The Dangers of Shock Collars

danger of shock collars

A training device that has become more popular lately is the shock collar. Many trainers advocate for them because of their fast results at training dogs. But these devices are not good training tools for dogs. There are many dangers to shock collars.

What Are Shock Collars?

shock collar

A shock collar consists of a flat nylon collar with an electric box attached that has two prongs that carry an electric current. Those prongs face towards the dog’s neck. When activated by a remote the box either beeps, vibrates, or shocks the dog.

What Are The Dangers of Shock Collars?

Poor Training Device

There are several different ways this device is a poor training tool. First, let’s talk about the conditioning of the device. There are some dog owners that have trained their dog on the collar. The dog learned to obey when the device is on. But never when the device is off.

This conditioned the dog to only listen when the device is on its neck. Once the shock collar is taken off of the dog’s neck, the dog understands this change and stops listening to verbal commands given by its handler. They learn to listen to the shock collar, not their owner. This kind of training is so dangerous. A dog that ignores their owner can be a safety hazard.

Another reason that this is a poor training device is that the shock collar is known to cause fear issues in dogs. When these devices are used on fear-reactive dogs, as the dog becomes reactive to something that triggers them the device paired with that item creates a bigger fear issue.

Some dogs don’t comprehend that the beep, vibrate, or shock is coming from the collar and not the thing they’re afraid of. So they believe that thing is causing more distress. In the end, this causes more behavioral issues.

Injury To Dogs

With a device that creates a small electric current when pressed up to a dog’s neck, there is going to be the potential of injury. One of the less severe is that the device can cause an electric burn on the skin. 

Using this device long term, the constant electric current can cause an increased risk of cardiac issues from heart palpitations to heart murmurs. Veterinarians have seen that shock collars have caused issues in the thyroid and how it functions.

dangers of shock collars
Remmy who has suffered from both physical and psychological injury due to a shock collar.

The biggest injury that isn’t visible but just as damaging, is the psychological trauma. Any fearful dog that has exposure to a shock collar can be subject to permanent anxiety and increase in phobias. There will be a decrease in the dog’s willingness to socialize and confidence.

Better Options For Dog Owners

There is really only one better option and that is to never use a shock collar and to get a trainer involved that does not use them. They are not appropriate tools when it comes to training a dog. If you have a dog that needs behavior modification, get a dog trainer. Every dog is unique and different when it comes to training. Every dog needs to be given a training option that best suits them. There are a plethora of other training tools out there that can be used. Do your research and get a trainer that works best for your dog.

Hear It From Other Resources

This is a list of resources from other professionals and their research done on eCollars.

Behavior Problems Of The Dog & Cat by G. Landsberg, W. Hunthausen, L. Ackerman

Fear Free Pets

Victoria Stilwell