Dog Product Review: PetSafe’s Ultrasonic Bark Busting Bird House

Birdhouse BarkWe 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 can’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 dog’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?

105 Responses to “Dog Product Review: PetSafe’s Ultrasonic Bark Busting Bird House”

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  1. jdiddley says:

    Update… I owned this product for approx. one year and it worked well for the beagle next door. Instead of barking he adapted to a low howl so it was like barking “under the radar”. If he needs to alert for something serious, he just barks anyway. The bottom line is, he now only barks when he needs to. It has seriously cut back on what I refer to as “leisurely barking”. The bad news is, the birdhouse broke after only 1 year. The good news is, it trained the dog to stop barking all day every day 24-7. If you’re going nuts because of your neighbors dog, this is worth a shot I think. By the way, there are few bad dogs but many bad dog owners!

  2. Suzanne says:

    I have a poodle mix who likes to sit on the ledge of our underground garage and watch the world go by. Many in the neighborhood have expressed pleasure at seeing this little “lion king” emissary. We re-homed a standard poodle and the barking at that ledge has become more incessant with big box trucks and school buses the primary offenders. The gentlemen neighbors across the street approached me and we worked out an agreement. I try to keep good tabs on them when they are outside but, if for some reason, they become too loud for them, they are to call me and I will remedy the situation right away. This has happened once. Other times, I have caught it and taken care of the issue. Now, the neighbors, in spite of our agreement, have taken to yelling like maniacs everytime the dogs bark - everytime. This is not only ineffective it breeds resentment. I am considering one of these bird houses but equivocate. Why not continue to talk with me? (I have always, always prooffered friendly neighborhood relations - a home is a sanctuary and everyone is entitled to it.) These same neighbors have now complained about the labrador next door and that would be quite a ways a way since we are on heavily wooded three acre lots. I think neighborhood relationships are challenging - I am actually worried that these offending neighbors (at least to me) are not feeling well. I have let this stick in my craw for over a week and I think it is time I knock on their door and find out how they are doing. Communication is key, friendliness is key, the right approach is key. It’s like we all live in these little worlds that need care and respect. Wouldn’t it be good if we could swallow our fear and be good ambassadors? I am working on it…

  3. kestral says:

    Picture this… 11 coyote hounds plus puppies. They bark at everything and anything. From sunup ’til sundown. The only time they stop is when the owner steps out and swears at them as loud as he can. They are quiet for a short time and then start up again. Everyday. All day. You’ve approached the owners for 4 years with little results. Asked the local Town Board to intervene. Asked if the county police would help. Nothing. What do you do? I’m living it.

    The difference between dogs barking and a football game or leaf blowers is that you know it will stop. And, it is seasonal or will be present during a given time. I can deal with that. Dog barking is like fingernails on a chalkboard… it just gets to you on a whole different level. It permeates you. You know it isn’t going to stop and is going to be there again and again and again. You also suspect that the owner’s don’t care. Can’t they hear the same thing that I hear? Are they deaf?

  4. Indy says:

    I am considering this product. I own 2 dogs which I don’t let bark outside but a new neighbor moved in and ties a dog out there which wakes me up at 5 am every moring. I tried talking to him with no success. He has only lived in the neighborhood for couple weeks and I am dead tired. What are you suppose to do. It’s not the dogs fault. So I am on the fence about purchasing this. It will also effect my dogs if it turns on without barking. A nice thing to know before my decision to purchase it since I live on a busy street. I can handle some barking during the day but at 5 am I would like to be sleeping. So there’s no easy answer for neighbor problems. If he cared he would put his dog out and stand there at that time. Let the dog do his business and bring him in. I love animals and never would want one harmed or annoyed by this BUT if there was another solution I would do it. Some people just don’t want to cooperate. By the way I like his dog. :)

  5. Don't Waste Your Money says:

    My idiot, bully of a neighbor bought this thing because he is one of those twitchy jerks who likes to harrass people for pure, mean sport. He hates dogs, kids, cats, you name it. It does, as one writer said, alert on EVERYTHING (it blinks constantly every time a car passes–which is frequently, if not constantly, on our busy street)….but best of all, it has zero effect on my dog, who is only out in the yard twice a day for a short period, and barks at my mean neighbor solely because he TEASES her through the fence and sprays water at her (did I say he was nuts?). The guy has a hearing aid that he apparently doesn’t know how to turn down or modulate, so when a dog barks two blocks away, he “blames” my dog–even when the dog isn’t even home, but is on vacation with another family member (he’s complained on two occasions and been bagged for griping by the local constabulary when I was able to demonstrate that the animal wasn’t even in residence). He even called the dog officer one day, who verified that my dog was not the problem and tagged this guy as a habitual “nuisance-maker”–a well-deserved tag, IMO. When children in the neighborhood play in their own yards, he’s constantly griping–he’s just a mean, vicious coot and a busybody, and of the six neighbors who live in close proximity to him, not a single one has a good thing to say about him.

    There are two sides to every “barking dog” story, and it can sometimes be that an understimulated old neighbor with a cruel streak can be the REAL problem–that is what was the deal in my case, and I’ve got the miserable bass-tard on video to prove it.

    But to sum up about the bird house? Piece of junk.

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