I was outside at a Utah Starbucks when a man arrived with his two chocolate labs. He left them unleashed near a table, and without a word, went inside to fetch his latte. The dogs watched him disappear, then sat politely to wait for his return. “That,” I said to my friend, “is the difference between a lab and a dachshund.” Ralston would lie down to wait. Ripley and Raven would cry, “Yay, she’s gone! Let’s play in traffic!” and I’d never see them again.
Thus the need for Invisible Fence at home and a new camping must-have: “The Rock” PetFree™ Outdoor Solution Plus portable electronic fence system. It works like a charm and the concept is fiendishly simple.
Before The Rock, glamping with the doxies meant they either a] hogtied us to our camp chairs with their tangled long leashes (on purpose, we’re sure), or b] promptly darted away. (I get why people call them “dash-hounds”.) Now, with The Rock fence, we establish a big yard around the Airstream with one hundred feet of wire attached to a transmitter hidden in a little plastic boulder, and inform the dogs of the wire perimeter by planting the white flags they’re trained to recognize at the border. While wearing their special “beep collars”—which issue a wristwatch alarm-like tone if they get too close to the flags (and a mild shock if they dare to cross the wire)—the dogs play safely nearby without knocking over the cocktail table with their outdoor leads, or running off to chase the campground squirrels and neighbor pets.
Does the collar hurt? Not really; it’s more of a creepy pulse than a pain. (The Central Oregon Invisible Fence trainer/installer—a kind and patient man that the dogs adore—encouraged me to take the adjustable shock myself.) It’s as intense as touching the TV set after walking on the carpet in sock feet; just enough of a surprise to get the pet’s attention and divert them away from the boundary. Dogs are not dumb, and learn the rules quickly.
R&R jump for joy when they see the collars coming out; they represent freedom, smells, and playing leash-free outdoors. Soon, we’re told, they may not require the collars at all; just placing the white flags around the trailer should keep them nearby. We’ll see. (Again: Dogs—not dumb.)