, if you have animals, you’re punishing your own animals for another dog’s barking. Other dogs in the neighbourhood might start barking because they hear the correction.
      It’s not a neat solution that cannot lead to more problems.
      I’m a “make the politicians do their jobs” kind of gal.

    • Bob I think we have the same neighbors. They sit there while the dogs bark and they do nothing, despite the local council sending them a letter at my request and then doing an in person visit. They just don’t care that they’re impacting others negatively. And the dogs are bored, lonely and filthy, two of them at first and yes now a third – so they can breed them! I want the real problem dealt with, the neglect of the dogs. If I take away their barking with punishment, they have nothing at all to liven up their miserable days. But they can’t be allowed to bark all hours of the night either. So I’m pushing the council to start fining the owners. Hopefully then they’ll decide to get rid of the dogs to a new home where ideally they’ll be loved and treated right. I also worry about the effect of the ultrasonic device on the local wildlife around my house.

      • Many jurisdictions require a kennel license in order to run a breeding facility. Or the SPCA might view the conditions as a welfare issue. I certainly don’t want to see either dogs or people having to deal with horrible situations.

  10. Post it. You brought up some good points. I am debating using one for my neighbor’/ nuisance-barker, but I am a dog-lover and have my own seeet dog. It was informative to read your experience. You will no doubt get comments in all ends of the spectrum, but for me it was helpful to read a critique by a dog owner, since most of the information out there is by sellers of these products. Thank you for the food for thought.

    • I’m glad you found it helpful Blossomvalleypto. Good to work out things like, “If the neighbour’s dog barks, the thing goes off and makes a noise the dog dislikes. But then MY dog will also be subjected to it when the neighbour’s dog misbehaves. It’s called yoking in research. When your behaviour is tied to another’s actions. Imagine if that happened to us. “If your co-worker does something bad, you get punished.” Crazy making.

  11. It’s tricky, I also live in a street that could be likened to a dog pound. The problem is most people are away at work and all it takes is one dog to set another off. They wake me early in the morning and I have to put up with the jarring noise into the night. What would you suggest – move? The other problem is one is never sure about approaching neighbours with a problem – things could get nasty. It is dog owners responsibility to ensure they are not disturbing their neighbours but not everyone is on this page. Do I move or try a sonic deterrent?

    • Why does it have to be a 2 choice problem? Makes it sound like an extreme and unfair option compared to desperate self preservation. Of course, uncontrollable aversive consequences do make dogs unpredictable, hyper, reactive, stressed. So you’re choosing between may or may not make the problem dog silent, at which point the quiet dog being arbitrary punished realized that another barking dog makes bad things happen. So they start to bark. Then other dogs and other dogs. Then they start becoming twitchy and associating the sound with all sorts of random things. And then when they react and bite someone people will say, “it happened without warning and without provocation.” So you’re asking, “do I move or risk community safety?” How about NEITHER. Try: Contact a member of parliament, sit down, have a meeting and dump the need for a solution in their lap. Say the your community needs a program to encourage a cordial community where everyone takes effective steps to reduce the barking.
      How we react to a problem is something that we control. I don’t think we need to stoop to devious and potentially problematic and unneighbourly actions in order to do something. We can all do better, including in how we solve problems.

  12. First, I apologize for this long reply, but this is a subject that is occupying much of my thought of late…

    The author wrote, “I struggle to understand how anyone can legally use these devices on other people’s dogs, without their knowledge or consent.” Well, I struggle to understand how anyone can legally subject others to sleepless nights and peaceless days from barking dogs or fear from being either attacked or jumped on by unleashed dogs without others’ consent, despite clearly posted “leash your dog” rules and clearly expressed barking-noise-nuisance laws. But dog owners—and not a minuscule fraction–still do these things, driving people to exploit any option to gain back some sense of peace and much-needed rest.

    The author also writes, “Owners are generally liable for their dog’s behavior, yet neighbors can secretly meddle with other people’s dogs.  How is this at all right or just?” You’re asking the wrong question. The salient question is WHY neighbors are meddling with other people’s dogs. The answer is very clear: because the owners who are liable for their dogs’ behavior are NOT liable for their dogs’ behavior. There are very many stories of unleashed dogs killing other people’s pets or otherwise damaging others property or health (the medical literature presents substantial evidence corroborating the harmful effects of chronic barking, for example, on people), yet recalcitrant owners don’t care about the effects of their animals on others. They care only about their own pleasure in having their animals. One should ask how THAT is at all right or just—especially considering there are already very clear laws governing these matters which many owners disregard, presenting a public health threat to neighbors who, for their own peace and health, may feel obliged to take drastic measures.

