Caring for Dogs or Cats

Collars are not a substitute for positive obedience training

Last week we talked about buying the right kind of collar (for the full story, click HERE). But there are many other collars out there who might seem like a good idea to an owner of a dog that is difficult to control, but let’s just look at the latest research and results:

The names of the devices say it all! Choke chains, pinch collars, and electronic shock collars. They are all designed to punish and cause pain and have no place in modern, stress-free training. These “tools” cause undue stress and anxiety and may lead to fear and aggression in the dogs.

Below are only a few of the effects of using these notorious collars: 



Check chains may have been the preferred training tool 30/40 years ago but we didn’t know much. We know better now. Choke chains focus on very damaging aspects of the training equation (punishment or negative reinforcement) and as a training tool the check chain is crude, outdated and unnecessary.

Corrections of this sort could easily frighten a fearful dog. Fallout can be created as well, in the form of unwanted associations, because dogs associate things that happen within seconds of each other. If a dog is corrected just as he is looking at (or lunging at) something that frightens him, for example, another dog, he could easily associate the other dog with the correction. Now the poor dog is thinking, I just knew other dogs were trouble! If this unfortunate timing continues, the dog could develop progressively stronger reactions.


  1. They’re inhumane. Despite what your trainer or pet store employee may say, driving metal prongs into your dog’s neck hurts. That’s exactly why they so expediently stop a dog from straining at the leash, for example. Although eliciting pain may provide a quick fix, the effects are often short-lived.
  2. They’re no substitute for a positive training style.Too many pet owners employ this tool as a substitute for a more positive type of training. Inflicting pain is an expedient, inexpensive approach, but it’s often less effective than the basic obedience training that too few dog owners are willing to undertake.
  3. Few seem to know how to use them properly.Why are 90 percent of dog owners not trained to use the collars correctly? We see most people apply constant pressure when a dog lunges or pulls. A sharp tug, as with a standard choke chain, is what’s required.
  4. Their use encourages more of the same among other dog owners.If it’s what everyone else uses, it must be OK, right? Indeed, the popularity of prong collars perpetuates the misperception that “big, strong dogs require big, strong tools.”


Electronic dog training collars have been in use for many decades. In the past, these systems were relatively unsophisticated and dangerous. Though the training collars made today are considered much safer, many people still think of them as inhumane. Before you consider the use of an electronic dog training collar, consider the following dangers and drawbacks of this type of training device and method.

  1. Physical PainElectronic dog training collars have different levels of pain stimuli. Some may deliver a vibration, whereas others may deliver a painful jolt. Some users that have tested electronic collars have found the pain to be unbearable at some higher levels. Many people agree that it is inhumane to subject any animal to this kind of pain.
  2. Risk of Burns and Injury: An electronic collar can sometimes cause serious injury to the dog, especially if the owner is unsure of how to use the device or if there is a malfunction. One of the most common physical side effects is burnt skin or fur. Severe shocks can also cause long term damage to the internal organs.
  3. Increased Levels of Stress: When a dog is subjected to electric shocks at random intervals, he becomes unsure of his surroundings. If there is a mistake or if the shock is repeatedly administered, the dog may begin to live in a constant state of fear. This can severely damage the dog’s psychological setup.
  4. Chances of Increased Aggression: The purpose of a shock collar is to enable the dog to associate the pain or jolt with a restricted activity. However, the dog may associate the pain with any other random object in the vicinity, or even a young child or a passerby. When the dog associates people with the feeling of pain, he becomes more aggressive towards them. Electronic dog collars have been shown to increase levels of aggression in most dogs.
  5. Dog Feels Unsafe Around You: If you are always in the vicinity when the dog receives a shock, he will begin to mistrust and fear you. This will hamper the relationship you can have with your pet..



  • Flying paws dog training
  • Nicole Wilde
  • Karen Overall
  • Nan Arthur
  • Raising Canine
  • Dr Patty Khuly VMD
  • Rescue Pet site

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