The last couple of months, I have been contacted by several new clients with human aggressive dogs. Now this is not that surprising because I specialize in aggression cases, but the cases are unfortunately leading back to improper handling from professionals in the canine behavior field. I will not name names, or businesses and the point of this article is to educate owners of the potential danger of some training techniques being used.
The following are real case files from owners that I have recently had. The only thing that was changed is the names, the rest of the material are the owners own encounters.
I had been hired to help a gentleman with his dog “G”, a 10 pound 2.5 yr old mix breed. His presenting problem was constant barking and nipping at other dogs & at people.
The barking started at 1.5 yrs old and the owner sought obedience training to curb it. The barking did not stop, but instead the dog started nipping at people.
During the consult, each time the owner touched the dog it would show extreme signs of stress, yawning, lip licking, stress shakes/scratches. The tail would tuck with any touch.
The gentleman was not threatening, heavy handed or quick in his movements; he was very gentle and kind. The entire hour the dog reacted this way, so I questioned the owner if he showed these signs at home and he admitted that he did. The owner said he had been a very “chill, laid back” kind of dog until a year ago.
I continued the consult and asked him what commands the dog knows. There was a brief pause, and the owner looked down at his little friend and started petting him. He explained to me that he does not perform his commands very well, but his reaction looked like that of guilt not disappointment. So I asked how the commands were taught. He explained that they used an “e-collar” on him and he felt awful because the dog would scream and cry with every command given….
The owner now has a dog that used to be friendly and laid back, but with a little help from a professional, it is begun defending itself from humans and is even stressed by it’s own owners touch.
I am not quite sure why anyone would put an e-collar on a dog to teach it basic obedience, what is the human race thinking when we do these things? Don’t you think if a dog screams and cries, there may be a problem??
I have a large dog pack; with patience and training I have taught my dogs how to be off leash, and do distance commands, yes with patience and training- not shock therapy. I have deaf dogs, they recall without shock therapy as well. They use their noses, sad to think we lost our creativity and have become this lazy in the field of dog training.
Have we become so caught up in how fast we can do things, that we forget a little thing called compassion? I am appalled that someone could be this cruel and call him or herself a trainer.
The very same trainer thought it was a good idea to use an e collar on a defensive German Shepard that already had trust issues. Sadly the poor dog was wearing a muzzle and could not defend itself, although he tried. They had been out walking while the owner watched, after a few minutes the dog turned and tried to bite the trainer. What was said next gives me chills,
Trainer to owner: “Not sure why that one bothered him, I had already used the collar about 20 times.” Really? The dog had the patience for 20 tones (tones is what they want you to believe it is), and finally lost it on you and you are confused as to why? Really???
Ok let me give you the same scenario but with you, cause after all, if you think it is not going to hurt your dog in anyway, you should be fine with my little experiment.
For one full day please place the same e collar on your neck. Forget your thigh like so many trainers tell you. The collar is placed in the neck, where their jugular is. (Some trainers even tell you to “shave” the neck so they can feel it more).
Place it on your neck right over your jugular and fasten it so it is tight enough not to slip. Set it to the low setting and tell me the “tone” does not bother you.
Now with every step- hit the tone, but remind yourself how awesome you are for taking the tone. “Good human”.
Before you sit, tone yourself. Before you eat, tone yourself. If you are not happy with the tones at this point give yourself a better treat, maybe chocolate. There ya go all better right?
Now, if you speak out of turn, or how any frustration to another human- remember crank it up and tone yourself. If you tone yourself the amount of times you tone your dog, (which obviously you cannot do) and by the end of the day you feel no stress, no headache, no pain; call me. I would love to do it again but with me holding the remote. I may not be as nice as you though. Screaming and crying after all, is acceptable.