Are shock collars cruel - a goofy looking dog

Are Shock Collars Cruel? -15 Reasons Not To Use It

Do you regret the day you decided to get a dog? Is your dog a destructive menace or a nuisance barker? It can be really frustrating and I don’t blame you for thinking of using a shock collar.  If you want to find out if shock collars are cruel before using it as a training tool, this post is for you.  Are shock collars cruel? Yes they are and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. 

What Is A Shock Collar?

A shock collar is a collar with an attached electronic device with a couple of metal prongs that directly touch a dog’s skin and is designed to deliver an electric shock when triggered to do so. It’s supposed to be safe and effective when used correctly. 

But are they?

What Can Go Wrong?

According to Peta.org, these devices can make a dog live in fear of being electrocuted. 

  1. Shock collars may deliver between 1,500-4,500 volts. Some even higher. 
  2. It may cause extreme anxiety
  3. It may cause Cardiac Fibrillation
  4. It may cause Cancer
  5. It may cause physical pain
  6. It does not address the underlying causes
  7. It is very likely to cause behavioral problems
  8. The device may malfunction. It may not work when activated or deliver non-stop electrical shocks
  9. It’s been linked to increased aggression and higher Cortisol (stress hormone) levels in a study done in 2008 in Japan. 
  10. Innocent children may mistakenly harm their dogs and bad-natured people may use it intentionally to cause harm. 
  11. May possibly affect a dog’s long term health by damaging the thyroid
  12. Other electric devices with the same frequency such as garage door openers may trigger the device
  13. The shock collar may get wet in the rain and malfunction
  14. These devices beep before they deliver a shock. Dogs can get traumatized by anything that beeps like a microwave oven or the beep from a reversing truck.  
  15. The electric shocks can be strong enough to burn through a dog’s skin. It may even cause an infection and require surgery

Try to watch the short video below to see for yourself. 

This Industry Is Not Regulated

Companies are not required to disclose any information so there is no way of knowing how many incidents have occurred already. In fact, these inhumane devices are banned in many countries namely Australia, Slovenia, Quebec(Canada), Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, Wales, and Scotland. 

Other variations of shock collars are:

  1. Invisible Fence System
  2. Anti-Bark Collars

1. Invisible Electric fence systems work by burying a wire around the property where you wish to contain your dog. This wire sends a signal to a transmitter on the dog’s collar. If the dog gets near the wire, it sounds a beep as a warning and discharges an electrical shock if the dog goes over the wire. 

A dog quickly learns that a shock always follows after a beep so it stops, turns back and doesn’t run away. Simple, right? 

First off, the dog has to be shocked a few times to learn. 

It is important to know that dogs learn through association

If a dog sees a toddler past the electric fence, a friendly dog may want to walk over to greet the child but instead gets a shock. After a few times, the dog may then associate the shock with the child.

 The next time the friendly dog sees any child, it may turn aggressive and try to scare the child away in fear of getting shocked again. And of course, it could be an adult or even other dogs. 

When a dog sees something outside the fence that catches its attention, like a squirrel, it may instinctively chase it and blow past the electric fence and get shocked.

 The dog may then be afraid to cross back. It could then associate the squirrel to the pain of the shock and turn aggressive toward small animals.

The pain that dogs feel can turn a friendly dog into an aggressive and fearful one. 

Many dog owners use an electric fence system for the simple reason that it costs a lot less compared to installing an actual fence which may cost thousands of dollars at the expense of their dog’s mental and physical wellbeing.   

Are shock collars crue? - an aggressive looking dog chasing a squirrel

2. Anti-Bark collars were designed to deliver a shock whenever it detects a bark. The problem, is it doesn’t address why the dog barks in the first place. The dog may be experiencing pain or discomfort that is overlooked. A nuisance barker could simply be experiencing separation anxiety which has plenty of humane solutions. 

What can go wrong?

These collars are activated by the sound of a dog’s bark which means it can be activated by the bark of other dogs. A dog wearing a bark collar could be lying perfectly quiet and get shocked for no reason at all by a barking dog nearby. 

What’s more, the FDA released a statement saying these devices can also be activated by loud noises, doors slamming and vehicle horns. 

If you have a nuisance barker and you insist on using a training device, the humane choice would be to use no-shock collars. 

With these collars, your dog will receive an uncomfortable vibration when it barks. Your dog will associate this discomfort each time it barks. 

This will naturally teach your dog to stop barking. 

No pain, no torture. 

These collars can be used on dogs weighing 10-110 lbs and a single charge can last up to 20 days. 

An alternative would be to use an Ultrasonic bark control device that works by emitting a high pitched sound whenever a dog barks. 

This sound was designed to “annoy” a dog and not harm them. This annoying sound will naturally teach your dog to stop barking. 

Only dogs can hear this sound and is completely silent to humans. 


In Conclusion

Shock Collars use negative reinforcement which causes pain. 

Pain causes stress which leads to aggression. 

Ask yourself – would you use shock collars to discipline your children? 

These devices can cause long term emotional trauma long after the training is over. 

If you’re still not convinced, clicking here may change your mind. **warning – graphic**

Please choose humane methods of dog training. Hire a certified trainer or dog behaviorist if necessary. 

Please opt to build a fence instead of using an Invisible Fence System. 

Remember – you don’t need pain to train!


61 thoughts on “Are Shock Collars Cruel? – 15 Reasons Not To Use It”

  1. I am very glad you have written this post.  I have friends I’d like to show it to.  What a terrible bit of news — to realize that something that has been accepted as a good way to teach/discipline a dog can actually injure him, or make him nervous or apt to mistrust.  Our animals are part of our family…perhaps people should think, “Would I do this to my child?”  If the answer is “no,” then it would also not be a good idea to use it on a four-legged family member.  

    It can be very frustrating to have a dog with some serious behavioral problems, but I would not want to rid myself of that frustration by harming the animal physically in the process of training it.

  2. wow, great information.  I have heard about shock collars for dogs before, but I did not think that they could actually hurt them to the extent explained within your post.  Insane!    Just the sound of it sounds terrifying in itself.  I truly believe that if you need a shock collar for your dog, you probably shouldn’t have one.  Learn to deal with your pets behaviour differently and if you have to resort to hurting your dog with a shock collar, you should be instead re-evaluating the well-being of your pet or if you should find a new owner.  My thoughts anyways.  Great post!

    1. You are absolutely right. If you find the need to use a shock collar to train a dog, you have no business owning one. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Thank you so much for bringing awareness! I would love to collab with you sometime whether it’s thru interviewing you on my Youtube channel or guest posting on my blog 🙂 Thanks for sharing your knowledge…we don’t need pain to train!

    1. I totally agree – we don’t need pain to train! Hey that’s a nice slogan!
      Thanks so much, I really appreciate it. At the moment, I have to pass. Let’s see in the future.

      All the best!

  4. Janice Fox-Henley

    I agree, pain causes fear which can lead to aggression. This is true of any thinking being, and in
    my lifetime I have been loved by 3 Boston Terriers and 3 Chihuahuas. So I know
    dogs think! Right now I have a precious sixteen-year-old male Chihuahua that
    has terrible anxiety when it rains and thunders! Yes, I do give him CBD oil for
    calming. Thank you for your in-depth article on the cruelty of shock collars.
    Maybe people will read and some dogs will be spared this torment! God Bless and
    Good Luck, Janice

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