Thanks to the people at Procter Pest-Stop we have been sent one of their electronic Bark Trainer units to test and review.
We have had the unit a number of weeks now and sadly we have to say that they need to go back to the drawing board and think again.
Arriving in a simple non glued cardboard packet the Bark Trainer measures about 7cm x 3.5cm x 2cm.
It weighs 46g when in use.
Batteries not included
The first hurdle, and possibly the biggest when trying to get the unit to work is that it is not supplied with batteries. Normally this would not be a problem as AA or AAA batteries are easily available or even in a drawer in the house. However, this unit uses AG-13 button batteries, and three of them.
It turns out that AG-13 batteries are better known as LR44 and a few, actually quite a few, other names. Here is a Wikipedia article to better explain.
What should have been a simple job of putting in a common AAA battery turned out to be a bit of a marathon as both Dad and Mum forgot for weeks to go to a shop in town to buy any of the LR44 power cells.
In the end two packets of two were purchased online for £5.86.
At last we find one redeeming feature of this unit with the use of a screw to protect the battery compartment. This ensures that the small tablet sized batteries can not fall out and get eaten. However, even this solution is a pain as it is such a small screw and needs a jewellers cross head screwdriver to open.
Once the battery cabinet is available the humans faced the challenge of working out which way to insert the batteries.
The solution is stamped onto the battery cover lid in hard to read lettering. But, if your two legger is like my dad, he will have put this to one side safely once it is removed to avoid the screw falling out. It took nearly 30 minutes, and a magnifying glass, for him to work out that the instructions were on the lid
Batteries installed, and battery compartment lid closed, the unit is tested to see if all is well.
A small test button can be found on the read of the unit towards the left hand side.
If a pencil is gently used to press the button then an audible squeal can be heard from the unit if all is working ok.
A number of slide switches can also be found on the back of the unit to alter the sensitivity and duration of the high pitched squeek.
The instructions say that for initial training the H, high sensitivity on long duration, settings are best.
They go on to say that over time your human should be able to switch the unit to the L setting for low sensitivity and short squeak duration.
The makers suggest that the unit has an average battery-life of 30-50 days.
Charlie tried the unit on first and interestingly it was mum and dad who were irritated by it.
Every time Charlie laid on the floor (wooden) or shook his head the squeaker squealed. Charlie simply ignored the sound and mum and dad put their fingers in their ears. It was quite fun to watch as both of them became more and more irritated as the evening progressed.
To stop the unit hitting the floor, mum moved it to the back of Charlie’s neck and tried to get him to woof…it did not sound and it soon worked it’s way to the front again.
Busters’ woof test
In order to get a good woof test, mum strapped the unit (still on high setting) to me and said there was a CAT in the garden. Off I shot like a wrinkly Ninja with lots of woofing, but still the unit did not sound.
We did manage to get it to sound once in the house when Charlie woofed, but this time it was attached to ME!!!!
In the end it was decided that confusion was going to be the only result and the unit was removed. This is when the humans realised it did not have an on or off button.
Screwdriver in hand the battery cabinet was unscrewed and the batteries removed. Silence returned to the household.
Pest-Stop bark trainer review
The idea of using a sharp automatic ultrasonic sound to stop us barking is in concept ideal. However, in practice this unit has many failings.
The use of button batteries and the lack of an on / off switch are two easily fixed design errors with this device.
We also notice that it is possibly not waterproof so could be damaged if we are out in the garden playing in puddles or just doing our business…. if you get my drift.
And a problem, which we are not sure how to get around is that if you have a buddy, like Charlie and he woofs, my collar bleeps telling me off. So two barking dogs in the house and only one collar is a recipe for two confused mutts.
In summary this is a unit we would not recommend in it’s current form, but would be happy to try to make better. The unit retails at about £25.99 and is available from many pet and garden suppliers.
If you have a gadget or food you would want us to review than get in touch via the contact us form.
Until next time
Buster and Charlie