Are Shock Collars Cruel? – 15 Reasons Not To Use It

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Do you regret the day you decided to get a dog? Is your dog a destructive menace or a nuisance barker? It can be really frustrating and I don’t blame you for thinking of using a shock collar.  If you want to find out if shock cllars are cruel before using it as a training tool, this post is for you.  Are shock collars cruel? Yes they are and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. 

What Is A Shock Collar?​

A shock collar is a collar with an attached electronic device with a couple of metal prongs that directly touch a dog’s skin and is designed to deliver an electric shock when triggered to do so. It’s supposed to be safe and effective when used correctly.

But are they?

What Can Go Wrong?​

According to, these devices can make a dog live in fear of being electrocuted.

  1. Shock collars may deliver between 1,500-4,500 volts. Some even higher.
  2. It may cause extreme anxiety
  3. It may cause Cardiac Fibrillation
  4. It may cause Cancer
  5. It may cause physical pain
  6. It does not address the underlying causes
  7. It is very likely to cause behavioral problems
  8. The device may malfunction. It may not work when activated or deliver non-stop electrical shocks
  9. It’s been linked to increased aggression and higher Cortisol (stress hormone) levels in a study done in 2008 in Japan.
  10. Innocent children may mistakenly harm their dogs and bad-natured people may use it intentionally to cause harm.
  11. May possibly affect a dog’s long term health by damaging the thyroid
  12. Other electric devices with the same frequency such as garage door openers may trigger the device
  13. The shock collar may get wet in the rain and malfunction
  14. These devices beep before they deliver a shock. Dogs can get traumatized by anything that beeps like a microwave oven or the beep from a reversing truck.
  15. The electric shocks can be strong enough to burn through a dog’s skin. It may even cause an infection and require surgery. 

This Industry Is Not Regulated

Companies are not required to disclose any information so there is no way of knowing how many incidents have occurred already. In fact, these inhumane devices are banned in many countries namely Australia, Slovenia, Quebec(Canada), Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, Wales, and Scotland. 

Other variations of shock collars are:

  1. Invisible Fence System
  2. Anti-Bark Collars

1. Invisible Electric fence systems work by burying a wire around the property where you wish to contain your dog. This wire sends a signal to a transmitter on the dog’s collar. If the dog gets near the wire, it sounds a beep as a warning and discharges an electrical shock if the dog goes over the wire. 

A dog quickly learns that a shock always follows after a beep so it stops, turns back and doesn’t run away. Simple, right? 

First off, the dog has to be shocked a few times to learn. 

It is important to know that dogs learn through association

If a dog sees a toddler past the electric fence, a friendly dog may want to walk over to greet the child but instead gets a shock. After a few times, the dog may then associate the shock with the child.

 The next time the friendly dog sees any child, it may turn aggressive and try to scare the child away in fear of getting shocked again. And of course, it could be an adult or even other dogs. 

Are shock collars crue? - an aggressive looking dog chasing a squirrel

When a dog sees something outside the fence that catches its attention, like a squirrel, it may instinctively chase it and blow past the electric fence and get shocked.

 The dog may then be afraid to cross back. It could then associate the squirrel to the pain of the shock and turn aggressive toward small animals.

The pain and anxiety that dogs feel can turn a friendly dog into an aggressive and fearful one. 

Many dog owners use an electric fence system for the simple reason that it costs a lot less compared to installing an actual fence which may cost thousands of dollars at the expense of their dog’s mental and physical wellbeing.

If you have a nuisance barker and you insist on using a training device, the humane choice would be to use no-shock collars. 

With these collars, your dog will receive an uncomfortable vibration when it barks. Your dog will associate this discomfort each time it barks. 

This will naturally teach your dog to stop barking. 

No pain, no torture. 

These collars can be used on dogs weighing 10-110 lbs and a single charge can last up to 20 days. 

An alternative would be to use an Ultrasonic bark control device that works by emitting a high pitched sound whenever a dog barks. 

This sound was designed to “annoy” a dog and not harm them. This annoying sound will naturally teach your dog to stop barking. 

Only dogs can hear this sound and is completely silent to humans. 

In Conclusion

Shock Collars use negative reinforcement which causes pain. 

