Jody Karow offers a unique perspective on the debate. From 2007 to 2011, before becoming a certified dog trainer, she was a salesperson and then sales manager for Invisible Fence in Minnesota. Now surrounded by voices of the force-free-training movement, she’s heard countless arguments against using shock collars for containment.
“The thing that makes my perspective so different is that I sat with people in their homes and I listened to thousands of stories,” she says. “I can’t shake those stories no matter how much knowledge I have.”
One client who was scheduled for an installation had to cancel because his dog was on a tie-out and ran in pursuit of an animal. When the dog’s leash tightened, the collar pressed into his throat so hard that it collapsed his trachea, and he died. “I would rather see a dog on Invisible Fence than a tie-out any day,” says Karow.
So it seems that, as is the norm, there is no black-or-white absolute to this issue.
The Humane Society of the United States adds another layer of gray to the equation.
“We certainly want people to be cognizant of the pros and cons and safety concerns of electronic fencing,” says Cory Smith, director of pet protection and policy, “but at the end of the day, if an electronic fence is what is going to allow somebody to keep their pet by eliminating some kind of problem, then we want them to do it.”
Val Moranto and her husband are in the pro-electronic-fence camp. “We love it,” she says. “It has saved our pups from running into the country road where cars speed by.” The dogs are scared by the shocks, she says, but that has kept them safely on the property.
“We do not want a physical fence around the yard. We bought in an open, country setting so that we wouldn’t be fenced in,” Moranto says. For this couple, the electronic fence was the preferred choice. “I feel like it is selfish and selfless all at the same time, if that makes sense.”
Well said. It does.