Saturday, 15 February 2014

Oh yes they did! Quebec government has said no more shocking and pinching dogs.

Taken from the MAPAQ Guide d'application du règlement sur la sécurité et le bien-être des chats et des chiens, Article 26, page 21



There's been lots of chatter about the news that the Quebec government agency that oversees regulation for the safety and well-being of dogs and cats (MAPAQ) has deemed electronic collars and prong collars "unacceptable" equipment as of 2013.  Public reaction was initially mixed:  There was some celebrating on one side and some grumbling on the other.  Both sides agreed, however, that this was a pretty benign move on the government's part and that basically nothing would change out there in the real world.

And then this week it was made known that getting caught using such equipment would result in a fine of no less than $600, and that several "first warnings" had already been issued to members of the public.  Whoa.  The low-volume chatter quickly erupted into a full-out ballroom blitz.

I posted this announcement on my tiny Facebook page and within a day it had spread like wildfire.  I received angry comments and messages from people who are clearly very upset by this news.  Some insist the government is making a big mistake; that this equipment is crucial to dog training and behaviour management (it's not).  Some complained that the regulation, as it is written, is unclear and difficult to decipher (it is).  Some people refused to believe it at all and accused me of making the whole story up to further my own personal agenda (um, okaaaay...).

Some went so far as to predict that hundreds and even thousands of dogs in Quebec would die because their dangerous behaviour can only be corrected by this magical equipment.  Unfortunately, many people still believe this fallacy.  The truth is that the use of such equipment to modify aggressive behaviour will most likely exacerbate the problem in the long-run by merely suppressing behaviour and creating a dog that is a ticking time-bomb.  But that's a whole other post.

My knee-jerk reaction to these people's knee-jerk reactions was initially to defend the government's decision by trying to help people understand that it was made for the right reasons.  This is a good thing, people!  It's okay, don't worry.... dogs won't die because of this!  You CAN walk your dog without one of these collars;  you CAN train a dog... any dog, any breed, any size, any behaviour... without this equipment.  And you can do so with better results.  No really, you can!  

You would think people would be jumping all over this revelation, excited to learn of the alternatives. "We can??  Omg, show me!!"  Instead, many are holding steadfastly to what they "know" works.  They don't want nor accept change, and they absolutely resent it being forced on them by the government.

It reminds me of the uproar that ensued when the government started to get involved with regulating where and when people could smoke tobacco.  No more smoking in schools (well, yeah... okay).  No more smoking in hospitals (well, yeah... okay, I guess).  No more smoking on planes (wait, what?).  No more smoking in restaurants (now hold on a second...!).  No more smoking in bars (you can't do that!).  You know what?  No more smoking in public buildings anywhere!  (THE ECONOMY WILL CRASH! BUSINESSES WILL CLOSE!  PEOPLE WILL LEAVE THE PROVINCE!!)

Over time, these new regulations become the norm.  No-one complains about not smoking on a plane.  No-one lights up defiantly in a restaurant after dessert.  The economy did not crash, businesses did just fine.  The world did not end, and we are all much better off for it.

This is what's happening here, I believe.  This is the doom and gloom phase, the fear stage, the being-dragged-away-kicking-and-screaming chapter.  One day, using gentler, smarter, more efficient methods and equipment to train an animal will be the norm, and we'll look back on the days of electronic collars and prong collars (and one day even choke collars) as the Dark Ages, the era before we were enlightened.  And many will be embarrassed about how we carried on with our silly equipment.

Maya Angelou said "Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better."

We know better now.  It's time to do better.  And I am giving a massive high-5 to the Quebec government for taking the first important steps.

July 29, 2014:  In June 2014, the MAPAQ document referred to above was modified. The word "inacceptables" (unacceptable) was changed to "non-recommandés" (not recommended).  The fines remain in place for the misuse of this equipment as outlined in the MAPAQ guide.  (NT)


50 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Absolutely LOVE this and wish the U.S. would take steps to make it a reality here.

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  3. Bien fait, Quebec. One can only hope this spreads to even more countries than those that have already decided that shocking dogs in the name of training is unacceptable.

