Shock collars have been on the market for years and there’s no shortage of dog trainers who use and recommend these collars. Invisible fences are in the same category. Dog training made easy or dog abuse? Training a dog is not rocket science, but it does require commitment, patience, human compassion and understanding that a dog who is forced to learn using abusive training techniques may do as you command; but he won’t trust you. Appliance Factory Outlet proudly displayed a Facebook post condoning the use of shock collars to their followers. Recommending a product that many dog trainers and dog owners find objectionable and cruel isn’t a good image maker. As Appliance Factory Outlet discovered before quickly removing their post after a number of people left angry comments on it.
Shock collars work on the principal of positive punishment and negative reinforcement by giving the dog an electrical shock. These collars have different settings that range from a static shock to higher settings with more juice delivered with each one. Shock collars are misused by dog owners who don’t take the time to learn how to use the collar properly and who may have little knowledge of how to train a dog. Some owners have actually tortured their dog with repeated shocks, either on purpose or because they didn’t know what they were doing. And then there’s the sadistic person who likes to torture dogs.
Dogs are just like us and some feel pain more than others. If you want to know how it feels, put one on your neck and then walk around in the rain and hope it doesn’t malfunction. And don’t forget to leave it on longer than you should. Google “shock collar injuries” and then click on “images” on the left side of the page for photos of shock collar burns and puncture wounds and then tell me the collars are safe and won’t hurt the dog.
Shock collars can and do malfunction if they get wet or have a defect. Dogs have been burned from abusive and cruel misuse of the collars as well as unintended injuries from naive owners. The prongs located on the underside of the collar can puncture the dog’s neck, especially if the collar is too tight. Invisible fences use shock collars that must be worn by the dog for the technology to work. If the dog is home alone when the collar malfunctions, there’s no one to save him from the pain being inflicted to him. An invisible fence won’t keep out wild animals, other dogs, cats, squirrels or dog thieves. And if the dog breaks through the invisible barrier for some reason and finds himself on the other side, he’s not going to endure the pain of a shock to try and go back.
Supporters of shock collars claim the collars can train a dog faster and easier than other training techniques. This is pure bunk and misleading to dog owners looking for an effective way to train their dog. Shock collars and dominance training are more likely to teach your dog to be afraid of you.
Positive reinforcement is the only technique most dog trainers use and it’s the one that gets the best results. The dog pictured in the above photo was trained using positive reinforcement. He’s a purebred German Shepherd and is sitting off leash, alert and waiting for his next command. Any dog can be trained and anyone can train a dog using positive reinforcement, but not everyone can alpha roll their dog; nor should they try to dominate a dog in this matter. Dominance training is dangerous for the average dog owner to try on their own if they don’t understand a dog’s body language and don’t know what they’re doing. Studies have proven that dogs are not wolves and the pack mentality of dogs is not the same as a wolf pack. I don’t want my dogs to fear me because I’m stronger or can zap them for not obeying me. I want my dogs to respect and trust me because I’m a fair leader. A balanced and positive state of mind for a dog comes from positive treatment; not from force. Shock collars and dominance training can end up doing more harm and actually make a dog more aggressive or overly submissive or timid to a point where they shut down.
Trying to change an aggressive dog’s behavior by shocking him into submission will not work and you risk making his aggression more severe. The only way to change a dog’s behavior is to get to the bottom of why a dog is acting in an inappropriate matter and then change his behavior through positive training. That’s after he’s been checked out by a vet to make sure there’s no medical reason for his aggression or other unwanted behavior. In all of the articles I’ve read on shock collars, none of them have recommended a medical checkup before using their product. Health problems can and do cause behavioral changes in dogs. Without knowing why a dog is being aggressive, is showing signs of separation anxiety, peeing on the floor, chewing or barking, you risk creating a more anxious and frustrated dog who no longer trusts you and may be dealing with a medical issue.
I’ve trained all of my dogs, including one who was aggressive, using positive reinforcement. It’s not dogs who have a problem learning what we want to teach them; it’s ill informed dog owners who won’t take the time to educate themselves on how to train a dog and too many dog owners have never established a strong bond with their pet in the first place. Dogs can read us like a book and understand our feelings and our tone of voice. Anyone; male, female, child, disabled or older dog owners can train their dog using positive reinforcement. Give a dog love, respect and trust and he will give it back to you. Treat a dog with force by trying to dominate him or by shocking him into submission teaches a dog you can’t be trusted and you’re not a fair leader.
Dogs bark insistently or behave in ways their owners don’t want them to because the owner lets them misbehave and many dog owners don’t understand breed characteristics and end up picking a dog who wasn’t right for them in the first place. Shock collars are abusive and cruel and are not the magic fix to a well trained dog supporters of the collars would like you to believe. I hope the next time Appliance Factory Outlet decides to promote a controversial dog training method, they stop and think before posting.
What I find most disturbing about the shock collar is supporters make it sound so simple and exact and it’s not. No dog training method is if you aren’t consistent with the training. Dogs learn through repetition. Positive reinforcement can and will give you the results you’re looking for and won’t make matters worse, even if you fail at training your dog.
A shock collar is not an easy fix. It’s a lazy way to train a dog and dog trainers who try to sell you on their method should be carefully considered before you let them near your dog. If you put a shock collar on your child to make him/her obey you; that’s considered child abuse. Why should we be any less concerned about abuse when it comes to man’s best friend?
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