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Shock Collars

Shock Collars

I am in a mood. In NO world should you shock your dog, period. And lately even some “trainers” are using them. Shocking your dog is not “training” in any form. It’s abuse and absolutely unnecessary. It’s not an “e-collar.” It’s not a “vibration collar.” Here it is: if you shock your dog, you don’t love your dog.

Don’t tell me it’s on “vibrate.” Humans cannot be trusted to leave the shock collar on vibrate—I’ve been shocked twice by a human who wanted to show me how low the vibration is. Even if you were to use an actual vibration, why? It’s a punishment and not training. Teaching an animal to avoid making a mistake isn’t teaching what is right to do. Train your dog! Using such a device means you are desperate for control, but control is not out of reach.

I realize that many humans are at a loss. They don’t know what to do anymore, and they look for people with more experience for a fix for their dog’s behavior, and they are taken advantage of. If a “trainer” offers to use a shock collar to change behavior, they clearly do not have enough knowledge and experience. People send their dog away for “board and train” and hope magic will happen. If magic happens while the dog is away, that dog has shut down because they’ve been shocked. No one is using a “vibration” at that facility, I promise. I’ve even seen cigarette burns on the ears of a dog who went to a “trainer.” In Southern California, where I am, there are very few facilities that do board and train in a positive way because a couple weeks are not enough to change behavior for the better. And humans who don’t know what else to do send their dogs sadly to learn more about aggression and negative punishment. Aggressive dogs especially are likely to get more aggressive if that is what is being taught.

Punishing the dog for ineffective training by humans is completely unfair! If we haven’t communicated effectively and helped the dog understand our goals, zapping them is wrong wrong wrong. You absolutely can make solid changes by consistent, kind, reward-based training, and why wouldn’t you? Make a fresh start, pretend the dog has no idea what you want (he doesn’t), and start training anew. Don’t listen to some neighbor who suggests a prong collar. Dog training is much like child psychology, and you wouldn’t slap a torture device on your toddler because you’re too lazy to teach her to stay with you in public. Frankly, if you shocked me once, I’m never ever staying with you or coming when you call. I recently saw photos on a site of the “trainer” using both a shock collar and a prong collar. What in the world?

Punishing dogs seems to be on the rise! I can’t believe how backward things are going. A new client recently told me that even using a shock collar (her term) did not fix her four-month-old puppy’s problems. Guess what? Rewards have. He has turned around. We’ve only begun to tap into the intelligence of dogs. They are sentient beings who are usually more intuitive than their people, and just because we have thumbs, we somehow have the upper hand. Most dogs don’t choose their humans, and it’s unfair not to give them the best, kindest life possible. Life is short but especially so for dogs. Please please choose kindness and find a positive trainer. Your dog is not a special, more difficult case: all dogs can be helped by positive training or damaged forever by punishment. Quick fixes do not work. Training a dog is half the fun of living with a dog. If you’re not having fun training your dog, you need to find a new trainer. Please find an actual trainer at Or please get a turtle instead. Thank you for listening. 


maxine on January 9, 2023 AT 04 pm

I agree. I’m against them. We had a dog who had aggression issues and various trainers mentioned the e collar. I didn’t think that would change his DNA, sadly.

MaryAnne on January 31, 2023 AT 10 am

Death before discipline I don’t think so. If used correctly they can and train dogs.

    robin on January 31, 2023 AT 02 pm

    We believe that death isn’t the other choice. Positive training is and works far better. Shock collars don’t give credit or respect the dogs deserve. Lazy. They are not a quick fix. We might as well go back to nuns slapping elementary kids on the hand. That was training, too. Smart? Kind? Essential? Of course not.

Aaron on February 3, 2023 AT 08 am

My dogs are e-collar trained. Yes, e-collar trained. It’s not a shock collar, because it’s not a static shock, it’s a TENS current. Yea, it’s electricity, but it’s the same current that’s used for physical therapy. Zuzu, my sweet baby girl was abused and neglected at a puppy mill(she had a litter at the rescue once she was taken away from the hoarding/puppy mill). E-collar training is what has allowed us to help her regain confidence. We barely use them anymore because we don’t need them.

If you think that I don’t love my dogs because I used e-collars on them, you couldn’t be more wrong. My dogs are my everything. She had a bite history before we got her, and now her tail wags when she sees strangers and other dogs.

Any tool can be used irresponsibly. Harnesses can become dangerous, too. I’ve seen people use harnesses incorrectly and their dog was being choked.

If you believe your opinion is important enough to post online, at least do a cursory amount of reserves to look at training through a lens other than your own experience. E-collars can be used irresponsibly, but it has changed the course of my dog’s life for the better.

    robin on February 22, 2023 AT 09 am

    Sorry for the delayed response to your response: site issues now resolved. We appreciate your taking the time for a thoughtful response. Of course a longer discussion of your particular dog would give us more info. It’s great to hear your dog is doing so much better, but I would argue that a kinder approach with puppy mill dogs, teaching them what to do instead of what not to do, would work well. I’ve found that dogs rescued from difficult situations do well with time and coaching. A current client lived her whole life as a breeding dog in an awful mill, and she’s lit up simply by the new situation and settling in.

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