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My Dog & I: It’s Shocking!

I am going to jump right in here and talk about a very controversial new tool that is changing a lot of lives…

For some years, I have been using remote collars in my toolbox as an aid to better long distance, off-leash communication with my dogs.


I have had great success with dogs that would previously NEVER have been allowed off-leash to run or explore nature.

I have great success with dogs that could not co-mingle with other dogs to walk or play safely and with dogs that have not been able to control their impulses in order to be accepted into the family group.

This tool has had a great deal of mixed press and there is, indeed substance behind many of the scary mythology that has accompanied its use.

“Back in the Day” these collars, known as “shock collars”, were used in a crude manner to control dogs in the hunting field from roaming too far and punishing incorrect behavior. Later, the idea of the “electronic” fence came on the market so that humans did not have to seem un-neighborly by erecting barriers between their houses…(We English have no problems with a garden wall)

But let’s move on from those ideas…The remote collars of today are as different from those devices as the “iphone” is from the rotary phone in our grandparents’ kitchens!

In the right hands, with a little education, these new collars ( and I am referring to the sophisticated collars produced by companies like Dogtra and Garmin) can be subtle and humane bridges to better understanding between us.

A healthy adult dog takes between four to ten steps per every human stride and needs to stretch his legs every day to maintain his optimum fitness…That sounds like lot of ground to cover for a slow human! Imagine if you could stroll at a leisurely pace, roll along in a wheelchair, or even sit in one place while your dog covered ground at his own speed and you knew you could call him back at any time.

Think about being able to discourage your dog from jumping on new people without yelling or pulling on a collar or leash. What would it be like to gently remind your dog that you were connected while he was 200 yards away and thinking of pursuing that squirrel?

These are just a few of the things that working with a remote collar can help with.

  Playing with other dogs without rough housing

  Playing with the kids without knocking them over

  Barking only ONCE to alert the house to strangers

  Staying in place while the humans eat their dinner in peace…

Now, no new tool, however sophisticated will replace good basic education and I do NOT recommend that this tool should be purchased and used without some guidance and support.

A badly introduced electronic collar can cause serious problems with your dog and may certainly confuse and frighten him. But with some very simple guidelines, the ECollar as it has become known can be a lifesaver and certainly a game changer in our lives and cannot be dismissed as a torture device anymore.

So please, let’s dispel the myth and stop calling these devices “shock collars” but do some research and ask the help of a professional in incorporating some high tech help into our training toolbox.

For info on classes and collars please give us a shout….. | Follow Janine on instagram @goodladd_dogtraining and hire her at! Find this column at

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