How to Combine Sounds to Repel Dogs

by Tammy Quinn Mckillip Google
Dogs will learn to associate uncomfortable sounds with unwanted behavior.

Dogs will learn to associate uncomfortable sounds with unwanted behavior.

Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Training your neighbor's dog to stay away from your geraniums or off your children may take a bit of ingenuity, but with time and consistency, you can teach the pet to avoid off-limit zones through the combined use of behavior-inhibiting sound devices. Dogs have sensitive ears and learn through association, so using unpleasant sounds is a safe and effective way to discourage unwanted behaviors. But when a dog has gotten used to the sound of a single noise deterrent, you may have to combine sounds to get his full attention.

Boogie Can

Step 1

Fill an empty metal can with a handful of coins and ball bearings or other small metal objects. Be sure to choose a large enough can that the sound of the objects inside will reverberate when shaken.

Step 2

Place a lid on the can. If you are using a coffee can, the plastic lid that came with the can will do. If you are using a can without a lid, create one by stretching plastic or foil over the top. Secure the lid with duct tape or a rubber band so it won't pop off when you shake the can.

Step 3

Shake the can whenever you wish to repel a dog or discourage a particular dog behavior.

Adding a Whistle, Horn, or Ultrasonic Noise Device to your Arsenal

Step 1

Purchase a plastic or metal whistle, air horn or ultrasonic noise device.

Step 2

Carry one or several of these devices, along with your "boogie can," whenever you expect to encounter the dog you wish to repel.

Step 3

Blow the whistle or horn repeatedly, or push the button on the ultrasonic sound maker while shaking the "boogie can" whenever you wish to repel the dog. Be sure to stop making the noise the moment the dog stops the behavior. This will help ensure that the dog associates the cessation of the behavior with the cessation of the unpleasant sound.

Items You Will Need

  • Empty coffee can
  • Several coins
  • Ball bearings
  • Duct tape
  • Rubber band
  • Whistle
  • Bicycle horn
  • Ultrasonic repellent device
  • Batteries


  • Be sure the dog does not associate you with the noise. This type of training works best when the dog associates the unpleasant noise with an anonymous source, rather than a human.


  • Never use violence or anger to discourage dog behaviors. Doing so could prompt a dog to bite or create a negative human association in the dog's mind that could ultimately lead to aggression.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

About the Author

I am a freelance writer/photographer living in Hunterdon County. Since graduating from Columbia University in 1999, I have written and photographed extensively for newspapers, magazines and online publications including Courier News, The Observer, Garden State Town & Country Living (article on Somerset Art Association, Spring issue), The Independent and The Asbury Park Press. From 1999-2001, I worked as the news and features editor for Youthline-USA, a Web site, national weekly newspaper and monthly magazine for 8-12 year-olds. Prior to that, I was the Web editor and editor-in-chief of Quarto, the literary journal for the School of General Studies, at Columbia University. I am interested in Web producing, writing and photographing for your publication. Please let me know if there are any job opportunities or freelance assignments available. Thank you!- Tammy McKillip 908-574-5134