The Risk Of Shock Collars

Shock collars also known as e-collars and electric collars that use a shock and then are sometimes followed with a beep to “train” dogs.  Shock collars come with many risks and are in fact banned in the UK.  The risks arise because of the association with the stimulus is not always clear to the dog and due to that fact can actually induce fear and generalized anxiety in the dog.

Aggression is one of the most common problem behaviors and the worst dog to use them on.  Aggression is caused by fear and which means they are already nervous or frightened.  Using a shock collar can actually increase the dogs fear of the situation and has a high change of making the aggression worse.  Using a shock collar to suppress the behavior also suppresses the warning signs that the dog has been displaying and make their aggression less predictable and therefore more dangerous.

Since dogs learn by association it is possible that they may actually associate the shock with the wrong thing.  For instance if it is used to teach a dog to stop chasing the cat, and the owner is standing between the dog and the cat, and the shock is administered, the dog might actually associate the shock with the owner (and not the cat) and bite the owner in retaliation. This can lead to more problems such as distrust, fear of noises (eg:beep like collar) or other stimuli.

There is also risk that the dog can’t tie the shock into anything and that could result in the dog becoming more anxious and stressed as it receives the pain of shock for what he perceives to be no apparent reason.

Please don’t put your dog at risk, find a trainer who uses only positive reinforcement, besides that it works much better!

Nan Long, APDT

Now And Zen Dog Training


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