shock collars

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Postby brooksybrooks1 » September 4th, 2007, 3:24 pm

i'm having this discussion on a couple other boards and i thought i would bring it up here for trainers- who have seen a lot of methods and the dogs they produce, both in work and in temperament. what are your thoughts on the use of shock collars, what have you seen in dogs that have been trained with them as a primary training tool? if you have seen them used effectively, what was the method , correction or "stimulation?" do you think they are useful in the working dog world, if so, how? etc.
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 4th, 2007, 4:09 pm

I'll bite. :D

I do not like shock collars, will not use them and do not recommend them to my students or clients.

The few dogs I've seen them being used on, were dogs that I considered dogs that needed more obedience rather than a shock collar. I've only seen them used around here for off-leash work, and not so great at that. I've gotten better results from my students in the same type of environment (classes with lots of dogs heeling in a circle) with clicker and treats. There is a class in the same building where I teach, that does all E-collar work...and I haven't been impressed with the dogs so far. :|

I also deal more with weird-o herding dogs, which can very quickly shut down with equipment such as an E-collar...and know folks who have screwed their dogs up with their use on herding breeds.

Edited to add...

We have a flyballer on our team that uses a E-collar for barking, one that automatically shocks the dog when it barks. It's a JRT that it's being used on. #1 the dog gets shocked if any dog nearby barks or makes noise and #2 the dog usually just barks and lets out a strangled yelp when the shock hits, and keeps barking until the battery is worn down. Doesn't seem to help at all...plus it's against the rules for them to have it at the tourney.
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Postby babyreba » September 4th, 2007, 4:18 pm

I haven't used an e-collar myself, though I know a lot of people who use them for various things and have had success with them.

I've seen people use them for all sorts of things in the sport world, obviously . . . everything from tuning up a heel with a nick to really heavy-duty forced-retrieve stuff . . .

I've never seen a dog that's been trained with an e-collar as the "primary" training method . . . most of the dogs I know have mostly positive foundation work and correction is introduced later.

I think how useful they are depends on the trainer and the dog and how they are using them . . . I know only one nervy dog that the owner tells me was "ruined" by the e-collar. But I suspect that the dog had issues that the e-collar brought out, and the owners freaked out about that and then refused to follow through the training they had started. That'll ruin a dog, right there, if you let it.
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Postby katiek0417 » September 4th, 2007, 4:58 pm

We use e-collars here. We do a lot of fine tuning with e-collars. Sacha, for example, responds best to e-collar corrections...for TJ, it is used to correct him while he is doing distance behaviors (e.g., food refusals or change of positions with my back turned, etc). We also used the e-collar with TJ to do the forced retrieve.

Greg has often used e-collars to fine-tune the obedience on his dogs, and his dogs have some of the highest obedience scores in PSA.

In addition, the guy who beat him last year at Nationals in the Level 1's, used the e-collar exclusively for training. He used it as a motivational tool. He scored 94 out of 100 on the PSA Level 1 obedience routine!!! It was some of the nicest obedience I've seen.

As far as shutting down a herder, as I said, we used the e-collar with TJ for the forced retrieve. Hitting him at 100, and he still didn't want to get the retrieve object....another perfect example: Greg had a Dogtra 3500 on Jue the other day (the Dogtra 3500 is probably the strongest e-collar out on the market), and was hitting him at 127 for the call-off. Jue wasn't even blinking an eye, and just kept going for the bite!!!

Our current decoy trains almost exclusively with e-collars. He is training retrievers for field work. He uses it effectively as a motivational tool, and I have seen a huge difference from when he first brought out his mal (who didn't seem enthused to do anything) until now (where her tail is wagging, doing an attention heel, and is happy to work).
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Postby gayrghts » September 4th, 2007, 6:21 pm

How do you use it to motivate?

I can see how to use it to correct....
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Postby katiek0417 » September 4th, 2007, 6:43 pm

On September 04 2007, 5:21 PM, gayrghts wrote:How do you use it to motivate?

