New findings on shock collars: why the UK wants to ban them

shock collarIn the dog world, few subjects are as controversial as the debate on shock collars (electronic or e-collars). Advocates for their use claim that such devices don’t hurt but mostly emit an unpleasant vibration. They’re often the last resort for dogs with behavior drives that are difficult to control, like recall or chasing problems. Opponents to their use believe they can be harmful to dogs and should not be available to the public. They lead to abuse and don’t offer better results than reward based methods. Concerned about the welfare consequences on dogs, many countries have already banned these devices. With the release of two extensive studies from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the UK, they could soon be banned throughout England and Scotland.

With close to 500,000 dog owners in Britain using electronic collars and the Kennel Club campaigning for their ban across the country, DEFRA has allocated close to £538,925 ( $821,968 US)  to study their impact on the dog’s welfare as well as their effectiveness in training. With such an impressive budget, they were determined to get objective answers to this ongoing debate.

There are close to 170 different models of shock collars with different functions controlled by a remote. Some collars come with a tone or a vibration meant to warn the dog of the eminent shock or they can be used independently of the shock. Some collars give a short electrical shock that lasts between 4ms and 500ms where others also give continuous stimulation that can last for as long as the button on the remote is pressed. There are considerable differences between collars in shock delivered, from 110v (at 5 kW), to 6000v (at 500kW) and the effect on the dogs will depend on their skin resistance.

The first study by Bristol University, Central Science Laboratory and Lincoln University focused on assessing the physical and emotional impact these collars have on the dogs (AW1402). How the dogs experience these electric pulses will of course depend on the intensity of the stimulus, but also on the sensitivity of the individual dogs.

35 dogs were tested under the supervision of a veterinarian to assess whether they were afraid, in pain or distressed when shocked. The researchers watched for behaviors such as: stopping play, redirected attention, head, eye or ear movements and vocalization. All dogs were over 6 months old, social and playful with no nervous, fearful or aggressive disposition. None of them had been previously exposed to electronic collars.

Dog Chase 2

The behavior and learning during training was measured between dogs wearing shock collars and dogs without them. In general, owners reported better success with positive reinforcement based training but the research could not determine if this was a difference due to perception or an actual fact since most owners who used the  shock collars were rating their dog’s problematic behavior as severe. Results suggest an increase of the dog’s focus on the trainer when fitted with a shock collar but the overall training success was better with reward based training, including for recall and chasing problems (Blackwell & al. 2012).

When measuring salivary cortisol levels (related to stress) of the dogs with or without shock collars, the researchers found a significant increase of cortisol levels in the dogs exposed to shock collars, when they’re fitted with a collar a second time. This indicates that the anticipation of the stimulation immediately increases the stress level of the dogs. Behavior changes also indicated that the dogs were more stressed and tense than dogs trained using positive reinforcement. The dogs trained with shock collars also spent more time 5 meters or more away from their owner and were more distracted when trained by the researcher and active than the control group.

The study also investigated the information contained in the manual that comes with the purchase of these collars. All of them explain how to adapt the level of stimulation to the dog and describe what behaviors to expect when the dog notices the stimulation. Only three however warn about the level set too high if the dog vocalizes. All of them also warn about potential skin irritation and pressure necrosis if improperly fitted. A few also discourage the use of the collar on aggressive dogs and suggest the help of a professional trainer (harsh punishment can increase aggression in dogs).

The manuals provide information about using the shock collars for basic obedience training but also about dealing with behavior issues. Many provide suggestions to alternative strategies first. To assess the right level of stimulation, some suggest watching for behavior changes such as attention redirection, while others suggest looking for outward signs of discomfort and confusion. Even more concerning is the absence of explanation as to when to use short over continuous stimulation or how to use the tone or vibration modes. Many also emphasize the application and use of negative reinforcement, which can lead to prolonged electrical stimulation until the dog performs the desired behavior. Overall, most collars seem to lack sufficient information for the basic users.

