Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Let There Be Light

While we live in the city and on fairly busy street there are little to no streetlights on the sidewalks around our house. All the neighbors appear to go to bed before 8:00 p.m. as well so there is never any light coming from houses. This has made for some interesting nighttime walks with Chopper.

First you must understand that although Chopper is a large dog he can be skittish at times - he will run away from a 12lb dog if it growls at him and jumps when a door slams. At night, however, this fear means that he will bark (loudly) at noises. While we have this under more control now in the last few years if he feels like something or someone is sneaking up on him he will become a barking lunatic at night. The problem is you can't really see Chopper at night - what with the no street lights and the fact that a majority of his fur is black - he just kind of blends in. In attempt to help with this problem I have gone through numerous light devices in order to let others know Chopper is there and to keep us safe.

The first thing we tried was some little blinky light on his collar. Didn't last. Chopper likes to shake his head around a lot which made the light turn off. Also it fell off once and got lost. After we went through two of those I gave up.

Next I got a headlamp. Now this actually worked quite well but I looked kind of ridiculous and the elastic band kind of hurt my head. I keep this in my backpack for when we hike now (one time we got stuck out late and the stupid blinky light on Chopper was the only light we had - out of five people and five dogs.)

Next I bought this light that clipped on the leash and held poo bags. The double duty of this product is what seemed to have made it completely non-functional. First the hook was too small for our leash so we had to upgrade to a bigger hook. To turn it on you had to twist the top, which was also the way you put the bags in it and the batteries - which meant the whole thing often came apart. If you dropped it while pulling out a bag you ended up with a string of bags and the whole contraption would fall on the floor and break. I dealt with this for a week and thought we would take our chances without a light again.

A few weeks ago at the American Family Pet Expo, however, we came across a brand new product: PupLight. I liked that I could see it on a real dog before I bought it and the couple selling them (and their dog) were super friendly. It is an elastic collar that you can just slip over the dog's head - one size fits all - and is super bright. We've been using it for about a week now and it is working great. Takes regular batteries and doesn't turn off with a little head shake.

Here is Chopper modeling the PupLight.

You can see how bright the light is.
I was with a friend and we bought six so we got them for $10 each - I think they are more expensive if you buy just one though. Either way I like it. I can see what Chopper is looking at (no more eating weird stuff on our nighttime walks) and it purports to keep away other animals - since we have coyotes and skunks where I live that was a selling point for me. Also if your dog gets away from you and has the light on you can see where he went. And it serves its original of people being able to see Chopper at night. All in all we are pretty happy with it.

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