I can see how to use it to correct....


Negative reinforcement: removal of something bad/uncomfortable to increase the likelihood of a behavior...

What you do is you use a very low stimulation. Not enough to be painful, but enough to be uncomfortable...

You do taps of the stimulation (not continuous)...when the dog does what you tell it to do, you stop tapping...it learns that just by doing what you've told it, the discomfort goes away...so, it's much more likely to just do what you say so the discomfort doesn't start....
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby mnp13 » September 4th, 2007, 6:43 pm

First of all, just calling them "shock" collars imples that they are "mean" or even abusive. I prefer e-collar, or even better, remote training collar (RTC.) Removing "shock" from the name helps lower the emotional reaction to the tool, there is no positive "spin" to the term "shock"

Anyway...

I use them for proofing only. Once a command is known and tested on leash and at short range, I will use an e-collar. I don't see them as any different than any other training collar, they deliver a correction for not following a particular command.

In one way, they are FAR superior than any other training tool - they remove the human emotion from the correction. Even the best trainers get frusterated when a dog is not listening, and at a certian point, no matter how hard you try, that emotion carries down the leash. With an e-collar, a nick on 40, is a nick on 40, is a nick on 40. I may think I'm using the same force correction after the 10th time but I seriously doubt I am even though I'm trying very hard to.
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Postby Romanwild » September 4th, 2007, 9:20 pm

I think they are a training tool like any other and if used properly, fairly and intelligently are as good as any other.

I was curious about them so I put Michelle's on my neck and hit the button. I did the point that I felt it. I can't remember what number that was but I know it was lower then what I needed when I put it on Dreyfus!

When I tried it on Dreyfus it was to work on his off leash recall. I knew that he completley understood the command but was being selective as to when he would obey it.

Three corrections with the collar 2 years ago and his recall is still better then it was before the collar. I'm not kidding.
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Postby katiek0417 » September 4th, 2007, 9:29 pm

On September 04 2007, 8:20 PM, Romanwild wrote:I think they are a training tool like any other and if used properly, fairly and intelligently are as good as any other.

I was curious about them so I put Michelle's on my neck and hit the button. I did the point that I felt it. I can't remember what number that was but I know it was lower then what I needed when I put it on Dreyfus!

When I tried it on Dreyfus it was to work on his off leash recall. I knew that he completley understood the command but was being selective as to when he would obey it.

Three corrections with the collar 2 years ago and his recall is still better then it was before the collar. I'm not kidding.


Yep, same with Sacha...she is selective...it takes just a few corrections, and we can fix issues...

This is not a tool for everyone, and you need to be trained to use it...not just anyone should pick one up and put it on their dog...
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby brooksybrooks1 » September 5th, 2007, 9:43 am

i feel like they are good tools for being used with long distance off leash work, i can see how they would be helpful teaching field retrieves, but from what i've heard on other boards is that, used in the most common way, you shock right before you give any command, good or bad, and for me, that just doesn't make sense. i can see using them as a corrective tool, but if a dog is getting the same level shock before a command like "heel" (that is, before they even know that's what's being asked of them), as well as before a command like "no," that just defeats the purpose and teaches learned helplessness. you're gonna get shocked either way, the same stimulation that means "do something" also means "don't do that."

i think it's a good point that they take out the human frustration element, but at the same time, i think it also takes out the good human element, if used as i stated above. i don't think you should have to warn your dog ahead of time that you are about to ask it to do something. if you train properly, your dog should know that anything you ask it to do is relevant and should be eager on the training field to do just that. obviously this doesn't come right away, so i feel like, when being used this way, the shock collar is a short cut that cuts out and important thing that the dog needs to learn: the quicker i respond, the quicker i get rewarded, and the more fun this is. as opposed to the quicker i respond, the less likely i'll get shocked...again?!

