There is much emotion and debate surrounding the use of shock collars for behavioral conditioning. Those against collars can argue and cite seemingly unending reasons to avoid collars. Below are three of the most common concerns:
Confusion – Before using a collar on your dog, determine which behavior your are trying to correct. Using the collar for too many disciplines can result in confusion for your animal.
For example, if you are attempting to train your dog to not bark incessantly by using shock, refrain from the same discipline for teaching them to remain in their appropriate parameters. Confusion in your animal can lead to strained and aggressive behavior.
Incorrect Association – Be aware that it is possible for your dog to incorrectly associate shock consequence with other surrounding factors, such as specific environments or even people. Choose carefully when to use shock for correction so as not to instill fear which can lead to aggression.
Abuse – Although most shock collars are equipped with non shock options, such as beep and vibrate modes, the shock mode is to be taken seriously and can be used abusively. Some will argue that the shock is not intense enough to cause pain, but that begs the question of its effectiveness.
There have been plenty of studies showing that they are quite effective, therefore it stands to reason that the shock provided is sufficiently uncomfortable, even painful, enough to alter behavior.
When using a collar be sure to use care in determining not only timing but length of shock to avoid abuse which could possibly result in negative reactionary behavior.
Do’s and Don’ts When Choosing A Shock Collar
Firstly, take into account your dog’s temperament. Every dog is unique and will respond differently to external stimuli. If you choose to use a shock collar be sure that it is for a more stubborn and difficult nature. If your dog is sensitive and laid back consider a less harsh method for training.
Secondly, choose the appropriate size to ensure a comfortable fit, especially if your dog will be wearing the collar at all times. Also, match the collar’s features to not only your dog’s age/ size, but also environment.
For example, a sound only collar can be set off by surrounding sounds if you are in a noisy environment. Also, ultrasonic collars can affect other surrounding animals. Reading reviews is a good way to help decide which collar will work best for your needs.
Collars with only one setting are best avoided as they tend to be more extreme than necessary. Choose a collar with at least a five range setting option and choose the lowest setting at the beginning. Also, allow your dog to acclimate to the collar by starting with short periods of wear and lengthening them until your dog is used to wearing it at all times.
Lastly, for your own benefit, consider battery purchase. Some collars operate with batteries that can only be acquired from the manufacturer, are much more expensive and have a shorter lifespan. Additionally, if the manufacture were to cease operations, these kinds of batteries could become impossible to find.
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