Should You Use Shock Collars for Dog Training?

Training a dog to respond to your commands is crucial. A dog who fails to listen is not only an annoyance but is at risk of injury should a dangerous situation arise where he fails to respond. Training certain dog breeds can be a challenge. For this reason, some people turn to shock collars as a training tool. The use of training collars is controversial, since some people believe the use of such a collar is cruel. Should shock collars be used for dog training?

A dog obedience training collar or shock collar is a collar that has two probes which fit snuggly against your dog’s neck. By using a receiver, you can deliver a shock to your dog to negatively reinforce a particular behavior. The intensity of the shock can be adjusted from a very low level shock to a higher level one. While shocks delivered from a dog training collar do cause momentary pain, these shocks aren’t physically harmful to your dog. Generally when shock collars are used for dog training, the trainer starts with a very low level shock until he sees how the dog will react. Some dogs seem resistant to the effects of a low level shock and will require higher levels to respond.

Advantages of shock collars for dog training

A dog obedience training speeds up the training process.

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Many trainers report that training times are reduced by thirty to fifty percent when they use dog training collars. If a dog is not responsive to training it can take days or weeks to reinforce what can be taught with a few uses of the collar. For example, if your dog jumps up on the table to get food, correcting this behavior can be as simple as giving him a brief, low level shock when he puts his paws on the edge of the table. The dog learns that jumping up on the table brings an uncomfortable shock and learns to keep his paws on the floor. The dog doesn’t associate the shock with action on the part of the owner, but associates it with his own behavior. In some cases, it takes only one or two shocks to extinguish a behavior.

You can control your dog at a distance.

Most dog obedience training collars have a range of up to a mile. This means you can control your dog’s behavior when he’s at a distance. This can be helpful when you hear your dog throw his paws up on the trash can to turn it over and you’re in the next room. It’s also helpful when your dog is off-leash at a dog park and he may be roaming beyond your ability to quickly reach him.

Disadvantages of shock collars for dog training

Some people perceive it as cruel.

Although most dog trainers would deny this fact, it really depends upon the temperament of the dog. The shock itself is brief and only minimally uncomfortable but some dog breeds tend to be particularly sensitive and may not be good candidates for this type of training device. If your dog is fairly responsive and even a bit submissive, a dog obedience training collar may not be a good solution. On the other hand, if you have a large dog that’s difficult to control by any other means, a shock collar for dog training may be the only way to keep your dog from being a danger to himself and others.

They’re expensive

A good dog obedience training collar can cost up to $400.00. This is cost prohibitive for some people although you may be able to get a discount online.

Should you use shock collars for dog training? If your dog is smaller and fairly easy to control, you may be best going with conventional dog training methods, although these methods will take more time. If your dog is completely out of control and a threat to himself as well as to the neighbors, a dog obedience training collar can provide a way to safely teach your dog to avoid potentially dangerous behaviors.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.  
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