Ultrasonic Training Devices: Humane or Not?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by Jean Cote, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Jean Cote Administrator

    I was looking at what new training devices people are selling nowadays and it seems like the new thing is those "Ultrasonic" trainers.

    They are devices which sends high frequency sound waves which only dogs can hear. I don't know much about the subject, but I'm left wondering if this is really a "Humane" device. If it is supposed to stop a dog from attacking you, then it must really be blasting them with ultrasonic waves.

    I'm just concerned about how they are marketing this as a "Humane, safe and easy" training device to train your dog. People are going to buy this thing and think that it doesn't hurt the dog.

    I'd like to see how a dog reacts to this thing, I'll try to look for a video.

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    I found this video which explains the theory behind the ultrasonic trainers. At about 0:48 you can hear a demonstration as to how it sounds to your dog. I personally can't even stand the sound. Imagine having that as a collar? Whoa.

  3. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I'm not qualified to say whether they are humane or not, and I couldn't find a reference in the video that stated it will help to stop a dog attacking you. As I saw it, it's being sold predominantly as an anti-bark device.

    What I will say though is that given the choice between these and shock-collars, I know which I'd rather see used by the paying public.

    I'm just not sure that such devices are really necessary though, to be honest. What I have learned is that a great many dog owners will buy absolutely anything for their dogs, and a great many pet-related manufacturers know this, and exploit it to the fullest.
  4. sammy1 New Member

    I guess it depends on your intent. If your are using to keep yourself safe and prevent an attack, then it seems like it is ok..If you are using it as an anti-bark device, then that doesn't really seem right as there are some training alternatives.
  5. heidib860 New Member

    **it is able to deter vicious dogs without harming them. It's even safe enough to use for training dogs and this device also helps to eliminate dog annoying barking**

    Just reading the advertising on this product gives me the chills. I mean if it's enough to deter vicious dogs but then your going to use it on your family dog.

    I mean using it on a vicious dog if you have no other choice is one thing. But to use it for training....I just personally feel that's not a product that I would like use for training purposes. I base my training Max on training a child. If you train a child with praise you'll get a whole like farther then that type of method.

    ....Just my opinion though.
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Well, I think it's a much better alternative to the much less humane "training tools." I knew a family(KNEW, but did not like) that got their Goldie's vocal cords surgically removed because he barked a lot. So, vocal cord removal versus ultrasonic collar? Well, I'm sure my choice is obvious.
    I prefer actually taking the time to train your dog, rather than going to the latest fad. As for using it to deter potentially dangerous dogs, I think this could be beneficial. It's better than having an aggressive dog attack you or your pet.
    Think I'm on the fence on this one. I see both sides....
  7. szecsuani Experienced Member

    Gosh! This is insane! How could they do such thing to that dog?!

    I think these thing are for people who are lazy to train their dogs.:dogdry:
  8. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Not only were the owners idiots, but I can't believe they found a vet to do it. He/she shold be stripped of their credentials...that's inhumane.
  9. l_l_a New Member

    when it comes to getting a dog to control his own behavior (rather than you physically manipulating him), then, my opinion is that compulsion is compulsion. Doesn't matter if it's from a shock collar, citronella collar or ultrasound collar. An aversive is an aversive if it deters behavior.

    however, I think that how "humane" it is depends on the individual dog and the adjustability of the collar. some dogs are very sensitive and would shut down or go into learned helplessness at a certain "level" of the aversive that other dogs may not even notice. Or dogs can get used to a certain level of aversive and learn to tolerate it and ignore it and then the aversive has to be escalated to keep on deterring the dog.

    If the device can be adjusted to fit the individual dog so it is JUST nasty enough to the dog to get him to comply but not so much that he shuts down or panics or freaks out, then I guess that would be humane. It's still not a nice thing to do to a dog, and not something I would do myself personally, but it would not technically be violating animal cruelty definitions either. Especially if the choice is either that or the dog being taken to a shelter and euthanized for unsolvable (to the owner) behavior problems. such devices do work on some dogs.

    However I would not do this myself, I've not used such devices and don't intend to. I'm just saying that if this is done but with those conditions in place I don't think it violates animal cruelty definitions even though it is still not something I would want to do or encourage others to do. simply too many problems can be created from this type of approach to dealing with problem behaviors (using aversives for "motivation" that is) - you may suppress one problem but create another one.

    I thought the cartoon video was pretty funny though! Especially suggesting how shock collars can be put to better use as resuscitation devices! ha!
  10. marieke New Member

    I agree. Some people are just really scared of dogs and some owners don't keep their dogs under control.

