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 Peta.org, these devices can make a dog live in fear of being electrocuted.
- Shock collars may deliver between 1,500-4,500 volts. Some even higher.
- It may cause extreme anxiety
- It may cause Cardiac Fibrillation
- It may cause Cancer
- It may cause physical pain
- It does not address the underlying causes
- It is very likely to cause behavioral problems
- The device may malfunction. It may not work when activated or deliver non-stop electrical shocks
- It’s been linked to increased aggression and higher Cortisol (stress hormone) levels in a study done in 2008 in Japan.
- Innocent children may mistakenly harm their dogs and bad-natured people may use it intentionally to cause harm.
- May possibly affect a dog’s long term health by damaging the thyroid
- Other electric devices with the same frequency such as garage door openers may trigger the device
- The shock collar may get wet in the rain and malfunction
- 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.
- 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:
- Invisible Fence System
- 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.
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.
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!