Shock Collar Experiment

A Dog Trainer advised a client of mine that there was no harm to her dog using a Shock Collar, she wasn’t sure about this so she purchased one to try on herself and a friend. This is her experience in her own words.


I tried a 1-100 E-Collar on myself and a friend because a very well-known local trainer advised me to use one on my dog. I tried it on our palms, wrists and necks, the highest I could go pain-free was level one on my palm, but level one on my wrist hurt like hell. My friend tried a 100 level on his hand (stupid I know) and received severe burn marks on his hand,  He tried a 15 level on his neck and it blasted him off into space, it literally feels like your brain is frying when  you use it on your neck because the electricity flows through your veins and it spreads out from the point of contact, I could only use level one and it was too much for me. My brain felt fuzzy afterwards. The trainer told me the dog only feels a slight tingle, all through this experiment I didn’t have the collar on tight, the recommendation is to have the collar tight and to make sure the metal pins had contact with the skin I did try this at first but the pain was too intense.

NB. A dog’s skin is much finer than a human being so the pain would be a lot worse than my clients.


Kind Regards



This post is very interesting as so many Trainers in Melbourne will tell you these Collars do no harm, even considering it is the Law in Victoria that a vet has to give a dog a health check before using it on any dog. The reason being that the vet has to test the dog’s pain threshold just like us, some dogs can tolerate a lot of pain others not so much plus the side effects are Seizure’s or Heart failure that is not counting the fear that your dog feels, and this can change the emotional state of the dog forever. Plus what the trainer does NOT tell you is that for a dog to learn anything from this treatment it HAS to feel pain. Some owners use remote Collars to teach their dog not to roam off the property, dog’s learn by association, an example is the dog goes to leave the property while a child is walking past and the dog is shocked by the E-Collar and the dog learns when children are near I feel pain, ETREMELY dangerous lesson the dog has learned especially if there are children in the home.

Leader of the Pack

Group of twelve dogs

If you ever talk to people about dogs, you’ve probably come across someone who espouses “dominance theory” – the idea that dogs are constantly grappling for rank with other dogs and with humans. Proponents of dominance theory often advocate for “training methods” (I use the term loosely) that seek to prove the human’s “alpha” status over the dog(s). These methods range from fairly benign – always cross through a door before your dog, always eat first – to downright abusive, including physically bullying or forcing the dog to roll over, inflicting pain or fear, and in extreme cases even choking dogs on leashes until they pass out. All in the name of “showing the dog who’s boss.”

While I find these methods personally distasteful, more importantly, they are also appallingly misinformed.

Behaviorist Rudolph Schenkel is one of the men responsible for the origination of dominance theory. In the 1930s and 40s, Schenkel studied groups of captive zoo wolves, noting how they interacted, how they resolved conflict, and how they determined who had priority access to resources. As a result of his observations, he determined that wolves were constantly vying with each other to achieve higher status. It was a short mental leap to extrapolate this idea to dogs; after all, dogs are domesticated wolves, so the assumption goes that they must have the same social and behavioral patterns. Dr. David Mech, a research scientist, later popularized the concept of dominance theory with similar studies and conclusions, the findings of which he published in the 1968 book, “The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species.”

Here’s the problem with dominance theory: the study was performed on a group of unrelated captive wolves. A wolf “pack” in nature is a family group, typically a mating pair and their offspring, and sometimes other family members. They operate as a family, and they have relationships that we would likely recognize as similar to our own. There is no struggle for dominance – the adult pair are “in charge,” for lack of a better term, in the same way that the adults in a human household are in charge. They enforce established rules and the younger members typically follow, and sometimes test. The adult wolves are responsible for the well being of their pack. They have conflict, as any family group does, which is resolved with ritualized aggression. This means that they have posturing or fights to resolve conflict without anyone actually getting hurt. It is the human equivalent of an argument. They do not jostle for rank, they do not physically harm one another, and they do not fight over who gets to walk through the door first. There is an understanding of how resources are distributed, and each wolf knows what resources are important enough to them to engage in conflict over, should they take issue with the established system.

