Yesterday we took the dogs down to Mary and Hank’s so that we could trial Genghis with the shock collar and see if he could learn to behave around their cats.
When we arrived at the farm Mary had forgotten that we’d arranged to visit and was just about to leave with two of their horses. So she set us up with the collar and remote control then she and Hank went trekking for a little while leaving us to work on training Genghis,
Mary and Hank off for a ride.
We’d had a long hard think about the morality of using such a collar on him, and I’m still not 100% happy, but we decided that the benefits of using it to stop him escaping and attacking cats were too great.
Our fear is that if he doesn’t learn to stay within designated bounds one day he’ll disappear and never come back, or get injured on his adventures. Also, I’d rather administer a small controlled shock to teach Genghis not to bother cats than have him be shredded from an encounter with the sharp ends of a cat’s claws, or have him torture and potentially kill someone’s beloved pet.
I know that in the UK there is a growing swell of support in favour of banning these shock collars, and I do feel terrible about doing it to Genghis, but I think as long as it is used sparingly, with only those two specific aims in mind, and with verbal reinforcement (and plenty of treats) to reward him when he’s not being bad then it should be beneficial rather than detrimental.
I still feel terribly guilty, but we really didn’t need to have to use it very much for him to suddenly start paying great attention to us and being a model dog.
Genghis calm around Maddy
So with the collar on we carefully introduced Genghis to Maddy and were pretty impressed when after merely a couple of small short shocks Genghis was able to be in the same room without wanting to pounce on her. He even gently nuzzled and licked her ear while we watched in amazement. So far so good. He got lots of cuddles and treats for behaving himself in Maddy’s company.
Maddy however, is a very tolerant cat, and it is Spook we’re really concerned about. Quince loves Spook and only tries to be friendly but has had several encounters with her temper.
Spook enjoying the sun’s rays on the back veranda
When Spook appeared from wherever she had been hiding it was poor Genghis’ turn to feel her fury. Though, to be fair, it was completely Quince’s fault. Genghis seemed to have already learnt that being crazy near the cats was bad, but watching Quince go up to Spook wanting to be her friend he seemed to think that if Quince was allowed near then he should go investigate too. At this point Spook snapped, Genghis got slashed on the nose and all hell broke loose. Another lesson learnt I think.
The next time Maddy came into the front room Genghis was much more respectful than I’ve ever seen him and got lots of praise for being such a good dog.
Bill says hello to the two jealous horses who didn’t get to go riding
As requested, a photo of Billy and Bobby the goats.
And finally while we are on the subject of electricity, Mary and Hank have secured their dog’s pound with a low voltage electric fence to stop Alex, Tate and Lucyloo escaping, and I guess, to also prevent any unwanted countryside predators getting in. This was a great surprise to Quince and Genghis who had never encountered fences that bite before. Poor Genghis discovered this the extra specially hard way when he made the mistake of peeing on the charged cable. Oh my gosh, I’ve never seen him yelp and jump so high. That had to have been far worse than the shock collar.