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E-collar dog training: Would your dog choose it if you gave him the option?
Have you ever wondered if your dog would choose e-collar dog training? I spend a fair amount of time sleuthing the internet for information and opinions regarding e-collars or “shock collars” as some continue to call them.
One of the sentiments I’ve noticed lately being touted by those who wish to have the tool banned from existence is the idea that the dogs (our dogs) didn’t get to “choose” this form of training or this training tool. This statement is usually uttered in reference or testimonial that demonstrates a human subjecting themselves to e-collar stimulation for either comedic purposes or for the sake of visually elaborating on a concept. The typical commentary is: “well, the human had a choice about feeling that tool, those poor dogs don’t.”
That line of thinking got me pondering on the idea of choices for our dogs. I am curious how you feel about e-collar dog training and hope you chime into the conversation.
I’m all for giving my dogs some options, as in: do you want this toy or this one? Do you want to sniff out this trail or the one over there? But my personal outlook is that my dogs are my responsibility and as such I do make a lot of decisions for them. Here is a brief list of some of the decisions I don’t give my dogs a choice about.
What they eat.
What vaccinations they get and how often.
What dogs I trust and allow them to interact with.
If they are allowed to swim or not.
When they need to get a bath, nails trimmed or ears cleaned.
If they get to remain intact or if they will be surgically altered (spay & neuter).
Why do I decide these things for my beloved companions and not give them “their choice”? Well, I feel fairly confident I will make better decisions for them than they would make for themselves. Case in point, my dogs would probably never chose to get vaccinated or take a bath or file their nails, they would likely make some bad choices and trust dogs that they shouldn’t. They would absolutely choose to eat trash and clean up every human left over they could. And for certain, Diva, would jump in the water and swim ANYWHERE despite a dangerous current.
So does the fact that I don’t allow my dogs too many choices make me some sort of evil dictator? If it does, I guess I am guilty of raising my kids that way also. I believe in applying structure, limitations and rules that I determine to be in the best interest of all.
When my charges (dogs or kids) clearly understand the rules I’ve created they actually get more freedom as a result. And they grow to a level of independence that I feel is our responsibility to teach them to have. One of my children is out of the house, putting himself through higher education and making his own way in the world. The second child will soon be following suit. And meanwhile my dogs no longer need to be kenneled or baby gated when I am away from the house and they are calm and well mannered if they are left in anothers care for a period of time. Through the choices I’ve made for them in e-collar “training” they have learned self control and the liberties that go along with that.
I honestly believe that if my dogs could speak for themselves they would choose the e-collar dog training and the subsequent freedom it brings with it.
They get to run off leash in unfenced areas, they get to be part of the party when there is company, they get to go along on most trips and they can be in public venues without being a nuisance.
Yes, I am the one responsible for making the e-collar dog training choice for my dogs. And as a result of it I do not have to make choices to withhold their freedom because “there are too many distractions around” nor do I have to limit their exploration to the end of a leash or clipped to a front pressure harness or head halter.
So what are your thoughts? Is it appropriate that we make the choices for our dogs training tools or exactly how does this argument stack up in your opinion?