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I'm ready to call my dogs
off if either another dog is unhappy or its owner is unhappy.

Exactly my thought, more clearly & concisely stated.

-Andrea Stone
Saorsa Basenjis
The Trolls Nest - greenmen, goblins & gargoyle wall art www.trollsnest.com
I was recommended a shock collar by a couple with a well behaved pointer that was at the dog park yesterday. He highly recommended >it. I also have a life long doctor friend that swears by them. However, your opinion is well taken.

Let me clarify where my opinion is coming from:
I train primarily with positive reinforcement, and by evoking and channeling drives.
I have used shock collars myself (to reinforce recall and call-off, in conjunction with heavy positive reinforcement), I have seen them successfully and properly used by other people, and IMO they are good tools for many things IF used properly.
However, I have also seen shock collars have disastrous, unintended, and even tragic results when used improperly and/or without a real understanding of the principles of training.
And what they are NOT NOT NOT a good tool for (unless in the hands of an expert, and even then with extreme caution) is anything having to do with aggression- because, as others have stated, it's too easy to get the wrong result.
Warning: something of a soapbox follows.
ANY time you use an e-collar, for any reason, it isn't a matter of just sticking it on and zapping the dog when it does something you don't like; you have to train the dog what the e-collar signal means, and how to respond to it.
If you're using it as a correction- a positive punishment- you have to be very careful that the dog associates the punishment with the undesired behaviour, and doesn't make unintended associations that you don't want. This is true of any P+, btw, but it's especially crucial with e-collars IMO.

In the case of your dog, he's not even really being aggressive, just being noisy when he plays. If you correct him for making noise while playing, he isn't going to think "Oh, gee- I guess my owner wants me to play, but not make noise about it"; he's most likely going to associate the correction with the other dog.
It has a high probability of making him suspicious of or angry at the other dog, and may actually start a fight. (This is something I have seen happen first hand more than once.)
Even if it doesn't increase aggression, and he's been trained so that he understands it clearly as a correction, do you really want to take the chance of teaching him that it's not OK to play? He isn't necessarily going to realize that it's the NOISE he's getting corrected for.
If you use a bark collar on him, he's going to get corrected ANY time he makes a noise. If he's making that noise at other dogs, or at human beings, you have a very good chance of making him aggressive (because he'll associate the correction with them), and you also run the risk of turning him into a silent biter because he'll be taught to supress ALL loud sounds.

I have witnessed a friendly Labrador go from running up to people and barking (obnoxious, but harmless) to standing silent and motionless as they approached, then lunging as they passed and sinking her teeth into the back of their legs.
I believe the process worked something like this:
When she ran up to people in her usual excited and friendly (albeit obnoxious to many) way, all of sudden she was feeling sharp correction from an unknown source.
That made her suspicious and afraid, and she tried to express that suspicion by barking and growling, only to have the sharp corrections increase. That made her not only suspicious, but anxious and afraid to move; and since she thought the correction- and the anxiety- was happening because she was near people, she wanted them to go away. She couldn't tell them to go away by barking and growling, so what did the poor dog have left but to bite them? :-(
Incidentally, an *e-collar* could have helped solve the problem of her running at people, but not by zapping her while she was in front of the people and barking; it could have been used to reinforce calling her back to the handler when she started running - IOW when she first started in their direction.
I've also seen a dog dramatically increase in suspicion of and aggression towards people coming into his home or approaching his car, because his owners were leaving him unattended with a bark collar on, and he was getting corrected when he tried to sound the alarm about people approaching. Again, the bark collar only suppressed the outward manifestation of his natural protective behaviour- the barking- while greatly increasing his suspicion and therefore the level of aggression.
Once the collar was removed, he went back to barking, but did NOT lose the increased level of aggression. :-(
Getting back to e-collars... I HAVE seen someone use a shock collar sucessfully in dealing with an aggressive dog, but it wasn't used to correct the dog for fighting or even for showing aggression. What his owner did was train him that the collar tap meant to turn towards her, then used the collar to reinforce recall BEFORE he went into aggressive behaviour- at the point where he was just starting to THINK about acting up. IOW, she watched him like a hawk, and the moment he got the look in his eye & the strut in his gait that showed he was starting to think about making a move at another dog, she called him, and used the collar to reinforce the call-off.
He was then PRAISED and REWARDED for turning back to her, and for paying attention to her rather than to the other dog. The more she did this, the more he responded to the verbal recall without needing the collar tap. But the KEY point of her strategy was to monitor him closely, and defuse situations before they started.
You're already doing that with your dog, and I can't see that you need an e-collar to help you with it, especially since he's not actually being aggressive, and you run the risk of it making him suspicious of the other dog or starting a fight.
As far as the others who are telling you that e-collars are great- do you know what they use the collars FOR? I'm willing to bet that the pointer owners who swear by the collar used it for RECALL, not for making noise while playing.
Sarah F.
Brenin, CGC; AD; TN-N, TG-N, S-EJC-V, S-EAC-V, O-EGC-V Gwydion, Handy Cat
Morag Thistledown, O-TN-N, Novice Versatility, Novice and Open Triple Superiors, EAC, EGC, O-EJC
Robyn Meezer, Inspector of Human Activity
Rocsi, O-TN-N, Novice Triple Superior, OAC, OGC, S-OJC, EJC; OGTG, AG1
Much of my concern is the other dog's reaction. Some love to see their dog do some good natured rough housing but some don't.

