With recent events in Scotland regarding so called e-collars (the ‘e’ stands for electronic), the debate has been heating up. I thought I would take this opportunity to air a few suggestions to some of the statements that are being made.
I wanted to start with a deeply scientific article about using e-collars but you know what, the people that will read that already know. This article is for people using e-collars, thinking about using e-collars or for those that are simply undecided if they are cool or not.
An e-collar is a collar with a box attached to it that sits on a dogs neck. The handler can remotely operate the collar which can administer one of a few things. The first possibility is a spray, either water or, more commonly used, citronella. Then there are collars that beep, vibrate or give a static shock.
The argument as to whether citronella is a safe option is clearly debunked in Yvette Van Veen of Awesome Dogs’s article Citronella collars – may contain: Pesticides, booze and refrigeration coolant. Van Veen clearly explains in this article that there is a rather large risk to a dog’s health using citronella.
The next use of the e-collar is the vibration. Mostly this function is suggested to be a good tool for deaf dogs. This sounds like a sensible option as it gives a handler a clear way to get a deaf dog’s attention. On doing my own research I posed this question to Karen Lawe of the Deaf Dog Network. Karen trains, lives and advises on Deaf Dogs, she had this to say: “Deaf Dog Network members have found they have to be careful when purchasing a vibration collar as so many have the shock option now. It is the Deaf Dogs Network’s choice to encourage people to train their dogs a reliable check in and recall rather than rely upon a vibration collar. Although vibration collars can have their uses, many dogs are fearful of them even if carefully introduced. If banning a vibration collar means there will be no use of shock collars in this country also it is not such a heavy price to pay.”
Another cause for concern regarding the e-collar is the product’s reliability. The Centre Of Applied Pet Ethology article, Shock Collars; what the manufacturers don’t want you to know gives evidence to the amount of collars that are bought that are faulty, which is seriously worrying. So we can know understand why having a vibration duo shock collar would cause concern.
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