Captive wolves, in contrast, are rarely a family group. More often – and this was the case in the original study done by Schenkel – they are unrelated wolves who are forced to live together. These wolves do not have the benefit of family ties (which, significantly, means no genetic interest) and no history of conflict resolution with one another. There is no understanding about who has access to resources such as food, space, or reproductive opportunities. Therefore, there IS very frequent conflict, vying for resources, and often, physical fighting and injury. Unrelated wolves do not have an interest in the well being of the group in the way that a familial pack does; they are primarily concerned with their own survival.

So right away we can see how dominance theory is based on a flawed premise. However, it gets worse.

Dogs, while descended from wolves, do not have the same social structure or behavioral repertoire as wolves. Behaviorally, dogs are more like juvenile wolves, an attribute called neoteny (the retention of juvenile characteristics into adulthood.) So, to put it plainly, dogs behave more like wolf puppies. They play, vocalize, and socialize with unrelated conspecifics far more than adult wolves do. And that latter behavior is important, because what it indicates is that dogs aren’t pack animals. While there are certainly many instances of dogs who dislike strange dogs, that is typically attributable to poor socialization. Properly socialized dogs are generally friendly or at worst indifferent towards strange dogs. It’s why we have dog parks. We don’t have wolf parks*.

To apply wolf behavior framework to dog behavior is to ignore the glaring and significant differences between the species. It’s akin to trying to use primate behavior to interpret how humans interact. Yes, there are useful comparisons, however there are as many differences as there are similarities. Domestication makes all the difference, in this case.

But, HERE’S the kicker: Dr. Mech himself has denounced dominance theory, for the reasons I’ve outlined here, and has admitted that he was mistaken. He has explained at length that his theory was flawed and that we should not be using it to describe wolf OR dog behavior, because both are far more dynamic and nuanced than was understood by the original dominance framework. This is very nearly the Wakefield Study of canid behavior.

It is my sincerest hope that not only do we leave the language of dominance theory behind – stop using phrases like “pack leader” and words like “alpha” or “dominant” to refer to our relationships with dogs – but also that we insist that dog trainers have an understanding of this very basic concept before we allow them into our homes to work with our dogs. This is entry-level stuff. If someone, dog owner, trainer, or otherwise, tries to whip out dominance theory on you, you should tuck tail and run – or tell them to look up Dr. Mech.

*except for Wolf Park in Indiana, which is not a fenced-in area to take your wolves to play off leash but an incredible organization dedicated to conservation, education, and canid behavior research.

Article by Ursa Major

Further reading:

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior – Position Statement on Dominance Theory

University of Bristol Article on Dominance Theory

“Dumbed Down by Dominance,” a 2-part article by Dr. Karen Overall, veterinary behaviorist

“The Dominance Controversy” by veterinary behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin

Neighbour Harassed Dog With His Drone

It turned out to be a costly mistake

Dog - drone

Karen B. London


You don’t need to be a vengeful person to feel great satisfaction about the consequences faced by a man who used his drone to tease his neighbour’s dog repeatedly. The man flew the drone past the shared eight-foot privacy fence and then close enough to nearly hit the dog. The dog became stressed out by it, especially after many experiences with the man making it dive low to a position just over the dog’s head, pulling out of the dive and then circling around and performing the same maneuver multiple times.

The dog’s guardian said that for many months after getting the drone, this neighbor “insisted on flying like the biggest jerk possible” and the description is apt. In addition to going after the dog over and over, he would position his drone right in front of other people’s houses, including at their windows, and also race cars down the road.

Though the dog’s guardian asked him not to fly it into his yard, explaining that it was scaring the dog, the neighbor’s only response was to tell him to go away and to laugh at him. Though the guardian contacted the police, they were unable or unwilling to do more than ask the man not to fly over his neighbor’s house and yard. The situation might never have been resolved if the dog hadn’t taken matters into his own mouth.

