April 1, 2011
This week on Dog Tails, we want to bring to your attention a recent controversial decision concerning electronic radio collars (e-collars) for dogs and cats. These radio collars (often mistakenly referred to as ‘electric’ collars) are widely used worldwide for pet training and containment. None-the-less, all e-collars have been banned for any purpose in Wales (see map), including for use with hidden underground fences. In addition to voicing our objection to such a blanket ban, we want to alert you to the possibility of this ban spreading to England, Wales’ neighbor to the east.
What was a debate between individual dog owners about whether to use electronic collars became political when the Welsh Assembly – supported by several animal rights groups – banned the collars outright. The ban went into effect one week ago (March 24, 2010). Punishments for noncompliance include fines of up to 20,000 pounds (approximately $32,000) and six months in prison. There is now talk of introducing a similar ban in England.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), who support the ban, argue that there is “no place for shock collars in modern animal training and recommended the use of reward-based methods instead.” Opponents argue that the ban will have a negative effects on a large portion of the dog and cat populations. (There were roughly 20,000 e-collars in use in Wales prior to the ban.) They point to the animals whose lives have been saved by pet containment systems, and aggressive dogs who benefited from e-collar training and as a result, kept their homes or found new ones. In passing the ban in Wales, the legislature seems to have largely ignored the positive aspects of e-collars, the safety features and the lack of evidence that e-collars cause either pain or harm when properly used.
As a company that specializes in pet containment systems, DogWatch Hidden Fences has a clear stake in this debate. Yet in addition to being professionals, we are also pet owners and pet lovers ourselves. We believe that electronic radio collars are a valuable and effective tool to help you keep your dog or cat safe, healthy and happy for life. Our hidden fence collars are designed not to inflict pain, but rather to protect pets from potentially life-threatening injuries caused by automobiles and other dangers when they leave their yards. Hidden fences allow your pet to run and play outdoors as they were born to do. We like nothing better than to see a dog or cat enjoying the freedom of roaming free in their backyard, sniffing and digging and rolling around to their heart’s content. Banning e-collars, especially for pet containment systems, will cause more harm than good.
February 11, 2011
In addition to Super Bowl XLV, last weekend also marked the annual DogWatch Hidden Fences Dealer Conference. 180 people, representing 75 Dealerships, traveled to Clearwater Beach, Florida for the two-day conference. The group included DogWatch Dealers from as far away as California, Alaska, and even the United Kingdom. This week in Dog Tails, we wanted to share with you a few of the highlights of our biggest annual gathering, and celebrate the accomplishments of some of our amazing Dealers.
The conference kicked off on Saturday, with a number of exciting presentations. DogWatch Dealer Shawn Bader of Mount Kisco, NY discussed the BigLeash, DogWatch’s remote trainer product. He highlighted some of the exciting new features that will be available starting this March.
DogWatch staff also introduced our newest, smallest receiver collar – The R7mini. (See image at right.) A perfect solution for small dogs and cats, the R7mini has all the same great features you have come to expect from DogWatch. Weighing in at only 1.1 ounces (including the battery!), it is the smallest receiver collar available for hidden fences. To find out more about these new products and features, contact your local DogWatch Dealer.
Other presenters included Chris Burns of Fort Point Design, who discussed website optimization, and Catherine Weber of Weber Media Partners, who discussed social media marketing. That evening, we held our annual awards dinner, honoring the achievements of our Dealers in 2010. A complete list of award winners is included after the jump.
On Sunday afternoon, we held a Dealer Fair where Dealers shared information with each other about their businesses and learned from each other’s varied experiences. Of course, the Dealers also shared a lot of their own dog stories and training advice – after all, it’s all about the pets! At the end of this productive day, everyone gathered together for a Super Bowl viewing party. Our Green Bay and Pittsburgh dealers were there to cheer on their home teams along with the DogWatch team.
All in all, it was fantastic weekend. Congrats to all of the awards winners, and a big thanks to the all of the dealers who attended. To see photos of the event, check our Facebook page next week. We hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into our event, and we encourage you to contact your local Dealer to learn more about our new products. We can’t wait to tell you about them!
March 31, 2010
Dog Tails interview with Emily West, DogWatch Hidden Fences of Columbus. Emily and Pat West have been DogWatch Hidden Fence dealers since 1992.
DT: You’ve been a DogWatch dealer for the past seventeen years—what’s your most poignant training experience working with a family and their dog?
EW: Don’t know that there is one particular story that really sticks with us. But the most poignant and satisfying thing is when we run into one of our customers and are greeted with a big hug and they tell us something like “You guys are the reason my dog is alive” or “You have saved my dogs life so many times, I can’t thank you enough.” It is the most satisfying and fantastic feeling in the world to know that you have meant that much to that family. It makes us know what we do is really important to families and their dogs.
DT: What’s your funniest story?
EW: Pat and I differ on our favorite stories. Mine has to do with a pot-belly pig that he trained, but Pat says it isn’t relevant because it isn’t a dog story. If you’d like it anyway, I’d be happy to share.
Pat’s favorite and funniest training story happened several years ago when we got a call that a dog was leaving the yard. The customer didn’t explain over the phone and just asked us to come out as we had to “see” the problem. So when Pat got there, the customer brought him into the kitchen and let the dog out. Pat watched from the window as the big Great Pyrenees proceeded to “walk” on his two back legs right through the fence, all the while making sure his neck and collar stayed above the level of the range of the fence. It was an easy fix as once the range was a bit higher the dog could no longer go through without correction, but it was quite the amazing circus act.
DT: People often have strong personal biases about whether to get a purebred dog, a mixed breed–and some have strong personal preferences for going with a rescue dog? How would you guide people with these decisions?
EW: Regarding pure bred, mixed breed or rescue dogs. Pat and I do have strong feelings about this, but it may not be what you think. Obviously, we feel it’s important to rescue dogs and we’ll always support our local rescues, shelters and Humane Societies.
However, we feel that it’s equally important to get a dog that is well matched to your life style. For instance, we NEVER recommend that anyone gets a dog simply because “it’s cute”. We always encourage people to do research regarding whatever type of breed or mix. Size, shedding, exercise, barking tendencies, temperament around other dogs, temperament around children, and digging habits are all important aspects to look at. And people need to be honest with themselves about what they are willing or not willing to do for a dog before they pick one out.
If people do the necessary research BEFORE they get a dog, Pat and I feel many fewer dogs would end up in shelters. And keeping dogs out of shelters is just as important as rescuing them once they are in shelters.
DT: We’ve noticed that DogWatch of Columbus has many online presences e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Blog, LinkedIn. What interested you in having social media presences? How has it worked for communicating with clients, prospects and others in your industry?