Debunking Myths about
Dog Shock Collars
There are so many myths and misconceptions
about dog shock collars that a lot of people
are hesitant to use them, robbing themselves
of a valuable training tool, according to Keith
general manager of Triple Crown Dog Academy,
premier dog training, boarding and event center
in Hutto, Texas.
Safe Training Devices
"Probably the most prevalent myth about
dog shock collars is that they are not a safe training
device; that they are cruel and inhumane, and that simply
is not true," Benson said. "They, as well as
most types of training equipment, are very safe and very
effective when used in the right manner.
"With a good training program
and understanding of proper use, the collars become
very easy to use and
And the electric stimulation applied
by the collar is not the jarring, painful charge of
electricity that some
people imagine. Nor is it physically harmful to the dog. "It's
not like a shot from electro-convulsive therapy or a
wall outlet like some people think," Benson said. "In
fact, the levels of stimulation we use when training
dogs is like the static charge you get when you rub your
feet on the carpet and then touch something," he
The idea is not to make the stimulation
painful, but just enough to communicate with the dog,
he said. "We
just want it to be uncomfortable for the dog, like when
you bump your elbow on a table."
You should always work your dog with the collar set
at the lowest stimulation, just enough so the dog can
feel it. The key, Benson said, is to set it so the stimulation
produces only a curious look from the dog as though the
dog is saying 'Hey, what was that?'
Of course, if distractions increase, then the stimulation
level may have to increase. For instance, if a rabbit
runs across the road, the dog is not likely to be paying
as much attention to the trainer, Benson said. But still
the stimulation level should be nudged up just enough
to get the dog's attention.
The Importance of a Snug Fit
Myth No. 2: Dog
shock collars can burn a
dog's neck. “Not true,” Benson said. "The
stimulation that a collar can output from the battery
that's housed inside is not high enough to physically
burn even if it is set on a high level for long period
of time," he said.
The collar must fit snug so that it does not rub back
and forth, which could wear away hair on the dog's neck.
If the collar is not clean and is rubbing into the neck
then hot spots could develop and create a sore that could
be mistaken for a burn, he said. Or maybe the collar
was left on too long or it was too loose and an infection
began to appear.
The Dog Learns How to Listen
Myth No. 3: Using a
dog training collar is more stressful
on the dog; that it is not as humane a training method
as traditional methods of a leash and choke chain.
Again, not necessarily so, Benson
said. Typically, dogs at Triple Crown are trained with
collars set in a low-level
continuous stimulation mode, meaning that the stimulation
is being sent until the dog performs the correct behavior. "The
faster he responds to the command the quicker the stimulation
stops,” Benson said. "Then we give the dog
plenty of praise and reward."
Therefore, the stimulation level
has to be low so the dog is able to think and learn. "I'm teaching the
dog to problem-solve, how to listen to my command and
shut off the stimulation," he said.
But back to the stress myth. "I'm using an escape
conditioning technique where I teach the dog to shut
the collar off. Therefore, the dog is in control and
goes through less stress. And he learns much faster," Benson
said. "This is based on sound learning principles."
No, They Are Actually Easy To Use
Myth No. 4: Remote training collars are difficult
to use; that only professional trainers should use them.
With today's advanced collars that is certainly not
the case, Benson said. Improved technology has made them
much easier to use and understand. Almost any dog owner
can understand the operation and use and will be able
to communicate with his dog with 15 or 20 minutes of
instruction, he said.
"It is however important to understand how to use
them before you put it on your dog," Benson said. "If
you do not fully understand, then seek help from a experienced
The Collar Is One of Many Training Tools
Myth No. 5: When you use a
dog shock collar you
can't use traditional training aids, such as clickers
or cookies or other rewards.
"We use them all," Benson said. "In
fact, we use more reward and praise than anything else.
is very important. You have to let them know when they
do something right. You can't just let them know when
they did something wrong."
Joe Arterburn and Keith Benson
Article courtesy of Innotek Pet
Note: SecurePets carries several
Shock Collars to fit every situation.