One day, when the drone was buzzing over his head, the dog (a 70-pound Malamute) caught the drone and destroyed it. It may be a powerful machine, but a dog’s jaws can easily tear a drone into pieces, especially with the proper motivational factors of fear, annoyance and frustration. Naturally, the owner of the drone was upset, even though most of us would say he had it coming.

The drone owner reacted in two ways. First, he came over to the house where his drone had died its untimely death, swearing up a storm and threatening the dog’s guardian. Second, he served the dog’s guardian with a summons to appear in small claims court. His demands were $900 to replace the drone and $300 for not being allowed access to what was left of his drone for several hours.

Suing the dog’s guardian did not go as planned for the owner of the drone. The judge did not accept claims that the dog’s guardian had purposely trained his dog to destroy the drone. Furthermore, the dog’s guardian had sought legal advice and countersued the drone owner for the costs of veterinary care for his dog ($700 for an x-ray to determine if the dog had swallowed any hazardous part of the drone, $250 to sedate the dog for that procedure, $400 for a full dental exam plus cleaning and repair, miscellaneous costs for anti-anxiety medication and wet dog food in case he had hurt his teeth and couldn’t eat his regular kibble). The guardian brought in receipts along with videos documenting the months of torture his dog endured being pursued by a drone in his own yard.

Not only did the drone owner have to pay nearly $2000 to the dog guardian, he is being investigated by the FAA for a variety of infractions. These include not registering his drone, flying a drone within five miles of an airport, flying it too close to other people, flying it out of his own line of sight and flying it far above the maximum allowable altitude. He is banned from flying a drone over the property where the dog and his guardian live.

It’s a joy to find out that the person who treated a dog (and various people) so badly not only did not get away with it, but got what he deserved

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose clinical work over the last 17 years has focused on the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in dogs, especially aggression. Karen has been writing the behavior column for The Bark since 2012 and wrote The Bark’s training column and various other articles for eight years before that. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and teaches a tropical field biology course in Costa Rica. Karen writes an animal column, The London Zoo, which appear in The Arizona Daily Sun and is the author of five books on canine training and behavior. She is working on her next book, which she expects to be published in 2017.

photo by Julia Ballarin/Flickr


The Surprisingly Humanlike Ways Animals Feel Pain


A wounded wolf (Canis lupus) licks its wounds after a territorial fight, Bavarian Forest, Germany. PHOTOGRAPH BY ARTERRA, GETTY IMAGES

A hurt rabbit pins back its ears and narrows its eyes—part of a “grimace scale” that tells us how animals feel discomfort.


Pain is a messenger: It tells us that there’s a problem and that we need to take care of it.

People can express discomfort, but animals sometimes have a tougher time. This led Weird Animal Question of the Week to wonder: “Do animals feel pain the same way we do, and how can we tell?” (Related: “Yes, Animals Think And Feel. Here’s How We Know.”)


Mammals share the same nervous system, neurochemicals, perceptions, and emotions, all of which are integrated into the experience of pain, says  Marc Bekoff, evolutionary biologist and author.

Whether mammals feel pain like we do is unknown, Bekoff says—but that doesn’t mean they don’t experience it. (Read how your dog knows exactly what you’re saying.) There are some clues as to how animals—especially pets—communicate physical suffering. For instance, Dorothy Brown’s dog Foster has phantom limb pain in a leg that was amputated after being hit by a car.

“He will be fast asleep and jump up and cry and look at where his leg used to be,” says Brown, who teaches surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary Hospital, where Foster was brought in for treatment. Human amputees also experience this phenomenon.

Veterinarians also rely on observant owners to report behavioral changes that may indicate painful conditions, such as no longer jumping up on the couch or a loss of appetite, Brown adds. (See “Four Weird Ways Animals Sense the World.”)

Scientists have developed “grimace scales,” initially used for children, for mice, rabbits, rats, and horses. Each animal displays certain physical changes that are reliable indicators of pain; hurt rabbits, for instance, will stiffen their whiskers, narrow their eyes, and pin back their ears.

