Everything You Need to Know About Shock Collars for Dog Training

Without question, shock collars, also referred to as static collars and dog zappers, are the most controversial of all dog training collars, and they evoke strong opinions and emotions! Although they have been around for decades in some form or fashion, the stigma around them remains today. Let’s examine this collar type and determine if it’s okay to use on any dog.

How Do Anti Bark Shock Collars Work?

Most shock collars work by automatically detecting your dog’s bark then sending an electrical current (stimulation) through metal contacts on the collar touching your pet’s neck. These impulses can be as mild as a tingle to a sharp shock. Newer shock collar models come with a remote that allows the trainer to control if and when the collar delivers the electric pulse.

This type of training collar can also be used with pet containment systems, known as electronic fencing, to keep a dog within a specific area. When the dog approaches the fence, the collar sends an impulse.

Are Shock Collars Safe For Dogs, Humane?

Since there are several companies that manufacture shock collars, it’s challenging to determine the quality and safety of all the shock collars on the market. While some makers offer a wide range of levels, others provide low, medium, and high settings for the level of shock that you administer. In addition, it’s essential that you fit the collar correctly so the device does not harm your dog.

The individual electrical stimulation levels can be categorized as:

  • Low produces a tingling effect
  • Medium startles or annoys
  • High produces distress or pain

Electrical shock collars can leave your dog with long-term negative impacts such as fearfulness or aggressive behavior. The Humane Society of the United States notes that shock collars can irritate or inflame your dog’s neck and recommends not leaving the collar on for extended periods.

According to the Kennel Club (U.K.), some countries have zero tolerance for shock collars and have bans in place.

The countries include:

  • Austria
  • Denmark
  • England
  • Germany
  • Norway
  • Scotland
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Electronic shock collars are also banned in some states in Australia, while some cities, counties, and states in the U.S. propose a ban within their municipalities.

Are Shock Collars OK to Use to Train a Barking Puppy?

Short answer: No. Do not use a shock collar on a puppy.

Longer answer: We recommend using training devices and bark control collars and tools on dogs that are at least six months old. Check with your veterinarian if you are not sure. Puppies six months and younger have very short attention spans, and the electric impulses from a shock collar may scare them and have a severely negative effect, making positive reinforcement impossible.

What Are Alternatives to Shock Collars?

There are several alternatives to using a shock collar, including other training collars such as vibrating, spray, and ultrasonic. Each type delivers a distinct stimulus to deter unwanted behavior.  To view the pros and cons of please visit the respective section of our BarxBuddy Guide to Dog Training.

One option that doesn’t require a collar at all is the BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool. This hand-held device never comes in contact with your pet, so there’s no worry of irritation or harm to the skin. In addition to being collarless, the BarxBuddy ultrasonic tool keeps you in control of your pet’s training, which prevents any accidental triggering of the stimulus, which can happen with bark collars.

BarxBuddy is an easy to use, lightweight training tool that emits an ultrasonic sound with the tap of the button. The ultrasonic sound will instantly catch your dog’s attention and stop the unwanted behavior, such as barking. Once your dog is quiet, you provide verbal correction and positive reinforcement. Here at BarxBuddy, we refer to this as the train, treat, repeat training method. To learn more about our method, training tips and how BarxBuddy can help you and your dog visit BarxBuddy.com.

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