My Dog is Lassie, Your Dog is Cujo

Some people like comparing their dogs, almost as much as they like comparing their children.

I met this really nice lady at a hiking park (not to be confused with an an enclosed dog park), some time ago. She had two beautiful Samoyeds with her.

They were both well-groomed, white as snow, and clearly very well cared for.

One of them, the male, was having great fun. He was relaxed, and enjoyed meeting the dogs around him. This park allows off-leash dogs, full access, so there were many of them around.

The female Samoyed however, seemed very stressed.

Every time a dog would go near her, she would get really stiff, and start to growl.

At this point, the very nice lady would get really embarrassed, apologize, and give her dog a shock on her electronic collar. Her beautiful Samoyed would stop growling, but still be extremely stiff.

As soon as another dog moved close again, she would start to growl once more (the dog not the nice lady), which brought about another zap.

I really like the look of Samoyeds, so I was talking to the nice lady about hers. We chatted for a while, and she asked me why my Shiba Inu was on a leash.

Shiba Sephy has terrible recall, and has a very strong prey drive, so I do not trust him off leash at all. He can also be rude to other dogs, and may invade their space, before being invited in.

I made sure to keep Shiba away from the female Samoyed, because I did not want her to get additional zaps.

At this point, Nice Lady very proudly told me, that her dogs were great off-leash, after she started using shock collars.

True enough, they stayed close to her, especially the female.

After finishing our chat, I walked on with my Cujo, and she did the same with her Lassies.

I think it is good to be proud of our dog when he learns something new, or passes a new challenge. However, there is very little need to feel embarrassed or ashamed of her, especially when she is showing normal canine behavior, for example growling to let a rude dog know not to invade her space.

The shock collar would only cause the dog, to become even more wary of other dogs.

It does not matter what others think of our dog. So what if some stranger thinks we have a Lassie or a Cujo. What matters more is the quality of life we provide for our dog, and the strong and enduring bond that we establish with him.

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  1. Alex says

    Most of the time the beep is sufficent in getting your dog’s attention off of something. I think Cesar used a e-collar on his dog to teach him not to go near rattlers. They did it a few more times than two, but just until he didn’t want to go around the snake anymore. I wouldn’t use it for a collar correction, though. We only use it to make an “invisible fence” around us so he doesn’t go farther than the designated area.
    You can also get collars that vibrate instead of shock, and i’m told they are very effective. I would have tried one of those if I’d known about them before we got this collar.
    My dog isn’t afraid of the e-collar, I’m not even sure if he relates the collar to the shocks, but he actually will put the e-collar on more willingly than his prong collar. Not sure why. Maybe it’s because the e-collar means he gets to go run in the woods, and the prong collar is just an ordinary boring walk. 😀

  2. shibashake says

    Hi Alex,

    I did think about e-collars very briefly when collar corrections were no longer working for my Shiba, but I decided that it was really not for me.

    There are some instances where I think it could be appropriate. For example, I have read that they use it to help dogs stay away from rattlesnakes. In these aversion exercises, you just shock the dog twice – and that’s it – they learn to stay away from the snakes. You may need to do a reminder lesson in about a year, but usually twice is sufficient. So it is very short-term use, to solve a very dangerous possibly fatal issue.

    Other than that I have a difficult time justifying its use.

  3. Alex says

    It’s true she shouldn’t have been shocking her dog for growling at another dog, but that doesn’t mean she should allow that behavior. If the dog was being anti-social she’s not just telling the other dog not to get in her space, she’s not wanting to be a dog and meet others.

    I use an e-collar on my dog so that we can take him to places like the park or out in the woods for a hike so he can be off leash but I can feel confident that he won’t run away. We someday hope to not have to use the collar, but since we’ve only been using it for a few months we’re not quite to that point. E-collars are perfectly fine as long as you use them properly, but should not be used as the only way to correct your dog as this lady was.

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