Oddly enough, known as the man’s best friends, dogs are notorious for their aggressive behavior and conflicts occurring between them and humans as well as other animals. No matter how strong the attacking dog is, this four-legged warrior perfectly knows that it is aggression, not strength, that decides the outcome of the battle.
As Dwight D. Eisenhower, the thirty-fourth President of the USA, put it: “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Indeed, dogs often manage to win a fight without physical contact.
By threatening barking, growling, and showing teeth they attempt to defeat the enemy before blood is spilled. In other words, to frighten off. And this is what we should learn from dogs and apply against them when the situation is becoming a powder keg. In military terms, this strategy has been embodied in the idea of nuclear deterrence: show off your combat capabilities in order to avoid a deadly confrontation with adversaries.
Now, what do we have in our arsenal? All sorts of sonic devices and dog repellent sprays. Rest assured, this is more than enough. Use these tools to imitate the behavior of wild animals by dispersing irritating substances or producing startling sounds.
Are dog repellents effective? Scientists say, yes, they are. According to researchers, a combination of visual and auditory devices is particularly effective on dogs. In this article, we have thoroughly examined the issue and set out our findings below.
If you are short of time, just look at a comparison table of the products’ effectiveness. Before making a purchase, it is worth reading the best dog repellent review in the latter part of the article. However, prior to resorting to scare technics, get one thing straight: if a dog is getting aggressive, try to grasp why?
Why do dogs bark? The dog may be guarding its territory or defending the puppies. Sometimes, these animals turn aggressive with the noble aim of keeping the peace between different groups of dogs. Perhaps, if you manage to grasp their motivation, no “weapon” will be required, all you will have to do is to remove the source of the immediate conflict.
Alright, you have come to a store or visited it online. You see a multitude of dog repellents and are wondering which one to choose. In order to get to the bottom of this, let’s look at the main features of dog repellents to understand what makes the product effective.
Sonic Dog Repellents
Dog repellents based on the power of sound may be loosely grouped into two categories: devices emitting loud sounds that stun dogs and ultrasonic repellents that affect their nervous system.
As for the loud sounds, nobody doubts that they produce the effect. Who would not be scared of the noise comparable to the clatter at a steelmaking factory? This comparison is not just a metaphoric expression.
When choosing a horn or other sonic device, check how many decibels it produces. Regardless of the source of the sound, it is decibels that measure its intensity. But since figures alone do not tell us much, let’s have a look at some illustrative examples.
A typical sonic dog repellent produces from about 110 to 130 dB. Where do we hear such noises? So, an average motorcycle produces about 100 dB, live rock music and steel factory — 110 dB, siren of an emergency vehicle — 115 dB, thunder blast and chainsaw — 120 dB, crowd noise at a stadium — 130 dB, aircraft taking off — 140 dB. Noise levels of 80-90 dB may resultin hearing loss in case the exposure is durable. With the level of 125 dB, pain begins. Now, you know why the level of decibels is that important.
Let’s move on to our another weapon — ultrasonic dog repellent. Both types of devices make an aggressive dog surrender by means of creating the atmosphere of fear and confusion. The difference is that ultrasound is inaudible to people and is good as a more durable solution.
Ultrasonic waves create noises which are gradually becoming unbearable for those hearing them. Dogs do perceive ultrasound and, depending on species, are capable of hearing in the frequency range of up to 45 kHz. As a reference, anything above 20 kHz is called ultrasound. But the main reason for using ultrasonic dog repellents instead of loud sonic devices is that we, people, can protect our ears from the shrill of horns and whistles.
What is the benefit of using sonic dog deterrents rather than dog repellent sprays?
As you know, distance is something that matters much in face-to-face confrontations. The closer your enemy is, the fewer chances you have of winning the fight… given the size of the enemy’s teeth.
Sonic dog repellents allow for scaring the animals away even though the distance is large. Put it otherwise, sound waves are your long-range missile while liquids and powders are the short-range ones requiring a close contact with the enemy.
Another disadvantage of sprays being used instead of frightening devices is that in many situations dogs have a natural ally in the form of the wind. If the weather is windy, nobody knows where the stuff from the spray canister will get. It may be you who will eventually suffer in this conflict. And finally, applying a dog repellent spray may not be a good idea if the matter concerns training your pet. Many sprays contain pepper as an active ingredient causing irritation and other undesirable health implications.
Dog Repellent Sprays
Sprays can come very cheap because they may be not only purchased from a shop but also homemade. Dog repellent sprays vary depending on whether they target the sense of taste, odor or touch. What should you decide on?