The other dog's reaction, or the owner's reaction?

My experience is that roughly 70% of the time, the dogs are fine and the "victim's" owner simply doesn't understand normal dog interaction. Approximately 20% of the time, there IS a problem, but the aggressor's owner insists his or her dog is "just playing" when, in fact, the dog is being a bully or is being oblivious to the other dog's "back off" signals. IMO, if you're not sure which is which, the thing to do is seperate the dogs temporarily, and see what the "victim" does. If s/he bounces back for more, leave 'em alone. ;-)
The other 10%, btw, is fight challenging/sparring being mistaken for play by one or both dog owners.
OTOH, you do have to respect it when other dog owners aren't comfortable, even if you think they're being silly - that's generic you, not specific you; sounds like you already do that.
And as you said, you also have to keep an eye on things getting TOO rough; dogs, like kids, sometimes get what my Mam calls "whooped up" and need to take a break from each other.
One of the biggest problems in the use of e-collars is that the owners don't understand the behavioral principles of use. Another is that their timing is often terrible. And then there are the folks who are using it incorrectly.I make no attempt to work with these darn things, because I have a very slow eye-hand response time. If I have a student who Really, Really, Really wants to use an ecollar, I make arrangements for them to go to the ONE trainer in the area who I trust to teach them why, how and when to press the button... to do it right. This is a field trainer who introduces the collar very early, even very young... but knows what the heck he is doing.

The other two trainers in the area who use ecollars a lot aren't very good trainers to start with and tend toward frying the dog regularly.. to the point that one dog attacked the instructor, and the owner, at different times.. know of twice this trainer ended up in the hospital with infected bites from students' dogs because of incorrect use of an ecollar... and of least one dog he shot dead because this happened.
One thing you also might explain to the other owners at the park is that there is a very different sound to a play growl than to an aggressive growl. The aggressive growl is easily recognized by sound and by body language and facial expression.. you feel it, as well as recognizing it's intensity. Having lived with terriers for many years, I'm very used to growly wrasslin' matches.. but have gone for several years at a stretch between times I've had to bellow loudly to distract the dogs or wade in and grab collars.
Something that will help, over time, is training your dog to come from the play session, for a reward, and then allowing him to go right back. It will also make recall in all circumstances much more reliable. It's impressive as all get out.. big noisey wrasslin' match, Siberian gets called out, comes to owner, gets an ear scratching and a nibble of jerky, and goes back to the game, happly as a clam and proud as he can be. Start with very short distances from the play group.

Jo Wolf
Martinez, Georgia
Warning: something of a soapbox follows.

Thank you for all the information and it is well taken. I've dismissed the bark collar completely. My problem is Kanook ignoring me at times but when I can get close, I can break things up and he will listen for a while. Often I see him instigating something, usually by putting a paw on the other dog's shoulder. It is then that I'd like to have a more effective method of recalling him. When I am a distance away, he often ignores my "Kanook! No!" or "Kanook! Come!" Othertimes, I can be far off and call him and he will come running to me.
I was thinking one of the collars that combine sound with an adjustable voltage output would be an effective substitute for me not being directly by him when I see intervention is needed. I work with electricity and have been shocked by just a tingle to a 5,000 volt shock that damn near knocked me out. I would consider an adjustable output model and try it on myself before using it on him. I believe I am correct that use of the device must be in conjunction with the appropriate verbal command from me.Part of the problem is rewarding him for obeying my commands. He loses interst in food and often keep out of arms reach because he is afraid that I will leash him and leave the park. I carry the leash around my neck. Perhaps I need to hide it? Forget dog treats. His favorite snack is salami. I've carried that in a plastic bag and all it has done is make me popular with all the other dogs! He has gotten to the point that he can tell when I may be thinking of leaving and will keep his distance.

That is my #1 behavior problem that I'd like to correct. It is similar to when he gets loose in the neighborhood. He relishes his freedom and refuses to be tricked by his favorite treats. Often the only way of getting him back is for a cooperative stranger to hold on to him or just letting him wear himself out. When his is tired he will walk into the house of come by me and lay down. Typical for Husky's, I'm told, and my previous Husky behaved the same way, though I'm spending way more time with this one.

I'm willing to take the time and resources to do this right.
Part of the problem is rewarding him for obeying my commands. He loses interst in food and often keep out of arms reach because he is afraid that I will leash him and leave the park.[/nq]Obedience classes would be great, and I guarantee your dog would love them, too. You've got an obedience problem. The first problem is that he's learned that when he comes to you at the dog park he doesn't like what happens next. So, when you go to the dog park you need to practice recalls just for the heck of it, and make sure that when he comes to you he gets something great and then gets to go play some more.