    Nor do severely under-resourced animal control or police departments provide the muscle required to enforce the laws when there are literally tens or even hundreds of millions of dogs. Then as a responsible owner who controls her/his animal 100% of the time, you ought to go after irresponsible owners who’re hurting their animals AND encouraging more and more extreme responses from those who’re fed up having our rights—and the law—trampled by those who can’t or won’t control their animals 100% of the time.

    “Police do respond to noise violations in most municipalities.” Wrong. Dead wrong. Police don’t even have the staff to respond to the explosive number of barking-nuisance calls. They often reply that while it’s true irresponsible dog owners are clearly breaking the law, there are far more pressing problems demanding their time (like human-human crime). Worse, many officers, just typical citizens, are inured to barking because they’re also dog owners. The popularity of dogs creates a cultural norm such that the acceptance of problem behavior by the dog-owning majority of the US casts those for whom the behaviors are problematic as … problematic ourselves. Therefore, often law enforcement won’t even take our complaints seriously. If you were a parent and your child were being daily bullied in school, and the school system didn’t take bullying seriously, you might find yourself trying increasingly aggressive measures to prevent the damage medical science and psychology teach chronic bullying can inflict on children–especially if your polite, respectful pleas to other parents and the school administration fell on deaf ears. Just so with those of us who have no other recourse where dogs’ rights seem to eclipse the rights of the rest of us who can’t sleep anymore, and are told we MUST accept being jumped on, drooled over, and having our property destroyed or fouled.

    Frankly, as much of an animal rights advocate as I have been my whole life, no picture you could post would dissuade me from investing in such a device (thank you for letting me know they exist, as I live and work in the center of about two dozen dog-inhabitting houses, and the animals not only bark and howl incessantly throughout the day, but every night ALL night long; the police and animal control have mailed copies of the law and fines warnings, but even a year after the mailings and repeated calls by me and other neighbors, nothing has changed). It has now become a matter of survival. I literally cannot sleep more than two hours a night fitfully. I’ve used ear plugs and industrial strength noise-guards. Nothing works. My health may not matter to you and other dog owners, but it’s of paramount importance to me. So since irresponsible dog owners won’t budge in controlling their animals, people like me are forced to do what we must to seek relief. And no, I am not following the considerate suggestion of my dog-owning neighbors to sell my house and moving just because some people (all the dog owners around me) won’t follow the law.

    • Ah, but there are municipalities that do enforce. They do so using systems that do not use taxpayer dollars (self-sustaining). See the Calgary model. It’s primarily education based, then enforcement. The province backs up the municipality.
      Option C – if there is such a demand for barking aides and your community is not pro-active, contact your member of parliament. Demand they use a model that works and to do it the same way, not half arse.
      People are being harmed on both sides. The people paid to deal with problems are not being made aware. Put the onus on politicians. Heck, start a petition. Do something about it. Just don’t harm some because you feel harmed. My neighbour has a helicopter. Yes, real one. Such is life. I have dogs. They have a helicopter. We all compromise so long as its within the boundaries of normal and respectful.

  13. “Owners are generally liable for their dog’s behaviour, yet neighbours can secretly meddle with other people’s dogs. How is this at all right or just?”

    I am very tempted some days to kidnap the neighbour’s dog from their yard and take it to a pound to be euthanized. Inconsiderate idiots should not have dogs. So let me summarize by saying this sonic noise is far better for the “stupid dog owner” – and I use that term interchangeably… than the alternative solutions I come up with while I lie awake listening to that POS barking all the time.

    • Because when you meddle with that dog that is keeping you up, that sound is also meddling with other dogs that are not barking. They cannot control the ultrasonic and it can create problems in their behaviour. Problems that will then create more problems for you potentially.
      Why not deal with it head on. Talk to people. Face to face? If that fails, complain to the people who take our tax dollars and are supposed to fix those problems for you. If you live next to an “idiot owner”, then think for a moment that so does that barking dog. And your response is to punish the dog rather than deal with the owner.
      There is such a thing such as dealing with issues head on. Politely. But dealing with them. Your other neighbours, with nice owners and quiet dogs don’t need to be the victims of a silent neighbourly war.

