Shock collars for dogs cause distress, new study finds

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The University of Lincoln study looked at 63 companion dogs in three groups, one of which used electronic collars. (Photo credit: YouTube)

A new study from Lincoln University in UK have found that electronic collars can cause distress to dogs, especially when used at high settings.

Electronic dog collars were introduced in the late 1960s to train hunting dogs, and a few years later they were sold in pet supply stores. The idea behind electronic collars, also known as electronic collars, remote training collars, zap collars, and shockproof collars, was to teach dogs obedience and tricks by using electric shocks to monitor their behavior.

Animal behaviorists at the University of Lincoln found the dogs in their study (“The welfare and effectiveness implications of training companion dogs with electronic remote training collars vs. reward-based training”) Does better with positive reward based training, and the use of shock collars caused stress in most of their subjects. The researchers published their findings in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS A.

For a long time there were arguments for and against the use of shock collars. Some dog trainers use impact collars, while many choose positive reinforcement. Many animal rights groups have spoken out against the use of shock collars.

The study involved 63 companion dogs, and the dogs were split into three different groups: one used electronic collars and two were control groups without electronic collars. According to the study, “Dogs trained with electronic collars showed behavioral changes that corresponded to a negative response. These included showing more signs of tension, more yawning, and less time spent interacting with the environment than the control dogs.

The study also showed that there is “no consistent benefit to being gained from electronic collar training.”

Jonathan cooper, main author of study and teacher of Animal behavior and welfare at Lincoln University School of Life Sciences, Recount Daily science, “E-collar training did not result in a significantly better response to training compared to similarly experienced trainers who do not use an electronic collar to improve recall and control chasing behavior. As a result, it appears that the routine use of electronic collars, even in accordance with best practice, as suggested by the collar manufacturers, poses a risk to the welfare of companion dogs.

Cooper plans to conduct a study on “invisible fences” for cats and various ways to contain felines so they don’t wander away from their property.

Sources: Daily science, Lincoln University, PLOS A, Youtube

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