Dog owners should avoid shock collars “neither safe nor human,” says BC SPCA

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Shock collars can cause physical and psychological pain in dogs – and even damage their bond with humans, according to the BC SPCA.

Animal welfare agency launches new campaign asking dog owners to commitment not to use shock collars for training, arguing that there are reward-based tools that are just as effective.

Collars, which deliver an electrostatic shock to the dog’s skin, are sometimes used to prevent animals from barking too much or to train them to stay in the yard.

But veterinarian Dr Karen van Haaften, senior behavioral director for the BC SPCA, said the benefits don’t outweigh the costs.

“Although these collars can modify behavior, there is growing evidence in North America and Europe that their short or long term use is associated with high levels of stress, phobias, fear and pain. ‘increased aggressiveness,’ van Haaften said in a statement.

There are also physical risks, according to the SPCA. Collars can leave severe burns on an animal’s neck or cause an unhealthy increase in its heart rate.

Dr van Haaften said owners should also be aware that dogs can potentially associate the zaps they experience with their surroundings, including their owner.

“One of the most unfortunate and unintentional results of using a shock collar can be a breakdown in the bond between an individual and their pet,” she said.

For its campaign, the BC SPCA urges dog owners to read “the shocking truth” about shock collars, sometimes referred to as electronic or electronic collars, and sign your pledge online. The agency says the necklaces are “not safe or cruelty-free,” despite support from some coaches.

Owners who are struggling to cope with a behavior issue can also find accredited training services through the agency website.

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