This Collar Helps Keep Fido's Trap Shut

Your neighbors have a dog that doesn't like being left alone and barks incessantly whenever it is. And its owners don't want to be bothered with training the dog to bear its solitude in silence. If some peace and quiet are worth $50, Canine Concepts Inc. in Austin, Tex., has just the gift for your lazy neighbor: a "smart" dog collar that will train the pet not to make a nuisance of itself.

Working with Texas Instruments Inc., Canine Concepts has developed a microchip that can distinguish between the pattern of barks that a dog makes to sound an alarm--sharp, rapid barking--and the yelps that signal loneliness or a fascination with the moon. When the Silencer collar detects the latter, it generates an ultrasonic noise that's unpleasant for the animal. When the nuisance barking stops, the collar turns off, too. The dog soon catches on, says Canine Concepts, yet the training won't affect the dog's performance as a guardian.