Well, if you have come across a stray dog, you will hardly wait until the beast tastes its prey. That is why you should opt for odor repellents if you need protection during hiking, camping, and other outdoor activity.
Taste and odor repellents
The most popular ones are pepper sprays causing irritation and affecting the skin, eyes, and throat. Why are they that potent? The trick is in capsaicinoids which naturally makes pepper bitter. Every dog deterrent spray has its own outreach indicated by the producer. Be sure to read this information to know how close the animal can approach you so that you can safely discharge such dog repellent spray and hit the target.
Dog Chewing Deterrent. And yet, conflicts with stray dogs is not the only reason for using sprays. You might have a pet to train, first of all, not to chew the furniture in the house or valuable plants in the garden. For this purpose, choose dog repellent sprays based on vinegar and citronella oil. These dog chewing deterrents are pretty safe for people, their pets, and vegetation.
The stronger smell is produced by ammonia, a substance contained in the urine of foxes, coyotes, and other predators. The idea is that your pet will associate the smell of ammonia with the presence of a predator and stay away from the treated site. A very powerful but also a toxic solution.
But, what’s wrong with odor repellents? Just imagine that all your furniture, your skin smell repulsively. Besides, the smell will be accumulated when applied indoors. What would people think? That’s why you should better decide in favor of taste repellents when it comes to keeping your pets away from certain sites inside and outside the house.
Dogs, as you can guess, hate anything bitter. But there is something you need to know: you will have to be harsh with your beloved pets. Yeah, sad but true… Once the dog has tasted the bitter stuff, you will have to remove the water for half an hour so that the poor animal fully feels the taste of the dog chewing deterrent.
And not only that, taste sprays have other drawbacks as well. Some dogs may ignore the bitter taste because of their individual preferences while others, on the contrary, may be harmed if the substance has set off an allergic reaction.
A special case is a motion-activated sprinkler. It does not actually falls into any of the above-mentioned categories but is very effective in keeping dogs, both stray and pets, away from the garden. The dog deterrent creates a “water shield” protecting the plants, shrubs, and flower beds due to its smart technology allowing to detect any motion. Once the animal gets within the range of its sensor, the motion-activated sprinkler will send a sudden spurt of water towards the moving creature. Most of the time, that works.
Comparison Table Of Dog Repellents’ Effectiveness
Sonic Dog Repellent
Startles the dog immediately; can frighten the animal at a large distance; easy to use; doesn’t contain toxic chemicals.
Affects hearing both of people and dogs, especially if the exposure is long-lasting.
Ultrasonic Dog Repellent
Inaudible to people; dogs are known to perceive ultrasound up to 45 kHz.
Ultrasound effectiveness as a repellent is still in question. A short-term solution.
Taste Aversion Dog Repellent
Taste aversion sprays are the most recommended for keeping dogs out of the garden and preventing gnawing the furniture. They do not have the foul smell.
Useless in preventing attacks of aggressive dogs. It may cause allergic reactions. The effectiveness hinges on individual preferences of the dog.
Odor Aversion Dog Repellent
Can be used both to repel aggressive dogs and to keep your pets away from the garden.
Weather conditions such as wind or rain influence its effectiveness. Some smells are repulsive to people as well. Evaporates quickly enough in the open air.
Does not require your participation. Physical contact with a sudden jet of water will surely frighten the dog off.
Responds to any motion, therefore, excessive water consumption is possible.
11 Best Dog Repellents
Having troubles with training your pets? Are you scared of aggressive street dogs? Below you will find a review of dog deterrent devices and sprays for both cases!
Startle attacking dogs with loud horns or school the pet dog with a sophisticated whistle. Choose ultrasonic devices to avoid a potential harm to the animals but keep in mind that they have different area coverage — from 15 to 50 feet. They can be portable or more powerful with loudspeakers and bark sensors.
To prevent dogs from entering prohibited areas on your property, install a sprinkler that is activated once its sensors detect anything moving and sprays the target with water.
Use a pepper spray to keep an aggressive dog away and a milder option, like a dog chewing deterrent based on bitter extracts, to discourage your pets from undesirable chewing.
Ortz Dog Deterrent Whistle
An awesome sauce for dog training! It can be adjusted to different frequencies depending on the command — to sit, stop barking or else. Why is it that important to have an option of adjustable frequencies? The thing is that all dogs react to different sounds in a different way, some breeds are sensitive to one range while others are more prone to perceive another.
