Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Electric shock tennis ball

A ball that can administer a small electric shock on remote command.
  (+1, -6)(+1, -6)
(+1, -6)
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We're trying to teach the dog "fetch" and "drop". He's mastered "fetch" but then spends some minutes mumbling whatever he's got by your feet before relinquishing it.

How about a tennis ball containing an R/C reciever and a circuit that delivered a very small but unpleasant tingle, when the button is pressed on a keyfob remote control ?

Doggie brings you ball. You say "DROP !". He looks at you, puzzled, or, more often, defiant. Repeat the command and then press the button. Guess what ? He drops the ball realy quickly. Pretty soon, he learns that not dropping the ball is a Bad Thing. Then when he picks up something he shouldn't have, it's easy to get him to let go of it .....

The size of the tingle (not a shock) could be varied for different sizes and stupidities of dog.

8th of 7, Jun 18 2002


       I'd wager he'd just stop picking it up.
waugsqueke, Jun 18 2002

       Sharp doggie teeth + wet doggie saliva + Electrocution Tennis Ball of Death = ?
polartomato, Jun 18 2002

       Ball tingles + hit ball away with nose + ball comes back and tingles more + hit ball harder...over net = Wimbledon champion
FarmerJohn, Jun 18 2002

       NO, you apply your fingers to wet salivary ball very near the dogs sharp canines, and you apply pressure and pull. dog thinks its a game and holds on even tighter. you waggle ball about while dog shakes its head and growls (obviously enjoying seeing it is in control of situation). you hold other hand up high and say "biscuit". dog looks upwards and mouth drops open, salivating all over your hand with ears up-cocked, tail wagging. you have ball and dog is nonplussed and knows who is *top* dog. the pleasures of loving a dog are endless.
po, Jun 18 2002

       Po: Ok as far as it goes; but we want him to drop the ball on command with no tugging games .... and no, I don't want my hands regularly smeared with dog drool.   

       Saying "biscuit" would be disastrous; this would result in the peanut-sized two-neuron brain which operates the dog switching from "chase ball - fetch ball - drop ball" mode into "beg for biscuit" mode, resulting in your being followed round for the next 20 minutes by a drooling dog with its mouth open and a crick in its neck. This is the equvalent of the "Abort, Retry, Ignore ?" message with the unpleasant variation that the only option is "Retry".   

       Since the dog appears to be permanetly nonplussed by the intellectual effort of continuing to breathe, I don't think your suggestion would help.   

       Polartomato: Dynamic curent limiting. Never more than a tingle, irrespective of circuit resistance.   

       But for cats, a wet catnip-filled ball, plugged into a 415V supply, has engaging posibilites.
8th of 7, Jun 19 2002

       my point, you twerp, is that if you have a dog then enjoy him; not electrocute the poor buggar!
po, Jun 19 2002

       Having stuck a 9v battery on my tongue as a child I can tell you that although not pleasant it's by no means hugely painful. I don't actually feeling a tingling - it was more like experiencing an unpleasant taste.   

       I prefer training with rewards - get the dog to think, "Sometimes I get a biccie when put the ball at my owner's feet. I never get one if I beg for it, though." This ball could get through that difficult first stage of "Isn't this fun your trying to take my ball away from me."   

       Most dogs enjoy playing fetch and can be trained to release a ball on demand. Some are just too stupid, though. I played fetch with one (reject sheepdog border collie - didn't pass the entrance exam) who kept dropping the ball on the way back and sat at my feet, wagging his tail waiting for me to throw the ball he'd forgotten to give to me. Sometimes there's no hope.
st3f, Jun 19 2002

       St3f: I too have tried the PP3-on-the-tongue experiment. That's how I thought up the idea of the ball. Actually, I still do it from time to time, damned if I know why - I always end up thinking, "That wasn't very nice. Why did I do that ? I didn't like it last time either"   

       If you put a 4-bit processor in the ball to monitor and control the current and do the radio decoding, then technically the ball would be quite a lot more intelligent than the dog. As you say, sometimes there's no hope. If you give him a reward then he drops the ball and sits there, thinking (we presume) "if it wait long enough, maybe I will get another treat". If you throw the ball he ignores it and continues to stare fixedly at the Last Known Treat Location.   

       He also drops the ball half way back to us. Sometimes he picks up the ball, then sits down half way back with it in his mouth, looking baffled. He has forgotten what he is doing. It's very sad.   

       Po: I don't need to electrocute him. He does a good enough job on his own. Every power cable in the house has to be carefully positioned to keep it out of range of his sharp little teeth - if not he'll never make it out of the puppy stage. That's why it's so important to teach him DROP as a matter of urgency !
8th of 7, Jun 19 2002

       mine ate a set of encylopaedias systematically, A through Z - I did not notice until it was too late. He now has a huge basic general knowledge though. the dogs never touched the wiring at all, they left that to the kittens. teaching the dog "drop" is useful, but not for the wiring thing as they tend to cause damage when they are bored (as many of us do come to think of it)
po, Jun 19 2002

       I agree that he'd start avoiding the ball: when you call your dog and he doesn't come, if you smack him in that context he'll be less likely to come the next time (come == smack in dog's brain). Once you make the experience totally positive he stops avoiding you when you say come, and often actually, well, comes.
mattyoungrev2, Nov 22 2002

       genius! individualised electrical fabrics could be sewn into other objects as well, like, well person food. Imagine the negative response of begging at the table. "Oh, here you go, Fido". . . . >zap<   

       Ha ha. No more begging while enjoying my eggplant curry quiche.
hillbilly, Dec 22 2003


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