Dog Shock Collars v. Train Humane Day

Celebrate Train Humane Day and Learn the Cons of Dog Shock Collars


(No shock collars or negative reinforcement methods were used in training my dog Pierson to jump through this hoop.)

If you’ve been reading my blogs you know that my dogs are very smart, especially Pierson. But I admit, I am terrible at training my dogs to walk properly on a leash. I’ve tried several humane techniques with my exuberant Lab Maya and some have worked to a point. She was doing fairly well until I got my dog Pierson. Pierson goes absolutely nuts when he sees another dog so Maya has taken up barking excitedly whenever she sees another dog. Now I have to walk them separately and train all over again.

I came across a great blog post that mentioned most issues with dogs can be alleviated with proper exercise. The logic is if your dog is getting enough exercise, they tend not do get overly excited. This make sense, but not for my Maya. When I commented as such on the blog, another commenter mentioned that it was because I wasn’t using the right techniques and that Maya’s issue could be resolved within a few days.

Really? I’ve tried several well-known techniques. What possible miracle technique could be out there that would cure my Maya’s issue in just a few days? Come to find out, this commenter was talking about shock collars. Personally, I don’t like this technique one bit. Oh, I can see how it would work in getting Maya to behave in such a short time. But here are the reasons I won’t use one:

1. It is cheating. I think far too many people use a shock collar as a shortcut to training. People who don’t know how to train a dog or who don’t want to take the time to properly train a dog use the shock collar shortcut. Now, I must admit that the person who recommended the shock collar only recommended it as a last resort since I have tried all other methods. If the decision to get a shock collar is because all other methods have failed and it is a danger if you can’t get your dog to walk properly on a leash, then perhaps I can see it. But it is not a danger for Maya. I can live with this issue and would rather continue to try to resolve it the humane way.

2. It takes the joy out of training. Maya is a sweet dog and she loves training time (mostly because she gets treats). I love training time too because I enjoy watching how enthusiastic she is about it. Training time is our bonding time. If I start shocking her in training, she will dread that time.

3. It tends to only work when the dog is wearing the collar. I’m going to admit another fault of mine. I grew up in the old school form of training. Most of my earlier dogs learned this way. It wasn’t until Maya was about a year old that I learned more humane methods. So for a few months in Maya’s early life, I used a pinch collar. It worked great. However, if I walked her without the collar, she was naughty all over again. If I couldn’t get her to walk properly on a leash without the pinch collar, then I wasn’t really training her.

4. It can turn a dog to aggressive or submissive. This does not happen in many cases, but it could happen. I’ve heard stories of dogs suddenly turning aggressive because of the shock collar. Perhaps the person using the collar didn’t use it properly or perhaps it was the dog. Every dog is different. A shock collar can also make a dog overly submissive. I can see this happening with my sweet Labrador. Maya is very sensitive. Yes, I’ve raised my voice at her a time or two. I’ve never raised my hand to her but when I yell she acts like I am going to beat her. Can you imagine how she would react if I shocked her? Poor Maya!

So what are the positive points of using a shock collar? Quicker results, easier, may be able to help if all other methods fail. But when I weigh the pros with the cons, I see a great imbalance. For me, reason #2 alone far outweighs everything else. If you don’t believe me, just check out some of my videos on YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/naturebydawn/videos?flow=grid&view=0. I have quite a few videos of my dogs doing tricks and you can see how much they’re enjoying themselves. Do you think Pierson would be having as much fun jumping through that hoop if I had trained him with a shock collar? I think not.

If you’ve considered using a shock collar, please do your research and don’t be tempted with the quicker and easier results. Train Humane Day isn’t just about treating your pet humanely, it’s about learning the overwhelming benefits of not using harsh training methods. For more information on this special day, visit http://trainhumane.unitedcp.org/.

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2 Responses to “Dog Shock Collars v. Train Humane Day”

  1. Hawk aka BrownDog Says:

    Hi,

    After reading your post, I first want to say I do not recall the earlier post, so perhaps missed reading it.

    I’ve spent a long lifetime training horses and working with retrievers. I have to disagree with using a shock collar to actually train a dog.

    Our dogs wear them in the field, although Hawk uses only audibles. We never use a shock collar on a dog that is set higher than what will get an ear twitch. On many that is the lowest setting and todays collars have as many as 10.

    The dog is trained and fully obedient on a lead and a check cord and is then trained with the collar. When you are sure your dog understands what you want when you nic the collar, you can begin off lead.

    The collar is only used when you do not get a response, or get the wrong response, to a command or whistle. However, at this point the occassion you need to give a correction is rare. Most days you never use the collar.

    In training exuberant dogs on leash walking, and Hawk is one, I’ve found that training them in alternate behavior, I like to switch sides on the heel and distract with treats, works best for us. Each dog is different.

    Sorry to ramble so long, but I personally feel that an electronic collar, if properly used, is a corrective and safety tool for a dog off leash who is already obedient and reliable. I personally would not use it on a dog who was having behaviour problems. I’m with you, I think the dog may end up with a entirely new set of problems, especially if the handler is not trained first on how to use the collar.

    BrownDog’s Human

    • Dawn Says:

      Thank you, Hawk’s human! It is always good to have different perspectives. I see your point and agree. I especially like that you state it is for a “dog off leash who is already obedient and reliable.” That means you took the time to train your dog using other methods first. It’s a means of enhancing training for certain situations, not as a means to train. Thanks for commenting!!! :)

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