As much as we love our dogs, some behaviors are exhibited that we don't like, actions that an owner would want to stop, such as; persistent barking or leaving your yard unsupervised. Using a shock collar is one method, known for its efficacy for curbing such behavior.
It is often considered
the least humane approach of training; a question commonly asked and argued is:
Are shock collars
bad for dogs? We would discuss how shock collars
work, their merits, side effects, and if it's an option to choose. It is
imperative to know what is good or bad for you and your canine companion.
First, what is a shock collar? It is an aversive collar normally used to train difficult dogs. The shock administered to the dog is safe, but can be unpleasant. Hence, it is often used as a last resort.
It uses an electric current to send signals or jolts through metal contact points from the collar to the dog. It is to be noted that the collar works only when in contact with the dog's skin and not fur. When properly fitted, you should be able to fit a finger or two snuggly between the collar and your dog's skin.
In some, if not most
collars, there are other functions besides the shock such as vibration and
sound emission. The shock administered can be at different levels of intensity
from a low shock to higher levels. The intensity is reduced or increased based
on the reaction of the dog.
You should not
completely write off shock collars, and their users should not be considered as
"demons." Some dog owners use shock collars for a variety of reasons;
we would mention a few.
Many dog users consider shock collars because of their ease of use. They can be used for various purposes- prevent barking, long-distance training and can be coupled with an electronic fencing system.
Those coupled with an invisible fence helps prevent a dog from leaving a designated area. A wire trigger is buried underground, as the dog approaches it, it administers a warning signal before the actual shock. Making it useful in preventing the dog from wandering off or escaping the yard when the owner is not around.
Shock collars can also
be used remotely, making it an easy disciplinary measure. There are shock
collars that administer a shock when the dog barks. The dog will associate
barking with getting shocked and will eventually learn to stay quiet.
When used the right way, or by dog trainers, dog shock collars can be effective. The dog can easily associate bad behavior with a shock and will learn that such action is bad. In some cases, owners seldomly need to shock their dog as the beep or vibrating function is sufficient.
When misused, it doesn't
have the same effectiveness. It is best to use it after teaching the dog what
you want, as it would be unreasonable to correct a dog before it knows what it
is you want it to do.
Although shock collars are considered cruel for
dogs, they have their perks. Here are some of their
Compared to hiring a dog
trainer, using the shock collar is more inexpensive than getting a trainer.
Shock collars can be as cheap as $25 depending on its features such as range of
use, remote control, and level of adjustability.
It can be used to
correct when deemed necessary in an instant.
Having a wide range of
stimulation levels, some incorporate several options such as sounds, vibration,
or even light signals. Owners who are a bit fearful about the intensity of the
shock can adjust their level to receive a mild response from the dog or also
stick with vibration.
When used appropriately,
shock collars can be quite useful in curbing bad behavior in dogs.
Dog shock collars have different functions, and they can be coupled with other systems to work. They can be used remotely, and don't require their users present.
Shock collars coupled
with an electric fencing system are designed to function even when the dog
owner is not around. As the dog draws closer to the boundary, it will get the
initial warning signal (beep or vibration) and a shock if he continues heading
towards and on reaching the boundary.
Consider these dog shock collars side
effects to see if the merits outweigh the demerits or are shock collars cruel?
Fear and Resentment:
Due to the discomfort,
the dog may come to fear the owner, associating the shock with them. This can
be seen with lousy handling caused by a poorly timed shock or misuse of the
shock collar. Many dogs tend to cower in fear or run at the presence of their
owners after such treatment.
It can lead to aggressive behavior:
Dog shock collars can
cause anxiety, among other psychological problems, which can lead to the dog
being aggressive towards its owners, people, and other pets. The aggression can
cause the dog to attack others; this shock collar side effect can be worse
than the bad behavior being addressed.
Shock collars are a form
of negative reinforcement. It does not reinforce positive behavior on its own. According to a
study, it was confirmed that
positive reinforcement works better and enables better relationships between
owners and dogs.
The shock could be brief
or considered mild, but the fact is that your dog suffers pain. It is hard to
argue what level is too much, but setting the collar to high shock levels can
be nothing but cruel.
Dog shock collars can injure the dog's body when worn for too long or made too tight around the dog's neck. This injury, if untreated, can become infected and spread around the neck. Not only dog shock collars have this effect; pinch collars are also bad for dogs in this area and can have more severe effects. Effects like whiplash, damaged trachea, spinal cord issues, etc.
Many ask, can shock collars cause brain damage to dogs? No, although they can
make existing issues worse, brain damage is not a shock collar’s side effect.
After considering dog shock collars side effects, we can say they outweigh their advantages, and they should be the last option to consider while training a dog. The most humane way of training is one that causes the least stress for your dog.
We advise you to consider better options that use positive reinforcement to get results. Yes, dog shock collars are effective, but they cause more harm than good. We hope you'll be able to conclude if dog shock collars are cruel or not with help from this article. With great power comes great responsibility.
Have you used shock collars in the past? What do you think, are shock collars bad for dogs?