Friday, May 8, 2009

Don't-Actually-Zap-A-Dog-But-Threaten-To-Zap-A-Dog (Zap-A-Dog Week Part 4)

Back when we first got Sadie, she was tiny enough to fit beneath the back deck of our house, which is one of these low to the ground decks not designed for animal traffic beneath them. It used to drive me crazy that she would do this there because I could imagine all manner of venomous serpents living under there, ready to strike any unwise puppies who happened to like sniffing and thrashing through the leaves and muck. We tried to head this off by putting logs and large rocks along most of the lower bits of deck edging and full on foot-wide boards along the higher bits, but there was still one section beneath a part of the house that juts out over one of the flower beds that we could never seem to successfully wall off which she could still squeeze through.

Of course, when we returned from our July spent out of state, the dog realized with great frustration that she had grown so much in the intervening month that she couldn't fit under any of it, so we stopped worrying. And, some time during the winter, we even removed the boards from the higher section of the deck, thinking there was no way Sadie could squeeze under there.

We were wrong.

A few weeks back, I heard the crunching and scuffling of leaves from beneath the deck and realized that Sadie had indeed squeezed under there and was actively getting as filthy as she could manage. It wasn't really snaky weather, yet, so I wasn't too concerned, but wanted her out all the same, on principle. With the application of Pupperonis I was able to coax her over to the edge where she spent ten minutes teasing me and snatching bites until I was at last able to grab a paw and haul her out. Still, I failed to replace the boards, thinking this was somehow a one off.

A few days after installing the wireless fence, Sadie dashed back under the deck. It was rainy out and I didn't want to have to give her a damned bath from all the mud she would no doubt wallow in, so I very intelligently stood atop the deck and screamed at her through it to no avail. It then occurred to me that a timely scare might work wonders.

I stole away to the wireless fence transmitter in the laundry room and, after some consideration make certain I was not about to act too unethically, I quickly dialed the fence's field range from its highest setting of 8 down to 1 and then immediately back up to 8. In theory, this would reduce the wireless fence from a radius of 90 feet down to 5 feet and then back again. The key to my plan was that the sudden reduction would set off the warning alarm on Sadie's collar without actually shocking her, prompting her to take action.

Worked like a dream.

Almost as soon as I'd dialed the fence back up to 8, I heard a sudden THUNK as Sadie bonked her noggin on the underside of the deck in fright at the sudden BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPing coming from her collar. And, miliseconds later, she was topside and looking relieved at her collar's silence.

I told the wife what I'd done and we laughed and laughed and laughed. Then we put a baby gate over the space beneath the deck to block it until I can find some suitably large rocks. Now that I consider it, though, it would probably be just as effective if we just planted one of the wireless fence border flags there, instead.

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