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4 key points of using shock collars for dog safety

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Home » Blog » 4 key points of using shock collars for dog safety
  1. Set shock intensity to the lowest effective level to minimize discomfort.
  2. Receive training on proper collar use to avoid misuse and behavioral issues.
  3. Regularly observe your dog for signs of stress or discomfort.
  4. Ensure the collar fits correctly, allowing two fingers beneath it, and check for skin damage frequently.

Adjustability of Intensity

One of the most crucial features when using shock collars for dog safety is the adjustable intensity of this feature. This allows pet owners to adjust the level of shock to the minimum that achieves the desired results yet does not make the dog uncomfortable for no reason and stressed. It is generally essential, for including the right level of shock, as a 10-pound Chihuahua should not be receiving the same level of the shock as its 50-pound poodle buddy. This measure serves as an effective approach to mitigate risk and punish unwanted behaviors, not the dog. Picking the correct shock setting was especially important and depended on the dog’s reaction.

The best approach to this aspect of using the shock caller is to start from the lowest possible setting. From this point, it is essential to adjust the settings, paying close attention to the dog’s reaction. It should not be any more than a mild response, such as a head shake or, in some cases, even more barely noticeable signs like a twitch of the dog’s ear. This method is guided by the understanding of both the dog’s and shock collar’s safety and effectiveness.

In most cases, the levels of the shock would range from 0 to 100 in most shock collar models. Usually, the appropriate level would be between 15 and 60 for most dogs. However, the most prominent models are designed for larger breeds, and most smaller dogs might not need more than level 15, especially the sensitive ones.

Pet owners must ensure that the dog collar is not too tight. It was vital to check the neck of the dogs with which one was working regularly to avoid any unnecessary skin damage. At the same time, it is equally critical to adjust the collar at the top of the neck, preventing it from slipping around the throat and affecting the effectiveness of the contact points to administer the right level of the shock without burning the skin or making open sores. Another crucial safety aspect is the length of training sessions, as their duration could vary. However, it was imperative to keep using the shock collar for 10-15 minutes a day to prevent the dog from getting too stressed or tired. Overall, in the latter case, the dog might develop a strong negative attitude towards the tool once used for training purposes.

Risk of Misuse

Using shock collars for dog safety presents a high risk of misuse. This risk can be attributed to the potential of causing both physical and psychological harm if used improperly. For this reason, proper training and knowledge of the device must be required from all people using them to prevent any accidental harm to the animal or development of behavioral issues. For instance, setting the shock on too high a setting is likely to provide unnecessary stress and pain, which may cause the dog to respond aggressively or develop fear. Moreover, the condition is common not out of malice, but due to the dog’s owner’s misunderstanding of its capacity and the improper understanding of the collar’s operation.

This is why it is important for the dog’s owner to educate themselves on the correct way of using the collar. To use the device correctly, the person should first read the instruction manual by the manufacturer. It might be beneficial to speak to a professional dog trainer before using the device and always start with the lowest setting necessary. When used properly, the shock collar should be only a small part of training, with the majority of the training being conducted through a positive reinforcement mode. Sessions should be limited and positive, with rewards being more likely than corrections.

Misuse is also possible due to the excessive use of the collar, which drives the dog to rely on both the correction and the physical collar. However, these animals sometimes stopped obeying their owner after being used to the shock collar. For this reason, it is important that this effect is regularly checked and the necessity of the shock is assessed. If the shock is necessary, it should also be checked for intensity. This is likely to allow the owner to re-assess the situation and use other, more positive methods of behavior training.


Behavioral Impact

Training with the use of shock collars, in fact, significantly impacts the behavior of dogs; however, the effect is not always what the user of the collar may have desired. Studies and real-life observations have established that dogs subjected to shock as a comparative disciplinary tool often demonstrated the signs of stress, such as an increase in yawning, licking the mouth and nose, and pacing. Such signs can be associated with a sense of anxiety or discomfort, meaning that the use of shock negatively correlates with the learning process and the relationship between a pet and the owner. Meanwhile, positive reinforcement, namely training by rewarding the desired behavior and not punishing the “wrong” one, tends to be correlated with more consistent and improved behavior. In the mentioned studies, such dogs displayed better recovery from acute stress and were more prone to training, which typically makes the learning process faster.

Shock training can have significant negative consequences, as it connects shock with a specific context. As a result, such a dog might associate the persons they are not familiar with or strangers with shock, resulting in high levels of fear and aggression. This is not a theoretical possibility; many case studies and expert opinions on these matters are available. Thus, this is another dimension of why a person should not train their dog with a shock collar.

Physical Harm

The utility and potential drawbacks of shock collars for dogs have been a matter of controversy among pet owners and animal rights organizations. On one hand, some people consider them to be an efficient intervention to curb bad behavior, while others have voiced concerns over the potential for physical harm. Regarding the latter, it is true that shock collars can cause dogs harm as they interfere with the animals’ well-being, especially when used incorrectly.

This particular danger is potentially avoidable. Depending on how inappropriately the collar is worn or set off, the harm to a dog can range from temporary discomfort to serious injuries such as burns or sores. It helps mostly if the device is poorly fitted on the dog or left on the animal for too long. For example, one old study suggested that ill-fitted shock collars caused pressure necrosis due to being too tight. As mentioned earlier, one way to maintain the safety of such devices is to ensure that they are correctly fitted. Such collars should be tight enough so that their contact points are directly behind the dog’s ears but loose enough for a person to fit one or two fingers underneath. Other recommendations aimed to prevent shock injuries include never leaving the collar on for too long and, for example, using the device not longer than twelve hours a day. Checking the integrity and cleanliness of the contact area, as well as associated signs of inflammation or discomfort, is also helpful in preventing harm, as dirt in contact points enhances the devices’ conductivity.

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