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    1. I see a very long list of commenters that are speaking with a complete lack of knowledge or experience when it comes to dog training. It sounds bad so it must be bad...right? The reality is these are tools nothing more nothing less. I can abuse a dog with a choke chain, flat collar, or piece of string.
      I train dogs, many are strong high drive animals that require a strong handler and stronger tools.
      This myth that you can train dogs with nothing more then clickers and cookies is mis information spread to impress the uneducated.
      I compete with my dogs and showcase my training, the majority of these "professional" purely posative trainers do not and cannot.

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    2. Hopefully this nonsense does not spread to the rest of Canada.

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    3. And how exactly do you presume to know the experience and knowledge of people across the Internet? Is it possible that there is more than one method of training dogs, and is it maybe possible that there ARE positive-only trainers who do a lot more with their dogs than you think they do? Open up your eyes and look outside your own little world. Not everything is what it seems.

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    4. I would posit that the majority of those who train with these tools do no and cannot train to the level of competition either. I could name at least 20 force free trainers that do compete at high levels and win. I won't as it would just create a war of naming names, but the point is that if you look, you can find them.

      This same point is made for "red zone" dogs, that they can't be fixed without these tools. And yet, I personally have been doing this for years and getting close to a decade since I crossed over from relying on these crutches.

      Narrow minds will say anything to justify their positions. Doesn't make it true. Doesn't make it false either, but these positions and theories are only that without proof.

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  4. The biggest obstacle, as I see it is getting ppl to invest the time to learn how to teach their dog. Many, actually most dog owners I know, or encounter, never deliberately teach their dog anything beyond sit & down. I've had people say to my face as they struggle with an unruly dog, right in front of me, "I don't have time to learn all that. Isn't there a pill or something I can give him?"

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  6. I agree with unknown, There are so many people that want quick fixes with their dogs and sometimes when used properly these tool provide that and convinces the owner to keep the dog where they would otherwise give up due to lack of dedication. Id rather see occasional dogs with these tools in a home where people are loving and feeding it than in a shelter or being put to sleep because someone didnt have the time to train the dog properly

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    1. I'd rather see dogs with people who know how to take care of them properly, than with people who don't put time and effort into them.

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  7. Because force and fear are not necessary to train any animal, morally they should not be used. I hope that the USA and others will outlaw these aversive training tools.

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  8. AWESOME!!!!!!!! Now Nova Scotia needs to get on this.

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  9. Hooray! At least one place is headed in the right direction! You don't need these to train your dog not to pull on a leash!

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  10. Maybe Quebec should focus on the fact that they have the most puppy mills than anywhere else in Canada before they do this law - priorities seem a little skewed but such is the way of Quebec. http://www.hsi.org/world/canada/work/puppy_mills/facts/canada_puppy_mills.html

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  11. Well good for them. This is great news. Hopefully this will catch on elsewhere, though I won't hold my breath. I am going to post a link to this on a facebook page of a company that sells prong collars, where I have been having a bit of a debate with the guy who runs the company. He openly insults anyone on his business page that protests against him selling prong collars. Well, I say debate; I put my case for not using prong collars and he talks complete nonsense instead of using the opportunity to further his cause that prong collars are not painful and are needed.

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  12. Woah! I'm shell shocked! Applause for Quebec!

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  13. Out of curiosity, does this regulation in Quebec include a ban or fine against the use of invisible fencing? Invisible fencing, also being a training tool using an electronic collar? If it is not included, why?

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  14. No one method works for EVERY dog. This applies for all training techniques, including positive-only. It is foolish to believe otherwise, because every dog is different and requires a custom approach, which may or may not include the use of a prong or even electric collar. These are just tools in the balanced trainer's toolbox, to be used only as needed, and certainly NOT on every dog.

    I disagree with this statement: "It's okay, don't worry.... dogs won't die because of this!" Dogs will die for lack of leadership, direction, and correction. Dogs need very clearly defined boundaries, and for strong assertive dogs, these tools may be appropriate to help define those boundaries. I have seen several dogs in my town alone that were surrendered to the shelter and scheduled to be euthanized for "aggressive" behavior. In reality, most of these animals were strong, willful dogs who had been spoiled by their owners, owners who had an aversion to correcting their dog for willful disobedience. Many of these dogs had been to positive trainers who "tried everything", except correcting the dog. They "tried everything" except a prong collar correction, and now the dogs were scheduled to die, had not my friends pulled them from the shelters or connected their owners with appropriate trainers.

