The unassuming electric dog collar has been contested for its cruel nature for a long time now. What supporters of this shock collar claim to be effectiveandusefulfor training unwanted behaviours actually have terrible adverse effects on dogs. It’s true, these collars do work - but at what cost?
What's a shock collar?
Shock collars are collars that have an in-built metal contact points that deliver electric signals to your dog whenever an electric current pass through them. These collars are often used as training tools to stop excessive barking behaviour in dogs. The intensity of shock delivered is often downplayed by many marketing messages as‘mild’ or‘painless’, clouding the vision of new pet owners looking for training tools. Truth is, shock always hurts. Shock collars shouldnever be used for behavioral correction purposes, and here’s why.
The detrimental effects of a shock collar
1. Underlying problems are not addressed
The main reason why shock collars should not be used for any behavourial correction training is because they suppress certain behaviours rather than address the true underlying problem. In their state of confusion (from being shocked), dogs may in turn associate shocks with something besides their behaviour. This could be people or things in their near surroundings; which would cause them to react badly to said people (or items) in future out of fear i.e. it could be counter training your dog to be aggressive instead or teaching him to fear going into certain places.
2. Mental strain
Mental stress, anxiety, and fear are huge side effects of shock collars. Dogs have different thresholds of pain, and exerting pain as punishment only adds an unnecessary layer of mental strain on them. The way they react is also different, with many lashing out instinctively when hit with a sudden bolt of shock. They’re confused, in pain, scared, and stressed. Is this the mental state we want our dogs to be in? Such training methods also damages the bond between dog and owner as it will be a relationship built on inciting fear in the dog, and that is the last thing you’d want.
No matter how advanced a piece of technology is, malfunctions are bound to happen - whether through wear and tear, or from simply being out in the rain. In fact, electronic devices operating on the same frequency as the collar can also trigger random shocks. The brunt of malfunctions are bore by dogs who had no say in the e-collar decision making. The results of such are prolonged shocks for up to 12 seconds and/or repeated shocks which often lead to skin irritation and even burns to their necks, exemplifying just how dangerous a shock collar can be.
Training should be a good experience for both parties; this is precious bonding time and also the right time to establish a relationship built on trust and respect for each other. Positive reinforcement is a firmly grounded yet gentle method that lays down the building blocks for a solid foundation. Replace that shock collar with a cool lookingEzydog collar and grab someBARE treats to start the better way of training your dog.
Kim is an avid dog lover, serial guac and chips eater, and thrill seeker - all in one body. Currently chillin’ with her dogs.