The other day I got a press release from a company that shall remain nameless, one with a product that purports to “bring freedom to pet owners and pets alike”

The premise

The first paragraph read:

When you come home to find Rover has mistaken the trash cans in the back yard for a snack bar and Sylvester has decided to use the back of your favorite upholstered chair as a claw sharpening tool, it’s tempting to feel less than friendly toward man’s best friends. Backyard romping is soon replaced by enclosed pens or tie-outs to keep pets away from trouble. Pet owners find themselves creating mazes of baby gates in the house to keep pets away from specific rooms. Soon, pet and owner alike no longer feel free to move around anymore.

The solution?  Electrify your house with “a mobile wireless system to train pets to avoid areas of the home or yard where they might get in trouble.”

Seriously? You’re supposed to create a series of shock zones in your home? Why not just lay down a few IEDs? That’ll really get the “don’t go there” message across.

I dislike invisible fences for a variety of reasons, not only the inflicting pain on your pets part, which is considerable as this video shows (in spite of the laughter):

I also dislike these fences because they often have the opposite effect than that intended, i.e., the dog runs past the invisible barrier but then doesn’t want to come back inside because of the pain. And think how unpleasant it is for dogs to see other creatures having free access to the yard while they are stuck within a barrier. Squirrel taunts are painful in their own fashion.

Mind you, I think there are rare circumstances — establishing a perimeter in a very large, impossible-to-fence area to keep pets from danger — where providing a jolt could be acceptable.

But inside your home? No way. I’ll take that “maze of baby gates” — and, hello, did you ever hear of doors and crates? positive training? — any day over booby trapping my residence.

The press release goes on to elaborate:

Trash cans, litter boxes, baby rooms, expensive furniture, dining rooms and kitchen counters are just some of the areas that the system can protect indoors.

So let me get this straight: we’re talking electrified furniture here? Why not just go retro and put plastic slipcovers on your sofa (yes, I had some friends whose parents actually did that; and yes that establishes that I’m ancient).

Worse than the scary furniture, though, is the juicing up of the baby’s room. What’s to keep a dog from thinking it’s the kid that’s the providing the electric shock, not the room, and biting the baby out of fear? Hmmm. Maybe you could cut out the middleman and just electrify the baby? Jen Shyrock’s programs for preventing dog bites? So touchy feely!

The company’s alternatives

Aside from the premise of needing to electrify various areas of your home, which is tough enough to swallow,  one of the things that disturbed me about the press release was its blackmailish tone. If you don’t install their system, the implication was, you might have to have your cats declawed or, even more dire: “In the face of continued damage and havoc, frustrated pet owners sometimes have to surrender their companion animals to shelters where they may be euthanized.”

Have to? It’s electro-shock or death?

In contrast, this company claims that its system “can provide a training option that keeps pets in happy homes.”

Training? Happy? That’s not my idea of either term.

My alternative

As an advocate of positive training, I have a better idea, inspired by another press release that I received the same day:

The online exclusive meat purveyor, “35° Premium Aged Steaks”, is open for business and accepting orders at For the first time, “35° Premium Aged Steaks” affords home chefs, foodies and trendsetters alike access to fresh, never frozen meats previously reserved for top restaurants…fresh, overnight, direct to your door…

Convenient, eh?

So here’s what I’m thinking: Create meat- (or fish-) reward zones in your home — and, with the bones from the bone-in cuts, in the garden — places where your pet will want to go because they associate them with pleasure.

Your pet will love you for it. And the baby won’t have to be electrified.


34 thoughts on “Shock Your Pet at Home!”

  1. I LOVE you, Edie this is such a great post !!!! I shared it on my facebook wall and will share it far and wide…

    that company is almost worse than and like the drug companies on TV who list their drug’s toxic side efffects as having “fatal events” instead of saying YOU WILL DIE if you take this drug… slimey…

    am going to have to write about bark collars, do you know about those? Anything that shocks, inflicts pain upon an animal (or human) is wrong in my opinion and there are MUCH better solutions as you point out.

    Brave my friend !!!!

    1. should have said BravO.

      but it is also brave of you speaking out against companies that send press releases. I get strange ones like that all the time and sometimes you just gotta speak your mind and tell the world.

      thank you

    2. Thanks, CeliaSue!
      Actually, I initially included anti-bark shock collars in this piece, but decided that muddied the waters, since the press release just dealt with electrified zones. Yup, bark collars are awful too!