katie- can you please describe what you mean by "motivational tool"?

and michelle- whether we call it a ecollar, dogtra, or a banana, we all know what it is and what it does, so while it's one thing to say that to a customer to make them feel more comfortable with a tool that sounds offputting but perhaps isn't (like a pinch or prong collar or choke chain), i don't feel like there is a need for euphemisms here (on this board). it's a collar that delivers shocks, not "e's" hugs and kisses!

and as far as the jrt with the bark collar, i actually really like bark collars on the real persistent barkers. however, i dont' know why that one would go off for another dog barking, they should be set to just go off in response to vibrations from the vocal chords of the dog that is wearing it, so that's weird, but either way, if the dog is barking through it, it's ineffective, and you might as well take it off and find some other way to tackle the issue! (i think they are great for people who live in apartments and have barky dogs that might get them evicted, for example)
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Postby mnp13 » September 5th, 2007, 10:47 am

and michelle- whether we call it a ecollar, dogtra, or a banana, we all know what it is and what it does, so while it's one thing to say that to a customer to make them feel more comfortable with a tool that sounds offputting but perhaps isn't (like a pinch or prong collar or choke chain), i don't feel like there is a need for euphemisms here (on this board). it's a collar that delivers shocks, not "e's" hugs and kisses!


Not quite. Calling it a "shock collar" is specifically meant to conjure up an image of "frying your dog." We are all used to calling prong collars "pinch collars" and the emotional impact of the word "pinch" is just about nothing, mostly because you're used to hearing it. However, if I called them stabbing collars you might feel a little different. Or if I called it a strangle or suffocation chain instead of a choke chain - again, because you are used to hearing "choke". When you introduce an emotional element into the discussion it lessens the ability to discuss it logically. I find the term "shock collar" to be inflamitory. There is ZERO difference between using an e-collar for a correction and a prong collar. They both use pain as a deterrant for an unwanted behavior, e-collars are just less PC.

to me, a correction is something a dog understands, a shock is something a dog fears.

How is a correction from a prong collar not "feared" but a correction from an e-collar is? If your dog fears corrections of any kind you are doing something very wrong. To me, "teaching" via fear is not ethical training.

There are many different ways to use an e-collar, I prefer to only use them for corrections. Maybe it's brain block, but I don't comprehend how they can be motivational. It's been explained to me a few times but I just don't "get it."

I find Fred Hassin's methods disturbing. Do they work? Yes. Would I ever use them? No. I've watched video after video after video and have seen many many dogs thrown into straight avoidance. They comply, but not happily. Eventually, most get through the avoidance, but only after they finally understand what is expected of them, and that can take some time.

I was frankly horrified by the instructions with my first e-collar. I opened the box and read the book enclosed here is basically what it said: put the collar on the 3 (it went from one to five) and tell your dog to go into his crate (or another command that it does not know). After saying "crate" hold down the continous button until he goes in. You may need to help him because many dogs are confused by the correction. Only release the button once they are in the crate. To me, that is completely backwards - punish the dog until it somehow figures out what to do by chance. That, in my opinion, is like teaching someone to play Mary Had a Little Lamb on the piano by hitting them every time they hit the wrong key. Eventually they will figure out the right keys because the pain stops when they guess the right one. Is it teaching? Yes. Does it work? Yes. Will I ever do it that way? Nope. That said, it's not a method I would ever employ but if done carefully it is just a method that I don't like, not one that is necessarily harmful to the dog.

As for electronic bark collars, there are three different types - the ones that go off at noise, the ones that go off at vibration and the ones that go off with both. Some have a warning tone before the correction. Some also corret at different levels and the intensity increases with each sucessive correction. I have the third type with a warning beep, for Riggs and have given up using it because if he spins it around to the back of his neck it doesn't work; he also goes from barking to screaching and the collar doesn't correct for a continuous, high pitched, make-me-want-to-stick-ice-picks-in-my-ears noise.
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Postby katiek0417 » September 5th, 2007, 11:07 am

On September 05 2007, 8:43 AM, brooksybrooks1 wrote:katie- can you please describe what you mean by "motivational tool"?



