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Barking Dog Blaster: Shut That Annoying Mutt Up!

Driven mad by a barking dog? Don't get mad, get even. This unit operates above the range of human hearing and may help shut that mutt up

By John Clarke

Barking dogs can make life a misery, especially at night when you are trying to get to sleep. Or maybe you are not trying to sleep; you just want some peace and quiet! Of all the tensions that can arise from living in suburbia, barking dogs must be right there near the top of the list. If you have this problem, you have our sympathy.

But we have something better and more effective than sympathy – our Barking Dog Blaster, or BDB. It won’t hurt the dog but use the BDB judiciously and it should teach the dog to moderate its barking.

Click for larger image
Above is the Barking Dog Blaster driver while the 4-tweeter business end is at right.

Now we’re not being too optimistic here. The BDB won’t solve the problem in all situations and we should mention some of them. For example, it won’t work if the dog is old and deaf or too far away.

So if the offending creature is several doors down the street, it is not going to work. It should work with dogs in adjacent properties but beyond that, forget it.

Some dogs are just stupid or very aggressive and again, the BDB is probably not going to work in those situations. And nor will any barking dog deterrent completely stop barking; it is impossible to stop a dog from barking all the time, particularly if someone enters the property where they live.

Having said all that, the BDB can work well in many situations, particularly if the dog is within a distance of about 20m or thereabouts.

Click for larger image

We are pretty confident in making this statement as we have published similar ultrasonic projects to know that they do work to help stop a dog barking. Two projects  designed by SILICON CHIP (called Woofer Stoppers) were published in May 1993 and February 1996 and two projects, developed by Oatley Electronics (called Shut that Mutt) were published in July 1999 and April 2004.

The BDB works, provided you use it sensibly. Each time the dog starts barking, you need to give it a burst of ultrasonic noise. It needs to associate the unpleasantness of the ultrasound occurring each time it barks.

Now we know that commercial ultrasonic barking deterrents are available in some pet shops but they use a single tweeter to produce the ultrasonic energy.

That’s OK but our BDB is a much higher power device, employing four tweeters arranged as a “line source array” similar to a high-power PA speaker. The line source produces a narrower ultrasonic beam than a single tweeter and it can be aimed at the source to produce the maximum effect.

We need to do that in order for the dog to perceive the ultrasound as being loud. While dogs can hear ultrasonic frequencies, they need between 10 and 20dB more sound level to perceive the 25kHz to 30kHz frequency range at the same sound level compared to dogs’ most sensitive  frequency of 8kHz. (See www.lsu.edu/deafness/Hear-ingRange.html).

In addition, the tweeters of the BDB are pulsed on and off rather than being driven at a constant level. This allows them to be driven at a much higher level without the risk of being burnt out.

How will you know if the BDB is working, since humans cannot hear beyond 20kHz? We have provided an audible test mode whereby the BDB is driven at 1.5kHz but at considerably reduced level – so you won’t be deafened. And when the BDB is working normally, you will hear a faint clicking, although you need to be reasonably close to it; within a few metres.

As can be seen in the photos, the BDB comes in two parts: the driver unit which is housed in a small plastic case and the line source tweeter array. The driver unit can be power from a 12V DC plugpack or a 12V battery. In standby mode it typically draws 106 microamps – so battery operation is quite feasible. The driver unit has a LED which flashes when the unit is in standby mode and it lights continuously when the BDB is doing its stuff.

Features

High volume ultrasonic sound bursts

Adjustable timer

Adjustable output frequency

LED standby/run indicator

Audible test

Low standby quiescent current

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