I, like all dogs, hate to be left alone. I am the kind of pup who needs to be in a crate when my parents are gone. In the past, they have allowed me to be loose, and when they got home, they found me in a corner trembling while everything inside of me turned to water.
For the first part of my life, I lived with Foley. When my parents went out, she laid on top of a blanket and chilled. Now I live with River. She does the opposite. She paces, pants, climbs on the furniture, sits on the kitchen table to look out the window, and has, on occasion, stranded herself on the vanity because she insisted on seeing out the bathroom window and couldn't get down The only thing worse was her in a crate. She was so determined to get out she would get stuck in the door. I would rather have Foley relaxing on a blanket then River’s anxiously tramping around the house.
I have never sought the limelight the way Foley did. She decided to be a social network dog. I was happy to be an anonymous pup, quietly living my life. I joined Foley on Doggyspace, to support my sister, and I continue posting in her memory. Because of this, everyone considers me a dog influencer. Entrepreneurs ask me to test and spread the word about different products.
This week I was asked by the Go Dogo people to review their new online training device. The only thing I dislike more than being left alone is when I am forced to train. I never went to school and was barely taught by my parents. Foley came to my parents as a ten-week-old dog who knew everything. They thought I would be the same way. That assumption would repeatedly prove to be false.
I swore to be open-minded. The device consists of two different parts: There is a treat dispenser that mounts to the wall over the television and connects to the TV through an HDMI cable. I am not a fan of the tv. It makes unpredictable noises and takes attention away from me. But, even if we hate something, once it gives us treats, we love it.
` There is also a camera that is attached to the side of the television which is solely there to spy on us, although it won’t be long before parents are using it to see what their teens are doing when they are home alone.
The device is controlled through an app. Our parents can schedule our activities from anywhere. When they activate the program, the TV magically comes on, a trainer appears on the screen, and he orders us to do various training exercises. If we do them, a treat comes out of the dispenser. It is supposed to take our downtime and turn it into training time.
I sat in front of the darkened TV and waited. The first time it came on, and I heard the trainer’s voice, yipped, ran out of the room and hid under the bed. When I came out, River was standing on the edge of the slim TV with a screwdriver in her mouth trying to get the treats out of the dispenser. The voice magically came on again, and I ran under the bed. After a day, I was trained to be scared of the TV, and River had broken the dispenser.
I would have to rate the Go Dogo an abysmal failure unless you want your dog afraid of the television, then it works swimmingly.
If humans have to leave us alone, at least they can let us be during that time and not give us work to do.
We are animals who can be trained but only by a human.
And there isn’t an app for that.