Without reading all the posts I'm going to add my 2 cents. I don't have kids around all the time, either. This time of year there are kids at bus stops, though, and often a parent or two with them (but not always). I usually put out a hand that means STOP when the kids start to come near. And so far they either completely stop or slow down. I keep my dog near my side and explain to the kids that running up to the dog is a good way to get knocked down (I don't say bit...kids imaginations can get a dog owner in trouble). If all goes right and my dog isn't too tired or too excited I will let them come in for a touch. I still watch my dog to make sure they don't get too over-bearing. If not I'll have the kids stay at arms length and have my dog bark for them.
As far as e-collars go, I don't use one. There are times when my gal-dog wants to talk smack with the neighbor's dog and I can't catch her to correct her. That might be the only reason I'd use an e-collar and even then the timing would have to be perfect...otherwise it might end of being "when I see that other dog I get zapped...I HATE that other dog". That would be worse than what I have now, which is mostly excited fence running for 90 seconds or so. "the other dog is here! The other dog is here!" It would be better to use the vibration or tingle from the collar to signal a recall. "if you leave that thing and come to me instead something good will happen" and pair it with a long leash to teach the concept.
If you want to use the e-collar to teach a dog to stay out of something like a flower bed I guess you could contact the invisible fence vendors.
Patton CGC BH
Chief fetch fanatic
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