Just blow a blast and your dog will get the message while the training itself will turn into a sheer amusement. Has your dog run far from you so that you have to shout commands? Forget about it, just take the whistle and blow it. The dog will understand you even from a large distance.
Since this is a lightweight and easy-to-use item, you may carry the whistle whenever you want without worrying about losing it thanks to the strap that comes with the product. A special cover protecting the device from dust and other particles is also included.
The whistle has gained 3.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, with almost 1,500 reviews. “This product is a blessing. It was easy to adjust the frequency to my pet. The whistle got my pet's attention and stop his inappropriate behavior(s) almost instantly,” a user wrote.
Price: ~$9.99 Check the current price
Dog Repellent Horn
Well, to frighten aggressive dogs you definitely need something more powerful and startling. Something like a dog deterrent horn. This hardcore stuff is said to repel dogs and other animals, making the device a top choice for hikers, camper, and joggers.
It produces about 120 dB of sound, which is quite impressive and is as loud as the noise of a thunder blast. The horn has a plain design and is easy to use — when holding it upright, press down on its top and … Whoops! You are a Lord of Thunder!
Dog Repellent Horn can sound either as the horn or the whistle. As customers say, both modes are extremely loud. And yet, do not use it in vain because the number of sound bursts is limited to over one hundred. Now, let’s move to the product’s dimensions. This dog deterrent is compact — 5.5 x 2.5 x 1 inches in size — and lightweight — just 1.76 ounces. So feel free to take it with you whenever you go outdoors.
An obvious drawback is the absence of any fastener to attach the horn to the backpack or belt. It is crucial to draw the dog repellent quickly and sometimes every minute counts, while you may not be that fast if the thing in the bag.
Its rating on Amazon.com is 3.7 out of 5 stars. “We go to the dog park and there are some aggressive dogs. The sound stops the escalation of a possible fight. It also makes me feel more confident that I don't have to physically get involved breaking up 2 dogs,” a customer said.
Price: ~$8.99 Check the current price
Sound Defense Dog Repellent
A much pricier and fancy stuff to repel strange dogs and other wild animals. Sound Defense emits a very loud sound covering an area of up to 25 feet, which is crucial as you will not have to come close to a dangerous animal to frighten it off. The dog repellent shows an immediate result regardless of weather conditions and was designed for dogs.
Compared with the dog horn, this product has a clear advantage of a pocket clip being included. It also has the bicycle attachment allowing riders to keep the device on their bike. That is why the device is easy to carry, and most importantly, can be quickly drawn in the hour of danger.
It is larger and heavier, with 9 x 6 x 3 inches in size and 7 ounces of weight. And that is when its additional accessory, a holster, comes in handy. The drawback is that the seller has not indicated the number of decibels produced by the repeller, therefore, it is hard to evaluate how loud it is.
Its rating on Amazon.com is 3.3 out of 5 stars. According to some users, the device doesn’t work on all dogs and if a dog is committed to aggression, the repellent will not do much good. Also, the seller warns that the product may not work on passive dogs as it is not intended for training but is rather for deterring aggressive dogs.
Price: from ~$37.50 Check the current price
Handheld Ultrasonic Dog Repellents
The idea is that an ultrasonic dog repellent emits a high-frequency sound irritating and confusing the charging dog. Compared to the sonic devices mentioned above, ultrasonic ones are more humane, don’t harm the animals and are inaudible to people. With these properties, however, they appear to be less powerful and giving a controversial result. Still, such dog repellents are in demand as well and below you will find the most popular ones.
Hoont dog repellent is said to be capable of stopping charging dogs as far as 50 feet away — the longest distance of protection in our review. It is small and portable, just 4 x 2.5 inches in size, and easily fits into the pocket. People often come across strange dogs after dark, and that is when its built-in LED flashlight providing a minimum illumination comes very helpful. The device rates 3.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, with 429 customer reviews. One buyer has noted that he has got mixed results. While two dogs in the yard quieted down immediately, a pit bull and lab on the street were not stopped by this dog repellent and kept on barking.
Dog Dazer II dog repellent has more customer reviews, over 2,000, but has the similar rating on Amazon.com — 3.2 out of 5 stars. The producer says that the latest ultrasonic technology is applied in the device. Meanwhile, the reported coverage area is less that that of Hoont, amounting to 20 feet of protection. One of its benefits is a belt clip that comes with the product. “I find this very useful for deterring aggressive dogs outside. Dogs will usually change their focus, try to figure out what's going on, what changed, what will happen next. This confusion breaks the pattern of a dog's attack,” one user explained the mode of operation of this dog repellent.
