I do not allow any dogs in my care to wear shock collars (also called “e-collars”) or any other sort of punishment-based collar. I also discourage any dog owner from using these products. This includes any collar that pinches, vibrates, chokes, makes a noise, or sprays odors at the dog. They are called “aversive” because they work based on any animal’s natural aversion to pain, annoyance, and choking.
Studies have shown that aversive devices are not any more effective for training than “positive” fear-free methods. However studies have also shown that use of aversive tools can cause lasting fear, stress, and emotional problems. Dogs may respond more quickly and strongly to punishment based methods, the same way any one of us will react when someone slaps us or yells at us; but the only thing we learn from getting slapped or yelled at is to avoid whoever did it, and to consider that person -and whatever they’re holding- a potential threat from that point on.
- Shock collars and prong or choke collars work by causing pain or irritation. This teaches fear and distrust, and it can lead to behavior problems like aggression or reactivity.
- Even the lightest buzz or gentlest pinch is still punishment since it works by reminding the dog that you could hurt them worse.
- Startle reactions neurochemically block the brain’s ability to learn.
- Pinch and prong collars are sold on the premise that mother dogs “train” their puppies by biting. In reality, moms only nip out of frustration, not to teach good behaviors.
- If your dog seems nervous, shy, disinterested, or low energy, it may be because they fear the collar.
- Punishment only offers a dog one negative option: avoid getting punished. It doesn’t show them any choices we actually want them to make, so it sets them up to fail.
- When we reward specific behaviors, the dog will want to repeat those behaviors, giving them a way to succeed.