    One dog had been to professional positive trainers for YEARS with no improvement in his out of control, aggressive behavior toward other dogs. ONE session with a balanced trainer, who had to utilize a prong collar for three corrections, taught this dog to rethink his nastiness toward other dogs. He learned that ignoring them was best. This behavior was rewarded, of course, but it wasn't until the correction made the other behavior less rewarding that the dog would even accept the alternative of ignoring other dogs. The use of the prong collar dramatically interrupted his fixation, and made this self-rewarding behavior less rewarding. Once his handlers had his brain, and his respect, they could finally train their dog.

    The appropriate use of prong and e-collars is not about fear and force. It is about respect, and about making a much more rewarding behavior less rewarding. They are tools, nothing more. There are behaviors for certain dogs that are more rewarding than ANY reward you can offer, meaning the dog WILL ignore you and do what it wants. You can actually see them weighing their options and making that decision! For these types of dogs, the use of prong or e-collar will proof the desired behavior and make it more reliable. Reliability cannot be achieved without them in some dogs, no matter what positive-only trainers believe. The majority of them have never encountered a dog like that! Believe me, a police dog is not going to perform a call off for a click and a cookie/toy, not when the bite and the fight is so much more rewarding. Take a working dog that relishes the fight with the helper/protection decoy, and they could care less about giving up the fight for a toy, another sleeve, etc....so when they decide to do what they want (fight the helper) when they KNOW the desired response, then a correction will be necessary. Again, not a dog that most positive-only trainers would ever encounter, thus missing out on the effectiveness of a balanced approach!

    Many folks in the general public just use prongs and e-collars as a quick fix. I agree that it is a problem. Many pet owners just want tools to force the dog to do the behavior --and this includes head halters and no-pull harnesses!--rather than actually train the behavior reliably. But rather than an outright ban, why not have people to go through a training seminar and certification process, so they can learn how to appropriately use these tools, if needed? This in itself would narrow down the use primarily to those who really need it. And yes, some do need it, because again, no one method works for all dogs. The good trainer adjusts their training to fit the individual dog, instead of forcing the dog to fit the method.

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    1. Well said Carissa. I just recently observed a rehab of two DA Rottie bitches. Loved, nurtured, and trained by their owners but the escalation toward each other continued until .....drum roll. A well timed pinch correction, followed by an e-collar correction when they were off lead. These owners could not have continued with these two dogs without an intervention...

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    2. Exactly!!! 10-12 yrs ago, a California locale tried to ban declawing of cats. The advocates screamed it was for the betterment of humanity towards cats. Without being able to see the forest for the trees...the realization was that few cats would be adopted from shelters and more turned in. Fewer homes would be available and more cats euthanized. That's an analogy of how short sided and ill-informed (although welld intentioned ... hell was paved with good intentions) that legally prohibiting these training aides, is. And you are on point Carissa, I have also seen Strictly Purely Positive Trainers miserably fail at rehabilitating or correcting aggression. Aggression that is typically genetically based and permissiveness at the hands of the owner.

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    3. Just as not all balanced/compulsion trainers are good at timing and intensity of corrections, not all positive trainers are good at timing or value of rewards. They may love what they do and be charismatic enough to keep people coming back, but it doesn't mean that they are good. I've seen plenty of people go through training with trainers that were not very good - lo and behold they don't get the results, regardless of the method used.

      There are trainers that are excellent, on both sides of the fence. Timing and technique are great, they use their resources well and get the dog to the point of training that is desired. What I don't understand is if you can get the same results using positive training without force, corrections and pain, why would you choose compulsion? To say that the majority of positive-only trainers have never encountered these willful dogs... how exactly could you know that? How on earth do you think it is possible that they have never once come across a dog like this? We see out-of-control, disobedient dogs all the time!

