SOMETIMES ITS HARD to retrain our beloved dogs in order to eliminate bad behavior. As pet owners, we love our furry friends so much that we let them get away with a lot, only to find out that some unwanted behaviors stick around for a long time and begin to cause trouble.
Barking is one of those behaviors that can turn bad if left unchecked. A dog’s bark is his warning sign, and many dogs only bark when they sense danger or feel that they need to gain your attention for something. On the other end of the spectrum, some dogs bark needlessly to get attention and become nuisances. Other times, your typically non barking dog will suddenly become a barker when the doorbell rings, or when a trusted worker enters the back yard.
Enter Sam Small, Police Dog Trainer extraordinaire and life long dog lover.
“It’s critical to train your dog so that when he barks, he does so for a good reason” begins Small, “You want to make sure that when he is barking, he knows it’s to get your attention. You always want to preserve that!“
The problem, according to Small, is that many dogs will train themselves to bark at all the wrong times, as well as to continue barking even after you, the owner, have determined that the bark is unwarranted. To understand what Small is saying, he likes to recount the story of Roxy, the pit mix his neighbor had, and the force that drove him to invent Barx Buddy.
Roxy is a beautiful pit mix that my next door neighbor bought early this year. They bought her as a pup at the same time that my neighbor’s had their first child, and as a professional dog trainer I always recommend introducing puppies to babies so they can grow up together and bond really strong.
I never heard a peep from Roxy next door for the first eight months, but then my neighbor’s wife went back to work and put their child in daycare. I work the night shift, so I am normally asleep in the day. It was right after the kid got put in daycare that I started hearing Roxy barking her head off during the days.
A car would pass, and Roxy would bark. She was kept in the back yard, and the gate looked out onto the street. Whenever someone walked by, she would bark.
One day, they had gardeners there and Roxy literally barked for 8 hours straight. She would not quit barking, I’m not even sure how she was physically able to bark that long, but she did!
After that day, I started keeping an eye on Roxy because I can see her through my back yard window. I noticed a change with Roxy’s barking, which was becoming worse by the day. Previously, she would bark when she saw someone walking by, then the barking would stop.
After a while, she would not only bark when she saw someone walking by, she would keep barking for up to half an hour after they had left, for no apparent reason.
Before, she would only bark in the day when my neighbors were gone at work. After a while, she would bark even when they were home. Many times, I could hear her barking inside the house, when her owners were right there!
“As a dog trainer, what I was seeing was a gradual escalation of what was becoming a problem, and it drove me to act. I knew I needed to do something to help my neighbors, and also, to help poor Roxy.”
Keep in mind I am a pro dog trainer, so I am pretty familiar with training a dog to do the things I ask of him. The only problem is, in the police department, I am around my trainee dog 24⁄7. I take the dog home with me, and I constantly train him throughout the day.
I knew right away this tactic wasn’t going to work with Roxy, because for starters, she wasn’t my dog, and second, I didn’t have the time to train her for hours and hours every day.
What I needed to do was to devise a training method for poor Roxy that anyone could use, even someone who had zero experience training a dog. Especially for someone who had zero experience training a dog!
Also I am a die-hard dog lover so the training needed to be 100% humane, so shock collars and muzzles were out of the question.
Then it dawned on me. In fact, the answer was hanging right around my neck….my police dog whistle. We use these whistles to get a dog’s attention when by nature it doesn’t want to pay attention, like when the dog is attacking a suspect. The dog whistle is an ultra high frequency sound which is painless and harmless to a dog, but will instantly get it’s attention and make it stop whatever it’s doing.
At first, I thought I would just give my neighbor my dog whistle, until it dawned on me that they didn’t have the training to use it. You see, using a dog whistle takes practice. You have to blow on it a certain way and with a certain level of force for it to generate the right frequency. If you do it wrong, nothing comes out except air.
No, I needed to invent something that a 5 year old child could use, over and over again with repeatable results and minimal training.
And that’s exactly what I did – and I named it Barx Buddy.
I created a device that pumps out the same frequency as my dog whistle, but consistently, and over and over again. I also put a small LED light in the front of Barx Buddy, to make it easier to get the dog’s attention. It took me a few months to get everything right, and when I had a working prototype I went over to my neighbor’s house and rang the doorbell.
Of course Roxy went off, barking so loudly behind the door that my neighbor couldn’t even hear me saying “It’s me, Sam, your neighbor!”. My neighbor was completely frazzled as she opened the door, and Roxy would not stop barking even when she saw it was me, who she knows very well. Roxy kept on barking despite my neighbor saying “Roxy Stop! Roxy, it’s Sam!”
Then, the baby started crying, awoken by the racket Roxy was making. It looked like my neighbor was close to tears, while I stood there smiling. The situation was perfect for my test….I had Roxy right where I wanted her. I pulled out Barx Buddy, pointed it at Roxy, who was by now foaming with excitement and barking like a maniac.
I pushed the button.
Roxy immediately stopped barking.
She sat down, and looked at me, peacefully calm. “What the heck is that!!!!” Said my neighbor, her jaw on the floor looking at the remote control like Barx Buddy device.
“It’s my gift to you” I said, “And if you give me a couple hours with Roxy, I’ll show you how it works and how to train her with it”.
My neighbor was overwhelmed with emotion, because even though they loved Roxy, her barking was getting to be too much. “Please help her” was all she could say.
So I took my neighbor aside and gave her the Barx Buddy, and showed her what to do. It wasn’t but five minutes later that the UPS guy rang the doorbell with a delivery, and let me tell you, Roxy did not disappoint. She barked so loud she almost coughed herself to death. And I let her go for a minute just to let her get all worked up. Then, I told my neighbor what to do.
“Stand in front of her, point Barx Buddy at her, and press the button”
Instantly, Roxy was silent. She sat down calmly.
Barx Buddy works on the simple yet safe principle of ultrasonic sound – simply put, this is an extremely high pitched sound that can’t be heard by humans, but can be heard by dogs, cats and other animals.
It’s safe because the sound, while high pitched, is played at a low volume – just enough to get your dog’s attention.
Barx Buddy isn’t just for correcting barking – it can be used to correct any bad behavior that you want to train out of your dog, including:
Also remember Barx Buddy works on any dog – not just yours! Out for a late night stroll? Confronted by an aggressive animal? Barx Buddy can be used to make other dogs and cats stop their behaviors, and it comes equipped with a bright LED so you can use it walking at night.
Update: Thursday, June 19th – Ever since Barx Buddy was featured in the media, it has skyrocketed in popularity and been selling out like crazy. To say thanks the company is now offering 50% off to all new customers.