Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#078 In which our hero calmly cleans up poop.

The more observant of my readers (all four of you) will have noticed that Skat Watch 2005 ended... and, as it could not have ended in any other fashion, it ended badly.

Well, truthfully, as far as shitting on the floor goes, this was good. Allow me to explain.

We took the ultimate step in dog containment two weeks ago, we bought Invisible Fencing. I didn't realize that they made an indoor version, but The Scientist did all due diligence in her research, and decided that this would be the best thing. Well, the best thing after all other things had failed.

It's pretty straightforward how it works: a little radio transmitter is installed in the house (it looked exactly like a fire alarm) and a shock collar is installed on the dog. When the two get too close together, the dog gets shocked. In the parlance of the Invisible Fence people, he gets "corrected."

The collar makes a beeping noise when you start to get too close, so there's fair warning. The Scientist and I spent several nights with the dog trying to teach him what the beeping means and how to escape the "correction." Of course, the collar wasn't turned on to start.

We finally get to the point where we think the dog gets it. At the very least, he's standing on the far end of the hallway, looking at us as if to say, "Okay, I get it. If I get too close to those little flags the collar beeps and you shoo me away. I'll just stand here until you retards decide it's time to move."

So we turn on the collar and let him move around. Let me describe the environment: we want him to stay in the foyer or the laundry room, which are attached by a door. We put his nice comfy bed in the far end of the laundry room, far from the shock zone. The transmitter is set up so that the zone covers the doorway into the living room, the doorway into the family room, and the steps upstairs. It's actually very convenient the way the house is designed. For us, at least.

The dog has a run of 12 feet or so before he gets into the "pre-shock" zone. He can pace around and not get shocked, has access to his water, has a nice chew toy, and is as comfortable as we can make him. He only has access to a limited area, true, but it's not like it's a cold cement kennel or anything.

So we turn the collar on, and wait to see what happens. He wanders into the zone, apparently ignoring the beeping and gets his first "correction."

You'd think the dog had just been attacked by a swarm of killer bees.

He yelps and whips his head around, trying to see what's biting his neck. The Scientist and I immediately shoo him out of the area, hoping he'll make the connection. He doesn't and walks back in for his second "correction."

This only has to happen twice before he says, "All right, I don't know what the fuck is over by those stairs, but I'm staying the hell over here."

Mission accomplished.

However, now the dog is terrified of the little Invisible Fence flags and collar. Even though every expert The Scientist has read and/or conferred with says that this is the best, safest and most humane way to contain your dog, it still seems a little heartless.

And I know, that's saying a lot coming from me. The dog's not my best friend, but like I said before, I don't want him to suffer. So The Scientist talks to some other experts that assure her that this will pass, that he'll get to the point where he doesn't look like he's about to have a coronary every time the collar is pulled out of the closet.

So, on to the pooping on the floor portion of our show.

One evening, the entire family, sans dog, piles into the truck and heads out to dinner. We set up the warning flags, put the collar on the dog, and head out. When we return, we discover that at some point the dog managed to close the door between the foyer and the laundry room. Now, this is nothing that either The Scientist or I had anticipated, and I'm still not sure what the heck happened. But, naturally, the dog ended up on the "bad" side of the door, i.e., the side nearest the shock zone.

And what really sucks is that since he can't escape to the laundry room, he had maybe four feet to move around before things start getting uncomfortable for him. And by "uncomfortable" I mean he gets the shit shocked out of him.

And naturally, that's exactly what happened.

At some point he just couldn't take it and unburdened his bowels right in front of the door. Now, usually, this would generate a fair amount of anger from me, as dog crap cleaning is not one of my more favorite activities. But, my heart went out to the dupe this time... trapped in a room without any way to escape the invisible swarm of stinging bees. So I put him outside where he could crap au nautural and cleaned and bleached the tile. That had a lot to do with it, too... it was a fairly easy clean up, which was the whole reason behind keeping him on the tile in the first place.

Now the laundry room door is securely tied open, so the dog doesn't need to get anywhere near the shock area. Thus ends Skat Watch 2005. For now.


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