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markinnc
06-14-2006, 10:39 AM
I don't have a question but I thought my experiences with an electric fence might be of interest.

My neighbor and I each have a dog and were both interested in electric fences and traditinal fences. We shared info and decided to get a single electric fence for both properties and continue to let the dogs play together.

I followed the training instructions that came with the fence and after a week or so of following the property line with treats and flags we came to the big day. I put the collar on Amy and continued with the programed instructions. Well two days into this portion Amy crossed the line and got zapped. It hurt me more than her. She would not go within fifty feet of the line for about a week so we had to do a refreasher at that point.

I let her loose and she would not go past the first beep of the collar which was good. I actually removed the electrodes from the collar and all was well. After about a month I started letting Amy out without the collar and during the past six months she has not gone out of the yard once, even with lots of temptation.

I walk Amy usually twice a day and she has now learned that she can leave the yard only when she is on a leash and only via the driveway.

I dont use the fence now but I am really impressed with it.

Mark

champ
06-14-2006, 05:46 PM
Hi,

That's great that this has worked so well for you. It's great to hear of someone who actually did the prior & proper preparation for this. Good on you. It counts for a lot, but is sadly often overlooked. You don't mention your neighbour's dog. How have things progressed with that one?

Electric fences & training collars are advertised as the best things since sliced bread. As you have shown, they can work well. BUT....

Using punishment in this way, we need to be aware and consider the problems it can cause. Number one is the trauma to the dog whenever it gets zapped. In ideal circumstances, such as yours seems to be, the dog has been prepared very well and has far less motivation to escape than to avoid the zap. Therefore there will only be very few punishments delivered to get the desired behaviour, so therefore less trauma than in more regular occurences - eg. dogs that aren't pre trained well enough, or dogs who have a history of going where they please, etc. Obviously, electric training collars have a far greater probability for causing trauma because they generally need to be used far more frequently & less consistently.

Trauma from punishment can cause all sorts of behavioural & health problems, depending on the specifics, including the temperament/personality of the dog. The list includes aggression, fear of handler/places/situations, reduced or total lack of motivation to respond to training or to problem solve or take interest in new things, submissive behaviour, such as urination, compulsive behaviour, digestive disorders...

You say it hurt her more than you... Dogs, having a more saline system than humans, feel electric shocks far more strongly than we do. She was also effected enough to cause her to greatly fear the fenceline area until your (good job of) conditioning got her to understand the boundaries better.

Another thing to consider is that dogs learn from association, and in the event of fear or pain, those associations are kind of imprinted instantly, causing future reactions. For eg. in your (ideal) situation, it seems that the only big association she made with the pain was the fenceline - the desired one. However, if a person or other dog was walking past at the time, a dog will often associate(blame) them with the pain. The dog may then become frightened of other dogs or people, frightened of anyone walking past &/or fear aggressive towards them.

With regard to training collars, for eg. the dog may hear "Come" as he's running away & getting zapped. This 'command' will be associated with the punishment. Too bad if it makes him run harder until he's out of range of the device - he's effectively learned that lesson then. Maybe he's a gundog with a bird in his mouth. He will also associate holding a bird with the pain and be less keen to do this again. If a dog is wearing an 'antibark' collar & barks at another dog, he will likely become fearful &/or fear aggressive towards certain, or all other dogs.

Another thing about electric fences is that a dog can run through them & escape the pain on the other side. There is also the possibility - & I have heard of a few very sorry stories - of the collar malfunctioning & continuing to deliver shocks for no reason. Granted, this is a very rare occurence, but one to consider. There are also other potential & real problems that I can't think of off the top of my head.

So, all things considered, I can't think of a situation that I would ever advocate the use of this sort of training collar, aside from the electric fence type, and this only in very limited, specific situations.

These things are not *neccesarily* bad, but often do cause more harm than good, so if someone is considering using one, it is very important to consider all the effects and alternatives before taking the 'plunge'.

markinnc
06-14-2006, 07:06 PM
I did not talk about Luke my neighbors dog. Luke is a male, six months younger, and more aggressive than Amy. Luke went through the same training program as my Amy for about the same length of time.

Luke does stay in his two yard area using the collar. He still gets zapped occationally as he seems to want to see if the collar still is working. He has been tested several times without the collar and he will leave the yard. So, I guess the fence is working but Luke has not learned in the same way. Maybe with more time, we will see.

Mark

lkeffect
07-05-2006, 09:33 PM
My company is contracted by Invisible Fence brand and I've personally trained over 1000 dogs on the system I've yet to have it not work for a client. :) Glad it worked out so well for you!!