Beagle with electric shock collarYou see the contraption around eighteen-month-old Lulu’s neck?[divider type=”white”]

It’s an electric shock collar.

She wears it all the time. It shocks her if she goes near the boundary, the top of the stairs or the dining table while they are eating. They have an invisible fence, and ‘discs’ on the table and stairs.

They have found Lulu hard work since they got her at eight weeks old. She steals things, chews things and barks a lot.[divider type=”white”]

Bored and wanting company

She spends quite a lot of time in a small pen in order to contain her – so she barks to get out and join the family. She goes out into the garden, but only to bark and scrabble at the door to get to the rest of the people.

On walks, in spite of her mainly wanting to sniff and say hello to people and other dogs, she is corrected by jerks of the lead on her collar if she doesn’t walk ‘properly’.

I have suggested they look at Lulu’s own needs, as a Beagle especially, and run with them. A Beagle is bred as a pack animal, not solitary. They have a very friendly affectionate little dog who simply wants to be with them all the time. They also have a working animal that needs to be occupied. She is a ‘hound’ and needs to sniff and hunt, so why not go with the flow when out on walks, giving her more space on a long line whilst showing her that any pulling simply results in no further progress until the lead is loose again.

People sometimes make things a lot more difficult than they need to be with preconceived ideas of what they think a dog should do.[divider type=”white”]

Fulfilment and enriching her life

There are better ways than a shock collar of containing Lulu. In my mind shocking a dog abusive. Instead of shutting her out of the room they could contain her and give her plenty to do – use anchor points perhaps. She well may not need this at all if her own needs are better fulfilled. If they give her more brain work and more to occupy her when she gets bored.

It was interesting asking each member of the family their reasons for getting her. The grandmother said to sit on her lap, the grandfather said to replace the old dog that recently died, the mother said for affection, the son said to play with and the father said he never wanted a dog.

If they now ask, what does Lulu need and want, and then find a way of fulfilling it, she will be no problem at all. She is the sweetest dog. She is friendly to all people and dogs. The only barking she does is when she wants to join the family and have some of the action.

I have spent time and money over the years, keeping my small field dog proof with conventional fencing and sheep wire. I hope that one day I can persuade this family to fence their garden properly – or at least a part of it, and do away with the shock collar.

People in their ignorance do things with the best of intentions, and no doubt they do this to keep their dog safe. Lulu can so easily be taught to keep away from the dining room table while they are eating by being shown what IS required of her and rewarded for that. The stairs can be gated.

However, it takes a lot more time and effort. All members of the family need to pull together – to drink out of the same water bowl.