So there’s some science behind owners’ and vets’ assertion that “I can see it in their eyes and I can see it in their face,” Brown says.


Giant tortoises mate at Charles Darwin Station. PHOTOGRAPH BY INGA SPENCE, ALAMY


Interpreting pain gets more challenging with non-mammals such as reptiles, which “can’t make facial expressions like mammals—many don’t even have eyelids,” Bree Putman, postdoctoral fellow at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, says via email.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t hurt: “Reptiles, amphibians, and fish have the neuroanatomy necessary to perceive pain,” according to the bookPain Management in Veterinary Practice.

Reptiles avoid painful stimuli, and pain-killing drugs reduce that response—both indicators they experience pain, Putman says. In the wild, prey species such as rabbits will avoid showing pain, lest they get singled out as an easy target for predators, Brown says. Bekoff says the same goes for predators, like wolves, for whom showing pain or weakness might make them vulnerable to their peers. Birds have pain receptors, Bekoff says, and feel pain as mammals do. In a 2000 study, lame chickens chose food containing a painkiller when allowed to choose their own diet. (Related: “Why Woodpeckers Don’t Get Headaches.”)


Regardless of the animal species, veterinarians treat their patients in a way “that is considerate of the fact that this could be a painful thing,” Brown notes.

That includes captive Galápagos tortoises, which can sometimes injure themselves during sex. “If the male falls off the female after mating,” she says, the giants can break their shell or even their leg. “That’s gotta hurt!”

But what a wowie of an owie.

What should a dog know?

What should a dog know?

  1. He should know that he is and always will be loved completely and unconditionally.
  2. He should know that he is allowed to feel safe, at home and in public, when there are people around and in every situation he will have to face. He should be allowed to express his preferences about people and that he won’t be forced to accept any kind of contact, including physical contact, with people he doesn’t like. He should know that his human companion is there to support him and that he can feel safe to seek comfort in his presence at any time.
  3. He should know the feeling of grass under his feet. He should know the smell of game in the woods. He should be allowed to roll in mud and then run around in pure joy.
  4. He should be supported to find out what his interests are, because, you know, dogs do have their own interests, not just those we choose for them. Should he be required to ‘learn a job’, his human companion should know that he will learn, sooner or later, with lots of patience. Meanwhile he should be allowed to express his individuality without inhibitions.
  5. He should know that the world is not a dangerous place, that there are not only bad people around, that there are not only hands that beat, leashes that jerk, collars that choke and voices that yell. He should know that the world is a beautiful place, full of loving people, without any physical or verbal constriction and with many choices to make on his own. He should know that ‘being a dog’ is much more important than ‘being trained’.

What should we know?

  1. back-end-of-dogThat every dog learns at his own pace and in his own time. This will not affect the dog’s ability to perform whatever he is required to do, nor his ability to adapt to certain situations or overcome his problems and his difficulties.
  2. That the most trained dog, the one who knows more commands and tricks, the one who can do everything a dog could possibly do, is not necessarily the happiest dog. We are so focused on showing the world how good we are in training our dogs that we start showing off our puppies at such an early age: ‘Look! He’s just three months old and he already knows how to sit, lay down, stay, fetch, bring, give paw, bark on command’. But we forget that a puppy is not a miniature adult, he is just a puppy! Dogs don’t like stress – they should be allowed to experience a carefree and happy puppyhood. There is plenty of time to learn new things.
  3. That our dogs deserve to be surrounded by their natural element, nature. And they have the right to explore it. Many of us could reduce the so-called activities we perform with our dogs by 90% and replace them with healthy exploring and walks in nature, and you know what? This would probably greatly improve your relationship with your dog and make him and you happier and less stressed. Just give him a chance to be a dog, getting properly dirty and rolling around in smelly things. You can wash the dirt off and he will eventually stop stinking…or maybe you will get used to it! Give him a chance to dig a hole just for the sake of digging.
  4. That our dogs really need us more in their lives. We are so full of ourselves that we actually believe that ‘owning’ a dog is a right. Well, it’s not: – it’s a privilege! A dog is a social animal; he needs his pack, his family. He needs someone to take care of him, to take care of things. He needs quality time every day, not only during weekends. He has the right not to be left alone for twelve hours at a time and then again in the evening, because you’re going out for drinks. A dog has the right to be allowed to pee more than twice a day. He has the right to eat quality food, he has the right to sleep safe and sound, not isolated from the rest of the family, in a room or in a backyard.
  5. That our dogs have the right to be respected according to their age. Don’t jerk him around as a puppy because he won’t walk fast enough or because he stops to smell something. Don’t drag him behind you when he is old and his back is sore and his legs give way, and he is no longer in the mood for long walks. A dog has the right not to be afraid of being abandoned, because a puppy should never, ever be left home alone. He has the right not to die alone, abandoned at the vet’s, because ‘I can’t bear to watch this’. Be with him when he goes. You owe it to him.

