Julie Goodnight: shock collar for horses (o-o!) - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 57 Old 03-26-2010, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by kitten_Val View Post
First, I don't think you advocate using it. :)
I've yet to come across a situation where I thought one would be the best and most effective tool for a horse. And I'm unable to think of a situation where it would be the best and most effective tool for a horse. Ask me in another 20 years, I may change my mind.

I know of a deaf dog it was used on, and it worked quickly and effectively to show the dog the boundaries of the property, which was located on a busy stretch of road. Clearly the problem with a deaf dog is that it can't hear commands, and if the dog isn't looking at the person, the dog can't obey the hand signals it's been taught. So, there's a situation where I thought it was a good tool.

Personally I don't like when it's used on dogs either. However IMO dogs are very different from horses mentally (although I must admit I havnt' met the shock collar trained dogs in person). Dogs don't have, say, those panic attacks or scared by everything and such, in many ways they are also treated differently then horses. Lol! Each horse is still a wild animal (well, I'm kinda exaggerating of course, but I mean the habits and behavior). While dogs are already very far from wolfs at this point.

Now as for electric fence, I'd compare it with the thorny bushes. It hits it once or twice with the nose and realizes it's not fun. Same with with the fence. Now with the shock collar it'll come from nowhere and as a punishment for normal horse behavior (the aggression and establishing alpha) or scary horse (kicking the trailer). I agree with heyycutter I think the use of shock collar can break horse mentally.
I think your logic is flawed here about the differences between dogs and horses, HOWEVER I do believe you hit the nail on the head in terms of the situation the device is being advocated for...which is a change to instinctual equine behavior at a cellular level. Therefore, I do believe it's straight up bad advice.
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post #12 of 57 Old 03-26-2010, 10:02 AM
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I personally think it is just like many other tools in the horse business, it has a good place when used properly, but can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Just like any other "training tool", it has a lot to do with timing and consistency. To say to never use it because it makes a horse lose its mind is like say never eat a cookie because you will get obese. I know, cookies taste better, but the point is that things can be used properly and in moderation without producing a negative side affect.

I know someone who uses shock collars regularly on their horses and dogs, all of the animals are working animals (cattle) and not a single one is shy of a person. I could see they could be very dangerous in the wrong hands, and with training I personally try to find the cause of the problem first, but I do have 2 cribbers and was considering trying this same thing. I have resolved ulcer issues and eliminated all colic symptoms, but the behavior still remains.

I have had many horses learn to not do something just when you are around. When a horse is left alone, the act of going over to the horse to stop a horse from doing soemthing usually stops the behavior briefly, but also get the horse the attention that they are looking for. Like mls said, instant correction with no human interaction.
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post #13 of 57 Old 03-26-2010, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by FlitterBug View Post

I have resolved ulcer issues and eliminated all colic symptoms, but the behavior still remains.
That is definitely a situation where an experiment with it would be interesting. The issue as you say, would come from people using it w/o having fixed the trigger...then it would undoubtedly fail.
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post #14 of 57 Old 03-26-2010, 10:33 AM
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I think they could be horribly abusive in the wrong hands, like anything. I am pretty sure Clinton Anderson suggests shock collars in certain, very limited instances. I thought I would never use one on a dog in a million years. Our lab would go berserk in the car, howling with excitement and literally throwing himself around breaking things because he knew he was going to go swimming or something. You could not make him stop, I think I could have beaten him to a pulp and no change. Got a shock collar, he gave himself one shock and lay down in the car quietly for the rest of the ride. Had to put it back on him one other time. No exaggeration, that is how much of a non stress action it was for him. I suspect Julie Goodnight uses the shock collar on horses in much the same way. It corrects the horse and there is no getting into a fight with the horse and it could be a humane solution, if done with a lot of knowledge!
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post #15 of 57 Old 03-26-2010, 10:48 AM
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When used in gentle, well timed, experienced hands for the correct purpose, I see nothing wrong with it. It really isn't that shocking(sorry for the pun) to see shock collars on an animal for training purposes. How do you think invisible fencing works? How bird and hunting dogs are trained? Honestly a low voltage shock can be gentler, more effective, and more quickly enforced reprimand than a smack with a crop or really anything else, plus your horse does not associate you with the punishment, he just knows when he does *this*, he feels a shock.

