I wrote an article last November about shock collars and how they are not appropriate for adventure dogs, or really any dog. But here I am again, writing another article about this topic that is somehow controversial (I say somehow, since the science on its harms is clear). So why am I writing this again?
Well, Wednesday May 27th, I woke up to some bad news. While scrolling on my Facebook page I saw this article on Outside Magazine. It had been out for a while, but I hadn’t seen it yet (I don’t go searching for this author’s articles since I have been frustrated in the past by his lack of expertise and his apparent desire to talk about a topic like he is an expert: See my post Why the right number of dogs might be n+0). But here it was, so I read it and my anger boiled.
I posted about this on Instagram and tagged some other science-based training accounts to help spread the word and luckily it seemed to take off. So I’m writing this now, to get into more detail as to why this article is wrong, irresponsible, and damaging to dogs. For those who may question my credentials, I am a certified dog trainer (CPDT-KA). To be certified, I needed to have over 300 hours of hands on experience, had to pass a theoretical exam and had to commit to utilizing the Humane Hierarchy with all of my training. I also have to get 36 hours of continuing education credits and provide accurate test taking questions to maintain my certification. So yes, I have more experience and knowledge on this topic than the author.
I have seen a disturbing trend in the adventure dog world lately. I have seen trainers promoting the use of shock collars as a means to control a dog so that their client can hike with their dog off leash. Those trainers are selling these devices as “remote training” devices which do not hurt the dog. But the reality is, they are shock collars, and this is being promoted instead of using scientifically based methods which are proven to work and not harm a dog’s wellbeing. Seeing this trend, I felt I had to write something to try and provide more information about these collars.
So here we go, this is probably going to ruffle some feathers. In fact, I fully expect to get some messages or comments from folks after posting this. But I cannot keep quiet anymore.Continue reading →
Buffy and Cody take in the views on a water pumping break near our backcountry campsite in the Skoki area.
I like to adventure (scramble, climb, hike, sleep in the backcountry, splitboard, cross country ski, trail run, etc…) It keeps me fairly busy on my weekends and as much as possible, I like to bring my adventure mutts along with me. I own two rad adventure dogs: Cody and Buffy. Both have summited mountains, been on backcountry treks, skijored and been backcountry skiing with me.This article is all about some of my tips for having fun in the mountains with your dog safely. It goes without saying though, use your judgement to adapt these to your dog and your adventures. What’s right for us, is not going to work for everyone. Continue reading →