      • In most wars there are casualties. If the “nice owners [with] quiet dogs” who previously weren’t being affected by the “silent neighborly war” got involved earlier to maintain the neighborhood peace, perhaps there’d be fewer casualties.

        • Tom, it is impossible for people to know if you have a serious barking dog issue. It certainly is possible. It’s also possible that the barking dogs are in the realm of “normal noise levels.” I don’t know. I’m not going to speculate. I do know that all we can do as humans is be responsible for our own actions. Sometimes other people don’t live up to our expectations. We can choose to stop the cycle and find a way to deal with a problem that is productive. More importantly, one that doesn’t have negative consequences on bystanders. When using punishment, and that’s what this tool is doing, there are side effects. The most profound side effects, the most traumatic are when an animal experiences uncontrollable bad things. They are affected by things that they cannot change. The silent and friendly dogs cannot change their behaviour to avoid the noise. Side effects from punishment, especially unpredictable and uncontrollable punishment includes stress, anxiety and AGGRESSION. So while I can sympathize with your problem, and I do hope that places start to use a Calgary model, it does not give someone the right to use a technique, without consent, that has been shown to be tied to aggression. Because if a dog creates an negative association to say “children” when they hear it, and if the dog starts to turn, then whomever put that noise maker out in the community plays a part in the harm done to a child. That’s simply not okay. I like to think that the adults involved can set aside their need to be right on both sides and figure things out. If not, that the people who are acting mature can figure out a mature way to handle things, one that won’t add more harm on top of layers of more harm.

  14. For over a year, a huge dog with a deep voice has barked outside our window. Neighbors are trash & they don’t care. After weeks of sleepless nights, we added a large, loud, fan that runs year round, so we can sleep. Yes, in the winter & yes, that sucks.

    Some dogs are breed to be nocturnal predators at night as this breed is. So, some dogs are not breed to be in a neighborhood loose at night!! So, if a homeowner needs a “birdhouse” to survive, so be it. The word, humane, should involve HUMANS FIRST! It’s inhumane to disrespect your neighbors, peace, well being, sleep so they can perform their 40-60 hour jobs!! While cujo sleeps all day, so he can stalk & BARK ALL NIGHT!!

    If the noise for the “birdhouse” is uncomfortable, then SHUT UP!!! Back away from the birdhouse or the source that causes a lack of comfort. Yes, I have a dog & I love dogs. I have always had a dog. It’s unresponsible neighbors that forces sleepless people to spend their money to TRAIN YOUR DOG!!

    • Except that the choice of strategy has also then punished all other animals in the vicinity, yours included. Unaware people, especially those with shy or noise sensitive dogs (some breeds are noise sensitive because no selective pressure has been placed on those breeds for tolerance to noice.) Those owners, unaware as to why their dog is reacting or why their dog is become more and more spooky (and also a greater bite risk to the community), then spend gobs of time, money and resources on trying to fix the problem. They will undoubtedly fail because they cannot identify the trigger. That impacts the welfare of the PEOPLE around you, their finances and their stress.
      There are noise bylaws. If a dog is barking to the point of being a nuisance during hours they should be quiet, call the authorities. Of course, then one would have to run the risk of being recognized as the complainer. It takes courage to complain and be recognized.

  15. I just found the “Birdhouse” hanging from my fence that a neighbor had put there secretly I’m assuming because she thinks my dog barks too much. My dog is an indoor dog and only goes outside to use the bathroom. I appreciate the fact that my dog barks at strangers or when she senses danger. I’m a single mom with 2 daughters at home and I am furious that this neighbor would take it upon herself to try and condition my dog to never bark. I’m a responsible pet owner and would never allow my dog to be a nuisance to my neighbors.

  16. My neighbour is using one of these devices and I can hear it 24/7. It has gone on for the last two years to keep her dog quiet. It is driving me mad, I lose sleep and my nerves are shot with the noise from it especially when she changes the battery. I have questioned her about it but she denies she is using one of them. All of the local cats keep away from around our properties now too. Can anyone suggest what I can do about it as I seem to be the only one who can hear it.

