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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20218
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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What do behaviorists feel about ultra sound devices for barking

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What do behaviorists feel about ultra sound devices for barking dogs? Wondered if the ultra sound could substitute for my voice interupter? Difficult to sometimes deal with person at front door---especially if someone I don't know and continue the voice, praise, treat ritual. Hard to do all at once.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

First let me tell you that it is easier to teach quiet after teaching a dog to speak. The following site has a good plan for this.

It can also be effective to provide some negative reinforcement along with the positive reinforcement. I will usually set up a situation where the dog would normally bark such as someone at the door. Then I will give a short tug and firm NO when the dog barks. It usually takes a few corrections for the behavior and your helper coming to the door multiple times before the dog finally understands he is being reprimanded for barking and looks at you without barking. When they do that is when I provide the positve reinforcement of calm praise and extra special treats like vienna sausage slices or raw liver slivers. I use these treats as they are usually higher value treats.

In addition, I have to tell you that when you have a situation like yours where there is 2 dogs feeding off of one another you need to train each one separately first, then retrain them together. This is because they usually revert to their previous behavior once they are back together.

But to answer your question, many trainers will recommend an ultrasonic device and they can be effective. So you might want to consider it as an aid while training them not to bark via other methods. I have found that since the ultrasonic devices use the sound to distract the dog from the undesired behavior, many dogs will get used to the sound and start ignoring it.

They also have citronella spray collars which have the advantage of the dog not becoming used to the smell, but they can learn to bark so much that the citronella is used up and they can bark with no reprimand.

Shock collars are very effective as well especially if you are not around to do a reprimand or can not get to the dog quickly enough to administer a reprimand. I have used all three of these devices at various times with clients. The shock collar is the most effective in my opinion. But I require any client wanting to use one to allow the collar to shock them before allowing their dog to be shocked. I have had the collars shock me as well before I would use any specific brand. This not only lets you know the collar is working properly but also lets you feel that the actual intensity of the shock is not that bad and that the unexpectedness of the shock is what stops the behavior. Some people do consider this to be unacceptable, but it is an option, so I did want to mention it as well.

If you are a strict positive only based trainer, then you might want to add clicker training to your techniques as well. You can read about clicker training below.

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

You do not necessarily need to use a clicker but you should use a unique sound for the marking of desired behavior. I do want to add that the shock and citronella spray collars are negative reinforcement. I, myself, believe in a balanced approach to training including both negative and positive reinforcement, but generally do not use a physical form of negative reinforcement and prefer a verbal reprimand. The ultrasonic collars are a distraction type of device to temporarily stop barking.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, I'm a positive trainer, but, like you use a balance of negative and positive. I would use the ultra sound only as a detractor so I could get good training in. My dogs know "speak" and "quiet", so that is helpful.

Like I said this is more of a problem with the smaller dogs than when I had larger ones.


What brand of ultra sound do you recommend?


I like petsafe brand. They have both collars and they have ones that are for a whole room and would sound regardless of which dog was barking. So that is another thing you would need to take into consideration. These are the bark collars that automatically give the ultrasonic correction upon the bark.

They also make an ultrasonic remote pet trainer where you control the correction (distraction). You might find that more suited to the situation since you could use it for future training.

Collars though are good for times when you might not be present and dogs are excessively barking.
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