Developer: Pocket Cocktails Inc.
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
If Fido eats your shoes instead of fetches them, Dog Tricks & Bark Machine could be useful for teaching him a few new tricks. It's an app from Robert Mann and Deidra Jones, which features training tutorials in one part and a sound machine in the second part.
As a long-time dog owner (I've got three now) I know how much time it takes to teach your dog how to behave and obey commands. I once had a beagle named Lily that flunked out of puppy training school and then the bitch went on to pretty much do whatever she pleased for 13 long years.
Dog Tricks & Bark Machine's instructions were supervised by certified dog trainers, according to the app's creators. The dog tricks part of this app includes commands, games and tips on how to correct behavioral problems. Dog Tricks and Bark Machine also features an informative section about popular dog breeds and a catalog of captioned photos. The app also has a search bar.
The bark machine part of Dog Tricks & Bark Machine reproduces eight different sounds that are intended to get your dog's attention. They include a woof, meow, doorbell, high-frequency whistle that only dogs can hear and other sounds.
This app contains lots of good information from which even devoted dog owners can learn. The basic commands and tricks tutorials are clear, consisting of step-by-step instructions and color photographs. I plan to put those to use right away.
Just how well the tutorials work, I can't say yet. It takes a while for dogs to get the message. My dog Henry already knows several tricks, because he's a fast learner. Kona, on the other hand, refuses to do anything I tell her and Ellie runs away whenever it looks like there might be work to do.
The bark machine half of this app is a bit gimmicky. Dogs know the difference between the noises made by a sound machine and the real things, so I can tap the woof-woof button all day long and they won't pick up their ears. There is one exception: They hear the high-frequency dog whistle and will look around for a minute of two before they go back to snoozing.