Pain causes stress which leads to aggression. 

Ask yourself – would you use shock collars to discipline your children? 

These devices can cause long term emotional trauma long after the training is over.

Please choose humane methods of dog training. Hire a certified trainer or dog behaviorist if necessary. 

Please opt to build a fence instead of using an Invisible Fence System. 

Remember – you don’t need pain to train! 


All information in the article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian’s advice.


All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian's advice.

65 thoughts on “Are Shock Collars Cruel? – 15 Reasons Not To Use It”

  1. This information is vital, I am not aware of so much damage that can be caused to the poor animal with the electric shock, I am in favor of discipline but not of the suffering of the dogs, it is also important to know that the pain that the dog suffers can transform it and consequently be less friendly

  2. I fully agree with what you have said about shock collars! I have a dog myself, he is very active and loves to bark (especially at strangers as he is a guard dog). However, I find that he sometimes is a nuisance barker and I would like to train him in a way to know when is a good time to bark and when is not. My friend told me about shock collars and I remember deliberately saying ‘No! Thats so cruel!’. I went ahead and researched on no-shock collars instead, those that vibrates (which is also covered in your article) and I prefer that over these shock collars! I need to thank you for this article, as it really helped me in understanding the different types of the collars and different ways in dealing with the barking. You also have a great understanding in this topic and the structure is really clean (easy to read through). Keep it up, I really enjoyed this so much!

  3. I am very glad you have written this post.  I have friends I’d like to show it to.  What a terrible bit of news — to realize that something that has been accepted as a good way to teach/discipline a dog can actually injure him, or make him nervous or apt to mistrust.  Our animals are part of our family…perhaps people should think, “Would I do this to my child?”  If the answer is “no,” then it would also not be a good idea to use it on a four-legged family member.  

    It can be very frustrating to have a dog with some serious behavioral problems, but I would not want to rid myself of that frustration by harming the animal physically in the process of training it.

  4. wow, great information.  I have heard about shock collars for dogs before, but I did not think that they could actually hurt them to the extent explained within your post.  Insane!    Just the sound of it sounds terrifying in itself.  I truly believe that if you need a shock collar for your dog, you probably shouldn’t have one.  Learn to deal with your pets behaviour differently and if you have to resort to hurting your dog with a shock collar, you should be instead re-evaluating the well-being of your pet or if you should find a new owner.  My thoughts anyways.  Great post!

    • You are absolutely right. If you find the need to use a shock collar to train a dog, you have no business owning one. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Thank you so much for bringing awareness! I would love to collab with you sometime whether it’s thru interviewing you on my Youtube channel or guest posting on my blog 🙂 Thanks for sharing your knowledge…we don’t need pain to train!

    • I totally agree – we don’t need pain to train! Hey that’s a nice slogan!
      Thanks so much, I really appreciate it. At the moment, I have to pass. Let’s see in the future.

      All the best!

  6. I agree, pain causes fear which can lead to aggression. This is true of any thinking being, and in
    my lifetime I have been loved by 3 Boston Terriers and 3 Chihuahuas. So I know
    dogs think! Right now I have a precious sixteen-year-old male Chihuahua that
    has terrible anxiety when it rains and thunders! Yes, I do give him CBD oil for
    calming. Thank you for your in-depth article on the cruelty of shock collars.
    Maybe people will read and some dogs will be spared this torment! God Bless and
    Good Luck, Janice

  7. Hi, Friend.
    Thanks for sharing the information on canine shock collars. This was really shocking and the thought itself made me shudder, what poor puppies! You have nicely explained the 15 reasons not to use the shock collars and agree with each of these points. In fact, ultrasonic bark control seems to be a much better solution and human for our puppies.
    Warm Regards,
    Gaurav Gaur

  8. Truth is, I had no idea shock collars can cause anything beyond just pain. I mean, anxiety – that I could have guessed. Cancer, Cardiac Fibrillation, or thyroid problems – not in a million years. Moreover, the fact that a study has linked it to increased aggression and stress hormone levels in dogs makes me really wonder why such a thing exists at all. I mean, does that not suggest that they’re completely ineffective?

