When it comes to dog shock collars, the overriding opinion in the dog training community is that they are poor choices. There are those that find shock collars to be okay and in the interest of fairness, we will look at both arguments. Dog shock collars, for the record, are collars that provide a shock to the dog when they do something they are not supposed to do. They can be activated either by remote control or automatically such as with an invisible fence.
Dog shock collars – The positive
If effective, dog shock collars can prevent dogs from crossing a certain line and keep them in the yard. Dogs without a leash or fence are never perfect, however, and accidents can certainly happen. Some say that the dog might even be trained to escape if they realize the shock stops once they reach the other side of the fence line. Proponents say that shock collars do a great job of preventing the dog from crossing certain lines.
Another common “positive” is that dog shock collars are capable of policing your dog even when you are not around. This is correct at least in theory, but the effectiveness is limited. It is very hard to have the timing right and it is very easy for the dog to misunderstand the reason for being shocked.
Dog shock collars – The negative
The overwhelming majority of dog trainers seem to think that the shock collars are not the best choice. There are several reasons why shock collars can be problematic.
One big reason is the simple fact that dogs should not be trained with pain. Positive reinforcement is the proper way to go instead. Giving a dog pain to teach them something is not going to do very much except make them distrusting, scared and occasionally aggressive.
Another downside to dog shock collars would be the inconsistent nature of the product. For them to actually work in theory, they would have to be done at the precise moment that the dog makes a mistake. There is no real way to ensure that type of accuracy, thereby causing many dogs to be trained to do or avoid the wrong things.
Dog shock collars are also a quick way to lose the bond with your dog. Training your dog is supposed to be about teaching them to understand you and you learning to understand them. Taking a shortcut like this is only going to cause frustration and confusion from your dog.
In the end, it is clear that dog shock collars are not very good options. Given the choice, we would much rather teach our dogs through patience, positive reinforcement and rewards.