How to Use a Shock Collar Correctly
So, you are considering using a shock collar, E Collar, electric collar, pronged collar or choke chain, but at what expense? That is the question. Here is the answer.
Stress and quite possibly your dog’s life! Stress is as debilitating for dogs as it is for humans. As a Miami dog trainer we are constantly cleaning up and repairing broken relationships, poor behavior and shoddy training advice given by uneducated, abusive “traditional” dog trainers.
The argument is moot, does it really matter which method works better? Let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment and placate Machiavellian, Cesar Millan dog training ignoramuses and intransigent baffoons and just pretend that “traditional” dog training worked the same or even better then positive reinforcement dog training. Of course that is patently false and has been repudiated by decades of scientific and behavioral research but for argument sake let’s entertain this notion. The real question becomes at what expense are you willing to achieve “results” from your dog?
Stress Manifestations on a Dogs Health and Behavior
Let us find some common ground. Firstly, I think we can all agree upon that stress is a killer! You can look up the plethora of scientific data to support this claim, or just look at your own life. It causes or contributes to everything from high blood pressure, hair loss, depression, neurological damage, psychological damage, cancer, heart attacks, and just about every life threatening disease known to human kind. Luckily, stress can be measured. Cortisol is the hormone that increases when stress levels increase in the body and the limbic system helps regulate and measure that level of stress. Your adrenal gland secretes cortisol and sends it spiking higher when the body or mind is stressed out. When this occurs all of the previous mentioned health ailments and countless behavior manifestations occur.
Now, let’s dumb this argument down even further. Without being too anthropomorphic, dogs have roughly the intellectual cognition of a 2-3 year old child. When humans use shock collars, choke chains and/or pinch collars on their dogs or kick, poke, punch, alpha role, force, dominance down, smack or yell at their dog, science shows that cortisol levels spike and stress ensues. The negative consequences induced by stress are all avoidable.
If you are trying to prove a point to a 2 year old baby or are trying to show a friend, family member or colleague how to behave or to learn to do something, would you perfunctorily punch them in the face, kick them in the ribs, choke them, slam them on the ground or stair at them evilly while looming over them? If you said yes to this question you are likely reading this from prison and that is where you belong. There is a reason this crude, uncivilized, abusive style of dog “training” or teaching is not accepted in our society and why we also do not teach our children or any adults to behave in this fashion. The same reason why these methods are condemned and not sanctioned by any educated ethologist or dog trainer. What is encouraged is the preferred method and industry standard for teaching animals, positive reinforcement, and the least intrusive, most humane treatment of teaching possible. Expediency, frustration, dog sports, proofing and finishing stages and not understanding or knowing how to train a dog are not reasons for abuse, or to stress or harm an animal.
Your innocent, loving, loyal, sentient being, best friend deserves nothing but the best. Just as your children are taught, by the least intrusive, least abusive, most pleasurable way of learning possible, so do your pets. At some organizations such as the Humane Society of Greater Miami it is obvious the blind are leading the blind. Here are some more analogies for really thick headed curmudgeons: (If you say yes to any of these questions, do not pass GO and proceed directly to jail.)
- Do you smack your 2-3 year old child in the head when they are scared or are not listening to you?
- If your 2-3 year child was deathly afraid of water and couldn’t swim, would you get them to stop crying, shaking and protesting and teach them to love the water by picking them up and throwing them in the deep end of the pool, lake or the ocean?
- If your 2- 3 year old daughter was scared of the dark and even more terrified of bats, would leaving her alone in a cave with bats flying everywhere cure her of this fear?
- Do you expect your 2-3 year old child to understand French, Spanish, English, Mandarin, Cantonese or Swahili and all of your accents and dialects? Would that be reasonable expectation for a parent before attempting to teach a child linguistics?
- If your child didn’t understand the answer to your question or god forbid answered incorrectly, would holding them down on the ground forcefully, looming over them starring into their eyes confrontationally, being aggressive, poking, punching or yelling at them make them understand any quicker? Who is the fool here?
If you answered yes to any of these, you need some serious help. Imbibe on all of those examples. All of these scenarios are proven to cause cortisol levels to spike to very high levels. Levels at which shut down occurs and where operant conditioning does not occur! If someone pulled out a shotgun and held it to your head and then asked you if you would like your favorite food or tried to teach you a new theory or trick how do you think you would react or perform? (before or after you wet your pants). As previously mentioned, stress is bad for the mind, body and soul.
So even though the answer is clear, it’s not about what dog training method is most effective or achieves the quickest results (as dog sport enthusiasts love to point out). Even though I strongly believe that positive reinforcement not only achieves the fastest, long term results in the most humane, effective and efficient way possible, I would still NOT abuse my dog for any reason! I would still want them to learn at their own pace and as comfortable as possible, not on your time or to win a dog sport competition.
Scientists try to be as objective and unanthropomorphic as possible but making these analogies to your children portrays an important and nice visual that makes everything seem so crystal clear.
Sarcasm aside, you get the point. No rational, caring, intelligent, loving, humane individual, veterinarian or rescue organization would ever recommend doing the aforementioned to a human or non-human animal and may even be locked up for abuse if they tried, so why on earth is this acceptable to do to an innocent dog or cat? Pet professionals and dog guardians should have taken an oath to take care of your pet until death, in the most humane, efficient, pain free, stress less way possible. Being a guardian for a pet is a privilege, not a right or entitlement.
There really is no argument to use anything other than positive reinforcement dog training and the debate has been over for decades. Those stuck in the past are doomed to repeat past atrocities. “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards” Søren Kierkegaard.
We have provided one last short video in case our point was not clear enough.
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