Training dogs isn’t the easiest thing to do. It takes a lot of time, effort, and patience before you can get your dog to do what you want.
Maybe a shock collar could be a viable option in moving forward with the training process.
It can speed up your training so your dog can learn how to comply with your commands easier and faster. However, before you actually get a shock collar for your dog, there are extremely important things you need to understand first for you and your dog’s safety.
Here’s everything you need to know before getting a shock collar.
1. Use it as a last resort
This is a common misconception of dog owners when it comes to using a shock collar. They think that in order to correct a problem, they simply need to use a shock collar with a higher voltage.
Imagine having to take an exam on anatomy without attending any classes. If you fail to pass that test, your instructor will hit you hard and ask you to retake the exam.
If you still fail, your professor will hit you harder in order to make you perform better on your test. Your professor can keep on hitting you but the results won’t change.
The same thing happens when you shock your dog for not following or complying with your command. Instead of helping it understand what you mean, you’ll just hurt and confuse your pet.
Simply put, increasing the voltage isn’t training. It’s abusing your dog.
Now, take note that there will be times where you’ll need a little more voltage- with emphasis on little.
This is when your dog is a bit distracted by his environment or when your operational training level isn’t enough.
In increasing the voltage, do it a little and a click at a time. You can go a bit more if the dog is particularly excited and is charging ahead on a busy road.
2. You don’t need more voltage to convey understanding
Here’s the thing.
Although shock collars are effective, you should avoid using them to start training your dog. Consider the collar as a last resort.
As much as possible, start with positive reinforcement methods and teach the behavior first.
For example, teach recall with a clicker and treats. Once the dog is complying nicely with the command, you can take it to a different location using all the treats and a clicker.
All of those things need to happen before you strap any shock collar to your dog.
If you want to get results faster, try combining the shock collar with positive reinforcement. This way, the dog will be able to learn which behaviors are accepted without compromising your relationship with it.
3. It can potentially damage relationships
One of the most overlooked negative effects of using shock collar is its ability to damage relationships and influence behaviors.
Since your dog can feel an unpleasant sensation with the shock collar, he’ll develop negative associations with you and start to fear you.
Because of that, try to maintain distance when providing the corrections and stay away from your dog’s line of sight. This way, it’ll get used to the collar without any negative associations.
4. It’s only for training
It can be tempting to put an e-collar on your dog while you’re walking outdoors to keep it from misbehaving. This, however, can only make things worse.
As much as possible, use the shock collar when you’re training at home or in the yard. For all other activities, stick with regular collars or harnesses for your dog.
Using the collar and shocking the dog for its every action will only hurt him and make him feel uncomfortable towards you.
5. It’s used by professional dog trainers
Dog behavior specialists know how and when to use shock collars. They do it in a way that doesn’t hurt dogs and their relationship with them.
If you aren’t a professional dog trainer, you can still use shock collars. That is if you’re sure that you know how to use them.
If you’re unsure, consult a professional first. Take your dog to a behavior specialist so that he can assess your dog and recommend the right collar for it.
Other Alternatives to Static Collars
If shock collars are still not for you, there are other other alternatives that you can use for effective training. Trainers and dog owners alike have been known to use spray and vibrating collars to ease the training process. These collars are designed to interrupt your pup from the undesired behavior and divert their attention back to you.
The PetSafe GentleSpray Anti-Bark Collar is designed to control constant barking. The collar delivers a harmless burst of citronella spray in order to distract your pup and allow his attention back to you.
Pettags No Bark Dog Collaris a gentle yet effective way to reduce excessive barking in a humane way. Vibration mode gives you a choice of settings which allows you to control the correction. You also have a sound mode that releases a high-frequency sound that deters your dog from barking. Both methods are very humane in that NO electrical shock is used.
Shock collars are highly effective as long as you know how to use them. With how strong they are, it’ll be quite easy for you to lose control and hurt your dog.
Once that happens, your dog will start to associate you with fear and this can make training a lot harder.
With that, try to use shock collars as a last resort and after you’ve tried every positive training methods possible. And when you use them, be extra careful so you won’t end up abusing your dog.
If you are in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Kathryn Brown is a freelance writer and editor of www.fastdogs.org. She lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and her pet Duke. When she’s not out exploring other countries, she spends most of her time teaching others how to work remotely while her pit bull, Annabelle, lounges alongside. She’s also an advocate for dogs like hers and aims to spread awareness everywhere she goes.