See post above...you motivate the dog to perform the action so that in doing so it avoids the discomfort...(it's a very low level)...

For example, our decoy, Jeff, has started using this tool with Sacha (since her OB is spotty to begin with). He started out by putting her on a long line and finding the exact level where Sacha NOTICED the stimulation, but didn't show pain. Basically, he found that she tolerated 38, but started to flinch at 40.

He let her roam around, and he started to "tap" the nick button. So, she got: tap, tap, tap, etc...As soon as she came to him, he stopped, and played with her. He let her roam again, he started to tap, and she came quicker...no commands, yet. He was starting out by teaching her the sooner she does things, the sooner the stimulation goes away. By the end of 3 minutes, she was coming high speed and sitting in front of him the second the tapping started. Then, he guided her into a heel position (using the leash)...as long as she walked next to him, he didn't tap...as soon as she came out of position, he started the tapping, the minute she came back to the heel, he stopped...after 5 minutes of doing that she was walking happily next to him (tail wagging and head up, which I've almost NEVER been able to get from her unless i have food in my hand and she can smell it).

So, what she's learning is that the stimulation, albeit not painful (she shows NO visual reaction, not even an eye blink, to the stim), is still uncomfortable. But, by doing certain things, the stim goes away. So, it's making it more likely that she's going to just do that in the future. Motivation to avoid discomfort. Nothing more than Negative Reinforcement (removal of something bad to increase the likelihood of repeating a behavior).

But b/c the stim is nothing more than a discomfort, it's not making her unhappy.

Now, the e-collar can still be used as a correction if she does something she shouldn't (chase the cats, eat poop), but I've found that since Jeff started doing the other method with her, she doesn't shut down with the corrections like she used to...she simply stops what she's doing, and comes to me, and sits in front, tail wagging almost as if she's saying "okay, I can't do that, so give me something to do, Mom"..she seems much eager to do stuff for me...she used to lay down where she was and look miserable if she got a hard e-collar correction...

And, Michelle, personally, I don't like Fred Hassen's methods. I really like the methods Jeff has learned from Pat Nolan...also, Tim Smith (who studied under Fred Hassen) uses Fred Hassen's methods, but with his own little twists....you should see the obedience on his dog, Moose!!!! He's the one who beat Greg last year, and even Greg will admit that Moose had INCREDIBLE obedience...
Last edited by katiek0417 on September 5th, 2007, 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby brooksybrooks1 » September 5th, 2007, 11:16 am

wow, i would think that a bark collar that just goes off in response to a loud noise is a REALLY bad idea, like it shouldn't be invented type idea. sounds pretty ineffective. i have experience with the third type. i have found them pretty effective and most of the time i can keep them on where they need to be (although they need to be on pretty tight to stay in place), but usually it doesn't take more than a couple shocks.

i'm not intentionally trying to put emotion into the thread. to be honest, that's just what i call them, mostly because that's what they are. i think that word "shock" conjures up emotional responses in a lot of people, but i put this in the sports section where i think mostly people who have experience with them, as well as other methods, hang out. so i didn't think it would be a big deal, we all know what i'm talking about.

i think fred hassesns methods are horrible is well. i didn't want to name names, but i wanted to see if anyone knows of his methods being successful in the working dog arena. i DO think a shock correction is very similar to a prong correction, if used properly, i DON'T understand how it can be motivational, or how on earth it is effective as people have described using it to me, as a "stimulation" before each command and correction and everything. or at least effective considering the cost you're gonna pay for it with regards to your relationship with your dog and their mental health.
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Postby brooksybrooks1 » September 5th, 2007, 11:17 am

so katie, when you say motivational, you mean you're using it for a correction just like you would do with a leash, you don't mean you are shocking the dog as a "stimulation" before or as you tell them to do something, right?
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Postby mnp13 » September 5th, 2007, 11:27 am

