I love our neighbors. They’re the kind of people who would do anything for you. We wave at each other as we pass on our street. When we see each other in our yards, we chat across our fence about life, and how things are going. Their kids are about the same age as our grandkids, and we often notice how much they are growing and ask about how they are doing in school. Great neighbors are such a wonderful gift. We love our neighbors.
But … I’d have to say I’m developing a growing dislike for their dogs. They bark. Every time I walk out my front door to get in my car, or walk out to my shop, or trim one of my trees, my neighbor’s dogs bark. They have three dogs. And all three of them must have decided that the members of our family need to be barked at every time they see us. Man, I love our neighbors, but I hate their barking dogs.
While searching online about barking dogs, I found what I hoped could be a remedy for my dilemma. It’s one of those low-frequency speakers about the size of a deck of cards. It emits a sound that humans can’t hear, but is supposed to drive dogs crazy. The idea behind the speaker is that when the dog barks, the low-frequency buzz goes off, letting the dog know that what they just did — barking — causes an annoying buzz in their ears for a few seconds. If they repeat the bark, the buzz repeats. As a training device, the dog is supposed to get the idea that in order to get the buzz to stop, the barking that causes the buzz has to stop. No barking, no buzz. Made perfect sense to me, so I ordered one. It arrived several weeks ago, and I installed it on a tree that stands between me and my neighbor’s house (or I should say between me and my neighbor’s dogs.)
As I was nailing the buzzer to the tree, the dogs started barking, and I felt the device vibrating in my hand. I smiled. I reveled in the thought that as those dogs started barking, they were getting an ear full of buzz. As nearly as I could tell, my new device was working perfectly, except … well, except that the dogs kept barking. I must admit I was more than a little disappointed. My expectation was that when those pesky canines were confronted with that noise that only they could hear, they’d stop that totally unnecessary behavior, and see the error of their ways. That’s what I hoped. But that’s not what I saw happen.
I sent an email to the manufacturer of the device, and told them that my neighbor dogs must need a different frequency than the one that was being broadcast on their device. My neighbor dogs acted like they couldn’t hear any buzz; they barked without any fear of retribution. The manufacturer said I should give the device time to work, that it was a ‘training’ device and dogs need time to associate their barking with the buzz.
That was nearly three months ago. I checked the device again, just this morning. Batteries are still good. Buzz is still happening. I know it’s still happening because every time the dogs bark, the device nailed to that tree vibrates. They’re not paying any more attention to that buzz than they would a dog barking.
I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on my neighbor’s dogs, though. I’m not very good at hearing things that should cause me to pause, pay attention, listen, either. I can almost imagine how thrilled God would be with my rebellious and hard-of-hearing life if I paid attention to the instructions in His word that I can so easily ignore, as if I didn’t hear them:
“Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home,” says the writer of Proverbs.
“Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish,” says the Book.
“If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise,” says Prov. 15:31.
“Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it.” Prov. 8:33