Saturday, December 8, 2012

Runner Safety Device: Dog Zapper

I am not a dog, so I don't know for sure, but I am not convinced that dogs find the freedom of an invisible fence to be joyful. Rather I suspect the dog finds the uncertainty of an invisible boundary to be stressful. Many time I run past dogs that seem to be much more stressed and fearful than joyful and happy as I skirt the border of the electronic field that keeps them from running into the road.

This morning a Labradoodle (an embarrassment to Labradors and Poodles) bounded to the edge of its lawn barking, snarling, and manically circling as I ran by on the far side of the road. As I secretly wished the dog would get a 100 volt zap (I don't even know if that is a lot of a little) from the invisible fence it broke contain and ran into the road. We both shared a moment of bewilderment - me wondering "Am I going to get bit?" and him wondering "Now what do I do?" When the dopey curls under his collar didn't start to burn I decided my best option was stand my ground and look menacing. He continued to bark, snarl, and spin manically. His owner now came into the road and began shouting unheeded (and unheard commands)






Fortunately the dog did none of these. It also didn't get flattened by an approaching SUV either (which I wasn't wishing for). Eventually Fido decided I was bored or it was more fun to be chased by a human shouting at it while waving a handful of pine bough garland.

In the intervening miles I convened this idea in need of an electrical and industrial engineer, as well as a Kickstarter campaign.

On the Run Dog Zapper
The device, about the size of a car key fob, would have these functions.

1. If the dog breaks contain of its invisible fence a single button push would immediately signal the highest possible electrical jolt from the dogs collar.

2. A double button push, which could be simultaneous to the near paralyzing electrocution, would emit a high pitch whistle that is only heard by dogs. Ear drum rupture may or may not be desirable.

3. A triple button push would deploy a Taser like probe with high voltage into the dog's owner.

I Love Dogs
I am a dog owner. I have run lots of miles with my dog companions. I will often stop to compliment dog owners on their handsome and well behaved dogs.

I have also been chased by dogs and even bitten (professor's dog bit me graduate school ... got an A in that class).

What do dogs really want? 
Dogs only do what they are reinforced for doing. Chasing something from your field of vision reinforces the behavior. Instead of being able to roam freely in the yard looking for trouble I think most dogs simply want to be at their owners side waiting for an ear scratch or compliment.

I know my dog is much more content when she is staring at me than when she is left alone in the yard.

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