    My hearing is pretty good and I can hear sounds that most people don't hear. Especially the noise from electric devises (the really high notes) are terrible because I not only hear them but also feel them in my ears (a bit like it's pressure on my ear drums). It must be a terrible sound for the dogs, I wonder if I can hear it too. So using it to train a dog: definately NO. To use it to scare creapy dogs off: if you feel you need it, sure.
  11. CollieMan Experienced Member

    l_l_a raises a good point. I saw Cesar Milan a few weeks back, where he was dealing with some celeb who had lost her dog when it got bitten by a rattlesnake. I'm working from memory here, so I might have it wrong, but I think he then took her new dog to a guy who used electric collars to teach dogs to avoid snakes.

    Now, I don't like shock-collars at all. Never have, and I can't imagine I ever will. However, I do accept that in some case they might be a necessary evil. I think this was one of those cases.

    I suspect that the same is true in the case of this collar. I'm sure that in some cases, for some dogs, and for some people, it's just the perfect tool. I don't have to like things to accept that they have legitimate uses.
  12. l_l_a New Member

    Collie Man I agree with you about the "necessary evil" thing. There are things that people do to dogs in the name of training or behavior modification that, while definitely "not nice", are not exactly inhumane either. (that word is a very loaded term isn't it!)

    A good example is what you described with the shock collar and the snakes. This is a very specific procedure called "snake proofing" the dog. It's done in parts of the US where poisonous snakes are common, to protect the dogs.

    I've considered snake-proofing my dog because we have encountered rattlesnakes when out hiking. The closest call we had was last summer, it was pretty scary. We were late ending our day-long hike and it was dusk which is when snakes get more active in summer. I heard the rattling sound but it didn't occur to me that it was a snake, instead silly me I thought "boy the crickets sure are loud today!" Then I saw my dog staring at something in the grass beside me so I turned to see what he was staring so intently at and that's when I saw the snake less than 3 feet from me and it's tail was rattling!! yikes! apparently we had unintentionally cornered the snake near some rocks so it had no where to escape and thus was getting ready to defend itself (which is what the rattling means). And with the tall grass I hadn't seen it earlier. I jumped away and instinctively grabbed my dog lest he was thinking of trying play with it!! (he loves to play with rope toys, he might have thought the rattlesnake was a rope toy!) I thanked my dog for alerting me to the snake otherwise I might have stepped closer to it or on it!!

    So I have considered snake-proofing my dog, which would involve using a shock collar set on a pretty intense level as it's meant to be very painful and scare the daylights out of the dog. Even though I do not like shock collars, and I do not like to see people using them for obedience training even though in an obedience application it is set on a much much lower level, I would consider using a shock collar on my dog for snake-proofing if rattlesnakes became more prevalent in our hiking areas.

    I researched the topic a bit and discussed it at length with two of our trainers to see if it's something I should do, but my trainers did not have experience doing it themselves. you need to be a specialist for that and I can see why, as one can really mess up a dog for life if the timing is slightly off or the set up isn't done just right.

    many people think shocking the dog at such an intense level is completely inhumane and completely cruel. However, I think it just depends on the individual circumstances and how it is done and how often it's done. If it's done only once or twice and in order to protect the dog and with the proper set up so it doesn't cause other fall out, then I think it is humane. It's not by any means a nice thing to do to the dog, but in some rare circumstances it's the lesser of two evils (the greater evil being where the dog gets bitten by a poisonous snake because they are so prevalent and dies a slow agonizing death). if done properly it should only take a couple of shocks to have a lasting impression on the dog for the rest of his life, it's not like the dog would be shocked over and over again. But if done improperly, or even in some circumstances even if it is done properly, it can have disastrous fall out consequences, like the dog instead becoming phobic of the surroundings like being on grass for example or something messed up like that.

    well I guess that, considering that it was my dog who alerted me to the rattlesnake and not the other way round, that if you asked him he would probably think I should be the one to undergo the snake-proofing!!
  13. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I was relatively impressed with how short the proofing period was on CM. (Though you never can be sure how the editing affects the perception.)

    I did feel afterwards that if I was in the position where I had to make a choice between getting my dog snake-proofed via a shock-collar or risk losing my dog through a snake-bite, it would be an easy decision to make.

    In fact, it opened my eyes a little really, and made me realise how easy it is for me to adopt a moral high-ground about shock-collars because I don't have to think about such things as rattlesnakes from one year to the next. The UK isn't known for its collection of deadly creatures at all.

    I suspect things are entirely different in the US and Australia, where deadly creatures are a tad more prolific!
  14. gravelhighway New Member

    When it comes to aggressive dogs, I believe the USPS got it right -- mace. If you are walking down the street and a dog comes at you baring his teeth, I'm not sure that I would trust an ultrasonic device (as great as technology may be) to keep me safe.

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