Published Sunday, Dec. 3, 2000 in The Miami Herald

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$29.95 plus shipping and handling from Pettails.com, 415 Pisgah Church Rd., Suite 344, Greensboro, N.C. 27455, 877-PET-TAIL (877-738-8245), fax: 336-288-8922, Internet: www.pettails.com

Suggested by Lillian Srivastava of Chicago, Ill., and Joyce Deily of Charlottesville, Va.

How can you tell if your dog wants to go outside?

This question has plagued the human race for millions of years. Traditionally, dogs have alerted their masters by going to the door and then either whimpering, barking, scratching the door, or making wee-wee on the floor. Some dogs do all four of these things, just to make sure the master gets the message.

But the days of ''low-tech'' communication between dog and owner are finally over, thanks to the amazing PetChime dog-operated wireless electronic door chime. When the dog wishes to go out, it simply presses its paw on a special pedal; this activates a chime that, according to the PetChime literature, can be programmed to go either ''woof-woof'' or ''bing-bong.''

In short, this is the ultimate gift for the dog-owner on your gift list. Just imagine how thrilled that person will be when his or her dog learns how to operate the PetChime foot pedal (allow six to 19 years). Our guess is that the dog will be extremely excited about discovering yet another way to make noise. We would not be surprised if the dog filled the house with the happy electronic sound of ''woof woof'' (or ''bing-bong'') at all hours of the day and night! Perhaps some day you will be able to buy a companion device called the MasterReprimand, so that the master could simply push a button to activate a recorded message that would shout at the dog: ''STOP PRESSING THE PET CHIME PEDAL, DAMMIT!'' The dog, hearing this stern reprimand, would immediately make wee-wee on the floor.

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