The Stay with an Exclamation Point Mat

I would guess that the average house dog has some amount of training, at least in appropriate house manners.  And as many of us know, there are times when we can expect our dog to “break” (go against his training).  For example, a dog with a bladder infection may not be capable of waiting until you return from your errands to be let out like usual.  A doorbell causes many normally quiet house dogs to erupt in a torrent of yip-yaps, despite sometimes diligent efforts by the owner to counter this tendency.  Of course some owners, myself included, do teach their dogs to generally be quiet indoors but just can’t be bothered to worry about things like doorbell barking.  Therefore, I expect my dogs to break the “no barking in the house” rule when someone comes to the door.

Likewise, many dogs are taught to stay on a rug or mat of some sort.  This comes in useful at dinner time when owners don’t want to deal with a begging dog underfoot and I know some owners use it for other occasions as well.  But it’s hardly something I would expect the average pet dog to rigidly adhere to for any length of time.  That’s why I hate this product:

The Stay! Mat functions by detecting your dog’s weight on the mat. If your dog leaves the mat while the unit is turned on, the mat will send a radio signal up to 6 feet in all directions. The receiver collar will receive the radio signal and produce a beep or beep and mild static correction until your dog returns to the mat. The correction type depends on the setting you choose. Once your dog returns to the mat, the beep and static correction will cease. (Two week training period required.)

Regardless of how you feel about using electric shock as a correction in dog training, I can easily envision a number of scenarios where the dog will be shocked when he shouldn’t be:

If the dog starts to throw up, he will move off his mat.  Does anyone really want his dog to get a shock because he got sick?

If the dog falls asleep on the mat and rolls over in his sleep (some of mine like to have their paws in the air while sleeping), the mat will register that his weight is not on the mat and shock him.

If someone accidentally drops a piece of food on the floor, the dog may stretch himself off the mat to get it.  He may well return on his own and unless you are a STAY Nazi, you probably don’t care about minor infractions of this nature.  I don’t.  But in this case the dog would get shocked.

If the owner gets distracted by a phone call in another room or whatever, he may forget that the dog is on the mat and leave him there for an extended period.  When the owner eventually realizes he hasn’t seen his dog in awhile, he may call the dog.  In responding to the owner – ZZZZZT!

If some emergency occurs – fire, intruder, serious injury to a family member – the dog will likely leave the mat and the owner will in fact want the dog to move as quickly as possible.  ZZZZZZZT!

If the unit malfunctions (always a possibility with these type of radio devices), the dog will get shocked while on the mat.  He will likely move away from the mat and probably be shocked again.  How confusing for the dog!

At any rate, it looks like the vendor at the link is discontinuing the product.  I’m glad.  I only hope no one buys any of the remaining units because they’re on sale and it seems like a good idea.

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5 Comments

  1. selkie

     /  May 13, 2010

    sounds like yet another “let’s do this the lazy” way – poor dogs! All those scenarios and more you mention are not just plausible but almost certain – that and if you have more than ONE dog …lots of wrestling goes on!

    Reply
  2. I’m glad the vendor is discontinuing this product, too!

    Reply
  3. I think some of these inventors have never even been around dogs.

    Reply
  4. Not a fan of “deadman” operated automatic correction devices.

    Another one is the “wireless electronic fence,” which operates on a deadman principle, shocking the dog if the collar isn’t getting transmission from the base unit. So the dog walks behind a rock, or the base unit is unplugged, etc., and Zippy gets zapped.

    This mat — I could easily see someone misusing it to the point of substituting for a crate. Which are themselves misused often enough.

    I think it’s likely that the dog will acquire a “zone of fear” around the mat; watch for the dog to skitter to and from it. How does he know when it’s safe to get up?

    Reply
    • and since it is advertised as being a substitute for a crate, I think you are likely correct – people certainly will get that idea to use it thusly.

      Reply

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