Your dog is an individual, even before belonging to this breed or being a cross between this and that, and you should know this and he should, too.

By Federica Iacozzilli, Italy.

Why is my dog barking and lungeing at other dogs?

Article by Beverley Courtney from http://www.brillientfamilydog

“She’s such a lovely dog at home!”

And that’s normally the case. Just because a dog has an issue with other dogs does not mean she’s a bad dog in every way.
You know what a smashing dog she is at home – a Brilliant Family Dog! – and you’d like others to see what you see.


Instead of what they see: A fury of teeth, claws, and noise, who looks as though she wants to kill them, their children, and their dog.


I know just how you feel, because I’ve been there! And changing the way Tasha views the world has been a fascinating journey that has resulted in being able to help lots of other Tasha’s and their ragged owners.


Lacy is deeply suspicious of everyone and everything on the planet. Her response? To shriek at it to go away; to look her most ferocious; to keep things out of her space by leaping and lungeing at them. The most adorable and affectionate (and intelligent) dog at home – with a great sense of humour – she was viewed by everyone else as some kind of deranged monster. But she’s come on so much that she is now able to help me working with other reactive and fearful dogs.

It will help you to know from the outset that this type of behaviour is normally the result of fear. Not nastiness, aggression, “dominance”, or any of those other labels. Just plain tail-wetting fear.
Your dog is afraid of the oncoming dog. She needs to keep it away!
So she bares her teeth, makes herself look bigger, and shouts at him.

It’s likely that you get upset and try and rein her in or drag her away. It’s likely that the oncoming dog’s owner is alarmed (and probably looking down their nose at you). And it’s quite likely that the other dog will say “Who’re you lookin’ at?” and join the barking party.
The whole episode is upsetting and exhausting.
You start to walk your dog at the Hour of the Difficult Dog, late in the evening, when everyone is trying to avoid everyone else.
Is this why you got a companion dog?

Let’s have a look at what you can do to change things.

1. First thing is to stop walking your dog

What??? Let me explain.

Can you imagine that you had to walk along a narrow and uneven cliff path with a 200 foot drop. There is nothing to hold on to. The ground is crumbly and sometimes you skid and dislodge a lump of rock that bounces down the cliff and splashes silently into the sea below.

For most people this would be a living nightmare, a “terror run”. You would be desperate to get out of the situation. Your hormones would be racing through your body.

You eventually get home and begin to calm down.
The next day you have to walk the path again.
And the next day …

Quite soon you’re in a state of permanent panic. You dread the cliff path.

You need a break from this terror. Your hormones need to settle so you can see the world clearly. As does your dog.
You won’t stop walking your dog for ever. Just give her a few days’ break so that she can get back to normal. You can play great games at home to give her some exercise.

As neither of you is enjoying the walk, nobody will miss it.
After that, this bit is easy:

2. Teach her that she never has to meet another dog ever again (until she wants to)

And by this I don’t mean you are sentenced to the Hour of the Difficult Dog for ever.

