Thursday, May 24, 2012

Silence is Golden

Y'all know how much I love Maggie and Lulu, my two miniature schnauzers. They're such good buddies and have provided countless hours of friendship and diversion when I really need those things. I love how they snuggle in with me whenever I get horizontal, be it on the couch or in my bed for a snooze. They're fiercely loyal and loving and intelligent.

But....they're yappy. Extremely talkative and barkey. Sometimes they're downright sassy and can be very disruptive when we're trying to entertain guests.

So when my friend Karen came to visit last, and I was bemoaning the fact that ear-splitting schnauzer chaos ensues every time my doorbell rings, she asked if I had ever considered an anti-bark collar for the girls.

Well. I would NEVER consider a shock collar, watch this:

......but that wasn't what Karen was referring to. She meant the kind of collar the spritzed a teensy amount of citronella whenever the dog barked vigorously.

This kind:

Dang. You can find anything on Amazon. And no, I don't get a stinkin' thing from them for saying that.  

I was dubious. But a few days after our discussion, I was trying very hard to get some sleep to fend off a major crash. I was cranky and really really tired. As usual, the girls were packed in on either side of me in bed, and as usual.....every time a person walked by the house, or a squirrel sat on our fence, or someone rang the doorbell, BOWOWOWOWOWOW YAPAPAPAPAPAPAPAPAP, JUMP OFF THE BED, JUMP BACK ONTO THE BED, RUN IN CIRCLES WHILE BARKING AND HOWLING.

I grumpily decided that I would do a bit of research and then maybe.....try one. Or two.

So, I did. And I did order two. And I have to say that our house is a much quieter place these days. I had John assemble them and fill the cartridge in the collar with the citronella spray, then we sat back to see what would happen when Greg arrived on our front porch.


Silence. They didn't even finish their first bark. Both Mags and Lulu looked surprised. Amazed. So did John and I and Greg.

We don't leave them on the girls for long periods of time, just when we know that there will be some likelihood that an incident would happen that would incite a schnauzer meltdown episode.

We are using them as temporary tools, with the goal that once their behavior and response to barking triggers has changed, that they will not need the collars, and so far, I have noticed some behavior changes already. Before the use of the collars, just telling the girls that they were going to do anything -- a ride in the car, a walk, even the fact that they were going to go out in the back yard -- was followed by puppy pandemonium.

Not so much, anymore. It's so nice to be able to ask Maggie, "Do you need to go outside?" and her response is to wag her tail furiously and head down the stairs towards the backyard door without yapping. Even without wearing her special little collar.


You know where I HAVE to go with this line of thought next, don't you?

Of course you do.

I want one.

I want one of them that's triggered whenever I eat something that's not on my new lower-sodium, low-fat, low everything diet. The crackle of opening a bag of potato chips?

Psssttttttttttttt. "Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!"

Ordering a large candy-bar Blizzard at the Dairy Queen drive thru window?

Psssssttttttt. "EEEEEEeeeeeeeeee!"

Grabbing the salt shaker at the dinner table?

Psssssttttt. "(Expletives deleted)!"

But......I suppose then there's the distinct possibility that BICJ could persuade me that I LOVE the smell of citronella. And a large black and chunky metal collar looks quite chic. She's so problematic, that Bratty Inner Child Julia.

Hm. I wonder if the actual problem with the schnauzers is that they have a Bratty Inner Schnauzer Child? And that they, too, struggle with controlling that bratty persona that always manages to win the battle between impulse and reason?

I think that's why I love them.


Karen said...

So glad to hear you took my advice. Does make for a more peaceful house. Love ours. Which reminds me...need to refill the citronella. Trixie has realized it is empty. Darn! Have a great day.

FFW said...

Someone I know and love early but shall remain nameless wants to invent a shock collar for children. And, it would be hooked up to some sort of remote, so parents could give appropriate zaps.

To be fair, I would ALSO (shoot, I mean, my FRIEND) like one for herself, to be worn to prevent eating bad (ready yummy, gooey wonderfulness) food. I, I mean she, thinks that she would also get used to Citronella, so it would have to be the shock collar.

Amy Junod said...

o m gosh...needed a laugh! So funny!