We finally did it.
After two years of procrastination, we installed our Radio Fence, a delightful little gadget designed to electrocute the dog if he tries to leave the property. We inherited the Radio Fence from my sister and her husband (you may recall them from the Thin Mints Controversy), who used it successfully with the late, great Luke, whom I had the pleasure to dog-sit several years back.
Installation was not as difficult as I feared. We borrowed Jen’s parents’ Edge Hog (such a clever name) and set it for trenching. Walking around the perimeter of the yard with the Edge Hog gave me a nice 1.5 inch trench, except where I had to stop and wrestle with the roots of the various ancient trees that decorate my property. I didn’t realize it going into the job, but I don’t even own a saw right now. I had an amazingly crappy saw, one that I could only describe as unidirectional (wouldn’t cut in both directions, dramatically increasing your work time and effort, and dramatically decreasing your productivity and its own usefulness), but I threw it away last year because it sucked so bad. I had forgotten about that. So I did the root piercing with a multitool, a flat head screwdriver, and a hammer. It worked well enough.
The Fluke voltmeter confirmed that I had wired the yard correctly with a friendly beep. This was good, as I had to splice the wire in the backyard. So I fired up the transmitter, and nothing worked. Because the batteries in the receiver on the collar had been sitting idle for two years.
After we got back from buying batteries, we fiddled with the settings.
“Jen! It’s not working! I’m not hearing any beeping!” I called from the back yard as I waved the collar around near the now-buried wire. “I think we should — aaauauuuhgghhg!”
“I just turned it up. Did that help? What’s wrong with you?” Jen asked as she entered the back yard to find me convulsing on the ground. “Oh! I guess it works now. Awwww, are you OK?”
“Yes, I’m fine,” I said. I’ve had worse shocks than that, believe me. There was a reason a couple college friends called me Sparky for a few days in 1993. But that’s a story for another day.
We began training Jack, which consists of walking to each little white flag around the perimeter of the yard, spaced about ten feet apart, shaking the flag in his face, yelling “NO!”, running back to the safe zone, and praising him. This caused Jack unbelievable stress, but the training was a great success. Jack is now utterly terrified of little white flags. This process was carried out while carrying the collar so that he could hear the warning beeps near the flags. Somehow my grip shifted. “Aaauauuuhgghhg!”
No awwww this time, though.
Yesterday, we continued his training. This time, he wore the collar, and we were to allow him to “wander” into the danger zone and receive a “correction.”
He did, and he did.
He jumped about seven feet into the air, backwards, when the collar “corrected” him.
“Awwww, are you OK?” Jen asked him as she rushed him to the safe zone.
Jack didn’t respond. I can’t be sure, but I think he was thinking about how evil the little white flags are.
Today was, of course, Easter Sunday, so we squeezed his training in before church this morning. When I say we, I mean Jen, because I was busy making breakfast: strawberry pancakes. Mmmmmmm.
Jen came in and reported that Jack received another “correction” this morning.
Shock four. Awwww.