Although both Hoont and Dazer ultrasonic dog repellents are intended not only for repelling aggressive dogs but assist in training pets, it is worth highlighting First Alert dog repellent designed specifically to school a pet dog. The range of its impact is just 15 feet but the device is said to work on all breeds. When pushing a button, it is recommended to simultaneously use a verbal command, saying “no” or “off”, which will be helpful in training. Its rating on Amazon.com is 3.4 out of 5 stars, with 1,141 customer reviews. “I put mine in the kangaroo pocket of a hooded sweatshirt, where it is hidden from view. A barking dog often is both stressed and not thinking,” a user shared his experience.
Hoont dog repellent. Price: ~$38 Check the current price
Dog Dazer II dog repellent. Price: ~$26.95 Check the current price
First Alert dog repellent. Price: ~$17.97 Check the current price
DOGTEK Outdoor Ultrasonic Dog Barking Deterrent
Has your backyard been attacked by barking dogs? Perhaps, your own pet does not obey you and creates too much noise? If yes, then this outdoor dog repellent is likely to solve your problem. The device has three built-in bark sensors with four sensitivity settings and one XL ultrasonic loudspeaker. You may tune it so that the device responds to a certain barking level.
Since the dog repellent is waterproof, feel free to use it outdoors. Apart from hanging the device on a tree or pole, you may place DOGTEK barking deterrent on any flat surface or take with you on camping trips. Although this ultrasonic repellent is larger than the portable ones, it is easy to carry due to moderate dimensions — 8.2 x 5.6 x 5 inches. Its coverage area is claimed to be up to 50 feet and barking is detected at such distance as well.
And yet, with over 4,000 customer reviews, the product has scored just 2.8 out of 5 stars. Actually, there are more critical than positive reviews. “This worked great for a week or two and now it's largely ineffective. I was so impressed with the first-week performance I bought a second one. In my case I was trying to prevent fence fighting between my dog and the 2 neighbor dogs,” a customer wrote. In fact, when it comes to the effectiveness of ultrasonic repellent, keep in mind that they always give a short-term result. You need to constantly change its position and frequency to keep on frightening unwanted intruders.
Price: ~$29.99 Check the current price
Orbit Dog Deterrent Sprinkler
This is a hardcore stuff for garden and backyard protection, which works on various animals including dogs. Its operational principle is simple: a sensor detects the movement and initiates the repellent sending jets of water towards the target.
The technology is smart allowing to switch modes depending on whether it is day or night. This is important for avoiding excessive water and energy consumption, making the device energy-efficient. Also, it can be used just for irrigating the lawn. Orbit Sprinkler runs on four AA batteries. Since this dog repellent will be kept outdoors, its heavy-duty construction is a significant benefit.
Its rating on Amazon.com is 3.9 out of 5 stars. Based on customers’ feedback, we can conclude that the device works on dogs well. Some users believe that much depends on a specific dog that may like water sprayed on them or not. Still, the spray comes out in a blast, which will hardly please the dog. “It works for me on dogs. The combination of water and noise seems to do the job. I no longer have to rake my mulch every morning. Follow the setup instructions carefully,” a customer said.
Price: ~$60.40 Check the current price
Pet Corrector Dog Barking Deterrent
Press the button and the canister will hiss like a poisonous reptile. This simulation seems to really scare dogs since these animals have either encountered reptiles or have an inherited memory about the danger these creatures pose. Judging from customers’ feedback, this sound works on dogs.
The main benefit of Pet Corrector dog barking deterrent is that it produces a soft effect on the animals without harming their hearing as it may be the case with loud horns. Therefore, this dog repellent is recommended for schooling dogs. On the other hand, this advantage can easily be turned into a disadvantage if the matter concerns preventing attacks of street dogs. This type of sound may be too mild to startle the aggressor.
It has scored 4.1 out of 5 stars, with almost 2,000 customer reviews. “I used it because we have 3 dogs who would get very excited (happy excited)when someone would come to our door. They would bark and jump etc. Now they sit back and are very calm,” one user said.
Price: ~$29.98 (2-pack) Check the current price
HALT Dog Repellent Spray
This spicy stuff is based on capsaicinoids which are pepper extracts and it works well on aggressive dogs. It should be sprayed directly in the face of the attacking animal. You are unlikely to harm the charging dog but rather will cause irritation for a while.
The dog will be frightened and confused, which will allow you to gain time and walk away. Repeat the application to convince the attacker that you are not kidding. One canister of Halt dog deterrent spray covers an area of about 10 feet, quite a good result for a spray.
