Doggy Devices

I believe that I am soley responsible for keeping pet stores in business. If there is a toy, I'll buy it. Dog collars with "Paws N Crossbones" or "Maine Lobstahs" and matching leashes keep Chase fashionably in style. I have no fewer than ten types of brushes and combs yet he still prefers my human brush. Urban dog gear including boots and a backpack for traversing the dangerous streets of Atlanta protect him from glass, hot tar and other hazards. Traveling dog dishes long lost have been replaced with simple tupperware. Chase still prefers to drink straight from the water bottle on trips and has mesmerized more than one person at the rest stops with his amazing talents.

So when Chase decided that it was his duty to bark at every sound at the new condo, I knew a trip to the pet store was in order. I had tried other methods for controlling the barking yet I was at a loss for what to do when I wasn't at the condo. I had images of angry residents in my head and knew that an anti-bark device would probably do the trick. I certainly didn't want a repeat of the recent grocery store trip where I decided to bring Chase along to stop him from barking at the condo alone. It wouldn't have been bad except that it was an especially hot August evening and when I parked, I left the windows down and the sunroof open. Chase popped out of the sunroof to survey the area causing a great deal of attention. Dark parking lot with a white head looking like a submarine periscope? I had no choice...my dog needed food. It was the fastest trip of my life!

After careful research and eliminating shock collars, I opted for a more humane collar that sprayed citronella when a bark was emited. The first time I tried it, I left the condo and lingered outside the door. I heard nothing. I creeped down to the parking lot. Nothing. No barks. Soon I was able to put the collar on Chase without actually engaging the collar. He did associate barking / getting sprayed with the collar because my smart dog knew the difference between his cute lobster collar and the citronella collar. A downside to the collar was that other dogs barking in close proximity could trigger the spray action. Chase also figured that out and tended to be anti-social if he was placed in that type of situation.

I was not only happy with the results of the collar, but also a bit smug that I could train my dog, with a little help, to control his barking. I believe it also is a fantastic deterrent for mosquitos as I discovered on a recent trip to Maine!


The Leash Rule

Chase is the kind of dog that needs to be on a leash. It doesn't matter that he always comes back, knocking on the front door to be let inside. The problem is that he won't come when called, unless I channel my inner Linda Blair Exorcist voice and even then, he weighs the value of freedom over the fact that he might be in trouble. I thought that I had conveyed the leash rule adequately enough to my friend, Stephen. I realized that I was wrong when I pulled up at my condo one afternoon and saw him sitting on an air conditioning unit near the entrance to the woods. Puzzled, I walked over to him and noticed a bottle of beer in one hand and the leash in the other.

"He got away and won't come back," Stephen told me, swinging his legs and taking another swig of beer. "He keeps coming to the edge of the woods to taunt me, " he insisted.

I wanted to question how that happened since it didn't appear that the collar was attached to the leash, however I held back the sarcasm and asked when he last saw Chase. Apparently the last taunting occurred less than twenty minutes before my arrival. I gingerly entered the woods in my practical 3-inch heels and walked until I reached the clearing. Stephen trailed behind me insisting that the dog was the devil and couldn't be made to do anything (unlike his perfect tiny dogs that could be carried around in a pocketbook.) As the sun shone brightly onto the wildflowers and butterflies darting around the small clearing, I called for Chase. A small white head poked out from his hiding place and he walked slowly yet deliberately toward me. His eyes fixated on Stephen and Chase froze, refusing to budge. I had to send Stephen away and Chase ran at me, full speed nearly knocking me over. Leash securely in place, we catwalked out of the woods and across the parking lot to where Stephen was waiting. I'm sure that we both had a smug look on our faces.