My dogs (all Siberians) understand that the park is all about zoomies, so when we do a practice recall they get a good treat and then we zoom around a bit together, which they think is big fun. We only do it for a minute or so and then they can go off again. So, 1) obedience classes, and 2) lots and lots of practice where the dog gets to go play some more after he comes to you.
As for tricking a Siberian Husky, you can only get away with it once. It's not a solution to a longer-term problem.
Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Since January 2001 the federal budget outlook for 2002-2011 has deteriorated by $8.8 trillion.
Warning: something of a soapbox follows.

Thank you for all the information and it is well taken. I've dismissed the bark collar completely. My problem is ... No!" or "Kanook! Come!" Othertimes, I can be far off and call him and he will come running to me.

A copule of things to consider here. First, dog parks are a lot of fun for SOME dogs. But they are environments very counter to the normal social structure of dogs. The base nature of dogs is to view strange dogs with caution, often triggering either territorial aggrssion or fearful response. Now we've changed that base nature for a lot of dogs, but for the majority of dogs the free play style dog park is only appropriate at the two ends of the life span. That would be youngsters under the age of two, and oldersters who just can't be bothered with posturing anymore. That age varies.
It is common for dogs to start having problems as they approach maturity, about 18 months of age on average. Behavior that was tolerated at a younger age is often no longer tolerated. The dog is moving from social play into adult responsiblity - which includes pack and territorial protection, pack status and more. Dog parks are typically more good people environments than dog environments. Most dogs would prefer to have just a couple dogs at time that they could give all their "getting to know you signals" and then play. The constant influx of new dogs puts many dogs under a lot of stress. A better situation for most adult dogs is off leash play with their people, or dogs they mostly alrady know. Keeping new introductions to one or two is often advisable.
I was thinking one of the collars that combine sound with an adjustable voltage output would be an effective substitute ... believe I am correct that use of the device must be in conjunction with the appropriate verbal command from me.

Yes, put you really should get some professional and experienced guidence in exactly how to do this. However, what would be of more value to you in the long run is to take some training classes beyond the "pet manners" level and do some reading on training so that you can better understand training, and dog behavior and the mistakes you are making that caused the results you describe below. The shock collar is a different tool but you won't get any better results until and unless you learn how to train more effectively in the first place.
Part of the problem is rewarding him for obeying my commands. He loses interst in food and often keep out of arms reach because he is afraid that I will leash him and leave the park.

Actually a good deal of the problem is that very likely you have been punishing him for obeying you. Punishment is when something happens to the dog that the dog doesn't want to happen in response to the dog's behavior. So if the dog's behavior is coming and you respond by putting the leash on and removing the dog when it doesn't want to go then you have punished the dog. To resolve this you need to reduce the strength of the connection between coming to you and you leaving the park.
I carry the leash around my neck. Perhaps I need to hide it?

No actually you need to put it on him, praise him, play with him then take it off again. Do this many many times. Mix up how long you leave it on, whether you actually attach it, and whether you ask him to do anything before tiaking it off again. At this point you should start the exercise away from the park. And use a new word to get him to come to you.
While there are a lot of books on training I think you could benefit the most by getting more acquainted with the theories of training. It will get you away from the cookbook training and more into understanding why the things you do succeed or fail.
I liked "Smart Dog, Brilliant Trainers" by Janet Lewis and Excel-erated Learning by Pamela Reid.

Diane Blackman
http://dog-play.com /
http://dogplay.com/Shop /
Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions. My favorite pastime with Kanook is hiking by ourselves in the woods and trails. He will keep me in sight as he trots ahead and can recognize hand signals when we come to a fork in the trail. When we approach a road or the parking lot, I try to get him on the leash a good 0.1 mile from there. Most of the time I do leave the leash on him and let him drag it along.

We stopped at a favorite hiking area today but had to leave as there were other people and their dogs there. I just cannot get Kanook to listen to me well enough in those distracting situations when he want to run ahead to see another dog or person. As I know he understands my commands but choses to ignore them in these circumstances, it was my thought that the training collar would be used then. I must point out that under normal circumstances we would have stayed and worked on things but I have had foot surgery about two months ago and am still in a stiff boot. Its hard for me to get around much for a while yet.

When at the dog park, which he seems to love, I began leaving him drag the leash behind him. However, that can tangle with other people when trotting around groups and one person asked me to take it off of him because of that. Perhaps you are right that the dog park is more for the people than the dogs. I'm not much for social events but love being by the other dogs and talking dogs with most of the people.

I will look at the resources that you mentioned. I am also giving serious consideration to contacting a local training business for help.
I will look at the resources that you mentioned. I am also giving serious consideration to contacting a local training business for help.

When you do that, make sure you ask to sit in and observe one of their training classes. That way you can see the technique(s) that they will use and you will know if the style(s) that they use fir with your personality and what you are comfortable yet.
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