But you unlikely spray it on your beloved pet. Another weak point is that this stuff has to be inhaled and sprayed near the eyes to produce the result. In other words, the dog deterrent spray works on contact and cannot be applied as a preventive measure. Its Amazon rating is 4.2 out of 5 stars. “I have used the Halt spray twice. Both times the dogs stopped pursuing me as I was running and turned the other direction. I haven't tried a standard pepper spray but I can testify that Halt does work,” a customer said.
Price: ~$7.19 Check the current price
Grannick's Bitter Apple - Dog Chewing Deterrent
As for pets, you should better use something harmless, like this dog chewing deterrent based on bitter extracts and alcohol. The spray is intended for discouraging dogs from chewing and gnawing the furniture, shoes or hair. When used on the furniture, including leather items, the stuff neither damages nor discolors it. Nor does it stains any fabric.
Grannick's dog chewing deterrent is safe so that it can be applied to the animal’s fur if you need to prevent it from licking the wounds, for example. What you should grasp is that the solution does not give an instant effect. Be persistent to let your dog realize that the thing it used to lick will never be that tasty anymore. To stop chewing, spray once a day throughout a week. It may take more time, just do not stop halfway.
Its Amazon rating is 3.4 out of 5 stars. “It works well on plastics, we use it to keep our puppy from chewing his pee pads and the tray. The one thing you need to keep in mind with the spray is that it wears off so you need to reapply pretty frequently,” a customer wrote.
Price: ~$9.75 Check the current price
Comparative Chart: 11 Best Dog Repellents
Ortz Dog Deterrent Whistle
Produces loud sound. For dog training.
Dog Repellent Horn
Produces loud sound. For repelling dogs.
Sound Defense Dog Deterrent
Produces loud sound. For repelling dogs. Has a bicycle attachment and a clip. Covers 25 feet.
Hoont Dog Repellent
Produces ultrasound. Both for training and repelling dogs. Has a built-in LED flashlight. Covers 50 feet.
Dog Dazer Repellent
Produces ultrasound. Both for training and repelling dogs. A belt clip is included. Covers 20 feet.
First Alert Repellent
Produces ultrasound. For dog training. Covers 15 feet.
DOGTEK Outdoor Dog Barking Deterrent
Produces ultrasound. Both for training and repelling dogs. It has 3 bark sensors with 4 sensitivity settings and one XL ultrasonic loudspeaker. Covers 50 feet.
Orbit Dog Deterrent Sprinkler
Repels by jets of water. Should be installed on the lawn to deter dogs.
Pet Corrector Dog Repellent
Produces hissing sound. For dog training.
HALT Dog Repellent Spray
Based on capsaicinoids. For repelling dogs.
Grannick's Bitter Apple Dog Chewing Deterrent
Based on bitter extracts. For dog training.
How To Use Dog Deterrent Sprays Properly?
Take these safety rules seriously, okay? Primarily, this concerns dog repellent sprays based on peppers since they can really be very hazardous. This hot stuff may occasionally contact your eyes and skin or you may inhale it.
The result depends on the level of concentration and how long you have been exposed to the pepper spray. In this case, you get burning and tearing eyes, redness of the skin, you may cough, sneeze and suffer difficulty of respiration. These symptoms may progress to more severe and permanent ones.
Then, what should be done to avoid these risks?
- Practice in your backyard before applying the dog deterrent spray in an emergency. Having encountered an aggressive dog, you may panic or be confused, which is not a good mood for starting to learn how to handle a new device.
- You should be able to draw the dog repellent spray easily. When going hiking, place the canister in a secure spot or fix it properly so that it does not accidentally fall out. The ideal solution is getting an appropriate holster to hold the spray, whereas keeping it in a backpack makes it useless. Remember, if the dog deterrent spray is not released in time, you are likely to lose the battle.
- Do not simply hold the canister in front of you. If an aggressive dog is close to you, take a step back to create a distance.
- Take into account the wind direction.
- Aim the spray above the dog’s head, so the stuff will cover most of it.
- Do not use the entire content of the dog deterrent spray at once. It will be more effective to produce a number of continuous bursts of spray. Particularly, repeated application is needed when the dog keeps on approaching.
When you use any taste repellent to train the pet dog to do or not to do something, take some precautions as well. In order to avoid possible harm to the animal, first, apply it to a cloth and let the dog taste it. Watch the reaction of your pets. If no severe symptoms are observed, apply the dog repellent spray to the objects you want to protect. In general, when it comes to liquid repellents, always read the label directions. Keep in mind that they all have different levels of toxicity and should be handled accordingly.