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?