On September 05 2007, 11:16, brooksybrooks1 wrote:i'm not intentionally trying to put emotion into the thread. to be honest, that's just what i call them, mostly because that's what they are.

just as choke chains are suted to momentarily strangle the dog, and prong collars stab into the dog. It's "what they are" but that's not how we refer to them.

i think that word "shock" conjures up emotional responses in a lot of people, but i put this in the sports section where i think mostly people who have experience with them, as well as other methods, hang out. so i didn't think it would be a big deal, we all know what i'm talking about. .

Actually, I just came in here to move the thread to training.
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Postby brooksybrooks1 » September 5th, 2007, 11:27 am

also- for the general dog owning public, i think they are horrible. unless you are a professional or are trained by a very responsible professional, you WILL mess up your dog with one. i have found that it's difficult for people to get a good hold on when and how and with what tone, etc. to correct a dog, and if you put a shock collar into that, i think you're on a much quicker path to making your dog neurotic. using a pinch or slip or choke chain you can hurt your dog or make the training ineffective if you do it wrong, but with a shock collar, if you're shocking your dog too much at the wrong time and too often, you're dog is definitely going to be collar wise and also be really confused and, from my experience, nervous as hell.
it's really sad that they are sold at pet stores with a really bad instruction manual, because suddenly anyone can be a really bad trainer and ruin their dog. i think that, like any training tool, you run a risk of hurting your dog and you can use it right or wrong, i just don't like how free with them some people are, and how they don't realize the downfalls of using them like a shortcut or see what they are doing to their dogs. you shouldn't ever train in a way that causes fear in the dog, and i think a lot of dogs do fear the things, and then learn that they are helpless to it. obviously this depends on the method.
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Postby brooksybrooks1 » September 5th, 2007, 11:33 am

On September 05 2007, 10:27 AM, mnp13 wrote:
On September 05 2007, 11:16, brooksybrooks1 wrote:i'm not intentionally trying to put emotion into the thread. to be honest, that's just what i call them, mostly because that's what they are.

just as choke chains are suted to momentarily strangle the dog, and prong collars stab into the dog. It's "what they are" but that's not how we refer to them.

i think that word "shock" conjures up emotional responses in a lot of people, but i put this in the sports section where i think mostly people who have experience with them, as well as other methods, hang out. so i didn't think it would be a big deal, we all know what i'm talking about. .

Actually, I just came in here to move the thread to training.


michelle, don't get mad at me. i'm just trying to learn more about them and how people use them and what their experience with them is. i'm not attacking you or anyone, but i feel like you're offended with me or something because you think your opinions are different from mine, although i'm not too sure that they are, but even if they were, it shouldn't matter. i don't think i'm being rude or accusatory or out of line. obviously i have my opinions, but i didn't start this thread to bash people, i started it to see how people who's opinions i value have experienced it. i already told you i wasn't trying to evoke an emotional response with the word "shock," so i don't see a need to get hung up on it. to be honest i'm not 100% decided on them, hence me wanting to learn more.
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Postby katiek0417 » September 5th, 2007, 11:51 am

On September 05 2007, 10:17 AM, brooksybrooks1 wrote:so katie, when you say motivational, you mean you're using it for a correction just like you would do with a leash, you don't mean you are shocking the dog as a "stimulation" before or as you tell them to do something, right?


It's NOT a correction. A correction is a quick event. A pop with the prong collar...takes a second...a hard correction with the e-collar takes a second....

This is ongoing until she does what I want. Right now we're just "shaping" the behaviors...letting her know that the discomfort goes away as soon as she does what I want...once she fully understands that, we'll start putting in the commands. So, she gets command, and as she does, the tapping will start...sooner she does what I say, the sooner the tapping stops...

