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By Published On: March 18th, 2011

blow up dolls male and femaleI often feel an affinity toward ‘dog’ people. No offense to you ‘cat’ people, it’s definitely not because we’re any smarter. In the never ending debate over whether or not it is efficacious or humane to use training techniques or devices that hurt or intimate a dog to get behaviors we want, we seem to prove that over and over again.

There are the reasons, causes and excuses for using force and pain that are directly spewed in mimicry of TV’s top oh so not an expert dog trainer (forget all the rubbish about rehabbing dogs and not training, it’s a sound bite and does not get him off the hook for being a bully either way). And then there are the excuses that make me lower my eyebrows, squint and ask, “You’ve got to be kidding right?”

Along with the, ‘it’s what wolves do’ outdated, disproved nonsense, there’s the ‘it’s what mom does’ absurdity. I recently saw a comment referring to prong collars, explaining that they work because they imitate what a mother does to a recalcitrant pup. Seriously? I am fairly certain that none of my dogs mistake me for either a dog or their mother. I’d also feel safe in saying that even if they did they would be able to differentiate between having an interaction that involved one participant putting their mouth on their neck versus a metal pronged device encircling their throat with six feet between them and another creature.

If you do not understand how and why prong, shock or choke collars work, you need to find out. It’s not that complicated, and it has nothing to do with growing up with the doggie equivalent of Joan Crawford. If you decide to use one, at least base your decision on something that actually makes sense.

They are ‘only’ dogs but not only do we demean them when we use pain or the threat of it, to control them, we demean them when we assume that their cognitive abilities are so limited that they’d not be able to tell the difference in the aforementioned prong collar scenario. Imitates a mother’s scruff grab…puleeeze.

This is like telling a teenager that having sex with a blow up doll is the same as with a living breathing human. “Yes dear, the sensations are exactly the same, and all in all it’s just like the real thing, trust me you’ll never know the difference.”

You gotta be kidding right?

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