Does The "Smart Collar" By Garmin Raise A Better Pet Or Just A Lot Of Controversy?

Animal training is a tricky thing. You can do all you can while you are with your pet, but who can be with them 24 hours a day? Garmin has announced a new product that will allow pet-parents to discipline their dogs remotely with a shock-collar that is powered by a smartphone app but animal organizations are not happy about it. The comments have been so negative that they have disabled the option.

Shock collars have long been the a sore subject for many different organizations including The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviour, the UK Kennel Club, and the Pet Professional Guild. They are even banned in many countries including Germany, Austria, Denmark and Sweden.

Trainers take issue with a negative reinforcment style because it is just confusing to the animal who may not understand why they are being punished.

"An issue with punishment as a training method, which includes shock collars, pinch collars, choke collars and even verbal reprimands, is that you aren't really telling the dogs what to do," John Ciribassi, President of the The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

The AVSAB would rather that pet owners should focus on reinforcing positive behaviors and address the emotional state that leads to the bad behaviors. They claim that this helps humans understand the impact they have on the dogs and how their actions can cause undesirable behaviors.

The International Association for Animal Behavior Consultants has released a statement about the new "Smart-Collar" which asks trainers and dog owners not to use this device.

"We believe this device has the potential to cause harm to dogs and should not be recommended by behavior consultants, trainers, or used by members of the public. This is because both Bluetooth and smartphones have the potential to introduce excessive latency. Latency is the delay between inputting something into a system, and the system's output."

The delay in punishment might end up causing even more confusion to your poor dog who doesn't understand how or why they are being punished.

Garmin is trying to ease people's concerns by claiming the device doesn't need to be set to shock. It does have the option for either a beep or vibrate setting and should only be used as a temporary measure. Ted Gartner, spokeperson for Garming released this statement:

"It did come as a bit of a surprise, because we've been selling these products for quite some time. These sorts of tools have really, really been able to save the relationship between a dog and a family. That's what we're all about."

What do you think about these products? Is all the outcry justified or is it a bit much for what it is? Check out the advertisement below and share with your thoughts.

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