In Praise of the Bark Control Static Correction Device — Just Don’t Call it a Shock Collar

Phoebe the random barker

Dogs have dozens of traits we love, although only a madman could love the sound of dog that won’t stop barking.

My dog Phoebe was not nearly in the incessant barking category, but she did have a flair for belting out a series of random barks at random moments, usually serene random moments during which a loud bark would make your head explode. In addition to shattering your skull, her random bark-fests have resulted in dropped dishes, ruined phone calls and nearly gave one of my friends a heart attack as a raucous ruff pierced through the cool morning air.

Using a bark correction collar had always been in the back of my mind, yet it stayed in the back. It’s not like neighbors were complaining or calling the police. Nor did Phoebe have a high-pitched, yippy bark that always sounds like a Yorkie being skinned. I just didn’t really have the $100 to shell out for the dinky electronic contraption that typically comes in the most hideous colors.

My guy agreed to pay half. I no longer had an excuse. We ambled on over to Pet Smart.

Our choices were not that vast, especially since the store associate pointed out the citronella spray collar was one big joke. That left us with the shock collar. But just don’t call it a shock collar. This PC climate demands we refer to the battery-operated correction device stimulus collar or, better yet, a gentle electronic modification unit. One of the descriptions even went out of its way to tsk-tsk the folks who still call it a shock collar:

The training collar that stops annoying, excessive barking the humane way (often incorrectly referred to as a shock collar), this collar uses safe but effective static correction.

Hey, what happened to the “gentle” as part of the description?