    It’s really no surprise that they’re banned in so many places. God. I did not know that. Long-term emotional trauma is everything but what I’m after. You definitely did convince me to never get one. Thank you. <3

    P. S. I would not put shock collars on my kids to discipline them!!!

    • Most people have no idea of the long term repercussions of shock collars, Matiss. Thanks for commenting

  9. I think it’s a shame that a lot of people take a dog without really thinking about what it entails afterwards.
    Some owners don’t train their dog at all and then they complain about their pet’s behaviour. To remedy this, they use devices that I would call “torture” to solve their problem, but as you have shown, in addition to physical and emotional torture, this can lead to new problems. I would never use this type of product, I assume that if I don’t use this product on myself, I don’t have to use it on anyone (animal or human).
    I didn’t know about the invisible fence. It seems to be a product created for good reasons, it’s good that you show us the consequences it can have .
    I love animals in general, I can’t wait to read your next article 🙂

    • You’re right –  it’s a shame too many people blindly use shock collars without doing enough research.

      Thanks for enjoying the article!


  10. Thanks for sharing. I think the ultrasonic bark control device will be better if I use it on my dogs. At least I’m glad it doesn’t harm dogs. It’s working mechanism is fair but I would have loved if you explained more things about the working mechanism of the Ultrasonic device. It will help more in making purchasing decisions. I’m still glad I learnt something important from your article.

  11. I would never recommend the shock collar to anyone as it has a lot of cons that could lead to a lifetime tremor to the dog…people should see pets like their kids and as such shouldn’t administer any form of training to them which they wouldn’t administer to their kids.

    • That’s right – dogs should be treated like our children and shock collars were never meant to use on children

  12. I personally feel dog barking is equal to human talking. How do dogs communicate? Through barking of course, and giving them electric shocks through shock collars is actually killing their rights to talk. Now, even I don’t like to hear continuous barking or people continuously talking, the best solution is to stop them and make them understand through expert training.

    The pet dogs are like your family members who make noise when they smell or sense something wrong to alert you. Any excessive barking dog needs treatment or training but no shock collars. I appreciate your concern and agree that shock collars are cruel.

  13. I have always wondered about shock collars.   We tried it once on a very barky miniature poodle.  We tried it only a couple of times and we couldn’t stand to see the poor little guy suffer.   What it did do was that he only changed how he barked.   It turned more into a whimper than a bark.   From that point on we couldn’t use the collar – we concluded that it was a cruel approach to condition behavior.  I was really intrigued by your alternatives.  When did they start making no-shock collars?     We have a Pomeranian now with very thick fur who really likes to bark at everything when he is outside.  Not sure about the vibrating collar, but the Ultrasonic Bark collar seems like it might work.  What would you think as a better choice for a small dog with very thick fur?

    • no-shock collars have been around for a while, Steve. Not so sure with small dogs with thick fur, though.

  14. This article brought tears to my eyes! I understand that people want to train their dogs but torturing them in such ways like this, that’s just inhumane. For me, time-out is the best training method for a dog. I have been doing that with my puppy and it has been working perfectly – except for when she’s extremely energetic – collars and products like you described will only make your dog live with a life-long trauma over the device and even yourself because they might even see you as a threat. 

    • Sorry for making you cry, Stephanie. Truth is, too many dogs are suffering and more people need to read this article. And yes, your pet may see you in a negative light. Thanks for commenting


  15. Thank you for this very informative article. I’ve always wanted to know whether it’s best to train a dog using a shock collars. However, it seems like a bad idea based on the physical as well as mental sufferings it could bring to them, as you have described. You’ve confirmed what I was already thinking. Keep up the good work.

  16. Thank you. I have wanted to know how these work. Your graphic description was more than enough to convince me not to ever use one on my dog!

    My neighbor had one and my observations were that it appeared to be a cruel way in which to train a dog. It is also a lazy way to do so and has not enhanced my opinion of that particular neighbor.

    Keep up the good work! People need to understand this message. Cruelty to animals is unnecessary.

    • Hi Amy, thanks for commenting. You are right – it is a lazy way of training a dog. I think I should include that on the list!

      I hope you’re having a great day!