  2. In Denmark and a number of other contries the use of anything – collars, fences, etc. – that works based on electric shock, is forbidden by law. Illegal to sell, distribute, AND use. At least here they have set a good example, unlike other parts of their animal welfare laws. But lets not get in to that again, just want to express my thanks to you for carrying the petition against BSL in Denmark. You are a great supporter!

    The “reward-zones” look like an excellent alternative you have come up with, I hope people will try that instead and throw their shock equipment out of the window. And so easy to pass on! who would forget what a “reward-zone” is?

    1. Good, you’ve raised my estimation of European countries as having enlightened animal rights laws again. Sometimes. You’re very welcome about the petition. I’d like to move it into a post soon, but in the meantime I wanted to at least have it up.

  3. You’ve got to be kidding! What an absurd idea, and even more absurd is that people (supposedly with more common sense than the teenage boys in the video) will think it’s a good idea.

    1. I know at least one “trainer” here that sells these systems. Appalling. By the way, I looked for a video that would be more serious, but it seems like it’s only adolescent boys who are goofy enough to try this and bark collars!

  4. Great post, Edie! It is scary how “normal” all of these shocking devices have become. Even worse are the company trainers that suggested to one of my training clients to place one of these indoor shocking stations UNDER the rocking chair in the nursery! That way the dogs would not jump up while the were feeding the baby…. Uggggh!

    1. Jeez,I thought I was kidding about electrifying the baby. What you describe comes pretty darned close!

  5. Still trying to figure out how an electrified zone restricting access to an area gives the pet any more freedome than baby gates/closed doors restrictinv access to an area…. ???

    1. My sense is that it’s an aesthetic issue. If your house is made too unattractive with all those ugly baby gates you’ll want to return your pet to the shelter.

  6. How about a reward zone for the dog and a shock zone for the kids? Oops, did I actually type that? Sorry, I have a sick sense of humor.

    I wonder if the way to defeat this kind of product is not to argue that it’s cruel. That seems obvious and it doesn’t seem to change anyone’s mind. Instead, we should plant the suggestion that the additional electromagnetic fields in your home may cause cancer. Look at all the news stories about cell phone radiation the past few days.

    1. You did type that and I approved it; no turning back!

      As for cruelty, I think that’s in the eye of beholder. Some people are in denial, and believe that a quick zap isn’t painful (or confusing, because the reason for the zap is unclear). That said, I agree that a cancer scare can’t hurt in the quest to banish these products.

  7. I’m not a fan of electrified invisible fences for a number of reasons. My biggest reason is that it does not keep unwanted visitors out.

    Here’s my solution to doggie destruction when the owner is not home. Invest in a good dog crate and USE IT!!

  8. Excellent article! Have to wonder if the ‘genius’ who invented shocking your dog is still alive? In my opinion they would be an excellent candidate for the Darwin Awards! Seems they have a critical gap in their thought processes in being able to think things though to a logical conclusion.

  9. This is insane – and yet, a company is making it to cater to people that are too lazy to train their pets. For anyone who is thinking of purchasing this product: please get your dog a crate. Shocking it, in what will appear to your pet to be a completely random way, while you are not home, is just stupid.

  10. Holy Cow. My eyes were bulging while reading this.

    Only thought: They’ll come up with anything so long as it makes money and promotes a “hands off,” very lazy approach to handling your dog.

    next thing you know, they’ll have remote control systems that you can have implanted in the dog’s brain to “control” him. -______-;;

  11. I hate those things. The fences keep dogs in, but do nothing to keep stray dogs, cats etc out. Not to mention people who may take them for nefarious reasons.

    It’s so easy to train dogs it just takes time and patience. Shocking them is so unnecessary.

