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Lisa Unleashed: Top Ten Dubious Dog Gifts To Consider For The Holidays

Published: December 3, 2017

If you scoured for deals on Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, and Cyber Monday and still haven’t found the perfect gift for your four-legged canine companion, think twice before you buy any of these items.

Pet Leash Umbrella

These have been around for years. I have never, ever seen anyone walk their dog with a transparent plastic umbrella on an upside down handle hovering over the dog to keep him dry. A dangling chain and clip underneath secures to the dog’s collar. I think it would scare the heck out of a dog, plus, walking your dog with a stiff umbrella handle doesn’t give you much control. What happens when the dog tries to do his business and you have one hand holding Spot’s umbrella and one holding your umbrella? Where’s the hand that’s grabbing to use the poop bag?

Microchip Smart Pet Feeder

This idea is bad for multiple pets and not necessary for one pet. A microchip on the dog’s collar is scanned and once positive ID is confirmed the auto-bowl cover pops open. Let the feeding begin. More than one dog in the house? This doesn’t stop him from just sticking his nose right in the bowl next to Mr Microchip. And if you have one dog, well, ‘nuf said.

Dog Waste Vacuum Scooper

Not sure I’d want to vacuum up versus using the tried and true pooper scooper. In the video — yes, there’s a video — all the poops were perfectly dry, hard, and fit neatly into the nozzle opening and into a black bag inside the vacuum. And it claims to work on grass, concrete, mulch, cement, even snow. It boasts a 30,000 RPM motor, which my husband says “can suck paint off a wall.” I’ll let you decide if this will work on those days when Fido is not as firm as he should be. Here’s the video.

Dog Fence Window

I believe this gadget totally defeats the purpose of a fence — to prevent the dog from seeing those things that might cause them to bark. Giving them a clear bubble to look though just encourages them to bark at the squirrel, car, bird, neighbor… I can just see my dog spending all her time looking and barking through this window and doing nothing else. The gift promises to “help alleviate your dog’s curiosity,” but to me, the whole point of a fence is not to create any reason to sound the alarm.

360 Degree Pet Shower

You attach this hoop with little holes along the inside to the hose. A bottle attachment adds shampoo. Turn on the water, swoop the hoop over the head and down the neck. Great 360 degree coverage. Then, uh-oh, we’ve hit the shoulders and legs. How is the hoop going to keep going? I look at the photos for an answer. The next photo shows the hoop over the middle of the body. Hmmm, I’d be leery of this contraption.

Fish Tank Dog House

I’m not sure who would be more scared in this setup. The fish or the dog. It’s a big Plexiglas tank with a peaked dog house roof as the top and a tunnel in the middle, like the arched opening of a dog house. The dog is expected to lie in there. There is a light in the tank, fish, bubbles, and waving sea plants. Lots of activity to “lull your dog to sleep,” or scare the scales off your fishes as they dart away from that big dog tongue licking the side.

Bubbletastic Bacon Bubble Blower

This really is a thing, and you can buy it on Amazon. It dispenses bacon-flavored bubbles for your dog. It claims to blow a “windstorm of bacon bubbles” and runs for hours on battery power. What the heck? And the reviews were hilarious, “I bought this for my kid because she loves bubbles, didn’t read it was for a dog” and “some things should not be bacon scented” and “It filled the whole yard with bacon scented bubbles.” The whole yard! My favorite, “I got this for my daughter for Easter…hope she likes bacon!” Most reviewers reported the dogs preferred bubbles blown by their owners, not by automation.

Treat Dispensing Camera

Pet cams are all the rage. People at work want to watch their pets left home alone for hours. Some cams are so smart now that they can alert you via an app when your dog barks. Then what? You can talk back at your dog. I don’t know about you, but even when I’m home, in person, and I tell my dogs to stop barking, they don’t listen to me. I have to physically intervene, like close the curtain, move them to another room, or bring them inside. And having a camera that I can lob treats at my dogs from the app will do what? Reward them for good behavior or reinforce bad behavior. The dog might end up only listening to the treat-lobbing camera and not you!

Cloning Anyone?

The next gift — cloning your pet — one would expect to find in the Neiman Marcus catalog. Some pet owners think they are going to get an exact replicate of their beloved pet. What they will get is the same DNA from the soon to be dearly departed dog. That DNA is inserted into a donor egg, then placed in a surrogate animal for gestation. All this can happen in about six months for $50,000 per dog. But don’t expect your clone to look or act exactly as the former Fido. Funny how genetics works.

Recycled Newspaper Dogs

No Dog. No Problem. If you don’t have a dog now you can get your own pet and help the environment with either a Rascal or a Rover made out of recycled newspaper. Rascal is a shaggy dog that resembles a scruffy dog. Rover is a short-haired version with a cute button nose, long tail, and eyes you can see, unlike Rascal. At vivaterra.com you can even buy reindeer antlers for your recycled buddy to wear for the holiday season.

Lisa Peterson writes about history, horses, and hounds at lisaunleashed.com. You can reach her at lisa.peterson@barngirlmedia.com.

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