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    4. As a crossover trainer, I have a good idea of what both sides of training are like. I took a course in competitive obedience (companion dog based in compulsion) with a trainer who has titled over a hundred dogs (mostly GSDs and Dobermans) in Obedience, Schutzhund, Police K-9 and Detection Dogs. I was taught how to formally train my dog. I also worked in boarding/training kennels for 4 years, so I have experience with hundreds of different dogs. All different breeds, sizes and temperaments. I know what a high-drive, willful dog is like, I HAVE one myself! She is a GSD - she used to be extremely reactive to other dogs. I used to use choke chains to train, and started using a prong collar to correct aggressive behaviour. The chain never worked (she normally would maintain her frenzy until the other dog was completely out of sight), although the prong collar often subdued her. The problem that discouraged and absolutely frustrated me the most was that my dog's reaction to seeing other dogs NEVER changed. I had to correct her EVERY SINGLE TIME that she saw another dog, because she would instantly go into a frenzy. That was not what I wanted, that was not my goal. Things were getting worse. She was becoming quicker to react and more aggressive, even though I could silence her with a sharp correction. I was angry and tense (using physical force does that to me), so was my dog.

      One day I met with a positive trainer and he introduced me to Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT). I was desperate enough for a solution, but I was doubtful that positive training could change my high-energy, high-drive dominant dog's aggression. I dived in and have never looked back. I am so grateful, since I saw no hope for my dog. I'd never heard of a positive method that seemed effective - it all depended on if the dog liked food, and classical counter-conditioning was never specific in explaining stress and what to look for to be sure you were making progress. BAT changed everything for me.

      I also started using Control Unleashed, so I learned how to use a clicker/treats to teach my dog focus and confidence around other dogs. I started training for Flyball, Rally Obedience and Agility using a combination of the Control Unleashed techniques and positive methods to teach the specifics of each sport. When we work together now we are happy, relaxed and engaged, there's so much trust, even around dogs that would previously have sent her into rabid state. Where she would've reacted from as far as 100 ft., she can now remain calm and focused within 10-15 ft. of unfamiliar dogs. Reactions are way less intense, short-lived, and easy to get her back. I just call and click her, and she happily snaps out of it.

      My dog is not perfect but she is greatly improved. It is amazing to me, knowing what she was like before. Her compliance and willingness to obey has soared since our compulsion days. With the right technique, good timing and patience, and you can absolutely train any dog, regardless of his size, breed or temperament - including resolution of aggression!

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    5. Just as you made an example of someone going to positive trainers for years with zero improvement, I know of some people locally who have been going to the resident shock collar trainer for years with their aggressive dogs, and the dogs still cannot do a down on command. Aggression not resolved. The trainer's own dogs do not respond quickly, and one of them she doesn't even bring into public because it is too reactive. It's just another example of how not every trainer is good at what they do.

      Let me try to give a quick look at how I might problem solve the police dog who won't give up the fight on command. I would start in a no distraction setting with a flirt pole, under the assumption the dog already has a fairly reliable "Out" except when he is highly aroused. My goal is to increase his desire to "Out" and respond to other commands, since when he does drop it the game will continue, and when he doesn't, the game will end. What does the dog want very badly? To continue the game and the fight! So I will send him after the toy, allow him to play, and begin casually starting and ending the game, interrupting him to Sit/Down, etc. Then I will command "Out" giving him no more than 2 seconds to let go. If he lets go, I will continue the game by sending him after the toy again. If he does not, I will use my No Reward Marker (such as ah-ah) and I will instantly end the game for that day and use other means to exercise and stimulate the dog.

      This will appear very sloppy in the beginning, but with a smart, intense dog, he will soon realize that the very thing he doesn't want to give up will certainly go away if he does not obey. He will certainly get to continue the game if he does obey. A quick "Out" (which can be reduced to 1 second) will result in continuation of play, while a delayed "Out" will cause the game to end. I would do this until the quick "Out" is consistent. You then gradually begin to ask the dog to do more. "Out" and "Focus/Look" then get the toy. "Out", "Look" and "Front" then go get the toy. "Out", "Front" and "Finish" then go get the toy. Expand until your dog is doing longer performances including Heeling and whatever else it is you need him to do. Occasionally give him a shorter rep, so he won't think he's always having to work harder. You then transfer this behaviour onto the decoy. It's not difficult, and doesn't take much time, and in fact is a lot more fun and less frustrating.

      I realize it isn't your goal to tell the dog "Out" and then send him back to the decoy. You want a quick response and flawless call off. But this is training - you set the dog up to believe everything he does for you will be rewarded, therefore the behaviours themselves become rewarding. Training is not about rehearsing the perfect performance right from the start and punishing the dog's mistakes.

