By Tracie Korol
I love life hacks. You know, those “why didn’t I think of that!” things that provide clever solutions to mundane problems. My current faves are using a can opener to breach dreaded clamshell packaging in lieu of inviting a paring knife wound; stretching a rubber band across the top of a paint can to use as a brush wiper; and the one in play right now, a key ring threaded through the tongue of my pants zipper, looped around the button until I stop being too lazy to replace the zipper that won’t stay up.
Dogs have hacks, too! Here are a few that might make your life, and your dog’s life, easier:
1. Attach a carabiner (a metal clip that allows rock climbers to link together ropes and harnesses) to your dog’s leash or collar. Carabiners come in handy: If you need to secure your dog to any stationary object; if you need to connect multiple leashes to walk all your dogs at once; if you need to attach your leash to a belt loop to free up your hands. And, you can attach your keys to your dog if you’re going for a run together.
2. If your dog is a manic food gobbler (and you have one of those breeds prone to bloat), feed your pet on a rimmed cookie sheet. He’ll be forced to slow down if he wants to hoover up every last morsel. Some hacks for this problem suggest placing rocks or balls in the food bowl so as to force a dog to eat around the obstacles. Good idea, though I have dog friends smart enough to simply remove the ball, shoot the owner a “seriously?” look and continue sucking down food, and also dog friends not so smart as to eat the rocks, too.
3. Use a squeegee to remove dog hair from carpet before vacuuming. Or, if you want to see how ineffective your vacuum is, use the squeegee after vacuuming. It’s amazing how much dog hair you’ll skim off the rugs. A damp rubber glove is useful for removing hair from furniture.
4. Don’t put your pet’s name on his ID tag. When your dog responds to his name, it only makes it easier for the thief. Also, if you’re the only one who knows his name, it will make it easier to prove you’re the rightful owner upon recovery. A phone number on the tag is sufficient when your dog is already microchipped.
5. If your dog gets loose, do not chase him. To him, it looks like you’re coming along on his walkabout. Yippee! Rather, lie down and pretend you’re hurt. Yelp, whimper. They’ll come back to make sure you’re all right. If that fails, run the opposite direction while making happy “come play with me” sounds. They’ll want to get in on the game.
6. If you have a puppy or lifetime devoted chewer, wipe down exposed cords with eucalyptus oil, Vicks or Mentholatum. Dogs dislike how it smells and even more, how it tastes. Some hacks suggest using Bitter Apple spray but I’ve found dogs tend to think of that as a condiment.
7. If you like animal movies but are devastated if an animal is hurt, left alone with the zombies or contracts a terminal illness, go online and check the website http://doesthedogdie.com for a quick heads-up. Saves a lot of heartache.
8. Always, always reward your dog. Every time your dog does something correctly, a simple “Good dog!” is enough for your Best Friend to know that he IS your best friend.