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A Creative Solution To Manage Barking

If you were goofing around on Facebook yesterday, you might have noticed a picture that I posted of the RAV4 looking a smidge like a unicorn. Perhaps you wondered, “What in the world is that woman doing?!”, and some people even had some pretty funny guesses as to my plans for that 8-foot length of copper pipe. Well, the project is completed, so it’s time for the big reveal! (Anyone else watching way too much HGTV?)

First, A Little History

Ever since we found Buster as a stray more than five years ago, we’ve had challenges with him in moving vehicles. And by challenges, I mean that he barks … loudly. REALLY LOUDLY. It’s usually only for a minute or so when we’re starting out or stoping. But still, the boy has some pipes, and at one time I actually wondered if we’d lose our hearing trying to take him places.

Buster in the RAV4

Over time we figured out that one of Buster’s triggers is being able to see out the windshield or windows while we’re driving. To accommodate him in the car, we removed the back seats and laid his and Ty’s beds on the floor to lower Buster’s line of vision. We’ve also worked with him so that he lays down while we’re driving, because looking out the windows is just too tempting … even though it upsets him.

In the motorhome we had a different plan. The old RV came with a curtain that divided the driving compartment from the living area. Since Buster rode on the sofa in the back, we just hung up that curtain and we lowered the shades on the windows so he couldn’t see out. It was a cinch!

Back To The Present

You may recall that a few weeks ago we got a new motorhome. The new coach is laid out a little differently than the old one, and as soon as we hit the road we realized that, from his spot on the sofa, Buster was going to be able to see right out the windshield! There was no curtain separating the front and the back. So … the barking started. Loudly.

It was clear that we were going to have to come up with some solution to help manage Buster’s reaction, so Rod and I put our heads together and came up with this:

Curtain in new Meridian

In this photo the slides are both expanded, so it looks like there are gaps on either side of the curtain that Buster will be able to see around. However, when we’re driving, the slides are pulled in and the sofas shift so that the dogs are sitting right behind the driver and passenger seats and Buster’s view of the windshield is completely blocked. It was an easy and inexpensive quick fix! Let me show you how we did it.

Step 1: Measure Twice, Cut Once

We got really lucky because we have cabinets on the walls along both sides of the driving compartment, and there was just enough space above the cabinets for a 3/4″ copper pipe.

Copper Pipe - Curtain in Meridian Curtain in Meridian

Any piece of pipe would have worked, but I like the way the copper color matched the woodwork in the RV. We decided on the slightly more expensive 3/4″ pipe over the 1/2″ option because it was a little more sturdy and we got less flex over this span. I used a strip of mounting tape to fasten the pipe to the top of the cabinet  on each end, and the scissors where the only “tool” I needed to complete the project.

If you’re wondering why we didn’t simply buy a curtain rod, there are a couple of reasons: we didn’t want to have to screw anything into the face of our new cabinets, and most curtain rods of this length are telescoping, which means there is a seam in the middle where the curtain can get snagged.

Step 2: Pick the Curtain

The selections of curtains available is almost endless, so finding something that suits your style shouldn’t be a problem. What mattered most to us was the length of the curtain – it needed to be long enough to block Buster’s view, but not so long that it would drag on the floor and provide cover for the fur bunnies. Our ceilings are seven feet tall, so we perused the options available at the hardware store, but all the curtains they stocked were all too long. That’s when it hit us … a shower curtain would be just the right length! Not only that, they’re washable, and they’re made to be used with decorative rings that would slide easily on the pipe.

Curtain in Meridian

Putting this all together took about half an hour and cost us about $50 for the pipe, mounting tape, curtain, and rings. It’s a small investment to save our hearing … and sanity.

Curtain in Meridian

And, when we’re not driving, we can just slide the curtain to the side and it’s out of the way.

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  • Oh my goodness, Cathy! You are clearly a saint. At least Buster only barks for a minute or two at a time. I’m sure your girl is happy barking and bouncing at the Rainbow Bridge. <3

  • Dang I wish I knew. My GSD/Lab barked from CT all the way to VA, non stop barking!!!! Everytime I drive my son to school, we tagged her along. She barked. Several kids waiting at the bus stop, one boy said “here comes a barking van!” Last year, she couldn’t bark any more. She passed Dec 10th age of 14.5, she is proabably barking at the Rainbow Bridge!

  • Brilliant Pamela and Lauren! I can’t wait for the debut. =D

  • Necessity is definitely the mother of invention, Jodi! ;-)

  • Both the copper pipe and the shower curtain came from Lowes hardware store, Lauren. Easy-peasy!

  • And our privacy film on the windows so we can raise the blinds to safety but Desmond can’t see dogs/squirrels/cats/leaves blowing/etc.

  • that’s brilliant about the copper pipe, and i LOVE that shower curtain. please tell me where you got it! it’s PERFECT for our house.

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