Back to you and your terror run again: rather than staying at home for ever, you have a companion who can guide you. As you approach the cliff path, he turns you away from it and says, “Let’s go this way,” and heads right away from the edge.

Can you imagine the relief you feel? No need to plead with him and say, “Please don’t make me go on the path!” He guides you away to safer ground every time he sees a dangerous path. Your trust in him grows. You begin to enjoy your seaside walks.

So it is with your dog. The moment you see another dog or person heading your way, you give a cheery “Let’s go!” and head in the opposite direction. Your dog will enjoy the fact that she doesn’t have to get upset and go through the shouting routine.

You want to avoid narrow lanes where there’s no escape, so you may have to take a longer route to get where you want to go – or even drive till you are at an open space.

But you don’t want to avoid dogs.

She won’t learn what you want her to learn unless you do it, so eschew the Hour of the Difficult Dog and go out where you will see dogs – but at a safe distance.

These two things alone will make a huge difference to your dog, your walks, your relationship with your dog, and your enjoyment of life with her. If you did nothing else, this will improve the situation dramatically.

But this is just a start: naturally there are lots more things you will be able to do! There are techniques which I’ll show you. But the first thing you need to do to a wound is to stop it bleeding. Only then can you start the healing process.

First, realise that your dog is afraid, and is as uncomfortable as you are. Reasoning with her will not work. Until you can get help from a force-free professional, avoidance is the short-term answer.

Second, remember that you are her guardian and protector – give her the help she needs to cope with our world.

No idea how to start?

It’s Not Just A Walk

It is very important to identify the main intention of the walk.

The traditional intention of taking your dog for a walk is so the dog can have physical exercise, but a walk gives the dog much more. It provides the dog with mental stimulation. a dog gets to see the outside world, hear strange sounds, sniff interesting odours, feel different textures under their paws and experience the world in general. The dog’s senses are fired up and these in turn fire up different parts of the brain keeping the dog mentally fit. It is critical to let the dog process the world around at his own pace, try not to disturb him while sniffing and absorbing all the information. When your dog is sniffing another dog’s poo it is the same as us reading a face book page, they can read how old the dog is, whether it is male or female, what it last had for dinner and what time it left the message plus more. The olfactory senses in a dog are the most powerful of their senses and stimulating that really lights up the brain like a Christmas tree.

the walk - man in snow

Every now and again go a completely different route especially after rain as we know moisture brings the best out of a smell, time and time again I see owners striding along at a fast pace dragging the dog along behind. This is especially sad when it is a little dog and those tiny legs are trying to keep up, also talk to your dog and give him a pat this is your time together and the dogs love it as they are the centre of your attention. During the walk just stop for no reason for a minute or two and let the dog take in the sights, with these small changes you will be surprised in the difference it can make to the dog in a short time.

PS Leave the earphones in your pocket and enjoy your dog.

Do you need a Trainer or a Behaviour Specialist?


A Behaviour consultant will consult with you in your home, assess your dog and identify Behaviour problems you are having. These may include separation anxiety, barking, fears and phobias, aggression and many more nuisance behaviours that dogs get up to. These are not obedience problems, obedience classes will not help. Some of the most highly trained dogs in obedience have behaviour issues. The consultant will identify the problem and customise a behaviour modification program with ongoing support. Only a Veterinary Behaviour Consultant is qualified to advise on the need for behaviour medication.


A dog trainer will work with you and your dog showing you how to train the dog in basic commands, such as sit, stay, come when called and pulling on lead

A trainer can also advise on other issues such as basic manners, generally a trainer will show you what methods you need to use train your dog. Some trainers will take your dog to their training facility and over a week or so will train your dog to follow basic commands, this is successful in a lot of cases but generally it can be traumatic for the dog to be separated from you and his home. BEWARE of trainers using terminology such as PACK LEADER, DOMINENCE, NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE, and BALANCED training this protocol is detrimental to the relationship with your dog, they are very outdated methods that science has left behind along with choker collars, prong collars and shock collars. FORCE FREE training only.