I made a terrible mistake on Sunday. I went shopping online for an obedience dumbbell. After scrolling through the pages and pages of shock, prong, and choke collars that turn up when you click on “obedience equipment,” I was left with a horrible feeling of nausea.
I rationalized, for a moment, that I don’t have to buy a dumbbell. We aren’t competing; I can get by with homemade.
Then I remembered that my local mom-and-pop franchise, where I spend a lot of money, has a stack of prong collars right there next to the clickers.
With a sinking feeling, I clicked over to Chewy.com, that place where we all love to shop. So many allergy-friendly treats! Such good shipping!
And an entire page of shock, prong, and pinch collars.
You know what? I am done.
I don’t care if I have to make every particle of food that crosses Silas’s lips myself. I am through giving money to people who help other people abuse dogs.
I know that there are theoretically “correct” ways to use aversive training equipment, although the best modern dog training has moved past it. I also know that maybe 1% of the people who buy this equipment use it that way. Just watch the people walking dogs in your neighborhood on a sunny afternoon. Unless you live somewhere much more enlightened than I do, you’ll see half the dogs, frantic and confused, struggling against a pronged collar, often while their owner talks on the phone or chats with a friend. (Or drinks a glass of wine, and I only wish I were making that up.)
There isn’t much I can do about the way a stranger treats his or her dog, aside from my advocacy here, but I can spend my money however I want.
Edited to add: if you want to join me, I made a more badge-y image, although it’s not my strong suit: