Are Ultrasonic Dog Repellers And Deterrents Harmful & Cruel?

Are Ultrasonic Dog Repellers And Deterrents Harmful & Cruel?

Is your dog or your neighbor’s dog always barking excessively? If that is the case, then someone might have recommended that you use an ultrasonic dog repeller and deterrent. But these devices sound a bit scary, so are they cruel, or are they humane devices that are considered to be safe?

So, are ultrasonic dog repellers and deterrents cruel and harmful?

Yes, recent studies have shown that ultrasonic dog repellers and deterrents can negatively impact a dog’s mental and physical health cause it puts them under so much stress. Unfortunately, many dog lovers and the products’ marketers seem to ignore these facts.

If you want to learn more about what ultrasonic dog repellers are, do they work, why they are considered to be harmful and cruel, why you should not use them on your dog, when you are ethically allowed to use them, and then tag along and continue reading this blog post.

Are ultrasonic dog repellers and deterrents cruel and harmful?

Whether ultrasonic dog repellers and deterrents are harmful and cruel is a controversial topic. However, I can not turn a blind eye to the negative impact such devices have on our beloved furry friends.

Before I explain why ultrasonic dog repellers and deterrents are harmful and cruel, let us first explain what an ultrasonic dog deterrent is and how it works,

What is an ultrasonic dog deterrent?

An ultrasonic dog deterrent is a device that discourages dogs from barking or attacking someone if the device is pointed at them.


An ultrasonic dog deterrent emits sound waves that are high in frequency when someone clicks on the device’s button. Many people like this device because it does not affect humans at all since humans can’t hear these high-frequency sound waves.

One the other hand, dogs can hear them. These high-frequency waves supposedly make the dogs feel uncomfortable enough when the ultrasonic dog deterrent is pointed at them to turn away and stop approaching you.

These ultrasonic waves that are emitted from the devices gradually grow to be unbearable to the creatures who can hear them. Any frequency that is higher than twenty kHz is considered to be ultrasound.

Many dogs are capable of hearing sounds that are in the frequency range that can reach up to forty-five kHz, which is why dogs can get affected by these ultrasonic dog deterrents.

Now that we understand what an ultrasonic dog deterrent is, let us begin discussing whether they actually work or not before I tell you why such devices are harmful and cruel to use on dogs.

Do ultrasonic dog barking deterrents work?

According to pet owners who have used such devices, most say that ultrasonic dog deterrents actually work. However, results depend on the dog’s size, age, and other factors like whether the dog was just lurking around or barking aggressively and focusing on something.

When it comes to size, some people say that ultrasonic dog deterrents would better on small dogs, while others claim the opposite of that statement. It also depends on the dog themselves. The device might be effective when used on one dog, but fail when pointed at another one.

Another important thing that people should be aware of is that dogs are like us, humans. As we grow older, we start losing our hearing abilities bit by bit. The same thing could happen to dogs as well, and in that case, the ultrasonic dog deterrent device might not work.

Are Ultrasonic Dog Repellers And Deterrents Harmful & Cruel?

Even the loudest ultrasonic dog deterrents and the most powerful ultrasonic dog deterrent will fail if the dog is deaf or if they have severely impaired hearing.

Okay, so it makes sense why this might work if a dog is alert and aggressive, but how is this supposed to prevent dogs from barking excessively?

That is a great question. Dogs are super-intelligent beings. They are able to understand what is happening around them and even connect the dots when it comes to recurring events. They can learn to sit, stand, and roll on demand. Okay, but what does this have to do with your question.

Well, let us say that your neighbor’s dog has been barking excessively, so you decide to go purchase an ultrasonic dog barking deterrent device like what some people do and use the Zelers ultrasonic dog deterrent.

Then you set it up someplace in your yard in a location where your neighbor’s dog is usually standing when they are barking excessively. Whenever the dog barks, the ultrasonic dog barking deterrent device will emit the high-frequency noise that dogs hate.

With repetition, aka, four to eight weeks, the dog is going to make the connection that whenever they bark, the noise that they hate will be played. Once that connection is established, the dog is going to stop barking.

Sometimes this works, while other times it does not. You see, the ultrasonic dog bark deterrent device emits noise whenever a dog barks nearby.

It is not personalized to only recognize what particular dog’s voice, and thus, if there is noise because other dogs are barking but not your neighbor’s dog, they are never going to make the connection, and therefore using this device is not going to even work.

There is another outcome that can happen when people use ultrasonic dog bark deterrents, and that is making the dog stop barking at all.

There is a difference between excessive barking and normal barking when a dog barks when they see an intruder or when they are just happy or in response to something that someone does them.

Obviously, the ultrasonic dog bark deterrent is not capable of differentiating between what a good bark or urgent barking and excessive barking, and the same could be said about dogs, which is the reason why some dogs end up not barking again because of such devices.

In my opinion, that is just cruel and unethical.

To sum it up, do ultrasonic dog bark deterrent devices work? Sometimes they are effective, but that might come with health-related consequences to the dog. In some cases, it works, but the dog stops barking completely. Other times, it might work in the first place.

Is an ultrasonic dog bark deterrent/100w ultrasonic generator and other anti-barking tools cruel?

Yes, any ultrasonic dog bark deterrent is considered to be cruel because it puts the dog it is pointing at under so much stress repetitively, which might, later on, affect that dog’s mental and physical health.

