Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Bark Off - As Seen on TV

    I've never really gone in for infomercial shopping, but I do admit to every once-and-awhile taking a spin around out local "As Seen on TV" outlet store.  As many of you may have seen on TV recently they're advertising a product called the 'Bark Off' that the manufacturers claim will bring an end to all those annoying noises your dog makes to ruin your TV watching experiences.  It's not typically something I would rush out to get, but when it was in the store (no shipping & handling fees) and at 50% off the original price ($4.95), I thought why not.

    Cassie is an attention barker, which as a positive trainer I would normally handle by just ignoring her, even when she progresses to some heavy mouthing.  I've tried squirt bottles, bad smells and the only thing that has ever seemed to deter her are my threats of beating pots and pans together, which as you can imagine makes for a perfectly delightful evening!  I don't like painful or stringent punishments and simply crating her only staves off the problem, so sound aversion didn't really bother me as a concept, especially since it had been so successful in our pots-and-pans past!  Having a version that I didn't have to carry around or even listen to was like music to my ears (pardon the bad pun).   I should have been clued in to the 'Bark Off's possible faults when the cashier of the store said he had not heard the best reports from other purchasers as a means of explaining the heavy discount.

What it is:
   The 'Bark Off' is a plastic encased device that sets off a high pitched squeal (imperceptible to human ears) anytime it detects a sound it considers to be within a typical dog-bark frequency.  The 'Bark Off' is equipped with two levels of sensitivity, so that, if you choose, it will only react to strong loud barks, as opposed to softer whining and yips.  The intensity of the squeal it puts out is meant to never change.

  My only real concern, besides it not working at all, was that it would not be very selective about setting off the that a dog bark on the TV or a similar sound to a bark might set it off when Cassie hadn't even done anything wrong.   Not such a big deal when it's only Cassie around, but in a multi-dog home when only one of the dogs is a barker, how would you keep from punishing the whole group?

How It Worked:
   Regardless, home I went and started searching for a 9 volt battery, happily finding one at the back of a drawer.  I let the dog out, placed the 'Bark Off' on a low shelf about five feet away switching it to the 'low' setting and waited to be serenaded!  Within minutes the 'play with me' dance started and I ignored it for the sake of study.

    Cassie then gave a very loud and pronounced bark and then stopped, turning her head to question what had just come from the bookshelf.  She'd definitely heard something that gave her pause and then proceeded to experiment with the sound in what can only be described as a game of "Barko-Polo!"  It did stop her from barking the first night, a little.  She didn't like the sound and was clearly confused by it, but after having it set to varying intensities for the last few days she now seems content to ignore the strange noise and has gone right back to barking her head off whenever she feels like it.

   I've tried it on Tobey and his 'killer dogs walking past the house' barking routine and he too just doesn't seem to care about the strange noise...he's too focused on scaring away that big German Shepherd Dog from down the street!  How dare it go to the bus stop to pick up its children each day!

Final Verdict:
   The final verdict on the 'Bark Off' is that if you can find it cheap why not give it a try on your dog, if you're ok with aversion tactics.  If you're suffering from insomnia one night and see it on TV, I really wouldn't waste your time.

   If you've had success with the 'Bark Off', please let me know and I'll update with your comments.


  1. "Bark-o Polo" Ahh haa haa hee hee hoo!

  2. It really was...I wish I had thought to take video, but I was just too tired from impulse shopping! She found it eventually, so I guess her hearing is still ok!

  3. I'm really glad you reviewed this. Oskar is terribly vocal, but after reading your review I think he's too consistent of a barker and this probably wouldn't work.


    Pam, Oskar's mom person

  4. We have a regular bark collar that works the same way and it is very effective. We only use it occassionally and that might be why it remains effective.

  5. I've always wondered how well those work, thanks for the review! (Though I wouldn't be able to use it - as our guide dog puppies are taught "no noise").

    Rudy's Raiser

  6. Greetings from Southern California

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    Have a Nice Day :-)

  7. That was an amazing review. Thanks for sharing how it works.

  8. We recently bought the bark off aND it works great no more barking dog we love it