July 23, 2010 11:45 AM

My Top 5 most annoying sounds: 1) car horns, 2) jackhammers, 3) the ShamWow! guy, 4) any song by Katy Perry and, much as I hate to admit it, 5) the ear-splitting clamor of my five little dogs barking. One of them woofing solo is no big deal, but when they start yapping all at once, pushing each other to shrill new heights–instant headache.

Which is why I was eager to try BarkOff, a nifty new device designed to “stop your dog’s annoying barking anytime, anywhere.” Basically, it’s a small battery-powered stick that emits ultrasonic sound waves–which, for you nerds out there, are sounds with a frequency greater than 20 kilohertz and thus audible to dogs, cats, bats and dolphins but not to your average human. You just switch it on and either carry it around or leave it in the room where your dogs hang out, and when they start barking it triggers the sounds waves that stop them after a mere yelp or two.

So, did it work? My five little dogs live in a city apartment where all sorts of noises set them off, so I was skeptical this thing-a-majig could quickly silence them all. But it did! After just a couple of barks they looked confused and clammed up, just like that.

I did notice that my oldest critter–Manley, the Maltese–sometimes kept barking. Turns out BarkOff isn’t quite as effective on older dogs with hearing problems. But that was okay–without the rest of the gang yammering along with him, Manley soon gave up and stopped howling.

I also noticed that two of my pups–Nino the Shih Tzu and SheShe the Chihuahua– reacted to the sound waves by slinking off and cowering in a corner. Nino, in particular, refused to go back into the living room, where I put the BarkOff, for a couple of hours. Ultrasonic sound waves are absolutely safe for animals, and certainly much more humane than electric shock collars and other anti-barking devices. Still, it bothered me to see my guys act so terrified in their own home.

So, for me, it’s a tradeoff. BarkOff is super-effective and, at just $10, a super deal. I take it with me when I walk the dogs and it works great outdoors, and I switch it on indoors whenever it’s important to keep my guys quiet. But other times, I let them bark. We all have to get it out of our systems once in a while, don’t we?

Now, can someone please locate the frequency that will shut up the ShamWow! guy?

See more product reviews on PEOPLEPets.com:
REVIEW: Eureka Pet Expert Sucks Up All the Dirt the Dog and Cat Drag In
REVIEW: KatKabin Gives Kitties Shelter from Storms

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