We have all heard the expression “fences make good neighbors”, but can the same be said for PetSafe’s new ultrasonic faux bird house that emits an ultrasonic sound when dogs bark?
Here is what PetSafe has to say about their new product:
When the Outdoor Bark Control Birdhouse unit is placed within range of a constant barking dog, an internal microphone detects the barking sounds and the unit is activated. The PetSafe Outdoor Bark Control Birdhouse unit emits an ultrasonic sound to stop dogs barking. The ultrasonic sound can only be heard by the dog. When the dog is startled by the high-pitched sound, it should stop barking as it will associate its bark with this unpleasant noise. The PetSafe Outdoor Bark Control unit has 4 settings which includes 3 Sensitivity Levels and a Test Mode. This unit is effective for bark control up to 50 feet.
The PetSafe Outdoor Bark Control unit should be placed facing the barking dog and within fifty feet of the dog. This unit is designed with provisions for hanging or wall mounting and it should not be positioned any higher than 5 feet. For optimum bark control results, the area between where the Outdoor Bark Control unit is placed and where the dog is should be free of any large objects or obstacles.
On the surface it may seem like a relatively non invasive pet product. But is it, and more importantly, does it work?
Last week I was called to the house of a seven-year-old Labrador who is slowly losing his hearing. The hearing loss had led to an increase of outdoor barking, most likely brought on by a new sense of insecurity. The owners who called me to help get the barking under control were incensed that their neighbors had bought PetSafe’s new Ultrasonic Bird House and placed it facing the area where her 8-year-old dog and new puppy go to the bathroom in the far corner of her yard.
When my client’s dog barked, a red light flashed, indicating that a sound was being emitted. In the short time I was there, the product flashed for horns, kids playing, other people’s barking dogs, airplanes, and worst of all the light came on when it detected the roar of the crowd of the local high school football game that was nearly one mile away. There is a sensitivity setting, but the following question came up: “How does the neighbor with the barking dog approach the neighbor who prefers to go high tech rather than a good old fashion face to face confrontation?”
The puppy’s sensitive ears were clearly affected and the product sent out an audio sound nearly constantly while I was there. After much observation, I concluded that the PetSafe Bird House did absolutely nothing for the old dog who couldn’t even hear it, and the puppy actually barked at it several times. The puppy now avoids that corner of the yard and poops in the middle of the lawn. In my brief experience with the product that afternoon, it was nothing more than an annoying experience, both for the puppy and the home owner.
Later the same week, I came home to find a PetSafe Bird House facing my own yard. My neighbors did not heed the instructions to place the product at five feet off the ground, and instead they put it up in a tree about ten feet off the ground.
In the past three weeks, I have observed both the bird house and many different dogs’ reactions to the bird house at length. Not once did I see a dog stop barking from the tones, and I can honestly say it had absolutely no effect on a variety of barking dogs that we brought into the yard to experiment with the product.
What we did witness time and time again was the bird house picking up stray noises, and emitting sounds when the dogs were quiet. This in turn led to avoidance of that part of the yard for the most part.
The manufacturer claims that the product is good for up to 50 feet. Thankfully, my yard is quite a bit larger than 50 feet, but I canâ€™t help but feel it may be downright cruel for numerous dogs in small yards or kennel runs who cannot escape the annoying tones. A dogâ€™s hearing is so much more sensitive than ours.
So what is the solution to the problem of your neighbor’s barking dogs?
The answer is simple. It involves good old fashion communication, training and management. None of which is for sale on the Internet.
Don’t waste your money on outdoor barking devices for someone else’s dogs. In the case of my barking Collie, I suppose the bird house has accomplished the goal of controlling barking in my yard only because now that I am aware that my neighbors have an issue, I have worked diligently to keep my Collie from barking at squirrels. The decrease in barking has absolutely nothing to do with the effectiveness, or should I say ineffectiveness of PetSafe’s new product.
Have you ever used an ultrasonic device to control barking?