Electric Collars: Are they worth it?

I have considered getting an electric collar (or shock collar) for Cassie.  I feel that our problems are pretty typical, where she sees something she wants to chase (i.e. a squirrel, bird, or imaginary prey not identifiable to the human eye) and I completely lose her focus.  Cassie knows her name and she understands she is supposed to come when I call her.  And this works well in the house or in the yard.

But sometimes Cassie just takes off and completely tunes me out because she is clearly on a mission that is way more important than my commands.  And while this wouldn’t be a problem if we lived in a rural area (she always returns within a couple of minutes), I have a hard time explaining to Cassie she is not supposed to go into the street, cross the street, or go anywhere near the street.  How do you explain to a dog that a sprint of exuberance is perfectly fine in certain areas (within the field where I am riding my horse) but it is BAD behavior in other areas  (across the busy road over to the neighbor’s yard).  So I thought, maybe I could shock her back into a listening state of mind when she goes on one of her James Bond dashes.  I think that an electric collar is perfectly fine when it is used correctly.

So did I get one?  No, because I completely balked at the price of one.  Also, I realized that I don’t often put Cassie in enough off-the-leash situations near traffic to make the purchase worthwhile.  My solution was the magic power of the leash when I took Cassie places I didn’t think would be safe for her to be loose.  It’s a hassle at times, but it keeps my doggie out of trouble.

When I asked around about purchasing a shock collar, I got completely mixed reviews.  Some people use it and swear by its effectivity….other people hate it and consider it a device of cruelty.  It seems like a controversial product in the canine world.

So, what are some of the pros and cons of the electric collar?

Pros:

1. It can keep dogs within the boundaries of our property through invisible electric fencing.

2. It can stop dogs from barking.

3. It can correct bad or undesirable behaviors in off-the-leash situations, or gain a dog’s attention when they are misbehaving .

4.   It can teach dogs to stay away from dangerous objects/animals/areas

5. The handler is able to control the amount of force used with the collar.

Cons:

1. Depending on the severity of the shock, the collar can be painful to dogs.

2. An electric collar can overcorrect a dog.

3. It can potentially cause aggression, stress, or anxiety in a dog.

4. In the wrong hands, it can be harmful to a dog’s mental and physical health.

5. It can lessen the bond between the handler/dog.

For related articles, check out: http://shibashake.com/dog/dog-shock-collar-good-bad

The alternative I chose: the leash (and a pretty pink one, at that!)

Dog Officers Need Training Too

The ASPCA tweeted this today:

Tell NYGovCuomo NewYork‘s dog control officers need proper training!

“New York, Help Dog Control Officers Do Their Jobs Right!”
 The ASPCA urges people to sign this bill:

NY A.1657-E/S.3537-D—Training Program for Dog Control Officers

Why it is so important to sign this bill?  If you support this state legislation, it would provide dog control officers (otherwise known as DCOs) in the state of New York with adequate training.  Part of the duties of DCOs is to handle and transport canines, often in undesirable or extreme circumstances.  They need the proper education and skills to effectively and safely carry out their responsibility to the public and the animals.  Often, these handlers are put into situations where they have to deal with unfamiliar dogs who may be frightened or even aggressive.  Without the proper training on the part of the handler, both the officer and the animal they are trying to help are put at risk.  The ASPCA states, “A lack of training has resulted in poor animal care and even cruelty convictions in various parts of New York.”  This has to change.  As owners and dog enthusiasts, we know that in order to properly train a dog it requires both parties (the handler and the canine) to play a part.  This matter isn’t only relevant to pet owners, because it goes beyond animal welfare.  This situation addresses public safety, so all New York residents should be attentive to this bill in order to promote the wellness for  human and canine alike.

         

Dogs are residents of the city, just like people. 

Photo by: Dan Nguyen Dan Nguyen @ New York

Dog Names…Do They Mean Anything?

I talked about the significance of dog breeds in a previous post, and how the type of dog a person owns can tell a lot about their personality.  Can the same be said for what you choose to name your pets?  Like how a poodle named Fifi would probably be owned by the high-maintence women, or the golden retriever Max would have a home with a suburban family, and the imposing pitbull Diablo would be a perfect match with that guy who looks like the human form of the incredible Hulk.  Or maybe you are one of those people who gives your dog a name that is the opposite of what they really are or look like, to make it comical….like the chihuahua named Kujo or the Rotweiler named Princess.  I recently read an article that included the strangest types of dog names (the link is below…just a preview, “Big Mac” made the list for one of the weirdest pet names that people use)

For me, I wanted a low-key type of name.  Nothing too common, but nothing too strange either.  Cassie came to me with the name Missy, and it just didn’t seem to fit her laid back personality or her humble looks (her shaggy hair often gets her mistaken for an “old man” and when she is relaxed she has Yoda ears that stick out to the side).  Missy made me think of prissy…and that was not my dog.  So Cassie it was…and luckily I think she agrees that the name suits her well!  Personally, I think that whatever name you choose for your pooch it should have some type of meaning or thought behind it.  You wouldn’t want your parents giving you some random name that they didn’t even care about…so don’t do it do your dog.

Your dog isn’t just an object (even if they can fit into shopping bags)… so they deserve a name that suits them!

photo from: yonited.deviantart.com

Storify

If you have never used Storify before, I would recommend it!  Its a website that allows you to tell your own “story” using texts, images, videos, etc… you “make the web tell a story”.  Best part is, it’s free.  Once you are a member, you can create your own stories and see millions of others.  I made one of my own, called “Dogs of Today”.  Here is the link:

http://storify.com/rachelb92716

 

Here is a preview:

Why do we love dogs?  They are more than a household pet, they are man’s best friend.  Maybe that’s why so many dogs are taking after their owners…Take a look!

 
Photo: Taken Nathan Rupert San Diego Shooter, at flickr.com
Photo: Wikipediacommons.org
Photo: Marco Falcioni, at flickr.com