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I tried the Pet Zoom Ultrasonic "Pet Trainer" and it worked - Should I feel guilty?

We've had our terrier mix Benji for four years now (he was found as a stray at around the age of five) and love him dearly. He has only a couple of problems, and I'll only discuss one of them now. I think we've solved the problem but I'm so surprised at how, I thought I'd bring it here at the risk of being flamed.

For the first year we had Benji, my wife and I both worked and usually I was the first to get home at around 6:30. I'd walk him and feed him and that was that, so to speak.

Around three years ago my schedule changed and I was home most of the time. I would take him for a long walk around 3pm and when we returned home he would rest for an hour and then get hungry. I would feed him at 5pm and take him out for a quick pee.

The problem was that once he was back at home he was impossible for about two hours. Either he was zooming around the house and barking madly or at my feet whining like he was being tortured. It was nerve-wracking. Taking him out again for more exercise wasn't really an option and the apartment is too small to play ball in, and even when I tried, he'd just get more wound up. He was having fun. We weren't.

Very rarely a bully stick or a pig's ear would keep him quiet and occupied but he wasn't consistently attracted to them. A piece of Kong Ziggy in his red Kong kept his attention but he'd actually get all worked up trying to get at it and the only real advantage was he was a little less noisy. It also turned his poop pink since it has food coloring. :)

I have never really used aversive training with Benji. For the most part he's such a good boy I ignore his occasional bad behavior and try to substitute the behavior I want and then reward. This would work in the evenings when he went crazy - sort of. I could put him into a down stay and he would be quiet but I had to keep treating him every minute (with *very* low calorie treats) or he would act up again. I couldn't do anything else because I had to keep reinforcing Benji's down stay.

So last week my wife clips out something from the Harriet Carter catalog (love it actually) and says we need to get this "Pet Zoom Sonic Trainer as Seen on TV." I immediately dismiss it since it's in the HC catalog and I can't believe it would work and even if it did, I realize it's aversive.

I start to research it and find out that Amazon has 108 reviews on it. 61 people give it 4 or 5 stars and 42 give it 1 or 2 stars. Only 5 people give it 3 stars so buyers either love it or hate it.

Now I'm not stupid. I know it's probably not going to "work" if you try it on three barking dogs at a time. And I'm not crazy about scaring my cats when they haven't done anything wrong. But I find this thing on Ebay for much less $ and figure what the hell.

Long story short, the first night Benji went into his whining barking routine I said, "Quiet" very calmly and when he didn't respond I repeated "Quiet" and pressed the button once for about a second. Benji *immediately" responded, looked very startled, and then calmly trotted into the other room where he remained quiet. He was quiet for the rest of the night. He didn't avoid me and was apart from being quiet the same as ever.

The next night we repeated the routine. Once again I used the device exactly once for about a second and got the same submissive response.

It's now been several days and Benji is a changed dog. On those few occasions he begins to whimper, bark or hump my leg, I just say "Quiet" firmly and he stops what he is doing and walks away. I must say he looks a little sad when he does it but I think I'm reading into things. But in total, I've pressed the button twice, maybe three times in order to get exactly the response I was hoping for.

It's pretty clear he really hated the sound of the device, associates it with "Quiet" and will do what I ask to avoid the sound.

So I "solved" my problem. Am I a bad dad?
 

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Re: I tried the Pet Zoom Ultrasonic "Pet Trainer" and it worked - Should I feel guilt

So, you shock your dog to get him to quit communicating with you and for acting like a dog.

And you are ok with this?

And, IMO, you've just taught your dog that he can't trust you.
 

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Re: I tried the Pet Zoom Ultrasonic "Pet Trainer" and it worked - Should I feel guilt

It sounds like he needs more exercise....
 

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Re: I tried the Pet Zoom Ultrasonic "Pet Trainer" and it worked - Should I feel guilt

I didn't know what that product was so I googled it.
http://www.amazon.com/Petzoom-8140-PetZoom-Sonic-Trainer/dp/B003EYUDT2

Uses harmless high-frequency ultrasonic pitch only pets can hear
No shocking is involved

Why would that be a bad thing? It's part of training to get desired results and soon you will just need the command word without the product.


I guess we are a family of three dogs and we do have a fairly large kennel attached to the back of the house so the dogs can be outside without having them run off or having other dogs come into their turf. We do have neighbors that do let their dogs run from time to time and they come into our yard. But when we are outside we wanted our dogs to be out in the yard with us without running off which they did every single time without fail and without needing to be on a leash. So we invested in the underground fence system. They get a vibration warning when they get to close and if they continue or go closer it does give them a shock. There are a couple of settings for the shock, and it took a couple of tries of going up that shocking scale to get them to learn the edge of the yard and not go beyond. Now they have learned but we keep their collars on just in case they get a wild hair to try and take off running. It took a few tries for them to realize when they have their harness on for their walks they can leave the yard without problems. Now the dogs are a joy to be around outside and I don't have to worry about them running off. We can play catch and sit in the yard without worry when we are out with them. Because of other dogs coming into their turf we don't leave them outside unattended. Do I feel bad if they get a shock.... yes but they haven't gotten a shock in a very long time now. But is it safer than me going in and out the door and having them run between my feet and out past the driveway and who knows where every single time they got out? Yes it sure is especially since we have a highway not to far from our house. So I don't think a shocking training product is always a bad thing. It can be if it's abused and not used properly! But in this case, the product in questions provides a sound and not a shock.

No i don't think your being a bad daddy at all.
 

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Re: I tried the Pet Zoom Ultrasonic "Pet Trainer" and it worked - Should I feel guilt

Uses harmless high-frequency ultrasonic pitch only pets can hear
No shocking is involved

Why would that be a bad thing? It's part of training to get desired results and soon you will just need the command word without the product.
Still, IMO, doesn't matter if its a sound or an electronic pulse. Still a "shock" to the dog as its not pleasant. I don't want ANY negative associations that include my voice and training. Do you really think any dog knows what "quiet" means? This dog has just learned that his owner says "blah blah" and that hurts!

And lots of people have means of training "to get desired results." Doesn't make it right.

I just wish OP would have came HERE, first! Probably would have learned that "zoomies" are normal for any dog. More than likely the dog needs more attention/exercise.

If I just took my dogs out for "a quick pee" they'd be driving me nuts too.

Remember... a tired dog is a good dog.
 

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Re: I tried the Pet Zoom Ultrasonic "Pet Trainer" and it worked - Should I feel guilt

I completely agree that zoomies are normal and that the dog could probably benefit from some more exercise. However, I don't think a high frequency sound is harming the dog in any way (as long as it's not constant). A little "buzz" here and there won't hurt anything. It's not harmful. It just distracts and interrupts what they are doing. It's no different than a dog whistle.

That being said... OP, you could probably get the same results by just giving your dog some more exercise.
 

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Re: I tried the Pet Zoom Ultrasonic "Pet Trainer" and it worked - Should I feel guilt

Do you really think any dog knows what "quiet" means?
Mine does. You wanna know how? Cause I taught her.

If you apply aversives without first teaching the dog what you want, then it's cruel, IMO. If you teach the dog what "quiet" means and he chooses to disobey, then applying a mild aversive is justified, IMO. Most people skip the step where you actually teach the dog what you want, and it is for this reason that I'm generally against aversives.
 
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