October Sneak Peek

The Electronic Collar as a Trashbreaker

By Stephen Wiggins

Where I live and run my dogs in east Texas I am fortunate to have access to thousands of acres of public hunting land with an abundance of rabbits. The downside to this blessing for the rabbit hunter is that there is also a profusion of deer and wild hogs. When I turn my dogs loose, there exists the potential hazard of my hounds coming across a deer or a hog and then the unwanted race is on. For this reason, the electronic collar has become an essential piece of gear every time I take my dogs to the field. I have never tried other methods of preventing a dog from running trash (i.e., running something other than a rabbit). Therefore, I do not speak disparaging of other humane techniques that may be successfully employed. I do use electronic collars on my dogs, however, and have been relatively successful in breaking them from running off game. The practical advice that I offer here flows out of some of my experiences when using an electronic collar to deter my hounds from running deer and hogs.
1. Be Responsible:     Don’t ever use the electronic collar in an irresponsible or abusive manner. The electronic collar is first and foremost a tool which expedites the training of the dog. It is an extension of the trainer. When properly used, it serves to administer different levels of stimulus in order to motivate the dog to respond to the trainer’s request, thereby facilitating the training process. It can also be used to dispense different levels of negative reinforcement as a deterrent to faulty actions on the part of the hound. There is nothing magical about an electronic collar. It was never intended to be a cure all for every demerit a hound may possess. Nor should it ever be used out of anger or frustration as a medium to inflict punishment. Those naysayers who oppose the use of the “shock collar” under any and all circumstances are inevitably misinformed of its design and purpose as a training device. They may have even witnessed a misuse of this type collar wherein some insensitive person abused a dog. This is wrong. Mistreatment of any animal should never be tolerated. I strenuously advocate that an electronic collar should never be misused. The irresponsible person has no business placing anything on a dog with intent to use it in a tortuous manner. An electronic collar should always be employed in a responsible way with the welfare of the dog in mind.

To enjoy the remainder of this article, please check out page 14 of our October issue.