Think about it this way:

Let's say you have a job where you constantly have tasks that must be done. Your boss continuously nags you about whether you've finished the task. Is the nagging painful and quick? or is it ongoing and frustrating, and a pain in the a$$? For most people, it's the second thing. So, you finally finish the task, and your boss stops nagging you. Ahhh, relief. A good thing. The following week, your boss gives you another task. You remember that the last time you put it off, your boss started nagging you, which was annoying. So, this time, you get it done much faster. You were MOTIVATED to do the task because you wanted to avoid being nagged...

Same concepts, except a dog doesn't understand when you sit there and verbally nag them, right? So, you need to use another method to nag them...that's really all you're using the e-collar for...a nag...to get them to do something, and to get them to do it faster...
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Postby brooksybrooks1 » September 5th, 2007, 12:00 pm

so it is a correction then, just a nagging correction, like ivan talks about in his videos, only he uses a pinch collar. for example, in this order, the dog has his tug, you say "out", give them a second, (dog does not comply) and then nag nag nag nag nag nag nag until they out it, then you stop nagging and reward. i like these types of corrections because they are less stressful for the dog than one big correction or getting yelled at. i've never done it with a shock collar before though.

it's not shock, "out", (dog does not comply) shock, "no", shock shock shock shock shock, right? because i think that's how the "no limitations" school of training teaches it, but i'm not sure
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 5th, 2007, 12:03 pm

On September 05 2007, 10:51 AM, katiek0417 wrote:
On September 05 2007, 10:17 AM, brooksybrooks1 wrote:so katie, when you say motivational, you mean you're using it for a correction just like you would do with a leash, you don't mean you are shocking the dog as a "stimulation" before or as you tell them to do something, right?


It's NOT a correction. A correction is a quick event. A pop with the prong collar...takes a second...a hard correction with the e-collar takes a second....

This is ongoing until she does what I want. Right now we're just "shaping" the behaviors...letting her know that the discomfort goes away as soon as she does what I want...once she fully understands that, we'll start putting in the commands. So, she gets command, and as she does, the tapping will start...sooner she does what I say, the sooner the tapping stops...

Think about it this way:

Let's say you have a job where you constantly have tasks that must be done. Your boss continuously nags you about whether you've finished the task. Is the nagging painful and quick? or is it ongoing and frustrating, and a pain in the a$$? For most people, it's the second thing. So, you finally finish the task, and your boss stops nagging you. Ahhh, relief. A good thing. The following week, your boss gives you another task. You remember that the last time you put it off, your boss started nagging you, which was annoying. So, this time, you get it done much faster. You were MOTIVATED to do the task because you wanted to avoid being nagged...

Same concepts, except a dog doesn't understand when you sit there and verbally nag them, right? So, you need to use another method to nag them...that's really all you're using the e-collar for...a nag...to get them to do something, and to get them to do it faster...


I prefer to motivate in other ways...I'm not sure how this nagging way works for any dog well.

So using the boss example...if you have a big project due at the end of the week, and your boss said that you'd get a $100 bonus if you got it done in time...wouldn't that make you work even harder/faster, to work for that reward? I'd prefer that to being nagged all week, and working hard just to avoid the nagging. Eventually I'd probably quit (as my sister did when she had a bad nagging type job like that with Boy Scouts)...and find a better job. Why put up with nagging at all? But if I got random rewards (the first case would be bribery) that I didn't expect...I'd work pretty darn hard, with the idea that I might get something good.

How many people speed in their cars? I've gotten speeding tickets many times over the years...and yet it doesn't stop me from speeding. That I have to slow down for cops on the road, doesn't stop me. I just get better at avoiding punishement (spotting cops on the road). But I tell you what...if we got random pull-overs to be given $$$ for driving well, I'd slow down! If speed cameras got pictures of my car, just so they could send me a check for driving slower...I'd be all about driving slower!
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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TheRedQueen
I thought I lost my Wiener... but then I found him.
 
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