I just read a conversation in which someone said that Lee Duncan trained Rin Tin Tin without an electric collar, so why does anyone need them today?
It's pretty thin logic; a bit like saying the Egyptians didn't need construction cranes and plate glass to build their buildings, so why do we need them today? Why not wait for the miracle of martians?
Rin Tin Tin was dead in 1932 and the first patent for a very early e-collar was 1934 using a Ford Model T coil as the power source with a wire running down the leash. The first battery-powered radio collar was patented in 1955, and the first commercial rigs came out in 1968. The modern e-collar did not show up until the late 1990s and has seen dramatic improvements in the last decade. Rin Tin Tin was not trained with an e-collar because they simply did not exist. For the record, neither did talking movies. All but four of Rin Tin Tin's movies were silent films
The original Rin Tin Tin seems to have been a one-off; Lee Duncan could not repeat his success with other dogs, and he was not the trainer for the dogs used in the 1950s TV series.
When I made that point, the response I got back was a Lee Duncan quote. Apparently Lee Duncan, the trainer of the original Rin Tin Tin, said that “…the first step in controlling your dog is to be able to control yourself.”
OK. Agreed. But how is that responsive to the question of e-collars? It isn't. If the notion is that people with e-collars might abuse them, then I would suggest thinking that through. Far more dogs are abused by leashes and flat collars than by e-collars. Are we going to ban all leashes and flat collars?
And why stop there? Are we going to ban swimming pools because kids drown in them?
Alcohol is the greatest threat to dogs, wives, and kids in any house. Are we going to ban all booze?
"We kill over a million dogs a year in this country because people fail to train their dogs, or because that training fails."
How about guns? Gasoline? Steak knives? Hammers? Chainsaws? Cars? Aspirin? All are potential tools for abuse. More dogs are killed every year by hammers than by e-collars.
The simple truth is that you cannot start banning tools because they might be abused or misused by a nameless, faceless, someone, somewhere, sometime.
Go down that road and we'll soon be banning chocolate, cheese, and ice cream.
Here's a simple truth: We kill over a million dogs a year in this country because people fail to train their dogs, or because that training fails.
Why does that training fail? Simple: people treat dogs like children, and they do not know how to correct a dog in real time when it is either on-leash or off.
And it's not simply a problem of an owner not having magic skills and an endless amount of time.
Rudd Weatherwax, the trainer of Lassie, could never could get the original Lassie (Pal) to stop chasing motorcycles and so his owner abandoned him to Weatherwax rather than pay for all those Weatherwax lessons that got the dog to stop barking. Yes, Lassie was abandoned because his famous dog trainer failed him!
Today almost anyone could stop both of Lassie's problem behaviors in short order with a bark collar and an e-collar, and with levels of stimulation so low you would not even be able to feel the "correction" on your own skin.
If we can do that, why would we not do that?
Steve Jobs said that "Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them."
You give people tools because most people are good and smart and will use them properly. The dim and the evil? They will do their business with rock or rope, water bucket and shovel, as they have since the beginning of time.
Removing tools does not stop the bad; it prevents the good and embraces the status-quo.
And in the world of dogs, the status-quo is a million dogs a year being killed or abandoned because their owners could not get them to stop barking or stop chasing motorcycles.