My wife and I enrolled our terrier Spencer in puppy day school. We discovered that they used electroshock collars. Should we ask for a refund? Can we sue?

My wife and I adopted a terrier during the pandemic. It was the best decision we’ve ever made, aside from getting married. But that’s just a second.

We had some minor issues with Spencer – named after the late Diana, one of my wife’s favorite royal characters – “escalating the game,” according to a local dog trainer, meaning she was being rough when she was supposed to be playing more gently. It is sometimes difficult to get Spencer on a leash when we want to take her out or go for a walk. My wife can chase them in circles in the yard and Spencer wags her tail and loves it because she thinks it’s all a game.

We sent her to puppy day school for a week to learn how to come when we call her and also to play “Funder” where she runs up to you, darting and pacing under your legs, expecting a treat . Day school was $120 a day, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. On the second day we noticed that they were using electroshock dog collars. We were surprised and appalled. You never mentioned it to us when we signed Spencer up for your class.

We immediately pulled them back, expressing our anger and dismay that Spencer — who is like our child — would receive shocks to get them to do what they want. We could have done it ourselves if we wanted to, but we would never consider doing something like that. We pulled Spencer off the course immediately. Do we have a right to a refund? We probably wouldn’t take legal action, but could we sue if we chose to go that route?

We feel terrible to be misled by this school.

dog parents

Dear Parents,

Most reputable trainers know that this is a decision pet owners should make for themselves. They broke your trust and lied by omission. You have been deceived.

That human society and PETA Refrain from using such collars, which can range from a mild tickling sensation to more severe shocks. They can induce fear and aggression in dogs and damage the trust between them and their guardians. Electroshock collars – or “e-collars” as they are sometimes more sensitive, if deceptively called – use negative reinforcement. “Although they can suppress unwanted behavior, they don’t teach a dog what you want them to do instead, so shouldn’t be used,” says the Humane Society.

These methods use fear to get results. That doesn’t work in interpersonal relationships. You can’t do that at work. It doesn’t work in making decisions when buying or selling stocks in the stock market. And it doesn’t work in dog training. It can have an immediate effect and cause the dog to stay put, but positive reinforcement like treats and praise and hints that he can understand better work better. In your case: instead of trying to play a game with her, go behind the garden gate and close it so Spencer can see you’re out for a walk.

Yes, request a refund. Electroshock collars, regardless of their severity, are a quick and sneaky way to get short-term results and – some would argue, including this author – a cruel and unusual way of training a dog. I assume you didn’t sign any document mentioning such collars. Burying such a reference in the fine print might be seen as an admission that the practice is controversial, but it would at least give them a leg to stand on, albeit without the dignity of the proud pooches that walk through their doors.

Your question, which threatens legal action, is more complicated. It can help secure a refund, but their use remains legal in the United States, although many other countries prohibit the use of electrical devices for disciplinary purposes under cruelty to animal laws. according to Pupspal.comincluding Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales, some states in Australia – including New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and South Australia – and in Quebec, Canada.

“Stun collars are a quick, cruel, and sneaky way to get short-term results.”

A to learn published July 2020 in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science trained 63 dogs that had off-leash behavior problems, such as: B. Poor memory, similar to your Spencer. They divided the dogs into different groups: one with electroshock collars, one with the same methods as the first group without the collars, and another with positive reinforcement. “In many ways, positive reinforcement training was shown to be more effective in addressing target behavior as well as general obedience training,” the researchers noted.

There has been progress on the home front. In 2020 Petco WOOF,
stopped selling electroshock collars: “Today we’re stopping the pain for Buddy because he’s barking at the doorbell. We take the stress out of Sadie because she jumps at all the neighbors when they walk in the door. And we’re ending fears for Cooper because he prefers a good pair of sneakers to any chew toy on the market.” Reason: “As a health and wellness company dedicated to improving the lives of pets, they have no place in our business search. And honestly, we believe there is a better way.”

There are collars that pose fewer risks to dogs: vibrating collars can be useful for dogs that are hard of hearing, and flea collars for dogs to protect them from fleas. Elizabethan collars are those cones that prevent dogs from biting stings, for example, they have been spayed or neutered – a practice that is recommended by PETA, as it can prevent hundreds of thousands of dogs from being born, ending up hungry and alone on the streets or being abused by humans. If only there was such a cone of shame for people who abuse animals.

If Spencer’s Puppy Daycare refuses to give you a refund, tell the owner to wear a collar and let his/her spouse shock him/her if he/she misbehaves.

See how they like it.

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‘How are the chances? I retire and the stock market crashes. All my plans are upside down.” I want to use my 401(k) to renovate my new home. What options do I have? My wife and I enrolled our terrier Spencer in puppy day school. We discovered that they used electroshock collars. Should we ask for a refund? Can we sue?

Brian Lowry

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