If you’re considering a white noise machine to help with your dog’s separation anxiety, this article should answer some questions.
Doggie Shusher contacted Acme Canine to test and review their new dog relaxation device with our’ canine testers’. We tested the product in a home environment with dogs barking as visitors arrived, with our demonstration dog, Penny, in various situations and at a doggy daycare. After six weeks of testing, we have the following summary.
What is the Doggie Shusher?
The Doggie Shusher is the invention of Chad and Katie Zunker. They created the Baby Shusher (a sound machine that harnesses ‘shushing’ power to activate a baby’s natural calming reflex. They started receiving photos and comments from customers using the device with their dogs. So they modified the technology behind the Baby Shusher by redesigning the device to play an altered sound frequency that’s right for dogs, along with chew-proof edges and a durable finish.
It is described as “a portable sound machine and relaxation device for dogs. It uses a rhythmic shushing sound to soothe distress caused by separation anxiety, noise anxiety, travel anxiety, and other issues.”
Does white noise help dogs relax?
If you have never heard of the term “white noise,” you probably wonder what it means. It’s a name for a type of noise produced when sounds of all different frequencies are combined.
The science behind white noise is fascinating. Although there isn’t a lot of research on dogs and white noise, There is a bit of research on white noise in general. Sleepjunkies.com talks about how adding more noise to your sleeping environment might sound silly. However, there is science behind white noise blending with other sounds in your environment (cars, dogs outside barking, etc.). The theory is that all of these sounds blend, and your brain then pays less attention to all of the individual sounds around you. This starts early for humans, and we would guess dogs too because many people recommend white noise machines to help newborn babies sleep. The thought is that white noise can mimic babies’ sounds in the womb, thereby calming them. So, why wouldn’t it be the same for dogs? Dogs also have much, much stronger hearing than humans. They can hear frequencies between 40,000-60,000 Hz. So, there’s no doubt a dog can hear the white noise.
A white noise machine, despite its name, doesn’t always produce white noise. Most of the time, it makes pink noise, which has a softer sound. This frequency is more pleasant to a dog’s ear.
What is canine separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety in dogs is the fear or dislike of isolation, resulting in undesirable behavior. Separation anxiety is one of the most common causes of canine behavioral problems. The term “separation anxiety” is often misunderstood. Genuine clinical separation anxiety is not common, and you should consult your veterinarian to get a correct diagnosis.
Acme Canine believes white noise, calming jackets, pheromones, and medication help reduce stress, but they do not eliminate the problem. We have several articles on anxiety and tips to stop it. Our recommendation is to seek a certified professional dog trainer to assist you with this behavioral issue.
Why use a white noise machine?
If you have a dog with noise aversion, you may want to consider one of these machines to help drown out other noises. This will make your dog calmer since they won’t be reacting to the trigger noise.
There have been some studies on rabbits with noise and music that demonstrated a reduced cortisol level.
Anxious dogs get frightened easily, leading to different health issues, especially those related to their heart health. So by helping your dog fall asleep quicker and sleep better, these white noise machines for dogs can positively impact their overall health.
What to look for in a dog white noise machine?
Type of Noise and Purpose
Are you looking for a white noise machine to help him sleep or one that will keep the background noise masked to keep him calm?
The purpose should play a role in your decision.
You also need to consider the type of noise the machine provides. Some offer different noises, nature sounds, volumes, masking capabilities, etc. The Doggie Shusher offers only one noise; a modified human shush that can be adjusted for loudness.
Observe which types of sounds your dog enjoys the most, along with which ones relax them the best. It is probably best to avoid electronic white noise like the Doggie Shusher. These are less appealing to dogs, as shown in this video at Catch N Fetch doggy daycare in Columbus, Ohio.
Size and Weight
If you like to travel with your dog, the white noise machine needs to be portable and small such as the Doggie Shusher.
Most white noise machines designed for homes are lightweight and small already, but some can be hard to handle.
Most white noise machines are meant to be plugged into a power outlet or work on batteries. The Doggie Shusher has a USB port that allows it to be charged. This is a better choice if you plan to take your dog camping or travel in general.
A downside of the Doggie Shusher’s port is that it is a USB type “C.” This is not a standard port, so it is important not to lose the cable.
Ease of Use
If you are not tech-savvy, the best white noise machines for dogs should be straightforward and allow you to get the right results with one or two button clicks. We found the Doggie Shusher to be very easy to use.
Some white noise machines are complex. If your only purpose is to have a calming white noise for your dog, you won’t need the more complex ones – a simple one will do (and it’ll be not only easy to use but also cheaper, too).
The Doggie Shusher states the machine is safe to leave in the dog’s bed or kennel since it is designed with no sharp edges for dogs to chew or bite. Unfortunately, this isn’t true when leaving the machine with a group of daycare dogs. A Great Dane decided it was a ball, picked it up, and dropped it, causing the outer case to crack.
Price should not be the only deciding factor when selecting a white noise machine. But it is a factor you need to consider, especially if you are buying on a budget.
At $39.99, the Doggie Shusher isn’t the cheapest white noise machine, but it also isn’t the most expensive.
It does have some nice features, such as a dial on the bottom to set the timer and control the volume of the machine shushing. It also will shush for up to 2 continuous hours.
Should you buy the Doggie Shusher?
The Doggie Shusher is not for every dog.
Acme Canine does not believe the Doggie Shusher would be helpful for a dog with genuine separation anxiety. It might work for dogs with noise aversion or young puppies adjusting to a new home environment.
And after what happened at Catch N Fetch, we’re not sure about the safety of leaving it in your dog’s crate or kennel unless your dog is small and can’t take the device in its mouth.
The Doggie Shusher does have some nice features like ease of use and being lightweight and portable.
We’ll leave the decision to you.