Surveys from users also showed that 36% of dogs vocalized when the collars were first used and that the levels of stimulation applied were not necessarily those suggested by the manual. Even more concerning is that 26% of the dogs were reported to still vocalize on subsequent use, indicating that the levels were kept higher than recommended. Some owners even reported that they started at the highest level then either adjusted down or just kept using the collar at the highest level. Many simply didn’t read the manual or failed to follow the guidelines. The availability of such devices to typical owners, without the need to work with a professional trainer, clearly leads to poor timing and misuse and could have disturbing effects on the dog’s welfare.

Shar dog running

Advocates for the use of shock collars have often argued that most studies do not offer objective data based on the appropriate use of such devices. As confirmed by the study above, owners don’t always use shock collars in the way suggested by the manufacturers. In a second study by Lincoln University but also involving ECMA (Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association), meant to measure the long term effects of using shock collars in training and its potential welfare consequences, three groups of dogs were compared while the shock collars were used by experienced trainers and as specified by the manufacturers: group A dogs were trained with shock collars, by trainers experienced in their use, group B dogs were equipped with dummy collars and trained by professionals experienced in the use of shock collars and group C dogs were trained by APDT trainers through positive reinforcement and no shock collar (AW1402a).

In general, the dogs from group C spent more time exploring their environment were less tense and yawned less than the dogs in the two other groups. The dogs from groups A and B carried their tail low more often, yelped more often, panted more and moved away from the trainer more often than those of group C.

This study also showed that the trainer’s general approach, as well as the tools that they use, affect the dog’s emotional response to training. When dogs are trained through more traditional methods, they show more signs of stress, anxiety and aversion than when trained through positive reinforcement techniques. Even when used by professional and experienced trainers, the researchers conclude that using shock collars did have negative consequences on some dogs during training.

Finally, this study also pointed to the fact that using shock collars along with treats did not make a difference in the efficacy of the training over using treats alone. This was true even for livestock chasing protocols, which is one of the most common reasons for using such devices.

Using shock collars on dogs may be effective in training or treating certain problematic behaviors. But if their efficacy is not better than reward based training alone and presents physical and emotional risks to some dogs, their use altogether becomes highly questionable. The results from these studies point out, that at the very least, such devices do indeed have welfare implication on the dogs and should not be available to the public at large. Their ease of use and immediate efficiency over more time-consuming reward based protocols make them very attractive to the user. Unfortunately, they may force the dog into behaving a certain way but they do not address the underlying reason for the problem in the first place. Inducing fear and discomfort also has the potential to cause further behavior issues. Other methods are just as efficient, do not increase the chances of problematic behaviors to develop, promote a desire to respond and enhance the relationship between humans and their dogs. For all those reasons, many animal welfare organizations, including the Kennel Club are now pushing for the ban of shock collars in the UK.

Jennifer Cattet Ph.D.


Jennifer Cattet Ph.D. has been working with dogs for over 30 years, as an ethologist with the University of Geneva (Switzerland), a trainer and a behaviorist (in both Europe and the US). As Director of Training for a service dog organization in the U.S, she supervised and taught offenders in the training of service dogs. Today she's the owner of Medical Mutts (, a company dedicated in the training of rescue dogs as service dogs for conditions such as diabetes, seizures, PTSD, autism, etc. She's also part of a research team working on understanding the ability of dogs to detect changes in blood glucose levels through scent. Jennifer also works with Smart Animal Training System on the promotion of reward based training and the development of technology to support it (

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97 comments on “New findings on shock collars: why the UK wants to ban them
  1. Lora says:

    I think you mean England, not the UK. Wales and Scotland are part of the UK and shock collars have been illegal there for a while. They’re barbaric things, don’t know what is taking the English (or any other) government so long to ban them?!

    • Jean Jesty says:

      You don’t need these things its cruel my dogs are very well behaved threw love & kindness , just talking to them. Nicely just be patient. Shocking them is disgusting shame on you .

