written by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 10/7/2010
Will BarkOff keep your dog from barking when you don’t want it to? This product is designed to use an ultrasonic frequency to interrupt barking behavior. But does it work? You may or may not like the answer.
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Does BarkOff work to cease your pet’s annoying penchant for audibly announcing his presence constantly? “That dog won’t bark" is a common expression meaning that some plan or idea simply won’t work. But if we were to use that saying here, things might get a bit confusing because in this case, the dog not barking is the goal whereas in expression, it is implied that the dog barking is a positive thing; what one wants out of a dog. After all, a dog is only responding to its natural instinct when it barks, although when your dog is barking at 3:30 in the morning, he is liable to wake up the animal instinct in your aggravated neighbor. First of all, as is the case with so many things in life, with all its variables accounted for and unaccounted for, individual results may vary. One has only to look at the vastly different characteristics of so many different dog breeds to figure out that they will respond and behave differently in any given situation. If you have a dog that was bred to be a guardian or a little dog that is addicted to yapping until its vocal cords are strung out, you will have a much tougher row to hoe. Bear in mind that a lot of dogs want and need to be trained. They are looking to their owner for leadership, otherwise they’ll get it in their head that they’re the Alpha in the relationship. When they don’t know what their owner wants from them they’ll necessarily be more prone to barking. The best thing you can do for your dog is get her trained up by taking her to a dog obedience class or using any number of books written for that purpose.
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Features and Functions
The BarkOff people somehow managed to occupy the top four results on the Google search engine with BarkOffreviews.com, BarkOffreviews.net and BarkOffreviews.org. That’s an aggressive pack and some might be led to think they’re reading results that might come from a source that isn’t counting on your business. Until you take a closer look and start comparing you realize that all these reviews are virtually the same, just planted on different sites. Perhaps a more curious question than whether it works would be how they managed to saturate your search engine with so many positive reviews.
Designed to interrupt a dog’s barking pattern by emitting a high decibel sound (inaudible to humans) when your dog barks for no reason, BarkOff claims this noise will keep your dog from barking. Dogs have sensitive ears and if they associate an annoyingly high pitched sound when they bark that association may get them to stop. The famous Maslov got dogs to salivate just at the sound of a bell years ago and this product operates along the same principle. Here are BarkOff’s features and capabilities.
Small battery (9 volt) powered device you can take anywhere, even on walks.
Once it's turned on it works automatically whenever your dog barks.
Has no battery power light to indicate if it’s working.
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Performance, Price to Value
When you dig deeper past all the reviews that are cleverly disguised promotional ads, you find a lot of negative appraisals from customers who bought this product. Some dogs didn’t react at all while others ran to corners nervous and afraid until it was turned off. Since humans can’t hear the sound it emits, many believe it’s a total scam. The fact that it doesn’t have a battery light to indicate it’s on and working is very frustrating for all. If you look at the reviews on Amazon.com from customers who bought one or more, the results are overwhelmingly negative. As one customer put it: "This product is as effective in stopping a dog from barking as adhesive tape would be in sealing a hole in a battleship. It's worthless."
But as stated before, a dog's ears and dog reactions are varied, so there’s really no other way to know unless you try it. Some do claim that it works for their particular dog. If you put a few less kibbles in the dog dish for a week (the BarkOff Diet), the product would pay for itself. However, there are numerous complaints about customer service and getting your money back when you buy directly from the company and have it shipped. If you’re going to try it, buy it from a reputable store that has a good return policy. Incidentally, we’ve got a great series on Dog GPS Tracking Systems if you’re worried about an escape-prone dog. Those devices work for sure.
If you have a problem with a barking dog, why not give it a try? You’re not going to lose your shirt buying it and you just might gain a lot of sleep (and better relations with your neighbors) should it work for your particular pet. Alternative methods are harsher. Here is one available at Amazon.com for about $12.