In fact, even the collar form of these devices, as well as any anti-barking collar, are deemed to be cruel, according to the RSPCA.

Here is a section of RSPCA Australia’s statement

RSPCA Australia is also opposed to the use of collars that deliver aversive stimuli such as sound or scent, including citronella collars and high-pitched sound-emitting devices.

1. This type of training is called ‘punishment’ as the dog is effectively punished by the collar for every bark. Punishment, as a method of training, is often ineffective as dogs often do not associate the punishment (the citronella spray, sound or shock) with the behaviour. Positive reinforcement is a preferable training technique as it provides an incentive for desirable behaviour. In this case, you would reward your dog when he stops barking and remains quiet, by offering her a tasty treat or play with a favourite toy. Food treats are good to start with but as training progresses your dog should recognise verbal praise and a pat as a treat.

2. Electronic anti-barking devices inflict pain and distress on the animal and therefore should not be used.

3. This type of behavioural modification does not tend to be successful because it fails to address the underlying cause of the behaviour. Dogs bark for many reasons: play, fearseparation anxiety, frustration, environmental factors, boredom etc. These devices will not necessarily solve the underlying cause of the barking and will only temporarily mask the problem.

4. Scientific evidence shows that dogs will eventually habituate to the collar and barking will resume again.

5. Sometimes it is appropriate for dogs to bark (e.g. as a means of communication) in which case the collar punishes them for normal behaviour. Because the collar does not discriminate between problem barking and normal canine behaviour, there is a potential for abuse if the collar is routinely left on for too long.

I hope that you know clearly understand why we should steer away from such devices when it comes to dealing with our beloved dogs or our neighbor’s dogs.

Instead, we should focus on and implement behavioral training that is going to effectively improve a dog’s excessive barking behavior rather than using devices that could potentially harm our four-legged best friends.

No, there is not much research done on the harmful effects of using an ultrasonic dog bark deterrent, but I honestly do not need a lot of research done to be wary on something that could potentially be harmful to pets.

When can you use an ultrasonic dog deterrent?

In my opinion, the only time that is kind of acceptable for someone to use an ultrasonic dog deterrent is when they are about to be attacked by an aggressive dog on the street.

This way, it is self-defense, and you are only using the device once on one particular dog, so that should cause much damage.

In that case, you are going to need a portable ultrasonic dog deterrent device like the dazer ultrasonic dog deterrent. This ultrasonic dog deterrent device works and is effective to use even if the aggressive dog who is coming your way is twenty feet away. 

It has a belt clip for easy access when you are suddenly being attacked, as well as a low battery indicator to tell you when the batteries need to be changed.

If facing aggressive dogs is something that you have encountered before, then owning and using an ultrasonic dog, deterrent might be something that you should consider doing, especially if you often go on running or hiking.

What to do if an aggressive dog is approaching you?

In case an aggressive dog is walking or running towards you, make sure that you do the following:

  • Do not run away from the dog.
  • Slowly and carefully, start walking backward.
  • Do not stare or look in the dog’s eyes.
  • Do not scream or yell because that is going to make the dog even more aggressive.
  • If you have a portable ultrasonic dog deterrent device in your bag, slowly take it out and point towards the dog.
  • In case you get attacked, shield yourself with your bag or your jacket.
  • If the aggressive dog bites, avoid pulling away from them.

To understand these recommendations and know what you should do in more detail, then make sure that you read my What Can You Do About Your Neighbor’s Aggressive Dog blog post.

Other questions related to are ultrasonic dog repellers and deterrents cruel?

Do Shock Collars Cause Heart Problems in Dogs?

Yes, shock collars can cause your dog to experience heart problems. Unfortunately, that is not the only harm that shock collars can cause your dog. They can also leave your beloved four-legged best friend in different types of physical pain. That is why shock collars are considered to be inhumane tools. 

To learn more about how shock collars can terribly affect your beloved dog’s physical health, make sure that you read my Can Shock Collars Cause Heart Problems in Dogs blog post.

What Can You Do About Your Neighbor’s Aggressive Dog?

Is your neighbor’s dog aggressive? Just follow these steps:

  1. If you know who the dog’s owner is, talk to them.
  2. Take notes and write down all the dog’s bad actions and aggressive behaviors, then revisit your neighbor after six to eight weeks.
  3. If that does not resolve the issue, it is time for you to contact animal control authorities.
  4. If animal control is not cooperating, then you should take your case and story to the media. Go public!

To learn more about what you should do if your neighbor’s dog is aggressive and learn about how you should react if you see an aggressive dog running towards you, then check out and read my What Can You Do About Your Neighbor’s Aggressive Dog blog post.

How Tight Should A Dog Collar Be?

A dog’s collar should not be too tight or too loose. It should also sit high on the dog’s neck and have a snug fit. In order to pick the perfect collar for your dog, make sure that you use the finger rule to ensure that the collar you are buying for your dog is safe for them to wear.

Make sure that your dog’s collar is not too tight or too loose by reading my How Tight Should A Dog Collar Be blog post.

That’s it for today’s post. You should now understand why some people believe that ultrasonic dog repellers and deterrents are cruel devices.

They are considered to be harmful and cruel because they could potentially negatively affect a dog’s well being. This happens because ultrasonic dog repellers and deterrents make dogs feel stressed.

I hope that this post makes you reconsider using such cruel and harmful devices and instead switch to behavioral training to help with your dog’s excessive barking.

My Sources

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