"Dependency Model Dog Trainers in Scotland have just succeeded in getting e-collars banned in a country loaded with sheep, and where the protocol for sheep worrying is to shoot the dog dead."
Sheep and dogs have been around a long time, and during their entire multi-millenia history, dogs have killed sheep. Not thousands of of sheep, and hundreds of dogs, but millions of sheep and millions of dogs.
And you know what happens every time? Sheep and dogs die.
It does not have to be this way. Several decades ago, "buster" e-collars were invented to "bust" dogs off deer and sheep. These collars were too hot for normal dog training purposes, but were no more aversive than the electric fences we see all over the countryside.
About 12 years ago, however, a low-stimulation e-collar showed up on the market. These collars give a very moderated signal -- a tap, not a zap -- and they have proven to be extraordinarily useful tools with which to train dogs, and especially to "proof" dogs so that recalls and commands are obeyed from a distance.
Offering excellent timing, and a range of communication options from beeps to vibration, and a range of electronic stimulation from an impossible-to-feel "tap" to a solid "zap," these collars have proven to be a real threat to Dependency Model Dog Training as practiced by the pure click and treat set.
Clickers and treat bags are marvelous tools for teaching, and they are particularly important when training tricks for which the dog otherwise has no instinctive code or reward, such as running weave poles, carrying small baskets, offering up a paw, or sitting on command.
But clickers and treat bags are much less effective when getting a dog to ALWAYS recall on command (rather than sometimes), or getting a dog to stop chasing squirrels or cats, or to stop barking at things it can see out the window.
You can pay a clicker trainer a lot of money for a very long time, and their working terrier will still not be safe off-lead in a woods full of squirrels, rabbits, and fox. Don't take my word for it: Karen Pryor, the self-styled queen of clicker training could not allow her own dog to run off leash in the woods, and had to contain it in her own yard using an Invisible Fence e-collar!
I mention this because dependency model dog trainers in Scotland have just succeeded in getting e-collars banned in a country loaded with sheep, and where the protocol for sheep worrying it to shoot the dog dead.
From the Aberdeen Herald:
The use of electric shock collars for dogs is to be banned in Scotland, the Scottish Government has announced.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said causing pain to animals by "inappropriate training methods is clearly completely unacceptable".
The ban will be introduced through guidance issued under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
It has been welcomed by animal charities and campaigners including Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden, whose petition calling for the devices to be outlawed attracted more than 19,000 signatures.
The ignorance and ran-away misinformation here is stunning, and I am reminded of an old article by conservation writer Ted Williams entitled Management by Majority who noted that the anti-trapping campaigns in California depended on a pack of lies put on the table and a lot of truth left off. Massive direct mail campaigns were illustrated with a type of leghold trap that had been outlawed and replaced more than 70 years earlier, while the fact that all of the Yellowstone wolves were routinely trapped with legholds in order to vaccinate them and radio-collar them was never mentioned at all.
The Scottish have followed the Welsh down the path to foolishness, deciding to ban ALL e-collars rather than banning the 30-year old models that off-patent and sold cheap by Chinese manufacturers with poor quality control. Would they do the same: ban all cars because there was once a Yugo and a Pinto? Ban all guns because some Saturday Night specials are still made of pot-metal and will exploded in your hand?
The law that Scotland and Wales should have embraced was a standard for ecollars, requiring units used and sold in Scotland and Wales to conform to certain manufacturing and reliability standards, with 100-levels of stimulation from very low to moderate.
Of course, that's not the solution offered up by the Dependency Model Dog Trainers who sought to ban ecollars which they saw as a real threat to their bill-by-the-hour business plan in which so many problems are never quite solved in a reliable manner.
Your dog still does not have a solid recall on squirrels and sheep? Well, perhaps 100 more hours with the trainer will start to put you on the road to success! At the very least, it will help the trainer get a new Vauxhall!
And if that fails, well then the dog can always spend its entire life indoors or on a leash.