Gah! One more “simple device to stop problem dog behaviors” has hit the market. I was alerted recently when, thanks to Facebook’s advertising algorithm, it showed up in my news feed. What is this miracle product, you ask? According to the website, it “releases unharmful high-frequency sounds to stop barking in seconds!” The site goes on to boast that this miraculous device can “…distract rude dogs from barking, biting, or any other forms of annoying or even aggressive behaviors.” Sigh.
It’s not that an ultrasonic frequency sound wouldn’t stop a dog mid-bark. It would most likely stop a dog in its tracks momentarily, regardless of what the dog was doing at the time, as the sound is startling and unpleasant. But, as with all of these types of devices, it’s really just putting a Band-Aid on the problem. If a dog is barking at visitors because he’s uncomfortable with them, how is startling him going to solve the underlying issue? Does anyone really believe these things are like remote controls you point at a dog and violà! the behavior changes instantly, like changing the channel?
The website wrap-up claims, “It’s almost impossible to read the dog’s body language.” (Hence the need to “discipline your dog.”) Well, I have news. It’s not “almost impossible” to read a dog’s body language. In fact, it’s not all that difficult if you know what to look for. If an owner doesn’t know, that’s okay; they simply have to become educated. But if someone doesn’t know how to read a dog’s body language, they sure as hell have no business training a dog, particularly with punishment-based methods. We have become a culture of short attention spans and instant gratification. Still, that’s no excuse not to take the time and make the effort to train our dogs in a kind, gentle way. It might take a little longer than scaring them into stopping problem behaviors, but the effects will be long lasting and we won’t be damaging the bond between us and our beloved companions.
Subscribe above to be notified of new postings. Nicole’s books, seminar DVDs, and blog can be found at www.nicolewilde.com. You can find Nicole on Facebook and Twitter. Nicole also runs Gentle Guidance Dog Training in Santa Clarita, CA.
High beeps baffle, confuse and make Maggie anxious. We had a mystery one on the boat at night which we never traced, and luckily a friend came to our rescue by having her overnight as during the day she was fine. No-one else heard it, though I did one night at 2am as I sat up with her and watched her behaviour. After we’d put the boat up for brokerage elsewhere, 2 other boaters approached us and said they were now hearing it too.
Thank you, I strongly agree!!
Great article! When they stated it is impossible to read a dog’s body language I knew these are not dog people. They are just marketers of dog products. If you think your dog needs this, I agree with Nicole, you need education first.
Dog Training is based on being able to read canine body language. Its a language class.