    • Oscar says:

      It’s only Wales that has banned them, not Scotland.

    • Lora … The e-collar is not banned in Scotland – The Scottish ministers rejected the proposal as their independent reports found insufficient evidence. The only barbaric thing here Lora, is the human mind. No collar of any kind ever has, ever could, nor ever will cause physical or psychological harm or distress to any dog. Only the human being can do that, and they can do so just as easily with a willow twig, a hand, the voice, a flat collar, a martingale or any other material on earth. The sooner people realise that legislation is subservient to education, the more dogs will live welfare enriched lives.

      The title of this thread is very misleading. The UK (unless surveyed as a whole with total agreement) does NOT wish to ban Electronic training devices. The Kennel Club, a financially motivated organisation responsible for the horrific deformation of millions and millions of dogs – may wish to … The APDT, a financially motivated organisation (I was a member before I chose to leave due to back-door ethics which differed from those publicly advertised) – may wish to … The APBC (advisors to the Welsh Assembly on their decision to ban remote training aids), a financially motivated organisation, has a chair (David Ryan) who, in his own book “Stop” concerning chase behaviours endorses the use of remote citronella collars (strange ethics?) – May wish to …. The RSPCA, publicly funded by donations from animal lovers, driving brand new vehicles, also criticising remote training aids but having them in their centre (I worked in one) – May wish to ….. But the “UK” does not.

      • Emily Craig says:

        Go out on Amazon and read the reviews of people that use them. Horrific to say the least. If you could read and understand you would know that you have NO idea how it affects the individual dog, what sensitivity that dog has. It may be very harmful and frightening to that dog. People are not going to read directions and study and train on how to use them. They will just abuse them. One review I read said it made her dog bleed but it did work. Just as an example, I am very sensitive to static shock. When it hits me, I almost fall down from the pain. My husband on the other hand almost enjoys it. And there is the issue, you don’t know how it affects the dog. No matter how low you set it, you don’t know. Dogs hide pain. Teaching a dog to be afraid is not training, it is lazy and stupid….

    • I can only think there is Lack of education to think the e collars are barbaric :

    • Here is a great video explaining the e collar lack of education sets the president tone barbaric or shock .. all scare tatics to persuade a view ..

    • Beth Burton says:

      Lora you are wrong as well as they are only banned in Wales. Apparently they are still legal in Scotland as well as England so UK would cover both & as far as I can see they are still legal in Ireland which is also part of the UK 🙁

  2. John Sturgess says:

    A extremely based bias with a paint brush approach bashing E collars. Funny that every time I grab my E collars my two dogs coming running over to get them put on so they can out. I guess the same people did studies on Guns and why ALL GUNS should be destroyed. Its not the gun that kills nor is it the E COLLAR that hurts, its ignorance of the user. Then again lets take away every ones RIGHT to drive a car cause how many people die from Car wrecks and drunks versus Guns,,HMMMMM

    • sadiquechienne says:

      Just because you don’t like the results of the study (which was extremely scientific and objective) doesn’t make it biased.

      • Wes Anderson says:

        “…In a second study by Lincoln University but also involving ECMA (Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association),..”

      • threenorns says:

        what’s “scientific” or “objective” about lumping buzz collars in with shock collars?

        what’s scientific or objective about using them all wrong?

        the dogs chosen were wrong from the get-go: you don’t USE shock collars on normal, happy-go-lucky dogs with no real issues. you use a shock collar when the dog is doing something that will result in death – chasing cars, running down livestock, or you live in an area with deadly wildlife such as rattlesnakes. do you seriously want to take the “slow and gentle” approach to teach your puppy not to stick his nose in a rattlesnake’s face? are you willing to take the chance that one wrong lesson results in the dog’s death? one zap with a shock collar ends the problem.

        they are NOT meant to be used over and over and over again – that’s just asinine.

