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I had an interesting call the other day from an Animal Control officer wanting to know my take on whether or not a remote dog training collar should be considered the same as a leash. Apparently the idea was proposed that city ordinances be altered to include e-collars as an acceptable substitute for a physical leash.
Those of you that have been following this blog for a while are probably pretty aware that you won’t find a much bigger advocate for remote collar dog training than myself so do you want to guess my response?
It was, without hesitation, an unequivocal, NO.
There is no way I would want a city ordinance to say that an electronic or remote dog training collar is considered as a substitute for a leash.
Blasphemy, coming from me you say?…well, let me explain.
It just isn’t that simple. If municipalities go that route of thinking it is too easy for someone to go out to the pet store, purchase a remote dog training collar, strap it on their dog and go on their merry way believing they are abiding by the law.
Government entities are concerned with dog’s being under control so that their constituents feel at ease with dog’s being in public. An electronic collar strapped to the dog’s neck doesn’t mean the dog is under control of the owner. Or course neither does a leash, a head halter, a prong collar or a bag full of treats. These are all just tools created to assist a dog owner in gaining control through training. How would we know if the person took time to learn how to use these things successfully?
A dog running a-muck, barking, lunging or dragging someone down the street puts a black eye on all of us. It is a problem. (oh yeah, and the pooping on the street and not picking it up, shame on the guilty dog owners for that one)
The remote dog training collar isn’t magic. None of the tools are really all that mystical (although I did have a lovely elderly client once who called her Dogtra remote her Magic Wand which was very cute)
In the world I envision the laws will allow for dog’s to be off leash in public if owners prove themselves capable of maintaining control despite distractions. A simple test administered by the ACO or other official and the dog/owner team earns a permit for off leash access to the city that year. It would be good for dog training, good as a revenue source for the city, good for dogs and good for helping owners learn more about how to develop that kind of relationship with their beloved pet. A big win all around.
And get this…It is already actually being done! No need to reinvent the wheel if your looking to create this kind of legislation in your area.
It isn’t about the tool. I urge you to remember it about understanding dogs, people and training.
Now don’t get me wrong or I risk losing my Shock Collar reputation! (wink, wink) I still firmly believe a remote dog training collar can help the average dog lover achieve off leash reliability WAY faster than they would otherwise.