Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
Barking Mad Part 4
In concluding the articles about other peoples barking dogs, I must at least write about ultrasonic anti-barking devices that I mentioned briefly last week.
You may have heard recently about the pirates repelled from boarding a cruise ship in the Indian Ocean by the use of water and sound cannon. Whilst such equipment does seem to work, the question is, does it work for dogs?
Whilst most humans can hear frequencies from 20 to 20,000 Hertz, dogs can hear in the ultrasonic range. A silent dog whistle is a good example. I remember seeing a demonstration of a very large referee’s type looking whistle built in France with a frequency of about six Hertz. Anyone standing in front of this device, though they could not hear it, they felt it so much their inner organs were so shaken, the people were physically sick.
I think the idea was for use in riot control, but for choice, most police chose the mobile water cannon. Though there are some hand held devices, their range is at best fifty feet and though the person they point them towards may not hear the sound, they certainly feel it and it will make them nauseas. Though they exist, police forces have yet to assess their use in riot situations.
We also have personal protection alarms that send out a 120-decibel scream, which in most cases is a signal for help. I was certainly able to replace the key and switch it off without feeling unable to think or move. We do have something similar to use against dogs but they are not that effective against one that is determined to attack you.
Dogs do have such amazing abilities that are far more advanced than they would need. For instance, a dog or wolf would only track game that had passed recently, like a few minutes ago. Being able to track, depending on conditions, as much as twenty-four hours later, would seem to have no use to them. Why should a dog be able to detect not only skin cancer but also internal cancer or other ailments?
Whilst we may not like the sound of a personal protection alarm, it does not make us loose control. Yes, such a screaming sound is deafening, but it does not cause us any real pain.
Dogs on the other hand hear way above our limits and must hear all sorts of sounds that we never know exist. For instance, a vacuum cleaner motor may make a screaming sound in the ultrasonic level as well as a noise that we can hear. It could be for this reason dogs will bark at the machine when you turn it on. Some dogs will leave the room, which might indicate the sound is hurting them.
The theory is that if someone hits you on the head with a hammer every time you make a noise, then you should soon realise that if you keep quiet, the hammer stops hitting you.
Similarly with barking dogs, you would have thought if you had a machine that whenever a dog barked it returned a 130-decibel sound in the ultrasonic level that only dogs could hear and hurts their ears, they would stop.
The fact is that if someone invented such a device that did this to stop dogs barking, they would be millionaires. Imagine a sonic war of sound that we cannot hear, such equipment would be in worldwide demand. The fact is they already exist, so why are they not commonplace?
We do have citronella collars and in most cases, they do distract a dog from bad behaviour. Using them correctly, you can stop a dog from doing something, but only for a limited time. Eventually the dog will learn the collars are harmless and simply ignore them. I have heard of dogs zapped by electric collars but after a while, they become use to the pain.
Dogs listen to ultrasonic sound as part of their genetics. If it were not useful, they would have lost that ability a long time ago, but they have not. If all ultrasonic sounds were painful for dogs, they would have also genetically deleted that ability. A dog can hear as far as ten miles away, so they must find it useful. We believe that dogs can hear the sounds of an imminent earthquake. They certainly can detect coming thunderstorms. This means sounds are useful to them, so they must be able to control their hearing, especially those that hurt them.
If this were true, it would account for why I have not seen any device stop a dog attacking a person using such ultrasonic pain. Whilst manufacturers may claim this, I would suspect they would not use a determined dog.
There are many manufacturers of equipment that profess to say that if the offending dog is within the fifty feet limit, they guarantee it will stop barking.
A client came to the centre the other week with a hand held sonic devise to chase away dogs in his street. He pointed it at Winston and all he did was bark. He certainly did not look as if he were in any pain. It had no effect for the dogs in the street either. The client took a can of compressed air but within two hours later, he asked for another six cans. He said that the compressed air swept the dogs from the street as soon as he fired it. He just wanted to keep enough cans in stock.
Whilst such sonic equipment sounds logically a great idea, I have not had one person tell me they purchased such a device that worked. I know of a dozen people who have and found that they did nothing. Some of the devices were very expensive and included a tone that humans could hear, but as for stopping dogs barking, they failed miserably. Some of the reasons for their failure can be because of the distance limitations and anything in between the device and the offending dog. Bushes or trees for instance can cut the fifty feet limit down considerably.
All I can say is if nothing you have tried has worked and the noise is becoming unbearable, possibly, you may think of purchasing such equipment with a guarantee that it will work.
As barking is a world problem, if you have or intend to buy such equipment, it would be useful for all of us if you tell me if you succeed or fail. I feel there is the possibility that it may stop some dogs, so you never know you could be lucky.