        • Eileen Kerrigan says:

          “you don’t USE shock collars on normal, happy-go-lucky dogs with no real issues”

          Actually, many people (including professional trainers) do EXACTLY that: They use shock collars to teach even basic obedience behaviors to dogs, even to baby puppies. As the study pointed out, the collars are often NOT being used as recommended — owners just slap them on and go to it, without even bothering to read the instructions or warnings.

          … which is why these collars should NOT be available to any Clueless Magoo with a credit card. (Actually, they shouldn’t be available at all, but that’s another argument …)

          • Carla D says:

            Actually, even professional trainers that use shock collars will not use them on “baby puppies”. They wait until they’re at least 6 months old.

        • me says:

          Fantastic results have been had with snake prevention training using only positive reinforcement. Jamie corners the market on it in the AZ area where there are plenty of dangerous snakes and her dogs encounter them, and toads, and it hasn’t failed YET.

        • gail says:

          but these collars are used over and over again, especially by ‘trainer’s teaching their dogs field trial or water trial work, it is a lazy approach to dog training, and totally barbaric and cruel to any dog that is subject to these collars. I have seen many behavioral problems and fear issues with dogs that have been subject to shock collars.

          The ban should be everywhere, they just should NOT be available!

        • Jenny H says:

          But because if they are available to all and sundry, people WILL use them badly.

          Just as we ban unsafe toys because of the *potential* to hurt or kill, so to, I believe it is right to ban shock-collars for use on animals.

          And the arguments that ‘shock collars’ aren’t the problem is exactly the same as excusing universal gun ownership on the grounds that ‘guns don’t kill’.

          No! It is the dangerous implement in the hands of a person with problems that kills. I don’t want the looney’s to have a guns. And I don’t want to have the would-be Rambos out on the street with their dogs that *need* an electric shock collar on “to control”. 🙁

          Thankgoodness I live in an enlightened country where both shock collars and guns are banned.

          We seem to train our dogs pretty well to leave snakes alone without shock collars — and we have some pretty lethal snakes here, too!

          New South Wales, Australia

      • mano says:

        they used veternarians to see of the dog was exhibiting fearful behavior haha vets have literally no formal training experience or understanding of dog body language. they are not experta in any way on dog behavior as it is not required whatsoever in their schooling. that alone makes the entire study laughable.

        • MikeC says:

          Dr Mills of Lincoln Uni and Dr Casey of Bristol Uni are both vets with PhDs in animal behaviour with decades of clinical companion animal behaviour experience.
          There are only two animal behaviour specialists in the UK that are officially recognized as such by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) – and it’s those two.

      • Tom says:

        It was not done scientifically. For the human element was not controlled. Need people that used the collars correctly. By reading the study clearly the humans misused the e-collars. They ignored directions on how to use. And 35 dogs don’t make a study. I do not like shock collars. I would never use them. I get great results with repitition and positive reinforcement and some times negative i.e. Tone of voice. But ecollars used properly are not the problem! people are. That’s the only thing the so called study showed.

    • The difference is that cages were not created primarily to cause pain. E-collars on the other side, are only designed to cause pain and/or discomfort. They have no other purpose/function. They also have no indispensable function, since there are better (painless) ways to train a dog. So other than as positive punishment or negative reinforcement: in every other aspect, they are useless and completely unnecessary. And yes, sure: if a dog only gets to come out of its cage when it is wearing a torture device, he will come to see the torture device as a cue to freedom. That doesn’t make it less disgusting but more so.

      • threenorns says:

        so question: how would you “painlessly” teach a dog not to nose up to a rattlesnake?

        take a lesson from the porcupine: one nasty experience fixes a LOT of problems.

        the issue is not the shock collar: the issue is that manufacturers are marketing them as the tool to solve all woes – the “magic bullet” that will stop your dog from barking, jumping, rooting in the garbage, widdling in the house, chewing the remote, etc. the shock collar should only ever be used when there is a definite probability that the behaviour will result in death.