  17. Oh woow what a topic. I am not a pet owner but based from what I have read, I would not go for a shock collar because it appears to offer more harm than good. Like you mentioned, would we use such to discipline our children? Pets are like people’s children and should be cared for with similar displays of affection, love and care. There are other alternative which may be used to train a dog in a humane way.

    • exactly – It’s a barbaric way of training a dog. I wish more people would do their research before getting one. Thanks for commenting!


  18. I’ve definitely pondered these questions from time to time. On the one hand, discipline is the intended outcome when it comes to a shock collar. On the other hand, is there a more humane way to handle it? I think an actual fence is the best way to go I agree, but in the case where that is not financially feasible, then an electric fence is preferred over the shock collar. Dogs really are man’s best friend and I look forward to reading more. Keep up the good work!

  19. This article presents great reasoning on why not to use a shock collar.

    I tried to use one with my crazy aussie, but quickly decided it was not worth it. Besides the fact that he is a major drama king, I just did not like the results or the method. 

    I certainly would not recommend using one and after reading your article I would not do the fencing either. Thank you for sharing such great information.

  20. I must say for some stubborn dogs it is but it’s not meant to be used on our pet dogs as the effect of this collars that you list are really really bad and we wouldn’t want something like cancer to find it way it the life of our precious pet…..for me I think it cruel and should only be used on difficult dogs.

  21. Thank you for your post. It is useful for me. I have a dog and plan to build a electric fence in my back yards so that I could let him out in the yard without my attention. However, I never take time to do the research.

    Here comes your article, which provides info I am looking for. It worries me that this kind of device can make a dog live in fear of being electrocuted, which is not good for my dog.

    Besides, there are so many side effects, including anxiety, cancer, pain, behavioral issues, and malfunction. All of these are not good for my dear dog.

    Based on your description, I put this on hold for a while and I am going to do more research and try to find something no harm to my dog.

  22. This was a question that I have had in the past when it comes to the shock collars that I see offered on various online stores that cater to pet owners. At first glance, they would appear to be cruel, it just makes sense that corporal punishment like this is somehow not the best way to affect the behavior of any animal or human. Plus the person who buys them and uses them is not truly thinking of the welfare of their pet in my opinion. 

    You have rightly provided 15 solid reasons not to use them, and I so totally agree with all of them. There are better ways to train animals that do not harm them psychologically and the owner too (I think there is something wrong with people that would use these). Thanks for writing about this so people will get informed before using these dangerous accessories on their dogs. 

    • Thanks for commenting, David. There are too many downsides to using a shock collar. You are right – the person who buys them doesn’t think of the welfare of the animal


  23. Hi thanks for sharing this review,dogs are wonderful and playful,using shock collar on them is supposed to be safe but I personally don’t like it because it might make them live in fear and it might have it’s side effects.these devices can make a dog live in fear of being I don’t think it’s advisable to use shock collars on dogs 

  24. Hi, 

    These are 15 really good reasons not to use shock collars!

    Shock collars should definitely be banned! First off, they are cruel. I guarantee a dog has anxiety and lives in fear of shocks if they have a shock collar. That’s just terrible. Second, so many things can go wrong! Why would you want to risk or cause pain or maybe non-stop shocks on a pet you love!!

    Thanks of this post!

    • Thanks for commenting, Anna. You’re right – it’s not worth taking the risk on your beloved pet. 


  25. I used to think shock collars were fine. But we quit using one very early on with our dog. I now no longer believe they’re okay. My dog always barks at passersby. We have a fence, he cannot get to them (and he’s actually frightened of strangers anyway so he’d bark but then run away from them if he could get near them). And we just live with the fact that he will always bark at passersby. 

    Dogs bark to communicate, and if you suppress that, it means they’re unable to tell you whatever they’re trying to tell you. It can be frustrating if your dog barks too often, but it’s no excuse for traumatizing or potentially injuring them. 

    • You are absolutely correct – it’s no excuse to hurt or traumatize them. As humans, we have no right to do this to animals.


