and saddens me, 

and makes me wonder  how playing training with your dogs can be fun if it isn’t positive?

I am not naive .. I’ve heard and seen stories about abuse, neglect and violence that I simply don’t share with people who haven’t worked the front lines. Working at the SPCA and a lifetime of teaching have made me somewhat cynical. Maybe that’s why I just can’t imagine working around issues with force anymore.  

This week I’m feeling a little shell-shocked though. I am staggered by the notion that there are people who teach contacts using a shock collar as a tool. I’m horrified to realize that people who truly love and appreciate their dogs don’t understand that shocking a dog is destructive to relationships and going to create some issues with trust. I do understand that many people see it as a tool and use it as such but I can’t understand how dogs are expected to find joy when being shocked into compliance.  

Other People Agree with Me

I’m not alone in this concern,  but doing a little research into these collars is alarming (on youtube there are an awful lot of people laughing wildly as other people take the shocks  from a dog collar.)  I haven’t read all these links yet – but you may have more time than I do, or want to read more. I’ve met dogs comatose from life in a shock collar, dogs with burns on their skin, I have no real urge to read more. I pass no judgement on those that feel they “have” to use a shock collar but it makes me very very sad. 

December 2021 Update

An Instagram follower found this blog recently and asked me what I thought of it now. I reread it and there is nothing in here that I have changed my mind on … if anything I have moved a little more to actually asking people why they use a shock collar if I see one and doing a little light education if they seem interested

If they are interested more in science than my feelings (or their dogs) rather than pointing them here (which has a fair bit of science tucked away – I might even share that followers much newer post on the subject Do Shock Collars Hurt Dogs?  

Give it a read when you get a chance!

Here, in words much wiser than mine, are some thoughts about force and violence:

“Violence begins where knowledge ends” ~Abraham Lincoln

“Lenience will operate with greater force, in some instances than rigor. It is therefore my first wish to have all of my conduct distinguished by it.”~ George Washington

“Do not ever say that the desire to “do good” by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.” ~ Ayn Rand

“Whatever needs to be maintained through force is doomed.”~ Henry Miller

“The person who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out.”  ~Chinese Proverb

“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit.”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr. 

“Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.”  ~Gandhi