Thursday, January 13, 2011

High Maintenance Boxer Dogs

Daisy
My wife loves Boxer dogs, an affair that began when she met a handsome male of the breed during a short internship at the Mayo Clinic.

And so we now have a Boxer, a female who will be 18-months old the first of February. Two things the nice lady in the elevator at the hotel in Rochester did not tell us:
  • Boxers are apparently difficult to house-train.
  • Boxers are somewhat hyper.
Daisy is finally learning that her bathroom is outside, knowledge that seem to arrive shortly after we pulled up the downstairs carpet and installed hardwood floors.

The hyperactivity is another story. Hyperactivity may not be the right word, though. It may be more accurate to say that Daisy is hyper-alert. Any movement, inside or outside, and Daisy is up to investigate. That wouldn't be so bad, except outside movement generates a spate of barking. And more barking.

All good enough, except "movement" doesn't mean an approaching car or a stray dog or someone coming to the door. It means birds, blowing debris, and apparently objects invisible to the human eye.

The solution? It's taken me weeks to find one, and visiting several dog training sights, and it seems to be making a loud, distinct, and slightly discomforting noise each time Daisy barks at nothing. In a practical sense, it means a compressed-air-powered klaxon horn normally used by boaters as a safety device.

Daisy barks. I check to see if she should be barking. If not, I grab the handy klaxon and release a 2-second, 100-plus decibel blast. Not in her ears, of course. From a place in our house where she cannot see me.

It's taken about a week to reduce the unnecessary barking to nil.
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