The first paragraph read:
When you come home to find Rover has mistaken the trash cans in the back yard for a snack bar and Sylvester has decided to use the back of your favorite upholstered chair as a claw sharpening tool, it’s tempting to feel less than friendly toward man’s best friends. Backyard romping is soon replaced by enclosed pens or tie-outs to keep pets away from trouble. Pet owners find themselves creating mazes of baby gates in the house to keep pets away from specific rooms. Soon, pet and owner alike no longer feel free to move around anymore.
The solution? Electrify your house with “a mobile wireless system to train pets to avoid areas of the home or yard where they might get in trouble.”
Seriously? You’re supposed to create a series of shock zones in your home? Why not just lay down a few IEDs? That’ll really get the “don’t go there” message across.
I dislike invisible fences for a variety of reasons, not only the inflicting pain on your pets part, which is considerable as this video shows (in spite of the laughter):
I also dislike these fences because they often have the opposite effect than that intended, i.e., the dog runs past the invisible barrier but then doesn’t want to come back inside because of the pain. And think how unpleasant it is for dogs to see other creatures having free access to the yard while they are stuck within a barrier. Squirrel taunts are painful in their own fashion.
Mind you, I think there are rare circumstances — establishing a perimeter in a very large, impossible-to-fence area to keep pets from danger — where providing a jolt could be acceptable.
But inside your home? No way. I’ll take that “maze of baby gates” — and, hello, did you ever hear of doors and crates? positive training? — any day over booby trapping my residence.
The press release goes on to elaborate:
Trash cans, litter boxes, baby rooms, expensive furniture, dining rooms and kitchen counters are just some of the areas that the system can protect indoors.
So let me get this straight: we’re talking electrified furniture here? Why not just go retro and put plastic slipcovers on your sofa (yes, I had some friends whose parents actually did that; and yes that establishes that I’m ancient).
Worse than the scary furniture, though, is the juicing up of the baby’s room. What’s to keep a dog from thinking it’s the kid that’s the providing the electric shock, not the room, and biting the baby out of fear? Hmmm. Maybe you could cut out the middleman and just electrify the baby? Jen Shyrock’s programs for preventing dog bites? So touchy feely!
The company’s alternatives
Aside from the premise of needing to electrify various areas of your home, which is tough enough to swallow, one of the things that disturbed me about the press release was its blackmailish tone. If you don’t install their system, the implication was, you might have to have your cats declawed or, even more dire: “In the face of continued damage and havoc, frustrated pet owners sometimes have to surrender their companion animals to shelters where they may be euthanized.”
Have to? It’s electro-shock or death?
In contrast, this company claims that its system “can provide a training option that keeps pets in happy homes.”
Training? Happy? That’s not my idea of either term.
As an advocate of positive training, I have a better idea, inspired by another press release that I received the same day:
The online exclusive meat purveyor, “35° Premium Aged Steaks”, is open for business and accepting orders at 35DegreesSteaks.com. For the first time, “35° Premium Aged Steaks” affords home chefs, foodies and trendsetters alike access to fresh, never frozen meats previously reserved for top restaurants…fresh, overnight, direct to your door…
So here’s what I’m thinking: Create meat- (or fish-) reward zones in your home — and, with the bones from the bone-in cuts, in the garden — places where your pet will want to go because they associate them with pleasure.
Your pet will love you for it. And the baby won’t have to be electrified.