      If you don't believe it can be done, or that nobody does it, try checking out Steve White (police K-9 trainer), Michelle Pouliot (guide dogs for the blind), Karen Pryor (clicker trainer, seminar presenter), Janice Gunn (TNT Kennels competitive obedience trainer), Grisha Stewart (BAT for fear, frustration and aggression) and Leslie McDevitt (specializes in working/sporting dogs with anxiety, frustration and reactivity). Positive reinforcement trainers who have great success using clicker training, reward-based programs and have no need for corrections of any kind.

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    6. As most know there are many factors you must consider when training dogs;
      1. What is the type of actions you wish the animal to perform, ie; as a pet,service dog,working dog, military or police work.
      Then the experience level of the trainer and the tools they utilize to train with.
      Last and certainly not least, the dogs ability to learn. We have had plenty of studies on dog training that revel, dogs learn, like humans on different levels. Some quicker and some a bit slower but as accepted in the training world,all dogs have the learning capability equal to a human 6 year old...having said that, in my 30+ years training dogs, I have never used the prong collar nor the shock collar. the dogs I have trained were some very docile, to some of the meanest dogs on the planet!!! Most training methods can be abused just as utilizing this type of equipment can often be abused. Not all people should venture into the dog training field. I for one would rather see stiffer punishments given to people that abuse the dogs as opposed to making a piece of equipment banned...

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    7. We do have huge decisions to make when deciding to train any animal. It is simply no longer acceptable to abuse animals in the name of training. Teaching up front what the message is makes much more sense than punishing an animal for having guessed wrong at what our demand was. Teaching Never = Punishment
      Heather A. Logan Cloverfield Animal Behaviour Services.

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    1. Somehow, my at-lengh response got lost in cyberspace. Suffice to say, Nancy, I question your training experience and expertise, and your ability to make emotionally driven snap judgements that do not always have a solid logical foundation. You called flexi leashes "terrifying" too, until you had to resort to using one to avoid and manage your shelter dog's issues...

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    1. I have a dog that gets into the trash. We even got a locking garbage can but she figured out that if she put pressure in the right spot, she could circumvent the lock because the can is plastic and bows. So I put the trash can in the pantry closet. If we didn't have the closet, I would have put a trash can under the sink and used childproofing measures on the cabinets. The dog doesn't get into the trash anymore, no vet bills, we don't have to crate her, stay home all the time, or confine her. And I didn't have to hurt my dog to do it OR put any time into training her. Sometimes, there are really simple solutions.

      The fact that your dog gets into the trash once he realizes he doesn't have the shock collar on tells me that your dog isn't "trained" not to get into the garbage. So all you're doing is managing the behavior, the same as me, only you use the threat of pain rather than just removing the object of temptation.

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  17. When balanced trainers use that ridiculous assertation that no one tool works for every dog, that is simply their own excuse for using archaic tools that are not necessary to train any dog. No one exact sequence of method works for every dog. That is accurate. However millions of positive reinforcement reward-based trainers use gentle methods on every dog in different ways in order to modify their behavior. We do this on a daily basis. But we don't make videos of us trying to tame the so-called savage beast and place them on YouTube. Because this type of training doesn't involve drama. So when you say we are sentencing dogs to death with our methods, we are actually saving them from death from people like you.

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    1. There's also that pesky "science" thing that shows us that pretty much any behavior can be trained or changed using classical conditioning, positive reinforcement, etc. Since pretty much every behavior school or association out there eschews the use of such tools, it makes sense to me for dog trainers to reconsider their use.

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    2. Exactly! Don't blame the method, blame the execution of it (Bob Bailey).

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    3. That pesky science thing gets in the way when you truly understand all quadrents of operant conditioning one of which involve positive punishment. The reality is the majority of dogs cannot be reliably trained without the application of positive punishment. It is necessary for the proofing process...

      Ofcourse you would actually have to train dogs to know that..lol.

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    4. Trust me, dogs are not smarter than people, so if you take a few minutes to problem solve and get creative, you can teach any dog to do anything with positive reinforcement and negative punishment. And you can absolutely get reliability, just don't expect perfection in a dog under 2 years of age, which is what a lot of people tend to expect. Not that a dog of that age can't be reliable, it's just a little unrealistic to expect a young dog with bad habits to make a sudden turnaround and be perfect at all times, like some sort of robot that can be programmed to behave 'properly'.

