All I want for Christmas is an e-collar…that I can use without violating my professional ethics.
Thanks to modern technology and micro circuitry dog owners and trainers alike enjoy a variety of devices for use in training. Unfortunately, not every one of those devices is enjoyable by dogs. Some, in fact, are utterly shocking.
A common justification for using shock collars is that people need to communicate with their dogs at a distance, while hunting or if the dog is working livestock. Slapping an e-collar on their dog gives them a form of remote communication, albeit crude and painful.
Can you help me find a better way, Santa?
I know your Elves are very talented and must be awfully busy these days so I will tell you exactly what I want and make it easier for you. It is OK with me if you want to share my letter with some clever electrical engineers and entrepreneurs, in case your Elves are swamped, what with Christmas Eve just a few days away.
Besides, those entrepreneurs could grab huge market share and make enough money to buy their own darned presents like sports cars and yachts, freeing up your Elves to make lots more keen toys for us kids!
My e-collar will be comfortable and come in two designs. One will fit about the dog’s neck as a collar; the other will be a secure chest harness. There are already plenty of collars and harnesses available so this will be easy.
Next, instead of having an electronic gizmo with electrodes poking into a dog’s neck, my e-collar will be fitted with a tiny speaker with high quality audio clarity and adjustable volume. iCalmDog™ produces great musical fidelity in a small device and Ultra Calmer™ comes in the form of a dog collar that delivers calming sound to a dog, so I am sure you can figure this out.
The next thing my e-collar needs is a remote control with some nifty functions, kinda like the gadgets James Bond gets to play with. Does he get those cool devices from your workshop, Santa?
The remote control will have a speaker so I can push a button and talk to my dog. If he is running too far away from me while chasing a bunny, I could say “Buddha, leave it” and then call him back to me. This works just great when he is close enough to hear my voice, so the remote speaker will let him hear me even at a distance. Cool!
Another option might be to have a second button that starts a recording process, so I can create several audio files representing training cues Buddha understands. Maybe there could be several programmable buttons. It would be great to just press a button so he could hear my voice saying “Look” or “Sit”, or anything else I need him to respond to.
Maybe there could even be a vibration mode that I could use as another training cue. This would be swell for dogs that are deaf. I could teach Buddha that the vibration means something specific, like to return to a location or to seek me out.
We already play hide-and-seek in the house and the yard. Right now I have to stay close enough to Buddha so he can hear my voice, but that also helps him to locate me. I suppose it’s kinda like cheating. If I had a remote device so he could hear me at a distance even when he cannot see me. That would help him to come find me if ever he got lost.
Maybe my e-collar could even be designed for use with Pet Tutor™ in the same way that Ultra Calmer™ is designed to work with it. I might install my Pet Tutor™ in a location Buddha is familiar with and teach him to return to it for a food reward whenever he hears or feels the remote device cue him to do so.
Buddha loves treats so much I might even change his name to Fooda. Nah, that would be goofy.
Thanks for reading my letter. Oh boy, this is gonna be swell. When can I expect my e-collar, Santa?
I know you won’t let me down. Besides, there are millions of dogs counting on you all around the world who deserve a better e-collar. Their owners don’t mean to be naughty, they just need a nicer alternative.
Thanks for being a force-free advocate and I wish a happy and safe holiday season to one and all!
P.S. I know I’m kinda old…but I’m still a kid at heart. Just ask Buddha!
iCalmDog™ is a product developed by Lisa Spector at ThroughADogsEar.com.
Ultra Calmer™ is a product developed by Pet Acoustics is sold by SmartAnimalTraining.com.
Pet Tutor™ is a product developed and sold by SmartAnimalTraining.com
Daniel H. Antolec, CPT-A, CPDT-KA is the owner of Happy Buddha Dog Training. He has membership in Pet Professional Guild, Force-Free Trainers of Wisconsin, Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Association of Professional Humane Educators and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Dogs on Call, Inc. and is Chairman of Pet Professional Guild Advocacy Committee.