Saturday, September 7, 2013

How to Keep a Bad Little Dog in your Yard

We have two dogs.  Both were "adopted" street-urchin mutts.  One is good; the other is awful.

Dixie, has been highlighted on A Man in the Woods a few times.  She lacks long-term planning skills and inter-species respect but is otherwise normal.  45lbs, black, long tail, 4 legs, smart, loyal, generally trained and trainable.

Zac is 9 pounds of useless.  His most redeeming qualities are (i) he does not smell as much as he used to, (ii) he has the sphincter of a Rottweiler and (iii) he has 3 legs.  Having been born with 3 legs, he does not know he is handicapped and should otherwise be compromised in his movements and abilities.  Zac is also an escape artist.  An untrained, untrainable escape artist.

Our backyard has a metal, iron fence with 9lb dog-sized spaces between the vertical bars.  When life was good and complete and we only had Dixie, this was not a problem.  She could run around, bark, look through he fence and would rarely escape to run the neighborhood, terrorizing squirrels.

Then we got Zac, much against my better judgement.  At first, he respected the intent of the fence but soon learned that he could literally walk under or between the bars to annoy the neighbor's dogs and me while he frolicked in patches of poison ivy.  Options were suggested to prevent this.  "Puppy bars" would be expensive and take a long time to install.  A "chicken wire" solution was suggested.  Besides generally looking like crap, it too would take too long to install and to be candid, there are 243 other activities I'd rather be doing than installing a fence I don't want for a dog I did not want in the Texas summer heat with the Houston mosquitoes.  Ditto for invisible fences and installation of a complex design of miniature landmines, tripwires and trenches.

No, it was time to bring the mountain to Mohamed/Mohammad/Muhammad.

My middle daughter shared that a friend of hers has the same problem and they bought a collar which prevents the scoundrel from getting through the fence.  Research led to things like the "Puppy Bumper".  (Available for the low, low price of $24.50.... no, I'm not kidding.)

Small, useless white dog attempts suicide due to shame of wearing a Puppy Bumper

After ruling out a tethered bowling ball or boat anchor-based solution,  a collar seemed like the best approach.  Plus, it lent itself to the "the best solution is often the simplest, yet entertaining solution" approach.

Since this project was of growing family importance, I set aside a budget of $0.17 and promised to commit at least 3 minutes to solving the problem.

Using a unique combination of garage engineering / white trash design skills and common household items, the prototype device was built and tested.

Ladies and Gentlemen..... behold...... The Dog Bar.

I'm still contemplating quitting may day job and manufacturing these full time.  I'm very excited about the margins involved since it is not everyday you can manufacture a product, IN THE UNITED STATES NO DOUBT, with gross margins of 99.75%.

Until they are commercially available, I am willing to share with the world my proprietary design so you may build your own.

Supplies needed:
1 (one) bad little dog
1 (one) cardboard tube from the dry cleaners
Small amount of duct tape
1 (one) tight fitting collar.

1.  Tape cardboard tube to collar.
2.  Affix contraption to bad little dog.
3.  Release combination into the backyard.
4.  Return inside for a relaxing cup of coffee.
5.  Smile while inside, you are laughing, as the bad little dog attempts to penetrate the fence, only to have to pee inside his own yard.


A Man in the Woods who is not in his backyard putting up a fence for a dog he did not really want but who has, unintentionally, become part of his life and who likes to sit next to him as he reads articles about taking a safari in Africa.

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