  26. Hi,  So true what you’re saying here.  What a wicked way to treat a living thing that has just as much right to be here as we do ourselves.  I am actually surprised that such a thing as available for sale.  I understand that some dogs can be hard work but it’s down to the owner I think to seek professional help.  If somebody has got the pet in the first place it is down to them.  To make sure they get the best care and resolve any issues they have in a kind rational way.

  27. I have mixed opinions when it comes to the topic.  However after reading through your post, I am leaning towards not having dogs wear shock collars.  I had no idea that it can burn dogs skin or even cause cancer.  The shock collars I always had didnt feel that powerful but maybe to a dog they were extra senstive to the shock.  Thank you for the great information.

    • Thanks for commenting, Eric. Most people would opt out of shock collars if they knew this information.


  28. Shock collars are the worst! I think it’s the lazy way out of trying to train your dog by shocking them. Do you love your dog? Do you see them as a member of the family? You surely would do that to any other family member so why the helpless dog?!

    With the array of videos on how to train your dog without fear and pain, why wouldn’t that be the better way to train your dog? Guaranteed the answer will be “because it’ll take too long” or “because it’s too much work”.

    Good thing they haven’t invented shock collars for kids! This device is disgusting and should be banned everywhere!

    • Hi Melissa, I totally agree that this device is barbaric and should be banned everywhere. Thank you for commenting!


  29. Hi! Yeah, poor little dogs with those mean, considerate owners. Once we put a shock collar on our dog we can’t control what associations our dog does. And it can be perfectly normal that our dog ends up doing the wrong associations. And when our dog starts behaving strangely we blame him.

  30. Hello there! This is an amazing article you’ve got. Using shock collar on a pet is cruel. For me, I think if you teach them what to do, with time, they will adapt to it other than exposing the pet to other risk like cancer. Any one who uses it on his/her pet doesn’t love the dog.

  31. Thank you so much for sharing this article. Dogs are very loyal. So it is just not right to give them shocks. I did not know that shock collars give such high volts of shock. I love dogs from my childhood and habe 2 dogs in my house. They are very nice and loyal. Their names are don and daniel. I take care of them on regular basis. These article helped me a lot with many new information. I liked the invisible fence idea very much. I will try to give my dogs humane training as much as possible and try not to hurt them. 

    i will share this article to my social media account so that other dog lover people can know about these facts and make the utilise of it.

  32. Hello there! Thanks for sharing this amazing article on shock collar. Sometimes I wonder why anybody would want to use shock collar on a pet you claim you love🤔? Before now I never knew how dangerous it could be though but I just naturally can’t do that. It’s not advisable!

  33. Wow, there are so many negatives of having a shock collar. I actually saw that my friend just got one of these for two of his dogs and I fear it is going to damage their health is k felt I needed to do some research. I am sure he didn’t do his right before getting them those things. I really need to show him this post so he can see the pain he is making them go through.

  34. The first thought that occurred in my head as I read through the first paragraph.. “What in the world? Do people actually use these on their dogs?” Because Dogs are regarded as man’s best friends. We’re buddies we and them!

    But making them go through the pain for our own whims is just outright sadistic. I think that it finally falls upon us, to make sure we do our best in order to return the favor and protect the ones who protect us.

    Thank you for getting the word out.


  35. Wow! As a dog owner this concerns me greatly. I have never used such a device with my dogs but have looked at the possibility several times. Thank you for pointing out the dangers of this. I would never want to hurt my two little boys. Think we will go with the fence option so they can have a yard without getting shocked. My puppies thank you as well.

  36. Having a collar for your dogs can be really cool, but definitely not a shock collar. My dog appreciates me getting her a new collar which we do once every three months and she is always happy to get a new one. Now imagine getting her a shock collar? To that is wickedness to the animal if you ask me. Even as humans we don’t do well with electric shocks now you are giving it out to an innocent dog, too bad. 

    • The shock collar? For me this type of gadgets for our dogs, for the purpose of control them it create damage to specially to their behavior.

      I have pet dog but we teach her its more advisable if they have freedom and they feel that we love them just like a member of our family.

      In our county if you maltreatment of dogs they arrest you and the consequences is imprisonment of maximum of 6months and have penalty

      • Thanks for commenting, Resty. You’re right – all it does it damage a dog physically and mentally


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