    1. So true! Thanks for coming by, Bart. I just checked out your blog. You’re a very handsome pup.

  12. Various ways to electrify your dog — and not in a good way — seem to be taking over some sectors of the dog-training business. The last mail-order catalog I received from Drs. Foster and Smith, a very large and usually considered reputable player in pet supplies, featured page after page of shock collars and other forms of cruelty, which Their Vetnesses somehow viewed as a program that includes positive reinforcement! (Because it feels so good when the pain stops????). What’s worse, it seems to me, is that the purveyors of these devices tend to present the idea of shocking Max or Molly as a moral issue — dogs demand the higher levels of torture because they just refuse to obey. Lots of child abusers make the same defense.
    Full confession time: I once installed an outdoor electric fence in a yard. The steep lot was impossible to fence conventionally; many temptations lurked beyond the boundaries; Seattle was vigorously enforcing its leash laws; health issues had not yet raised their ugly heads. But the company at least sent a trainer to help me teach the dogs to avoid going near the fence by stopping at an alert, not when shocked. They had a big — 60 by 100 feet — yard to play in, plus daily walks beyond the hedge.
    Still, I am haunted by the fear that the fence in question may have contributed to the eventual death of my smooth fox terrier from lymphoma.
    These days we do confinement the old-fashioned way. Is there some reason people who buy these devices can’t just close the door to Junior’s room?

    1. Doors — what a novel concept, Rebecca! Remember: Guilt free zone. As I said, there are rare circumstances — trying to secure large areas, e.g. — where electric type confinement makes sense. And it’s better than having a pet run off and be injured/without care. But inside a house? C’mon…

  13. Hey, is this some kind of sickness on their part? I could have laughed if it wasn’t so mean. Imagine creating shock zones inside the home, and what happened to animal rights? I hope the advocates raise a hell of a ruckus against these mad people. They would do all things just to earn profits. Why are they allowed to do this type of business by the authorities, or are they even licensed in this enterprise? Hope somebody gets to them.

  14. One has to wonder why it would be SO DIFFICULT for people to just simply get a crate for when they’re out and train their dog when they’re home. I mean, my gosh, it’s CHEAPER too. All these electric things cost a ton of money. And if you lose power, it’s not going to help. A crate doesn’t rely on electrical power and you can get one off Craiglist for about $50 (or less if you need a small one!).

    I bet these people would consider the crate “cruel” though. I can’t imagine how a CRATE is cruel while electric shocks are not. People seem rather backward in this country.

    1. Good point about the losing power (aside from everything else); I hadn’t even thought of that!

      And yes, we do have our priorities screwy.

      Thanks for coming by. I tried to comment on your blog but, after putting in my basic google info, it tried to make me join Blogger…

  15. Wow, We have one guy down the street that has one of these. He drives his big fancy cars, has his lawn manicured down to the last blade of grass. It’s fun though, seeing the looks that he gives the other dog owners that actually enjoy their dog. I hate these electric necklace type things.

  16. Soo I know no one will like me here but I kinda understand the company and who there talking to. Basically me lol. I have 3 Aussies 2 are troublesome, and not the dog just needs training and and established boundaries kind of problems. One was hit by a truck 5,000.00 dollars and having almost died he still runs across the damn road if I look away for a moment he now also chews furniture including burrowing a hole inside of my new bed (60 lb dog). He hates a kennel and I don’t like urging him in one after his surgery I’m concerned it’s painful for him. He acts aggressive to new people he doesn’t bite but makes a terrible fuss for as long as they are near the house. He is in medication but there’s only so much that will help. He will dig under or jump over any fence I have ever seen. The only thing that works is the electric fence. And they are not all created equal. Mine does intermediate shocks that get closer together the further outside of the marked area the dog goes and slows down as they come back in as well as having settings so it never gets stronger then you want it to. If you take the time to train your dog correctly it’s a wonderful system. But I have had to fight to keep this dog alive and in my home so the idea of the article doesn’t offend me. Dog number two eats everything but dog food and is severely overweight no matter what I do. O purchased a medal trash can and I am trying to electrify it for her own good I can’t have any food on the counter no matter the container she will get it and break into it so all other food is way out of reach. I am so tired of the baby gate maze and trying to get the kids to keep them secure that it’s an overwhelming part of my day. And yes I have talked with dog trainers Aussies are a different breed to be sure I don’t think I will ever get a papered dog again. There are lazy people that don’t try and I would be in total agreement with you for those situations. But when you try everything from special trainers to medications and messages for you animal there’s not many other things to try. I was looking for a device to electricity my trash can when I came across this. I have spent well over 10K on one dog it’s not for lack of patients it’s comming down to the fact there no other options and that’s who this company is reaching out to.

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