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The following article is an excerpt from the book,

It's For The Animals! Natural Care & Resources

by Helen L. McKinnon 


I saw those heartbreaking photos of an 8 month old Yellow Labrador Retriever, and the Electronic Training Collar he wore.

Note: According to his vet the large hole in his neck was NOT due to a tracheotomy - it appeared to be a burn from one of the two prongs/probes of the Electronic Collar. Rufus also apparently had another hole burned into his neck which was slightly smaller.

Click Here To Read Rufus' attending  Vet's Report

During my telephone conversations with the owners of the young Labrador Retriever I learned that Rufus is their first dog.  They got him in the spring of 2002 when he was just 6 months old, from a person in the husband's office -- Rufus was a gift to a boy but didn't work out.  The dog's owners are also parents of a baby who is a month older than Rufus and other children.  They live in a rural area and being inexperienced with caring for a dog, they believed that Rufus was "too big" to live in the house with them so, the husband built a doghouse and pen outdoors.

Well, they thought it would be a good idea to utilize that "underground wire" / "invisible fence" system as Rufus was an "outside" dog.  Young Rufus didn't go into his dog house in the beginning, and therefore, was exposed to the elements in his outdoor pen.  According to the owner,  he purchased the Electronic Training Collar with the Remote Control and the Confinement System.  He bought it at a local pet supply store -- a leading retail supplier of products for pets.

The owner is a self-admitted "techno-geek" and said he did actually read the product Owner's Manual.  He said that all was well for the first few days of using the just the Electronic Collar and plans were made to install the other part of the "System"- the containment area in the yard.  But something went terribly wrong.  Rufus was in his pen outside with the Electronic Collar on and he and his family was away most of the day during which it rained.  When his son informed him that Rufus wouldn't let him remove the Electronic Collar, he then went to check on Rufus.  It was then he became sickened with the grizzly scene.  Perhaps Rufus was protecting the boy from being shocked - because it appeared that Rufus had been tortured for many hours!

The owner stated that there was no mention of removing the collar if it should rain.  I regularly see my neighbor's dogs with these kinds of Electronic Collars on -- and the dogs are outdoors, even during the rain. 


My haunting question remains:  How many other dogs have been injured by  these devices?


The owner said he wrote to the company to inform them that he believed their Electronic Collar injured his dog, Rufus.  He included the incriminating photos showing how terribly burned the helpless dog was.  Apparently, the company took a long time to reply and when they did, it seems that they blamed the owner!  Their explanation was that the Electronic Collar was left on Rufus in the rain.

How can that be, when this product is designed to work outdoors as part of a "Containment System"?  The owner saw that apparently there was galvanic corrosion around the battery cover on the Electronic Collar. He said that he believed the unit went "berserk" and continuously shocked Rufus for several hours.  An emergency vet visit necessitated general anesthetic for suturing Rufus' neck.  The vet said it was one of the worst electrical burns she'd ever seen.

The owner said he finally received a response from the manufacturer, saying they'd pay the vet bill but only if he signed a document saying the company was not at fault!  Rightfully upset about this, he telephoned the manufacturer and was told by an employee "This is what our legal department says is all we need to do."

Now, I ask you, is that right?  I don't think so, and in my opinion, dog lovers have the obligation to protect their beloved companions from harm.  In order to do so, we must be informed of the potential harm when using these products.

So, as the owner relays, he paid the vet bill himself and refused to absolve the manufacturer of what he feels is their responsibility for what he believes to be the malfunctioning of this Electronic Collar.  Since his experience became more widely known, it turns out that, as I suspected, Rufus was not the only dog who was apparently injured by an Electronic Collar.  My hope is that public outrage will bring pressure to bear on pet supply shops to stop selling a product which could harm an animal until the manufacturer, either properly warns consumers of the potential danger, or removes this hazard from the market.

I later spoke with the owner and he confirmed that another man reported to him that the same thing happened to his dog, a few days after using the Electronic Collar.  Other people have also let me know of similar incidents. 

Since first writing about this incident, I've read 'pros and cons' about using these electronic collars.  Personally, I prefer Positive Training training with some incentives that my dogs love, such as dried liver and cheese!

There is quite a bit more information in that article which is a must read!   I learned in that article that some sadistic "trainers" are using these shock collars -- wrapped around dogs' GROINS !!!  God help the poor dogs!  That is not "training" -- it is sadistic animal abuse, in my opinion.  To follow is more about that horrible torture.

Pat Miller, a notable trainer and author does private consultations, and in that article mentioned above, shares her experience of a problem dog, an Airedale named Andy.  The owner of Andy had an electronic fence system put in, which worked fine -- for a few years.  But, to the owner's dismay, for some unknown reason, it stopped working and Andy was getting loose.  He would then bite, which is a serious concern for all involved.

So, the owner contacted the fence company and they sent a person to re-train Andy.  This is what happened:

"The 'trainer' put a shock collar around Andy's neck and one around his groin.  He led Andy to the fence and shocked him repeatedly.  According to his owner, Andy screamed and bit at his flanks; the sight was so gruesome that his owner couldn't watch -- she went inside and the torture continued without her.  When the trainer was done he came in and told her that Andy had bitten him in the leg -- but there was no harm done -- he announced somewhat proudly that he was protected by the leather chaps he had begun wearing because so many dogs tried to bite him during the training.

Two weeks later Andy charged through the fence again, knocked a young girl into the ditch and inflicted Level 4 bites.  Andy was ultimately euthanized."



Ian Dunbar PhD, BVetMed, MRCVS, CPDT is a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, dog trainer, and author, founder of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers

Dr. Ian Dunbar´s Dog Bite Classifications -- according to severity:

Level 1- Dog was scary and/or obnoxious  - antagonistic  behavior (growling, snapping) but no wound pathology or skin contact.


Level 2 - Skin contact by teeth but no skin puncture. May be nicks and slight bleeding caused by movement of teeth but no punctures. For the most part, the majority of  incidents are at level 1 & Level 2 and are easily workable.


Level 3 - One to four punctures from a single bite with no punctures deeper than half-length of the dog's canine teeth. May be lacerations in single direction due to pulling away. Level 3 can be bad due to tear of one puncture (a little hole) into a laceration.  There is a huge transition between Level 2 and Level 3, with degrees of severity within the level: Level 3 dogs present a serious risk.


Level 4 - One to four punctures from single bite with at least one puncture deeper than half the length of dog's canine teeth. May be deep bruising around the wound (dog held on and bore down) or lacerations in both directions (Dog held on and shook its head from side to side)


Level 5 - multiple bite incidents with at least two level 4 bites.


Level 6 - Flesh consumed or victim dead.

That article was written by Pat Miller of Peaceable Paws:


Peaceable Paws

 "Peaceable Paws is pleased to promote the modern, positive training philosophy because it encourages humane treatment of animals and raises awareness of respect and compassion for all life.

            We welcome your interest in Peaceable Paws Dog Training Programs.  Please explore our website and feel free to contact us if you have questions or comments.  Whether you train with us or elsewhere, please remember that your dog’s welfare is in your hands.  If any trainer does (or asks you to do) anything that you are uncomfortable with, you have the right and the duty to intervene.  Your dog depends on you for protection from harm and abuse."   Located in Chattanooga, TN, USA 423/ 877-4099 e-mail rafiki500 at aol . com (omit spaces when typing in address)"

Additional helpful information available at the following Links:

Bite Prevention



ă Copyright 1995 Helen L. McKinnon All Rights Reserved

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