In what is considered to be a pioneering program, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley is offering free dog harnesses. Well, not entirely free. In order to get a comfortable harness that keeps the dog owner in complete control…you have to bring in a choke collar or shock collar. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for owners to drop the harmful practice of choke chains or spiked collars in favor of harnesses.
So far, according to the Denver post, there have been almost 500 harnesses handed out in exchange for these cruel collars. Sometimes, laws are behind humane practice.Unfortunately, it’s a little more than sometimes. Boulder isn’t waiting on a law to make a change and this approach appears to be successful.
These types of collars have been popularized by trainers in the past who used them force the dog to do what they wanted rather than encourage through positive reinforcement. But even if you look at a choke collar through the strictest behavioral sense they aren’t a great tool for the job. The same stimulus (pain from the prongs) is presented whether the dog is scared, excited, happy, whatever. If they move too quickly they get stabbed. This lack of precision does not lend itself well to functional training.
Boulder focuses on the simple fact that the act is painful and not humane.
While the program focuses more on the humane component more than the training perspective the campaign is still quite effective. Even better, the funding came from an outside source that collected over $2,500 in funds to promote the humane collars.
The shelter hopes that the program will take off in other areas (which is likely due to the great and marketable return on investment).