  17. I think your article is good enough. People are rarely dissuaded from what they believe & your dog shouldn’t suffer if he is well-behaved. I have an ultrasonic collar for one of my dogs because he barks at everything. While he is not fearful of it, he will tiptoe around the house & just isn’t himself if I put it on him even if it is not on; I hate what it does to him. What people don’t realize is any loud noise sets these devices off. Anytime I used the collar & it was noisy in the house, my dog would go down to the basement & lay in his crate so it wouldn’t get set off. My other dog is completely unaffected by it, luckily my unaffected dog isn’t a barker & we live in a quiet neighborhood where we each have 2.5 acres so most other dogs are far away. I don’t put the collar on him anymore; however, the neighbors behind me have a new puppy & when they take him out to potty, he frequently runs to our fence & my dog runs out the doggie door barking like mad. Occasionally I walk outside with the collar set to on to get my dog to stop. My hope is to eventually be able to stop using it altogether because he was a stray who seems to suffer from anxiety & is OCD. I really hate to add to his problems. I’ve been working to help him with these issues & I’ve had good success, but I hardly know what I’m doing, so the barking issue will be a challenge. I myself am torn between the good of my dog & peace for my neighbors.

  18. Citronella spray collars are much more humane. I use a $4 computer compressed air cleaner from office depot as a disrupter followed by yummy reinforcement. I use it behind my back so dogs dont associate it with me. Has worked for 10 yrs. A good positive reinforcent trainer is less costly then all the expencice quick fixes.

  19. Not even sure if we should be use an ultrasound medically are we going to wait until 1 and every 15 children are born with the diagnosis of autism.What has changed ????? the GMOs that have modified our food or the ultrasound being done on our unborn fetuses or perhaps its vaccination that used to have all the mercury in it still no answers the statistics are rising on autism ????

  20. My neighbor recently installed a DogTek Sonic Birdhouse attached to his house and has it turned on 24 hours a day 7 days a week to prevent my dogs from barking, ever. For the record, my dogs only bark when they hear sirens or someone approaches our home. They do not constantly bark. I am looking for research on harmful effects of these devices and harmful effects from preventing a dog from barking at all. I wanted to see if anyone has an such research. Thank you.

    • Anything that suppresses behaviour and acts as punishment or negative reinforcement should have a good amount of research under those topics. It might not be “ultrasonic” research. There are MANY types of aversives. You won’t find them researched individually. You could start with Murray Sidman’s book Coercion and its fallout. Beyond that, the side effects of coercion have a very large body of research. Sidman, Domjan, Rescorla would be names to search through in terms of research.

  21. I ordered this on Amazon read the reviews all positive. I bought it for my 3 dogs that bark at everything. Well as soon as I put it on my 4yr pit/husky mix freaked out shaking,went and hid,my rat terrier just kept barking at it & my 13yr rottrier mix barked at something & then stopped. So it does work but every dogs reaction is different. I will be sending it back & will continue with positive reinforcement. If my dog hadn’t had such a bad reaction I would have kept it. Now I never thought of neighbors having it where I would have no control. Lucky my dogs don’t bark much outdide.

  22. The ultrasonic bark control device terrified my dogs! They hid under the bed, shaking in fear, until the back door opened and then they fled, refusing to go back into the house. This product is definitely inhumane.

  23. Actually, with ultrasound handled well enough by direction, location, etc…I think it is unlikely to annoy quiet dogs much. Many would not hear (it simply doesn’t travel far enough) and for those who do, they simply can move a little further away to avoid it. For those dogs I’ve seen up at a fence with bothersome barking, in time it has both decreased the barking and pushed them further from the fence, which often helps too. I have not seen it hurt the quiet dogs I know of. And using it where it is not started by other sounds (avoiding a detector) (where the USER controls the on and off, something fairly easy to devise), you don’t need to worry about it coming on when you haven’t chosen it to come on.
    A dog bothered by it can back away from it. I don’t want to “torture” any animal, but I just want dog owners to be responsible enough to intervene as needed (and yes, humanely) 🙂

    • “A dog bothered by it can back away.” Isn’t that like saying if I don’t like living next to you I can move?
      Some of these devices work 300 feet away. That is a greater distance than multiple city properties. Any dog caught in that range cannot “get away.” There are posts online of people complaining of ultrasound products because THEY can hear them. Anyone using sound to correct dogs around them is just doing tit for tat.

  24. I did a lesson for a lady yesterday who had struggled for 8 years with these types of devices – she was at her wits, had spent hundreds of dollars and was frustrated beyond belief. One lesson and the results? She was so emotional at seeing her dog relaxed and responsive to the training. After all that – one lesson – different dog. Of course, she has to be consistent but we couldn’t make her dog bark or misbehave no matter what the stimulus was. Happy dog – happy client – No harshness – Kind methods that actually work – THAT is how you train a dog and their person.

