Thursday 22nd October: End of an era

As you must know by now, I get a lot of calls and emails from people wanting to give up their dogs, or needing to find someone who’ll take in strays and orphans that have been found. I respond to each request individually, asking for photos and details as a start. So I did this as usual when I got an email from someone asking if we’d take her family’s young Rhodesian Ridgeback who was having some behaviour issues, and got a couple of nice photos sent in response.

The first thing I noticed was the collar, which was one of those electric shock “training aids” (as they call these instruments of torture). I asked about it and was was told that the trainer the family had employed had told them to use it, along with a few other tips almost guaranteed to turn any dog into a nervous wreck. As if that wasn’t enough, the vet who had seen the dog since it was a puppy had told the owners to hit the dog on the head with a rolled up newspaper if it “misbehaved” (ie, acted like a normal puppy). Getting more details, the whole sad story of a trophy breed dog falling into the hands of totally unsuitable owners emerged, and I can only say it’s a wonder the dog hasn’t turned on the whole lot of them, eaten them up and spat out the bones.

I find it absolutely unbelievable that anyone would think that giving dogs electric shocks is an acceptable way of training them, and would like nothing more than to use one of these atrocities on the so-called trainers themselves. 

Here are three YouTube clips of idiots dumb enough to test a dog shock collar. Unfortunately dogs don’t have that choice. If you ever use one of these one a dog, please test it on yourself first.

As a general rule for training dogs, there are some basic facts. You don’t need to use punishment to get results. If you hit a person, what do you think would happen? Right, you’d get smacked right back. I have seen so many people whacking their dogs while the animal just sat there and tolerated their owner’s stupid and ignorant behaviour. It’s no wonder that some dogs retaliate. The real wonder is that more dogs don’t.

Choke chains don’t do anything except damage a dog’s throat (trachea). Try putting one round your own neck and asking someone to give it a sharp jerk (as recommended by some “trainers”). If you have a dog that pulls, buy one of the special harnesses that quickly, easily and painlessly work wonders.

Before you do anything, or use anything, on your dog, ask yourself how you would feel being on the receiving end. OK, dogs aren’t humans, but they are intelligent animals who feel emotions and pain, and who respond to kindness and gentle handling far better than the old-fashioned aversion training. A dog that is mistreated will end up being bitter and twisted as much as a person would.

Moving on, I’m starting to get the hang of my little Flip camera and will try to remember to use it. The first results are already up on the HKDR Facebook page (just click on the FB icon at the right side of this page). This was taken on my morning walk just moment before the snake encounter and the battery going flat.

I got one dog out of AFCD today, a very sweet white Pekingese boy who had been found dumped on the street. He’s not a young dog which makes it even more sad, especially as he greeted me like a long lost friend when I went into his kennel to take him out. I hope we can find him a nice home after all he’s been through.

It’s the end of an era, albeit it a short one, as the Wanchai waterfront dog park is due to close next month.  One of the very few places on HK island that allows dogs, it’s going to leave a lot of unhappy owners and even more unhappy dogs.  I don’t know what the plans are for any sort of replacement or alternative – does anyone? And if so, please let me know.



9 Responses to “Thursday 22nd October: End of an era”

  1. Norma M Says:

    I believe there is a replacement park somewhere near Taikoo or Sai Wan Ho. Anyone know any more???

    • Diana Says:

      A dog park will be built in Tseung Kwan O. It’s already in the plan. Not sure about the completion date. Re trainers, unfortunately, the bad ones are more well-known than the good ones. Also, a lot of owners don’t do their homework and have no knowledge of the gentle methods / equipment that can correct a dog.

  2. kirsteen Says:

    There’s a very small dog park about to be opened in Sheung Wan, next to Shun Tak Macau Ferry Terminal – Still not open but I take the dogs anyway!

  3. Mark Says:


    If anyone needs any training tips on what to do, and what not to do, with your dog(s), please just let me know. Email at

    Or feel free to register for our “Sit Happens!” training classes – every Tuesday & Saturday at 5pm. Email to register, please.

  4. Gene Says:

    I am one of the student from the school that volunteers for the dog walking on 22/10 and it’s a very meaning full experience to me. It’s really nice to know I’m at least doing something and not just sitting there and watching all these happening. I know I’ve not done very much but I suppose I’m trying my best.
    Anyway, I think the electrical colar is just disgusting! I really don’t understand how can anyone see their own dog suffering under these toturing machine and feeling nothing. I wish they wouldv’e try it on themself…
    It’s just so sad to see them being treated like this. Like Tiger who I’ve been walking with, she has those terrible scars on her back and i was wondering WHAT is that? This is actually the first time I come to this website and it’s so great to know that other dogs stories are told instead of hidden like what the governments had done jsut because it makes them look bad.

  5. Gene Says:

    By the way, the videos are interesting. I’m sure those crazy (and brave)people won’t find it very funny if they have to wear it for like fore……ver.

  6. Norma M Says:

    Hi Gene, Lovely to see your comments here. Just wanted to let you know a little about Tiger. She was taken away from someone who was seen to be hitting her with a stick. She had bad scars all over her body and the fur has never regrown in these patches. We think she has been burned in these areas, either with boiling water or something else. We never really know the horrors that a lot of the dogs go through but she loves people despite all her past trauma.
    Your help at the kennels is much appreciated and we look forward to you and others joining our happy band of volunteers. If you would like to register, please do so via email. Check site for details.

  7. Gene Says:

    Thank you Norma! It’s a very interesting suggestion about the volunteer to me, because I’ve been thinking about it since the first day I went there.
    It’s nice to know Tiger’s story and it’s a pleasure to help you as well, though I’m sure it must be nothing compare to what other volunteers had done.

  8. wahfugu Says:

    I heard from the marketing guys at the SPCA that the dog park by Kennedy Town was meant to open by Oct09, it might have been the western promenade, it stretches pretty far. it could be opening as the other one closes as there are gates put up already and it looks like the wah chai waterfront…

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