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    5. I proof service dogs all the time and never use corrections. What is proofing anyway? It's just teaching the dog that the behavior being cued must be done no matter what is going on in the environment. Service dogs have to be proofed for situations and environments that even most sports dogs don't.

      There is no need to use any tool to teach a dog anything. Not even a collar and leash. That we use them is convenience and in many cases laziness and magical thinking.

      All dogs learn the same, their behavior issues may be different and so different exercises may be used to help them resolve those issues, but for general training, all dogs learn the same. Even those trainers who use those tools being banned here, only teach obedience one way.

      I remember a force trainer who I had to work with as co-trainer a few years back calling for a meeting between the 3 trainers in this endeavor. The purpose for this meeting for him was to insist that using his forceful methods would be overlooked by the two of us who used force free methods. His approach however was "How do we teach sit?". The other trainer and I both insisted that there were many ways to do it and even named a few. But he kept insisting on getting this question answered until I finally asked him what his point was. And he said "then you don't mind if I use force?".

      So in one breath he was saying that all dogs are different and then insisted on using only force to teach a sit.

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  18. I have been training dogs for 20 years. I train 300 pet dogs a year of all size and breed. I have titled dogs in SCH obedience as well as hunting retrievers bomb dogs and drug dogs. I am very fluent with the clicker as well the pinch or prong and e collars. Most of the pet dogs I train I train with the e collar I have trained dogs as small as 3 pounds and as big as 200 pounds with the e collar. Used correctly the e collar is a great tool that will get results much faster than any other way that I know. I use the collar in a way you can't tell me when I am using it and when I am not. The dogs tail is up and the dog is very happy. The dog is not in pain of any sort. Every type of training has it negative side. with clicker training what do you do with a dog that has no food or toy drive? You with hold food. This is a negative and is stressful to the dog. A lot of the dogs I see have been through clicker training. Clicker trainers in my area send me the dogs they can do nothing with. I am not downing clicker training. I do use clickers as well as e collars. But when I hear a person say things like the e collar only mask aggression or the e collar is torture this bothers me because I use it every day and have saved the lives of many dogs that clicker training did not help. These dogs would have been euthanized. I truly love what I do and love the animals that I work with. Open your minds and educate yourself on the proper use of the e collar you will find it very useful and humane training tool

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    1. Actually, every dog has at least one motivator. I just got a service dog through her Public Access Test at 18 months old, but she had passed all her other tests by the time she was 11 months. Not once did we use food, play or toys. We did not use special collars or electronics. The only thing she was interested in was licking her owners face.

      Another dog I worked with trained with a rock as her motivator for 3 months and I have another dog I just finished with who also wanted nothing except to chase rocks. The clicker training philosophy is not about food, toys and clickers. It's about finding what motivates the dog and using that to encourage a dog to learn. It doesn't matter whether that learning is obedience type behaviors or changing emotions and negative behaviors. Anything less is convenience and possible magical thinking.

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  19. For those who ask: "why on Earth would anyone use a prong collar?", there is a good blog on the topic:

    http://guarddogblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/prick-me-im-dreaming/

    These are tools, often used for management *while* training desired behaviors using a reward-based system. I do not know of *anyone* who teaches their dogs behaviors by jerking them around on a prong collar. The prong is not a "training" collar, like some people seem to think. It is a management tool that can be effectively and appropriately used to control high drive, assertive working dogs, most of whom view a correction as a minor inconvenience in their quest to fulfill their drive/desire. Using a non-reward marker or witholding a reward often whips them up higher into a frenzy, overwhelming their ability to think. A correction, on the other hand, refocuses and recenters the dog.

    Just today I spent time with another dog saved by using an e-collar for management. This dog was extremely reactive and dog aggressive, and no amount of positive training and desensitization could help him. The handler was told she was left with one choice: euthanasia. This was right when I first met them (just over a year ago); the dog was a reactive mess, unable to free up and discover his full potential. But she found another trainer, after already going through several who couldn't help her. Through the correct use of the e-collar, this dog was able to curb and control his aggression and reactivity. Is he still reactive? Yes. It is who he is. But now it is controlled, and the dog is in a much healthier, more stable place emotionally and mentally. This dog has now been able to be shown in conformation, obedience, and is now starting training in IPO/Schutzhund. A huge difference from where he was a year ago. The proper application of the e-collar SAVED HIS LIFE and helped him reach his full potential, allowing him to have a rich and full life despite his reactivity. All his other training is done through R+. This has been the only dog this handler has had that has ever needed an e-collar, but she is so thankful she did not give up on him and was able to use that tool to help him.

