For as long as I can remember, our family had dogs. Most of the time we had several dogs at the same time. We had spaniels, shelties, Chihuahuas and mutts, you name it and we probably had it. Pooches occupy a special place in my heart but there was one thing that hurt that special place in my heart…that damn invisible fence.
Firstly let me say that this occurred during a different time in our collective timeline. Animal rights were not nearly as extensive as they are today and we simply thought nothing of using one of those shock collars when training a dog. So when my parents bought an electric fence, we didn’t for a second believe we were going to do any harm at all to the dog…the dog…to the dog…harm to…the dog. Stay with me.
Our dog at the time, a mutt that was part wolf had a bad habit of digging under the fence and getting out of the friendly confines of our yard. She’d run away get all dirty and come back and sleep until she had enough energy to do it again…say that reminds me of me in my younger days. Anyway, we lived near a busy road and wanted to make sure nothing would happen to her so we bought this invisible fence. The nice men who came and installed the thing were very careful to go through all the procedures step by step with us and we listened to the first three of the steps before getting a collective glazed look in our eyes and missing the last half of the instructions.
So to get the nice men to leave us alone, we simply said ‘Got it!’ and signed the paperwork before seeing them to their Doggy Security van. So they drove off and counted their money, all the while laughing at the stupid family with whom they had just concluded business. My father, showing a complete lack of good judgment, hands me the collar and the batteries and asks me to get it set up. Naturally, I reverse the polarity (ie stick ‘em in the wrong way) and almost break the cover of the collar trying to force them into the battery compartment. Oh that silly, silly man my father is.
Having realized that perhaps an idiot is not able to comprehend the battery installation, he takes the collar back from me and installs the batteries properly and hands the collar back to me.
Now…let’s stop for a moment. Everybody all caught up? Having some orange slices and getting re-hydrated? Good, because it’s important to get a couple of things clarified here…Firstly, my eyesight is bad, for those of you who have been with us for a while, you know that my eyesight is like a TRex in that my eyesight is based on movement, it’s that bad. Secondly you need to know that on this particular invisible fence collar, there is a knob and it goes from zero to ten. There is no eleven because Spinal Tap was busy giving a concert when we bought this particular invisible fence. Okay, so we’re good now? Alright, here we go.
The theory for the invisible fence is thus…collar goes on dog. Collar is turned on and set to an acceptable level so that going past the fence post gives such a shock that the dog isn’t hurt but learns not to go past the fencepost again. Simple really. It’s exactly like a real fence except that it isn’t. But it’s important to get the setting right. You don’t want to hurt the pooch, but you don’t want the dog to just shrug it off either. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you…me…the idiot.
Still holding the collar, I dial it to zero and strap it around my neck just in the fashion it would soon adorn our little poochie woochie. Having put on the collar, I start walking to the fence line. I cross the threshold of the fence and God hits me…hard…and not in a playful way. I am looking upward as I discover that my body has been rather quickly thrust to the ground. I find myself staring into the sun and a twi….twww….twitching in my right eye that is taking a long time to stop. My family rushes to my aid…well, that’s not accurate. My mother is genuinely worried about me and is trying to make sure I’m okay. My sister is laughing hysterically and my father has the look of embarrassed indignation on his face, no doubt regretting continuing our species.
My father reaches for my neck, somehow resists the urge to simply squeeze until I go away, and grabs the collar. He examines it and quickly comes to realization that his idiot and almost blind son set the pain…sorry…training setting to ten instead of zero. And what became of the dog, you ask? Oh he was most disturbed by my little demonstration. As I turned my head while I was lying on the ground I saw him leap back and forth over the imaginary and invisible fence line. Wouldn’t be the last time a dog had the better of me, but it certainly was the most painful.
So be smart, people. Say no to electricity!