    • Whether something “works” momentarily is not the whole sum of how something should be evaluated. It’s “works” x “risk” x “permanence” x “ethics.”
      In order for punishment to be effective long term, it has to be extremely severe. One of the “rules” of how punishment works.
      I have a lot of clients who have cried from joy at some point in the past with other trainers. They’ve done a lot of things including corrections – and then the problem lingered, came back and triggered side effects.
      Our success should not be measured by stories or personal anecdotes. Or it leads to a pissing match of “my anecdotes are better or more valid than your anecdotes.”

    • I can tell you what I observed when I pressed the button on the device sent to me. My dog was across the room, heard it, tucked his tail and hunched down. I tried to approach him and he bolted away from me for the next 20 minutes or so, clearly having realized that the sound came from my direction. The dog that heard this has almost no fear to any sounds or visual stimuli. I’ve only seen him appear fearful on 2 occasions. This one and once during a puppy fear period. He is currently four years old. Extremely confident dog with little fear.
      My experience and observations are that it scared the crap out of him.

  25. If you own the dog, YOU as the dog owner are RESPONSIBLE. I’ll sue you and use the most powerful ultrasound devices I can find, until your annoying dog shuts up or YOU shut him up like you should. People have been sued and lost. It’s no different than me buying or getting something, then annoying you endlessly with it. I assure you, I’ll annoy you until the problem stops! Control your dogs, dog owners!

    • I have quiet dogs. You would be annoying quiet dogs. The owners of quiet dogs won’t know why their dog begins to react as they cannot hear the thing.
      They’ll spend money on things like hearing tests for the dog and prescribe medication for CCD. You’ll cost those nice people with QUIET dogs money – because you can’t be bothered to walk over to the family with the barking dog and talk to them. And when that doesn’t work, you fail to seek help from the authorities.
      Punishing the good guys does not make sense. It’s a malicious tit for tat/retaliatory war.
      Contact the authorities. Deal with the barking dog instead of punishing everyone around you. There are more civilized ways of dealing with conflict than starting WW3

      • Contacting authorities helps in some cases. But as I mentioned, ultrasound can be used in a manner where it is not likely to go very far. In addition, properly used ultrasound is greatly diminished or not heard at all, if a dog is simply behind a solid barrier. In my experience, it doesn’t take a dog long to realize that and also to reduce unnecessary barking. One dog I knew of, still barked at something “obvious” but no longer barked for no apparent reason. Instead, he would go next to his owners home and try and get the owner’s attention which helped. I’m not saying I have a perfect solution, but I think I’ve seen humane ways that have helped. And I don’t blame some people for getting upset about it. Hours of barking by a dog you don’t even own, can be very bothersome. I could even heard it with ear plugs in, at times. Can you blame me for getting upset??

      • “…because you can’t be bothered to walk over to the family with the barking dog and talk to them.” Wrong. The obvious easiest course–and FREE–is to speak politely with our neighbors. But just as many parents become irrationally violent at the merest suggestion that our children have done something inappropriate, many dog owners don’t CARE that neighbors are suffering. Because the dogs are an extension of the owners’ freedoms–and no one is going to trample on their freedoms.

        And, yes, after we’ve been cursed out or threatened or physically assaulted or had our vehicles or other property damaged, we’ll go to the police. They’re helpful AT FIRST. But as the problem persists, it becomes a waiting war. The dog owner won’t control her dog, so the behavior remains, and the cops just can’t afford to return repeatedly, so they give up. Or as the cop in the example just below said, “dogs bark…” Since more and more people like dogs and have them, what is problematic is increasingly a matter of interpretation, including among the police. So 10-minutes of OK barking often stretches to hours of nonstop-but-still-OK barking.

        • Not sure I get the whole complaint of retaliation. Someone took a baseball bat to my car. Police say “animal extremist activist.” Two wrongs do not make a right. Another free option is contact your member of parliament. Do something proactive and civil about it.

  26. My neighbor gave me a Super Bark Free (for free) ultrasonic box. I tried to use it once and my large Norwegian elkhound would go to the front door scared. She wouldn’t want to go out side again … and she loves being outside. I tried it again after nearly a year as my neighbor was complaining about her protective barking when a dog or humans walk pass the front of the house. Once again she would crouch on wasn’t herself. I will break it up as not wanting another dog or dogs to go through this condition. Like the police dept. told me “Its a dog and dogs bark … now if it barks non-stop that’s another situation.

