Guest post from Carrie Noar, Tales and Tails
It would really be nice if all dogs came to us perfect and stayed that way, no matter how many mistakes we made with them. Unfortunately, that never happens. When you adopt a dog, a lot of times, you get unexpected surprises as far as behavior goes. We’re well aware of that, as most of the dogs that we’ve gotten as adults have been adult rescues.
When we got Morgan, our first German Shepherd, she was 18 months old and we had 3 Greyhounds. It was definitely a culture shock for everyone involved. Greyhounds are sweet, biddable dogs and Morgan always had a way of thinking she knew better than we did. However, she quickly became very attached to my husband and me as well as our Greyhounds. I firmly believe that she’d do anything to protect us, even if it meant she’d be hurt. That’s just how she is wired, and we love her for it - most of the time.
However, her protective streak had a dark side. She doesn’t like anyone going past our house and rabbits in the yard drive her insane. I’m pretty sure she believes they’re little terrorists sent on a kamikaze mission to do us all in. She became particularly vigilant about the window in our kitchen. If we took any of the Greyhounds outside without her, she was up on that window and if someone went past, she stood there and barked in a voice that said she meant business.
I told my husband that we needed to work with her about staying off that window. In typical husband fashion, he brushed it off and told me that it was no big deal. That changed one frigid day in December, just before Christmas. We’d been out doing some Christmas shopping and we got home just in time for evening turn out for the dogs. My husband took the Greyhounds out to our small turn out pen, and then he came in and got Morgan on her leash and took her out for her potty break. She wasn’t usually in the pen with the Greyhounds because one of them was very old and we didn’t want her getting knocked down. After Morgan was done, my husband brought her inside and went back out to get the Greyhounds.
I was in the bathroom taking out my contacts. That’s when I heard a huge crash. I ran out to see what was going on and wondering what she had broken. I couldn’t register anything in my head that was in the kitchen that could make that kind of noise.
When her protective tendencies caused a dangerous accident, Morgan's parents knew they had to do something to protect her.
By the time I got out there, Morgan had run into her crate and curled up there. My husband ran into the house, the other dogs forgotten as he ran to find her, asking me if she was okay.
All I could see was our shattered kitchen window all over the kitchen floor.
Fortunately, after my husband thoroughly checked Morgan over, she wasn’t injured in any way. We brought the Greyhounds inside and put a baby gate up so that nobody could get in the kitchen while we cleaned up all the glass.
It was a wake-up call that something had to be done. A good friend of ours who has a lot of experience with German Shepherds told us to get an e-collar and use it to teach her to stay off the window. We took his advice and bought the one he recommended.
The truth is, it didn’t really put a dent in our problem. Initially, it did a little, but over time, she’d just ignore us and go for the window anyway. However, we were never properly trained about how to use an e-collar and we just couldn’t correct her every time she went to the window. She’d go in there if we happened to be in the bathroom or downstairs, and we wouldn’t see her to correct her. Other times, she decided that she was just going to go to the window anyway and take the consequences. It became a huge battle of wills that we weren’t winning.
When I was invited to Petsafe to learn more about their company and their products, it was a great learning experience for me. I saw a demonstration with one of their e-collars and I realized why it hadn’t been successful for us. The best part, though, was learning about the Pawz Away Indoor Pet Barrier. When I heard them talk about it, I knew I had to have one, and I was lucky enough that they let me bring one home in my suitcase. I couldn’t wait to give it a try, and we were not disappointed. We set the barrier up right by the window and set it for a short distance. My husband tested it thoroughly, holding it on his hand and going outside to make sure she wouldn’t be corrected when she went out the back door with us and making sure that it wouldn’t interfere with her being able to get to her food bowl or water.
The best way I can describe the correction that it gives would be to say it feels like someone pushing you away. I felt comfortable using it on our dog, and we put the collar on her. I love a lot of things about it. It gives a warning sound when she gets within a certain distance from it and that seems to serve as a wake-up call for her. It’s small and portable, so if she becomes fixated on another window, we can move it to another spot to work on the problem there. We may even use it with our Christmas tree this year to make sure that it doesn’t get knocked over. What I love the most about it, though, is that it took us out of the battle of wills with her. Now it’s the window that’s telling her to get off, and I don’t have to keep saying something to her. She doesn’t get nearly as worked up by people going past our house, either, because she’s not constantly in there watching for them.
We were looking for a solution to our problem, but afraid that it was something we were just going to have to deal with as long as we had her. I’d say that it has really changed our relationship with her for the better. We will always have to work with her and reinforce the behaviors that we want from her, but this has made our lives much easier. I am extremely happy that we found it!
Have you ever used a pet barrier before? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!