Shock collars cause pain in dogs

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Some trainers say electronic shock collars are unethical and painful for dogs. Some say that electronic shock collars are great training devices that help grab a dog’s attention during the training process and swear there aren’t any lasting negative effects on the dog. dog. Who is right? Do shock collars cause pain and fear or just the cessation of unwanted behavior? What if the shock collar causes pain and fear, do these fears and anxieties persist long after use?

Researchers in the Netherlands have conducted studies on the behavioral effects of training with shock collars. Unsurprisingly, the results revealed that dogs shocked with electronic collars exhibited more fear and anxiety during the training process as well as long after using the devices.


In their study of 32 dogs that received shocks from electronic collars, the dogs reportedly lowered their bodily postures; gave high-pitched barks; licked, lowered his tail; turned their heads down and to the side to avoid shock; distant (avoidance); and squatting. The dogs too raised their front paws, jumped, licked their lips, twirled, trembled and sniffed the ground. All of these behavioral responses are signs of fear, pain, anxiety, and stress.

Subsequently, the shocked dogs also exhibited continuous licking of the lips and lower ear positions, indicating that their fear and anxiety persisted long after using the shock collars. They were also more likely to adopt frightened postures when workouts resumed, indicating that they remembered previous workouts with the shock collar on. Seven dogs in the study showed no reaction, possibly showing that some dogs may have a higher pain threshold.

Overall, the researchers concluded that dogs trained with electronic shock collars exhibited more fear and anxiety behaviors than those trained by other traditional methods and that the pain and fear generated was real. Researchers also found evidence that some dogs have learned to associate commands and their environment with shock. For example, they stated that “a dog, shocked immediately after receiving a ‘heel’ order, barked after receiving the next ‘heel’ order without being shocked. And that other dogs showed postures of fear and anxiety when they returned to training environments where they had been shocked, even if they weren’t shocked again.

While some trainers and pet owners approve of using shock collars for training, the stories I hear about them are mixed. I know of a person who trains their dogs with the electronic collars to keep their dogs inside their retail store. His dogs seem well adjusted and he swears by them. But I have also seen a lot of misuse of these devices, ranging from severe burns on a dog’s neck to serious behavioral issues. The question is: why do dogs have to endure any pain in the name of training?

The lessons of this study are clear. Dogs associate shock collars with pain and fear, so your dog may develop even more behavioral issues. Dogs naturally want to please people; we go against their instincts when we use a negative training tool that has the potential to increase their fear and anxiety.

My advice: use positive reinforcement to get your pet’s cooperation.

Send your stories and questions to Cathy M. Rosenthal, c / o Features Department, San Antonio Express-News, PO Box 2171, San Antonio, TX 78297-2171, or [email protected] Cathy’s advice column airs every Sunday.

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