Excerpt 4: Electronic Collars
Misconceptions are also at the heart of another major trend in dog training today, the use of electronic collars. Proponents of the e-collar are offended by the other term commonly used to describe the device, the shock collar. But no amount of name beautification or deception can change the reality.
While today's shock collars are more advanced than older versions with more and milder settings, the end result is still the same: They shock. This method of training and managing dogs is cruel-period. While it may, in fact, produce results, the costs are far too high. The lower settings on these collars are mild, but as my veterinarian husband once said, "Chinese water torture doesn't hurt, but it still makes you crazy." This is a lazy and disgusting way to treat dogs. It is difficult to believe that trainers still use these collars at all, much less that they are increasing in popularity.
If, as many proponents declare, the collar is merely "a gentle reminder" or "a tap on the shoulder" that causes no pain or lasting ill effects, then why aren't we using them on our toddlers? Think how fast we could toilet train our children with a shock collar. Of course, that notion is absurd. It is obviously true that dogs are not children, but they are thinking, feeling beings, as helplessly dependent on us as toddlers.
Some trainers claim that the shock collar is acceptable because in some cases it helps save the dog's life. When are those times? When a dog jumps the fence? Build a taller fence or walk him on leash. When a dog bolts out an open door? Teach him to wait or put him in another room before you open the door. When a dog chases the cat? House them in different rooms while you teach the dog to do something else, like bring you a ball, every time he sees the cat run. Let's face it; shock collars are the tools of trainers not willing or able to use other, more humane methods.
Copyright © 2010 by Jennifer Arnold
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