Monday, July 4, 2011

E-collar use

Twice now I've tried to comment on fellow Tucson dog trainers Facebook posts about e-collars.  Twice now I've gotten shot down, compared to cookie trainers and even asked to bring Victoria Stillwell with me to handle a 200 lb dog who can take down a block wall to get to what is on the other side and use my cookies to handle this aggression.

It really makes me wonder what these trainers are thinking of when someone says "there are other ways".  I didn't say "a better way", I didn't use "use a clicker" or "use a cookie".  All I said was" there are other ways" to handle behavior problems.  But really, my response was "there are other ways" to train a dog then with an e-collar.  But for some reason, training becomes a 200 lb dog with aggression. 

At one time in my journey I would have used an e-collar on a 200 lb dog with red zone aggression.  I thought that there was no other effective and safe way for this middle age trainer to help a dog like this.  I thought it was the only way to save his life and the life of many others.  I thought that was the only time I will use an e-collar however - to save lives.  I now think very differently and have actually helped dogs without the use of prongs, shocks, chokes or anything else that fits the positive punishment area.  With games and play and showing the dog that life doesn't have to be fearful, I've handled these dogs.

Dogs have been learning these things for centuries without the use of shock collars, and even without the use of "training" collars, 2X4's, kicks, pinches, punches, etc.  I dare anyone to train a hunting dog to follow a scent trail by using any of those tools and have a willing partner at the end of the training who really enjoys following that scent.  And I really dare anyone to use these methods to train a medical alert dog and still have a dog who can alert when given a command that would counteract the need to alert.  For instance, putting a dog in a dog stay.  The dog knows if he moves he will receive pain.  Owner starts smelling like a seizure is coming.  Dog is in conflict "do I stay or do I alert?".  Which one wins?

But back to the responses I got.  Here's one to analyze:
  
"Suffer? Suffering is being run over by the UPS truck because you bolt every time your owner opens the door...or being euthanized because the treat and clicker "trainer" can't solve your aggression issues or being bitten in the face by a rattlesnake because your owner doesn't want you to experience a small tingle that hurts less than the static electricity they experience when they shuffle across the carpet and touch the light switch. As for inexperienced owners who may abuse the E-collar, these are the same people who would normally just kick their dog, and shouldn't own a dog in the first place.
 
Right. Hundreds of years ago they used a club. If a dog bit a human, they killed it.

By the way, I have a client with 3 Mastiff/Great Danes that have severe aggression issues. They took down a block wall to get to a person on the other side. Each weighs over 200 lbs. One weighs 250. I would be happy to see your theories at work. Perhaps you could bring Victoria Stilwell with you as a small appetizer"

So what is this person's emotional leve?  Anger?  Sounds like anger to me. Defensive?  Definitely.  Did he address the issue at hand? No, he tried to redirect it to a behavior issue, not a training issue.

The next comment by another e-collar trainer was :

"The thing that gets me the most about this is that it's mostly only pet +R trainers out there pushing this agenda. You never see anyone with true reliable working dogs saying these things. They are almost always pushing the agenda about old... outdated methods and have not taken the time to understand modern e-collar training. ALL tools have a place in society. I just wish they would take the time to learn more about the tools and there applications before they preached their opinions like it was a religion. Then at that point if you don't like it cool, but at least you understand it clearly and not what someone else told you!! HAPPY TRAINING ALL"

There are hundreds of trainers out there with reliable working dogs who have never felt a shock or a pinch or even a choke.  I wonder also if they feel that since they must use every tool there is how they feel about nuclear bombs and sarin gas.

I don't understand.  Maybe someone can explain to me how people who are supposed to have an education about their subject can be so one sided.

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