I don’t use electronic shock collars.
I have never had a need to use electronic shock collars.
I think electronic shock collars are unethical and abusive.
I believe if you have a dog you should also have the time to work with your dog and build a working relationship.
The only thing that interests me about electronic shock collars is their growing popularity in the family pet community. I do realize that marketing is powerful, and that it influences our behaviors and socially engineers how we feel about things. Yes that is powerful. But what happened to common sense, compassion, and understanding? Where did we trash that along the way?
Electronic shock collars were almost exclusively used in the United States in the hunting field trial groups. Men, young and old, with flushing, pointing, and retrieving dogs, were the marketing dream for these devices. Outdoorsy, rough and rugged, camo clothing, orange vest, and a big gun, electronic shock collars sold themselves to a niche group of people that wanted a specific lifestyle and perceived perfection in their hunting dog. They were the Marlboro Men of the shock collar hunting community.
In today’s world, companies called Radio Systems, Happy Dog, PetSafe, Dogtra, SportDog, Widgets, DogTrainingSystem, and Garmin, are now changing that landscape.
In addition to our hunters, we now have young female trainers in bedazzled jeans, Mom’s with jogging strollers and their off leash dog, ‘Huntress’ shows, sexy and sleek devices that can be operated by your smart phone, and tricky to navigate advertising, so it must be okay, normal everyday people are using them, right? Social norms predict that it will allow people to feel okay, no, feel great and positive about using electricity on their dogs main artery to train everything from basic behaviors, behavioral issues, distance hiking, to hunting.
Kind of like this for an example – “optimized to work on all dog breeds and coat lengths… is the first electronic dog training system with BarkLimiter built right in … Personalize the collar with our polyurethane-coated 3/4″ accessory collars or 3/4″ woven nylon Lupine Collars”
The word ‘electric shock to your dogs artery’ is never used, what is used are super duper feel good words, to allow someone to believe it is a good thing, safe, harmless, and effective. Kind of like magic.
Just another example of how words influence our beliefs – “Up to 36 levels of momentary and continuous stimulation, tone and vibration options, five different button configurations, built-in bark collar”
Just to be clear, these words are synonyms (that means they mean the same or nearly the same thing) –
Vibration – Electronic Shock
Stimulation – Electronic Shock
Tone – Noise from the Electronic Shock Collar
Momentary Stimulation – Electronic Shock
Continuous Stimulation – Electronic Shock
36 Levels of Stimulation – 36 levels of Electronic Shock
But at what cost, at what understanding, at what level of knowledge, with whatever skill? Can a family pet owner who is so busy they do not have time to train their dog really understand the timing and sequencing of 36 levels of stimulation to punish a dog accurately, correctly, and in the perfect moment in time, and acquire the preferred response? Or is it yet another torture device put into the hands of a person thinking they are doing a good thing, timing be damned!
After all they don’t spread rainbows and shoot glitter. Electronic shock collars are designed to make your dog uncomfortable, a little or a lot, or super a lot, so your dog avoids whatever it is you want them to avoid. In my opinion avoidance training is the least skilled method of training, I refer to it as hack training. Instead of teaching the preferred behavior and rewarding what you want, you turn your dog out and allow them to fail, receive punishment of chosen method, so they avoid whatever it is you want them to avoid, but they never learn what it is they are supposed to do. Let that sink in a moment, and then imagine if we as ‘intelligent humans’ were taught this way in school? Oh wait, it’s been proven already to be ineffective and abusive – READ MORE
To me electronic shock collars are like the ‘fast food’ of the training world. Seemingly cheap, quick, easy, digestible, and fulfills the immediate need, but in the long run, it lacks substance, quality, and builds more problems than what you originally started with.
When I first became a professional trainer, Wales was in the process of making electronic shock collars illegal, their statement was something to the like of “if you have a dog you should expect to spend time training your dog, we consider the use of electronic shock devices immoral and unethical, and abusive”. Keep in mind that is an entire country, not a person or organization. I believe there are now eight countries that have banned their use, while their popularity continues to grow in the United States.
You can paint it anyway you like, scribble your beliefs out side the lines, defend your electronic realm, spin your tale for everyone to hear, believe that you are changing with the times, but at the beginning and end of the day, electricity is still electricity, and to me should not be used on any living being for any reason.