Myths and frequently asked questions about shock collars - BC SPCA
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Myths and frequently asked questions about shock collars

There are many myths about electronic collars. Learn the shocking truth:

Myth: My dog doesn’t care about treats or praise.

Fact: You probably just haven’t found the right treat or reward to motivate your dog. Try a variety of high-value treats (meat, cheese) or activities and games (toys, tug-of-war) to determine what your dog values most.

Myth: A shock collar doesn’t hurt if it is used properly.

Fact: Sadly, this isn’t true. Shock collars deliver an uncomfortable electrostatic shock to your dog’s skin, which can cause pain, an unhealthy increase in heart rate and burns to your animals’ neck.  It also requires perfect timing between the undesired behaviour and the presentation of the shock, which is extremely difficult for the average pet guardian to execute.

Myth: Using a shock collar is the quickest, most effective way to train my dog.

Fact: A study by Cooper et al. in 2014 showed that recall training using a reward-based method was just as effective as training the same behaviour using shock collars. What’s more, there is a growing body of evidence that the short- and long-term use of shock collars is associated with other behavior problems including aggression, phobias and levels of stress that block a dog’s ability to learn.

Myth: A shock collar is the only option to keep my dog safe when he runs away from me.

Fact: There are many reward-based training solutions to deal with common behaviour issues such as recall or barking – visit our AnimalKind page to learn more about humane trainers. In addition to keeping your pet safe, using humane training will promote a positive relationship with your pet. One of the unfortunate consequences of using aversive training methods such as shock collars can be a breakdown in the bond between you and your pet. An animal will sometimes associate the pain of the shock with other things in their environment at the time – including their guardian – and may withdraw or become aggressive.

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Professional resources and position statements on electronic collars >>