Having a strong French heritage and relatives, my father brought our family to Quebec when I was young.
By the time we got to Canada my brother had developed a serious case of poison ivy on his foot.
So bad that he could not walk and had to go to the hospital. He told me later that the doctors had to pop the blisters and apply some type of medicine and then bandaged his foot.
He told me how much it hurt.
So you’re probably wondering why I am writing about my brother’s gnarly foot on a family trip to “La Vieille Capitale.”
Quebec just did something that will harm dogs.
You see, Quebec just passed a law banning electronic collars.
From The Doginton Post:
“The Canadian province of Quebec has taken important steps in protecting the safety and welfare of pets by establishing their “MAPAQ Guide d’application du règlement sur la sécurité et le bien-être des chats et des chiens,” or Guide to Implementing Rules on the Safety and Well-Being of Dogs and Cats.”
“He noted that the fines for using collars that cause pain or breathing difficulties to animals are considerable: $600 to $12,000 for a first time offence, which if repeated, could triple to $1,800 to $36,000.”
Why would a confirmed dog lover and trainer that teaches positive reinforcement be upset with a law that bans electronic collars?
This is a clear example of a bunch of dopey politicians stepping in and making a law that will get cheers and pats on the back but the dogs in Quebec will pay for it.
Over the past 20 or so years there has been a HUGE movement in the dog training world. Dog trainers are telling dog owners that they can ONLY use positive reinforcement to train, that adversives should not be used and that all sorts of problems will occur if you do.
THIS IS SCIENTIFICALLY FALSE!!!
There are four behavior quadrants that you work from when training a dog:
All four quadrants need to be used and if you just use Positive reinforcement, you will most likely have problems with your dog.
Back to my brothers creepy, poison ivy infested foot. The doctors popped his blisters, applied medicine and a bandage. All of which caused pain to help him.
Most dogs go through painful spay and neutering operations, they get vaccinated, their nails clipped, and so on.
This is all done for the good of the dog, to help the dog live a healthier, happier life.
An electronic collar in the hands of a professional dog trainer is an extremely useful dog training tool.
I agree that in the wrong hands it is a disaster, but a ban on them won’t stop an idiot from abusing his dog.
This ban puts limitations on dog trainers, the very people that can help a dog owner stop a dog from chasing a cat into the street. A person that can help a dog owner safely keep his dog in the yard.
A person that can help a dog owner train his dog to come back when called. A person that can help a dog owner stop their dog from stealing food off the counter or jumping on guests.
I know that what I am saying flies in the face of conventional wisdom, that most dog trainers will tell you to train with positive reinforcement only and never use any negative consequences.
It sells books and gets you invited to the big conferences but in the real world of dog training, you will probably have to introduce an aversive to gain control.
The biggest hot dog in the world will not stop a dog from chasing a squirrel. The desire to chase the squirrel is stronger than the treat you are offering. This is why positive reinforcement has its limitations.
Not too long ago I had to end a relationship with an organization because they watched me train using a negative consequence with a dog.
I had a heated discussion with the person that runs the organization because they help place dogs with families.
Unfortunately they have bought into the whole “positive, force free only” training.
I was working with a dog that had busted the owner’s rib and given her eight stitches in her hand.
I used a negative consequence to help her bring her dog under control. She had been to two “positive only” training classes and was in desperate need of help.
If I didn’t get the job done, this dog was on a one way trip which would have ended with a lethal dose of phenobarbital shot into his vein.
When I was called on the matt to defend my position I explained that the dog was going to be put down if I hadn’t done what I did.
IT DID NOT MATTER TO THEM!
I was floored. I was speechless. An organization that is supposed to help keep dogs alive and find them new homes would not allow me to do what needed to be done.
The person I was talking to even agreed with me but stated: “We can’t have that here.”
Funny part is that I didn’t use a choke, prong or electronic collar to help the dog owner.
Anyway, the whole subject of dog training is extremely confusing to most people. They have no idea of who to listen to.
And it’s very understandable why there is confusion. There is a lot of opinion backed up by few facts.
Which is why I put together The Dog Training Inner Circle and offer it for just $1.00 to become a member.
I could charge way more but you can take a look for just $1.00. Where else can you find a bargain like that?
Here’s where to go to get started: