Those are the actual words MacKenzie spoke about 15 minutes into our first lesson with her Labrador Retriever pup, Jasper, early Friday morning. In the discussion that followed I explained how we try to use the words remote collar or e-collar nowadays, after all the static pulse is not shocking to the dog in the way that we use it. If it were, we would not have a 7 month old pup wagging his tail profusely and enjoying the learning process.
Most of us are well aware that the words shock collar can evoke great emotion. Those who don’t know better conjure up ideas of barbaric training practices through the use of punishment and pain. Electronics and digital technologies are a huge part of our modern society but few people truly understand how they work.
I found it interesting that a young child did not have any of those “scary” preconceived notions She simply witnessed her dog change from nipping and jumping at her constantly to standing or sitting politely accepting petting and treats. A little girl who came in getting drug all over the place could enjoy walking her dog 15 minutes later. And that is when the words ” I love this shock collar” came out along with a great big smile on her face. Simple fact is, MacKenzie could now enjoy her dog and play with him without getting clobbered by a 50 pound, over exuberant pup.
And the same thing happened for her younger brother, Bradley. A boy who maybe weighed as much as the dog could take the leash and without any stress or tension go for a walk while Jasper followed along wagging contently. The shock collar wasn’t shocking to anyone in the room except maybe dad, Nils, who kept saying things like “This is amazing”, “This is awesome” and I replied, “Yeah, the only thing shocking is how fast this works and how happy the dog is while learning.”
Dad and kids were going to be able to go home and show mom (who had injured her shoulder trying to walk Jasper) how the “shock collar” helped communicate with him. How the tap, tap use of just the right level taught him that paying attention got him all the love, affection and treats he’d been seeking through his previously wild and naughty jumping, biting behavior.
I’m grateful that Nils made the 90 minute drive to my place to get some instruction on how to use the e-collar. He had purchased the Dogtra 2300 through a friends recommendation, but when the collar arrived he was a bit surprised to find no instruction included on how to use the product. So he visited the Dogtra website which lead him to That’s My Dog!
I’m happy the family found us and we have them on the way to a better relationship, but I do believe it is a necessity that manufacturers assist the training community and do a better job educating their consumers on the proper way to use this equipment. I also encourage trainers to continue to come out of the closet on their use of remote training collars. I certainly understand that it can be intimidating and that the name calling and disparaging remarks some of the “all positive ” professionals engage in is disheartening. 🙁
It is only through education that the words shock collar will fade away. Words like e-collar and remote collar will become the norm and become synonymous with fairness and humane dog training.
When that day arrives I’ll stop writing this blog and pop the cork on a bottle of Champange! For now, I’ll celebrate that Nil’s and his kids had made an early morning drive to arrive for a day of training and went home with a dog they could enjoy more thoroughly all thanks to a shock collar and a some education on how to use it.