    There are four quadrants to operant conditioning. All have their place in effectively and humanely training dogs. A good trainer knows how to effectively utilize all four to help a dog reach its full potential and enjoy the freedom that comes with mastering behavior, having clear boundaries, and having a good relationship with its handler. For some dogs, this may involve the use of a prong or e-collar at some point; for others, they would never require such tools. But now the freedom to use these tools (if needed) is gone, and no doubt other freedoms will be close behind. Give an inch, and you will lose a mile.

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  20. While I agree with the shock I think there should be an exception for certified trainers. Shock collars should not be in the hands of the general public because the risk of misuse and abuse is just too high and should only dive used under the direct supervision of a trainer. Most people don't have the absolute perfect timing a shock needs or the experience to evaluate when it is appropriate. However a bark collar can save a dog's life but there are alternatives with spray bark collars so they are all set. Prong collars however should not be banned. They are certainly not for every dog but if used properly are a very valuable training device and a heck of a lot safer than a choke chain. Balanced training is a heck of a lot different than compulsion. The dogs are introduced to the commands using positive methods. Anything that needs to be completely extinguished like jumping is corrected and when they offer an alternative behavior they are rewarded for it. So they go to jump and are corrected, stop mid-jump, and come back to your side and receive a reward for coming back to you. Sit: once they already know sit using positive methods and are choosing not to obey, they get a correction and then sit and get a reward because they sit. I tried the positive only and got a highly unreliable dog that walked all over me and relied on treats all the time. I was unable to wean the dog off the treats. With correction I've been able to easily wean them off treats. Now I start all dogs on a martingale. I never use a choke as they are not safe. If that does not work then we step it up to a prong. The correction is not a hard yank, it is a flick of the wrist. If I need to use more than a gentle tug. That is why the tool is also so useful. It requires very little strength to give a gentle correction. I personally have 2 dogs that will jump into prongs but shut down in head collars so no one can tell me that a head collar is more humane and yes both we introduced to the head collar properly. Dogs are not horses and do not have the neck muscles to be safely lead around by the head. Therefore the prongs when used properly do not harm the dogs especially if my dogs are so willing to jump into them. This just proves the gov't isn't educated and more legislation pushed by people who don't know what the heck they are talking about. I hope it never makes it here because it would be a tragedy for those who use them properly and instruct others. Maybe they should require trainers certify owners to permit them to use them. However when used in the correct fashion they are an invaluable resource. But there are some I want to slap too who use them improperly. However everyone shouldn't suffer because of the actions of a few.

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    1. I work with a lot of high drive stubborn herding and working breeds as someone else said no reward marker tends to just rev them up and they also tend to challenge. You tell them to sit and they say "no" unless you show them the treat first (I refuse to bribe them when we get to a certain point). I am not go to repeat commands either. They then stand there like "so what are you going to do about it" or hyper focus on something they want. So they get the correction and immediately obey cause you can do something about it and met their challenge. Some challenge more than others and some just are all over the place. Some will tell you where to shove that clicker too. Yes I do use a clicker sometimes especially in the early stages.

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    2. If they challenge, then they lose the game, end of story. Do this a few days in a row and you will see the dog start to weigh his options.

      As for the dog telling you "no", that generally only happens with dogs during their teenage phase, and you could correct them but they will just rebel more because you are using force to control them. If your dog won't respond to a command, then you are simply asking him to do something in a situation he was not trained for. It is easy to believe that since you have trained the dog to sit inside the house and in your backyard, and maybe in a mildly distracting area, that he should now respond at all times regardless of the distraction. Not so!

      The dog needs to be exposed to the distraction at a distance where he can still focus. If he can't, then your rewards are not motivating for him, whether it be the value of the food, how hungry he is, or maybe he would prefer to play a game. It's not difficult to figure out how to motivate a dog, and doing just a few repetitions you can easily move closer to a distraction and build reliability without using corrective devices.

