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Hello,
Sorry for the long post I am just in need of some real advice here so if you have the time please reply some kind words of advice.
I am an 18 year old student living with a single parent. I do not know much of dog behaviour or training techniques as I was brought up with cats only.
My father has had dogs in the past, the most recent was over 10 years ago who he admits he mistreated and "borderline" abused him due to work and family related stress and not knowing how to train an unruly stubborn Dalmation.
We now have a year and 3 months old German pointer named Barney. He had previous owners, we got him only over a month ago.
He is very very intelligent, but has very little food interest regarding training and outside he only follows his nose rather than listening to his owner (normal pointer problems).
So my dad, impatient as he is, decides to get the Petsafe ecollar which has 9 levels I believe.
He watches American ecollar professional videos non stop, has done hours of research. I trusted that he would use the collar properly. Personally, I do not believe anyone except professionals should even be able to purchase ecollars.
Barney reacts at a level 1, at a level 2 he occasionally yelps and at a 3 he cowers, yelps more frequently and his tail goes in between his legs and I do think he is in pain.
My dad believes that there is no way he can be in pain at level 2 and 3, he thinks he is at it. Barney is also collar smart so this just adds to what he is saying.
I disagree.
Instead of using level 1 as a tap on the shoulder, in the likes of trying to teach him how to heal, my dad gets impatient. Yanks on the lead, knees him, and ends up going up and up the levels until it is extremely obvious the dog is in pain.
Another example, Barney had been doing "great" without the collar. So my father goes out to the garage. Barney goes ballistic (he has separation anxiety and we do have a electric bark collar to help this but he didn't have it on). My dad goes inside and tells him to be quiet, go to bed, continues to shout at him and and zaps him with a level 8. This "worked". A friend came over whilst he was out in the garage and Barney yet again goes nuts, chasing the cat, barking, running around the house in circles and panting. So my dad goes in and repeats what he did and kicks him.
Before anyone decides to attack me for doing nothing, I was not here. This is was my dad told me. He thinks what he is doing is training so much so he talks about what I consider abuse freely.
Is this abuse? What can I do?
I live in Scotland, not sure on legality of ecollar use here.
Thank you
 

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I use e collars in training and what you are describing is abuse of a tool that could be helpful. You NEVER EVER use this device to TEACH a dog. Ever. That is not what it is for. Using it in the manner you are describing only serves to hurt the dog and hurt any relationship you might have with the dog. A dog should NEVER yelp when using an e collar. The training you describe is not clear to the dog and is unfair.

Remove the collar. Put it away. You are DOING IT WRONG.

Here are the phases of teaching a dog. First you teach them HOW to respond. The next step is getting them to WANT to respond. Most dogs you never have to go past these to tenants of training. ALL of that is done using positive reinforcement. If you have a dog that is not food motivated, then you try a few things. First, skip the dog's dinner and skip the dog's breakfast. NOW try to teach the dog using food. See if the drive improves. Teach in a quiet, low distraction area INDOORS and work FIRST on attentiveness and teach the dog a positive marker (I use yes, others use a clicker). The object is to say the marker or click and immediately feed the dog so they make an association between the click and the food. Next try to freeshape the dog looking at you. Every time the dog glances in your direction, mark it and feed (at you, do not toss the food). Only work in 5 minute intervals and never for more than 20 minutes.. and only twice a day.

When outside leash the dog and work on focus. A dog will not work it he is not able to focus on you and you must make focus on you worthwhile to the dog. I often ask people "why should a dog come when called? and "because I said so" is not an answer." Most people look at me like they did not understand the question.

A dog comes to you because you have made it the best thing in the world to do so. The dog likes you, you have good things to eat and play with and you are better than anything else. THAT is why a dog comes to you. Not because you said so.

FWIW training a dog to walk at heel position is unnatural for dogs. It takes two years to teach a dog to properly heel and focus on the handler.. and that is a competition heel that lasts a few minutes on a trial field. It sounds like you just want the dog to walk on a loose leash and be "with you." Even that can take several months to train.. and it all starts with you developing a relationship with the dog and getting the dog to focus on you and pay attention to you because you are WORTH paying attention to. The dog has learned how to focus and WANTS to focus.

Trying to get that through punishment will only serve to make the dog want to leave you first chance he gets. The ground sniffing you describe is likely stress sniffing. Nothing is interesting on the ground.. the dog is avoiding and sniffing is his replacement behavior.

Long and short of it is your Father's use of an e collar in the manner described is abusive and is NOT training.

Make all training a game.

If your dog just won't take food at all, then the e collar may be the reason. You need to build a relationship and you have only had the dog a short time. It can take a dog 3-6 MONTHS to settle in to a new home. Here he is in a new home and right away he is being hurt and he has NO IDEA WHY.
 

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Although the law as I read it doesnt ban e-collars outright section 19 of the Animal health and welfare act 2006 does say * Training that includes unpleasant (aversive) stimuli or physical punishment may cause unacceptable pain, suffering and distress. It is important to note that causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal is an offence *

I would suggest you contact the scottish SPCA they have an email form or a hotline number you can use but someone has to stop your da before he goes any further and you are Barneys voice.. Please, for his sake report your dad
 

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Although the law as I read it doesnt ban e-collars outright section 19 of the Animal health and welfare act 2006 does say * Training that includes unpleasant (aversive) stimuli or physical punishment may cause unacceptable pain, suffering and distress. It is important to note that causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal is an offence *

I would suggest you contact the scottish SPCA they have an email form or a hotline number you can use but someone has to stop your da before he goes any further and you are Barneys voice.. Please, for his sake report your dad
Hello thank you all for your responses.
Will I need proof before contacting SSPCA? Barney shows no evidence on himself of abuse and my dad does not believe he is abusing the dog.
The SSPCA would come to the conclusion there is no abuse ?
 

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Hello thank you all for your responses.
Will I need proof before contacting SSPCA? Barney shows no evidence on himself of abuse and my dad does not believe he is abusing the dog.
The SSPCA would come to the conclusion there is no abuse ?
If you could take a photo of him wearing the ecollar that would help but the SPCA often go by behaviour. They would talk to your dad and watch how Barney behaves plus of course they dont announce they are coming so your dad wont have any time to hide the evidence. (so to speak)
Sometimes a stiff talking to and the knowledge that someone has reported on them is enough to make people re-think their behaviour.

remember for bad men to succeed all it takes is for good men to do nothing....
 
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