Electric Shock Collars for Dogs Good or Bad?

Electric Shock Collars for Dogs Good or Bad?

If you share your home with an unruly dog, you have probably thought about investing in some sort of training aid in an attempt to correct a few problems. There are lots of devices on the market, but some are a little too drastic and this includes electric shock collars which are banned in certain parts of the country.

Electric shock collars for dogs first appeared on the scene a few years ago and many owners bought them as a way to correct certain unwanted behavioural problems. They work by giving a dog an electric shock albeit a mild one which is transmitted through two prongs found on the collar which are just long enough to touch the skin.

Owners have a hand-held unit which they press when a dog misbehaves or do something they should not and often there is a little bleeping noise that can be heard just before the shock is delivered by the collar as a warning. However, there are several designs some of which work when a dog barks and which were once thought to be a great way of stopping dog's from barking unnecessarily. The problem is that if another dog barks close by, the dog wearing the collar although quiet, still receives an electric shock.

The Various Designs

Some collars deliver a shock if a dog pulls too hard on their lead whereas others prevent dogs from leaving a certain area which includes going out through gates where transmitters have been placed on the posts. Should a dog put a paw over the threshold, they get a little electric shock and as such are reluctant to do so as long as they are wearing their “invisible fence” collars. Again, dogs hear a beep which warns them they're about to receive a mild electric shock if they stray too far over a perimeter.

For a while people used electric collars on dogs to correct unwanted behaviour and thought of them as useful training tools, but this is only true if they are used responsibly. Some people who live in more rural areas use electric collars to teach their canine companions not to worry or chase live-stock, but again you need to be very careful how you use them remembering that some dogs are super sensitive and wearing one of these devices can have a very serious negative impact on them.

Good or Bad Training Aid?

Many vets, breeders and even the Kennel Club are very against using this type of training method being used on any dog no matter what behavioural problems they may have developed that need correcting. They believe no dog should be subjected to any sort of physical pain no matter how slight it may be.

On top of this many people who study animal behaviour suggest that we just do not understand the sort of psychological effect this method of training will have on a dog or in fact, if rather than it correcting something, it might make the situation worse. Some people suggest that using an electric shock collar on a dog might even encourage aggression in an otherwise docile pet. Then of course, there is the real worry that some dog owners might well misuse an electric shock collar which could lead to them abusing their pets. This is one of the reasons why the use of these collars has been banned in Wales and why many dog lovers think they should be banned throughout the country.

At the other end of the scale, there are people who think electric shock collars are a very useful training aid that does not put a dog in any sort of real physical pain because they merely feel a little discomfort when they receive a shock. They think that using the collars allows owners to nip a bad habit in the bud before it escalates into a more serious problem that would be that much harder to correct later on.

It’s thought dogs prone to chasing sheep and other livestock when out on a walk through the countryside would benefit from wearing an electric shock collar because it allows owners to correct an unwanted behaviour that could get them into real trouble with farmers and the authorities. People argue that dogs wearing this type of collar when out on a rural walk can be let off their leads so they really do get to enjoy more freedom without the risk of them getting into serious trouble.


There's been a lot of talk about banning electric collars throughout the country. They are already banned in Wales because many vets and the Kennel Club believe their use may be harmful to dogs and even encourage aggression in an otherwise kind natured pet. Other people think electric collars are brilliant training aids when they used correctly, especially for dogs that have developed a habit of chasing livestock when they are out on a walk in the countryside, but again only if they are used responsibly. However, the debate goes on and with the option to use kinder training aids, it makes sense to avoid using electric collars on dogs.



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