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A Shocking Method of Training Dogs

18th May 2021

Electric shock dog collars are now banned in many countries and some parts of Australia. The Australian Veterinary Association does not support their use. Do you know why?

Electric shock collars – also called e-collars and training collars – are behaviour-modifying tools designed to deliver an electric shock to a dog’s neck. There are three different types to achieve different outcomes: manual collars, anti-bark collars, and containment devices.

Manual collars work with a wireless remote to deliver a shock at the touch of a button and are often used as a training aid. They can be set at different intensity levels, which means they rely on the restraint of the operator.

Anti-bark collars, as the name suggests, are for stopping a dog barking. These collars have a vibration sensor that detects barking and produces an electric shock. Barking is normal dog behaviour, but problematic barking may have underlying causes which won’t be addressed by shocking them.

Containment devices act like invisible fences around a property’s perimeter to keep a dog inside. The dog’s collar often produces a warning noise to let them know they’re getting close, followed by a shock if they cross that boundary. However some dogs will endure the shock if they’re desperate to escape.

While these devices might achieve a result of obedience initially, scientific literature shows they can cause pain, fear, long-term stress, anxiety, reduced motivation, aggression, and helplessness. Owners may discover problematic behaviours increase, rather than decrease; and an unhappy and unmanageable relationship with their dog can result.

Inflicting pain and distress from electric collars, when alternative training techniques are available, is difficult to understand. Research shows that rewards-based positive reinforcement training is more effective than punishment-based methods. It can also build a relationship of trust, rather than fear.

If you’re trying to tackle problematic behaviour and general training, make an appointment with us. We can advise you on the most beneficial course of action for you and your dog.