One of my more interest gigs was working on the television show Cops. The show is very intense, and very real. This particular story I was on unforuntately didn’t air, but has a great lesson for sound engineers in terms of barking dogs.
I was working in Victorville, California, and there was a call of a few kids graffitiing in the area. As soon as the cops came around the corner, the kids bolted on their skateboards down the street, only to get stopped by other cops waiting at the end of the street. (Kids, don’t try to outrun cops – you can’t.)
So, I get out of the car and the cops have the kids sitting on the curb next to a house that has 3 pit bulls up at their fence barking like crazy. The barks were so loud that I couldn’t hear anything in terms of capturing the audio of the kids talking.
Here I am with lavaliers on the cops, but there are no microphones on the kids! Because the dogs were barking in such close proximity, it would have put me into a really difficult position. What I had on me was a product like a Dog Dazer to get the dogs to run away and leave us alone! It is a simple device that emits a high pitched frequency that only dogs can hear; they don’t like the noise so they run away.
So, back to the day on Cops; this product was clipped strategically onto the front of my KTSGM bag. I grabbed it and held in the button. Instead of pointing it and keeping it directly fixated on each dog, I waved it around the dogs so they each kept hearing the high pitch waves. It was an almost instant change in character. The dogs went from crazed barking, to immediate attention, followed by a quick retreat while looking around to see what they heard. The time for this all to happen was about 2-3 seconds of waving it all around for the dogs to disperse and help clean up my sound track. You only need to press it for a few seconds in order to quiet them.
Just in case, I’d like to stop for a moment and silence any animal activists. I am a huge animal lover, having 5 cats, 3 dogs, and two turtles. I can tell you that I have used this device within 2 inches of my own ear. It was loud, but did not hurt. It is a very high pitched frequency that is almost inaudible to human ears, but to dogs it is a loud squeal they are unused to hearing, and for that reason spooks them for a quick second.