      I do it all the time with dogs of all breeds, ages and temperaments, so you'd have no right telling me I haven't come across the kind of dog you are talking about. Trust me, I have seen the so-called stubborn dogs, herding, working and hounds as well. I have a GSD who I once thought was stubborn, but she only behaved that way because I didn't have a clear handle on what positive reinforcement meant, or how to utilize it properly. Now I have no problem getting her attention, motivating her to work and working her around distractions.

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    3. Here let me hand you "that" dog so you can see. I left him alone with another trainer to go to my car for a second and he had been fine with her and she was rubbing him dry with a towel telling him what a good boy he was when he turned and bit her. My female dog then turned around and bit the other dog in the neck with a gentle puppy correction sort of bite. That was after I really hadn't done much correction at all with him. He wasn't wearing a prong. Sure he growled but he showed no serious signs of aggression that he actually meant any growls that they were more than his way of expressing himself since he growls when happy, annoyed, but never before he is going to bite based on the little history we have. So he had positive training for a yr and suddenly snaps and another dog runs over and naturally nips him on the neck for it. This dog just happens to be the alpha of his pack and was telling him that behavior was unacceptable. So anyone who says dogs do not correct each other are full of it. There is also clearly one dog above the others that keeps them in check. She is not about me but she keeps the others in order for sure. Anyways my boy responds to a point to positive but he has been known to turn on a dime on positive trainers and also snapped at a compulsion trainer friend of mine that tried to force him to down. You walk a thin line with this dog. As long as you are fair, he does quite well. He was supposed on a list to be euthanised for behavior when I got him. So I do have "that" dog that was saved because of a prong collar along with other unconventional last resort techniques. Now he just wears a prong when he goes out not because he needs it but for peace of mind and doesn't require a muzzle.

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    4. Sounds to me like you saved his life by taking him in, but it does not sound like the prong collar has resolved anything with him. It sounds to me like you put the collar on him so that you can correct him after the fact. Sounds like he's not a safe dog, and it sounds like you and the people around him can't read his body language. Sounds like he could use a muzzle, because what is the point of being able to correct him if he's already bitten somebody in the face?

      Sounds like your other dog is over-aroused and responding to an arousing situation, but it sounds like she also has not resolved your other dog's aggression, so what is your point about corrections? Who cares if you/your other dog can punish the male dog? He's still doing the deed, right, so nothing is different. It's ineffective. It has done absolutely nothing to change his behaviour in the long-run, and certainly not the underlying fear emotions. So what is the value of the prong collar?

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    5. My dog hasn't done any biting for 2yrs he earned his cgc which he was not allowed to wear his prong collar during. He doesn't try to eat the vet. He kisses people and goes up to friendly strangers requesting petting. He can go to the dog park and makes the rounds to visit the owners there to say hi to everyone. Prong collars are not worn at a dog park and he is off leash. He has a good off leash recall too though he won't wander far because he had been abandoned when I got him. So I know have a dog that is 99% better than he was. He was a level 2 biter.

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  21. Congratulations Quebec government! I hope it spreads to other places soon.

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  22. Question does the ban include vibration collars which owners of deaf dogs use to get their attention and use for recalls so the dog can play off leash like normal dogs at parks? How about spray collars and ultrasonic collars for problem barkers where nothing else works and owner are faced with repeat violations and fines or are faced with eviction.These devices are so valuable in these cases with keeping dogs in their homes. What is the alternative? Subjecting these poor unfortunate dogs to cruell debarking surgeries, euthanasia, or ending up in shelters or even worse given away on craigslist? Debarking is thankfully illegal where I am but the collars that allow problem barkers to remain in their homes when people have run out of options such as dogs that only bark when they go out (doggy daycares are not open 24 hours a day and people should not be a prisoner in their home). Landlords don't care that you are working with a dog they want results right away when other tenants are complaining especially when you get that one that complains anytime there is barking. So bark collars can save lives but not all are shock. Vibration collars don't have to be negative and there are ones on the market that do not have a shock option. Just a beep which can be used in place of a click and vibrate which can be used to get the dog's attention and does not cause pain. If all are included then whoever made the law was grossly misinformed and dogs will definitely suffer. It seems unfair to lumps all ecollars as negative and not just shock.

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