Ω Horses are a projection of peoples dreams Ω
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post #16 of 57 Old 03-26-2010, 11:16 AM
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I use a barking collar on my shi tzu when we leave the house. Barking incessantly is something she knows she should not do, as she is often corrected for it - without the aid of the collar. You can tell from her body language that she knows it is inappropriate behavior. The collar, adjusted at a very low-level, serves as a reminder that it is unacceptable to bark, and bark, and bark when we are not there to correct it ourselves. However, she can barks as much as she wants when we go for long hikes or she is playing outside. The idea is not to get into the habit of neurotic barking when someone passes by the house.

I can't recall a horse problem I've seen that would need this type of device, but I'm not saying that means it is not useful in the right circumstance. However, I imagine there are more cases of mis-use of the collar then there are productive ones, probably because people are always looking for that cure-all short-cut. I guess this would mean, more often than not, that the unwarranted behaviour would be corrected through relying on the device, (say biting) but that it may be exchanged for another undesirable behaviour. (i.e over-sensitivity or head shyness) I don't have an electric fence, but I sometimes wish I did, because my horse tends to think the grass is greener on the other side, and rubs her mane off. I think that electric fencing is kind of an indirect way of encouraging a modification in behavior, as I imagine a shock collar would be. I tend to think that it is better that your horse know that a request in change of behavior is coming directly from you, and the importance is that he recognizes and respects that. I don't know though. Shock collars have gotten a bad rap because of their ease of being used incorrectly, but that shouldn't negate the positives that may come from using one in an educated, humane manner.

As for me, I'd rather the horse not be under the assumption that I have the power of making magic lightning bolts fly out of my finger tips, lol.

Last edited by Seahorseys; 03-26-2010 at 11:22 AM.
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post #17 of 57 Old 03-26-2010, 11:53 AM
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I don't advocate shock collars on dogs, and I don't advocate shock collars on horses. Wouldn't think of using one on anything that I owned, either.

The problem with electric fence vs. electric collar is that the electric fence serves more than one purpose....It keeps the horses off the fence, and it also keeps other animals out. The animal also controls when its zapped on an electric fence. They learn once and then never try it again, but with a human controlled device, its too easy to be misused.
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post #18 of 57 Old 03-26-2010, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by justsambam08 View Post
They learn once and then never try it again, but with a human controlled device, its too easy to be misused.
Are you serious? You have never had a smart horse. We've had horses (ponies are especially guilty) that KNOW when the fence is off or shorted out.

Shock collar is no more abusive than a whip in the wrong hands.
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post #19 of 57 Old 03-26-2010, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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To all people who say it's OK. Have you ever tried the shock on yourself? I had once when I was a kid (from the broken device). Well... I personally would rather have a good smack of crop on my leg or butt then shock again. After so many years I still remember it. While I may agree with using it for really bad cribbing case (because so far I haven't seen any real cure for that one) I disagree to use it for everything else. Personally I don't think it's humane whether it's dog or a horse or a cat or rabbit or whatever else.
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post #20 of 57 Old 03-26-2010, 12:01 PM
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Mls- Then you have MY horses. I came home one day and went out to the barn. Find out the fence is down. Apparently Soda rolled a little too close to the edge, caught it, and pulled 1/4 of the fence line out.

Here's the kicker. Both horses were hanging out IN the paddock. Hadn't even stepped a foot out of the boundary. It was very muddy so I would've seen any tracks they made.

Shock collars could be useful in the right circumstances. Just like with dogs you need to know how to use the tool effectively. I've yet to have a horse where I thought it would be useful. Although someone did suggest it to me for Soda's pasture horse-horse aggression.

Edit - My brother trains his dogs for feild trials using a shock collar. They are the furthest things from abused animals. They aren't afraid of my brother or the collar and they love their training sessions. He has tried the collar on himself before putting it on the dog. Yup, it hurts. Not excruciating pain, but not fun. But that's what it's there for. A correction when you are not able to administer the correction yourself (your dog is 100 yds away and isn't obeying hand signals).

Last edited by MN Tigerstripes; 03-26-2010 at 12:05 PM.
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