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Jan's Weekly Topic
Posted on 30/07/2013
Filed under: Traditional Dog Training? Dog Training Gadgets
A phone call from BBC radio, inviting me to give my opinion on the use of shock collars as training aids for dogs, was very welcome by me. The presenter was someone I have known for twenty years, ever since he regularly hosted my weekly advice phone-ins. He had also invited me to his home to go through my method to assist him with his recently acquired rescue so he already had a very good idea of what my feelings on the subject were.
It seems inconceivable that in the 21st century anyone could consider choosing such a cruel device and the amazing plethora of excuses its practitioners will use, in an effort to convince us that its use is justified, is incredible. The simple truth is; such weapons are the tools of the incompetent.
I am reminded of a maths teacher, who thought that I would learn how to master mental arithmetic by hurling a heavy wooden board rubber at me whenever I failed to get the answer correct. The more she used this method, the worse my ability to work out the answers became as I was terrified of being hit again. By the end of my time with her I was managing to get every calculation wrong but oh how brilliant I was at avoiding hurled missiles.
There can be absolutely no justification for the use of shock treatment (whether electric or chemical), unnecessary surgery, sedating drugs or violence in any form when working with and teaching another being. So what else can be done? Simple, we can use our intelligence to get the other being, in this case the dog, to actually want the information that we are providing. We capitalise on the essential survival instinct of 'What's in this for me?', to work with the nature of that being, make it fun and praise at every opportunity. In short, adopt AB.
Shock collars are designed for correcting certain behaviours that can be corrected by much kinder, more effective alternatives.
1. Use an electric collar to stop a dog barking. Alternative: Take responsibility for guarding the safety of the owner/family away from the dog by the quiet, kind and always successful method that is AB.
2. Use an electric collar to stop a dog running off. Alternative: Make sure you show your dog how to walk without pulling and to return when called, in the safety of your home-before considering venturing out. Using AB, teach your dog that you are responsible for: a) When you go out. b) Which direction you take. c) What pace you will use. Teach your dog good recall before you venture out into the big wide world, and running off will not be an issue. Making recall training fun will mean you have a much better chance of your dog wanting to return and be with you, rather than if he associates you with the pain of punishment.
3. Use an electric collar to stop a dog chasing anything from cars to children. Alternative. As above!
How fortunate that it makes no difference what the undesired behaviour is, AB will resolve the issue (provided it isn’t a medical issue) and put the owner comfortably in control of any and every situation.
If people ever feel that they have to defend the actions that they take, then they too know that they are wrong. So, for those who are contemplating using or have used these things, why not stop, look at your dog, say sorry and seek a better way.
Take a look at the movie below and remember; the people involved understand what is happening..