      • Yes it does. If the device is in the room with a barking dog, ALL the dogs present hear it. If a neighbour puts one in the yard to stop a barking dog, ALL the dogs in the area are corrected when that one dog barks. It’s like every child getting spanked for the actions of one. Silly? No. Owners of quiet dogs don’t need their dogs corrected for another dog’s barking. They don’t wear ear plugs.

          • You want me to travel from town to town, knocking on doors of people who I think need to be told what to do and force them to learn? What would give me the right to push myself on others in their home? Where would that stop? I don’t like how responsible you are with how you treat your spouse, your kids, your lawn? Maybe someone can start knocking on doors and taking BMI measurements of kids so they can force themselves on families for healthy eating and exercise? At what point are we so self absorbed that we expect *perfection* from everyone around us and not recognize that pushing in on someone in their home is like a religious person coming to “save you.” And that the person doing the saving is completely unaware of how obnoxious their desire to help has become, or that there are things in their life that are pretty irresponsible too?

    • “protective barking when a dog or humans walk pass the front of the house”

      Protective barking. Haha. What an overstatement. Exactly what mortal danger is she protecting you from?

  27. I think you would feel terrible if you posted a video. Maybe you could still do something but when people click to watch it, you say you can’t show them because your dog was too distressed when you first tried it and you would not subject him to it again. Then you could give some advice on barking or put people on to a GOOD dog behaviorist. These devices, along with those awful shock collars should be banned. There is only one answer to barking dogs…..good, kind, effective training with the dog’s welfare in mind!

  28. Dear God someone i my neighborhood like a block away from my house has an ultrasonic device in their front yard and whenever you walk in front of their house a a small bit in front of the neighbor’s house the device goes off . As someone on the spectrum with sensory processing disorder I ave very sensitive ears so if I ever walk down that street I cross the street before I reach the house and subsequently bother the dogs that are kept outside in the yard in the house across the street or I quickly rush past the house.There are dogs all around that house and they go ballistic if you cross the street near their houses. The dog next door to the house wil go crazy behind the solid wood fence and the dogs across the street will go nuts behind the wire see though fence. I avoid walking there whenever I can because it s miserable to walk y. My dogs will still stop to sniff at the house while the device wails in my ears, After I pass by i still rings in my ears.

  29. I dont think the video would stop the people that would use that kind of devise, and I dont think putting kip threw it would benefit anyone. So I would say a strong NOOOO.

  30. Use of aversive stimulus to punish an unwanted behavior is never a good thing. Management and training with positive reinforcement is the best way to change unwanted behavior. People should stop thinking about what they DO NOT want the dog to do and concentrate on teaching and rewarding the behavior they DO want. The quick fix (which doesn’t always work anyway) sometimes leads to more serious problems such as anxiety and fear. Fear is the reason for most aggression. I never recommend the use of any electronic devices in training. I sure wouldn’t want my neighbor “punishing” my dog for being in his own yard!

  31. i wanted to add, i don’t like the fact that this can affect other, unknowing, dogs and owners…………..i am not ok with a dog being adversely affected by something it has absolutely no control over.

  32. For me, the issue is that it’s my job to work with my dogs on the issues I want to work with them on. I don’t want the neighbours doing it for me–whether that is their intention or not.
    So, I guess I would consider doing it….but that’s also easy for me to say since it’s not my dog. It’s a tough one, Yvette. And now it makes me wonder if some of the odd sudden spooks I see in my yard are from some sonic device in someone’s yard……
    Ultimately, do you think it will dissuade people from using it? I don’t know. My faith in people isn’t all that high……

    • I’m not sure it would discourage people from using it. Perhaps some people on their own dogs. I do think perhaps some people might think to look or listen if a dog’s unusual behaviour might be caused by a device in use nearby. Listen for a bark – spook. Look for a birdhouse turned facing out of a neighbour’s yard….etc.

  33. wow, this is a difficult one………………you know kip best, you know how best to make sure he is not, in the long term, affected. i trust your judgement on that and i feel a video for the greater good could certainly benefit in this case as i’m sure most people don’t know much about these devices. i don’t enyy your position on this one though, very tough call as there will be negative feedback for sure i think.

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