        • Lori Kline says:

          You work on “It’s Your Choice” and other games that teach the dog to make the right choice. You work on a brilliant recall away from ANYTHING. You reward the right choices and monitor their activities around dangerous elements such as snakes. Look up Susan Garrett of Canada and you will find you can teach your dogs to ignore anything you wish. ( It can be done, it has been done, time and time again. Again, you focus on what you Do want the dog to do, not what you don’t want which is pretty ambiguous at best.

          • threenorns says:

            a recall means you have to actually see the snake in order to recall the dog from it. the terrain in which rattlesnakes are found don’t lend themselves to this. you can be four feet away from a snake and not realize it until it’s nearly too late.

            the only way that would work would be if you have your dog on leash at ALL times which really takes the fun out of a hike for the dog.

        • Dan says:

          You teach your dog to back up and bark in response to the snake (the cue). People mistakenly believe that if they present a snake and shock the dog, that the dog is learning to fear the snake. That is possible, but it is also possible he is learning other associations than the desired one. And, it still doesn’t teach the dog what to do. It’s possible that his pain-associated with the snake will result in him attacking the snake in a real life encounter. Most trainers that use this shocking method also only train once in an environment that is not realistic (that is, the snake is in a box indoors).

      • David says:

        Has anyone ever bothered to study how wild animals get to learn in nature? Is it all by positive reinforcement or is there sometimes some painfull experience involved?

    • Trev says:

      Hi John. What these very biased so called studies dont address are the number of dogs whos lives have been saved by the use of e-collars. I have had many experiences where I have seen ‘reward’ or ‘positive’ based methods just not working and the dog still running out into the road……chasing cows or horses, knocking children over in the park etc etc. With the mild application of an e-collar the same dogs have recalled reliably and so are safer, as too are the general public these out-of-control dogs are affecting by their unruly behaviour. Most of the critics have probably never even experience the actual sensation a collar gives but just hear the words ‘shock’ and ‘electric’ to make their assumptions. I for one would prefer to go on seeing dogs being protected by their continued used by persons who have been instructed in their proper and proportionate use.

      • MikeC says:

        Study 1 on the general public using c-collars.
        (a) e-collar equipment instructions were not that good,
        (b) many people didn’t even look at the those instructions,
        (c) even the people that did read the instructions couldn’t follow the instructions accurately.
        All in all…leading to poor training, poor training outcomes and bad welfare outcomes.
        So should they really be available to the general public?

        Study 2 used the cream of the cream of e-collar trainers as picked by the Electronic Collar Manufacture’s Association, versus APDT trainers.
        a) There was no test where the experienced e-collar trainers did better than the experienced positive rewards trainers, even on recall – so there are no circumstances where you need to use an e-collar, as long as you are a competent dog trainer!
        (Personally I don’t think incompetent trainers should be allowed to use an e-collar.)
        b) A proportion of dogs trained by experienced e-collar trainers following best practice still showed welfare issues – so there are some dogs that they should never be used on, assuming you don’t want to use an inhumane training method when a equally (or more) effective humane training method is available.

        My conclusion –
        1) A small number of people with sufficient expertise can successfully use an e-collar for some dogs, sometimes getting results as good as (but never better) than a competent reward based dog trainer.
        2) The vast majority of people, and many dogs, just shouldn’t use e-collars.
        3) As there were no circumstances at all where using an e-collar was ‘better’, and many circumstances where it was worse, why use them?
        4) Try asking for advice from a competent reward based trainer if you don’t know how to do it.

      • Val says:

        I’m in the process of using this last resort method on my extremely stubborn 5 year old pup right now.

        There are many life-threatening issues at hand:

        He has a problem with eating toxic substances and not leaving/dropping/recalling etc. Rotten grass clipping clumps, cat shit, homeless human shit, deer shit, clumps of mud that looks like shit…
        He has nearly been hospitalized from the cat shit alone about 10 times. The grass clots can cause fatal bloat and I have to pull the undigested grass out of his butt.

        On top of all this..I have a severe anxiety disorder.

        I keep it in check and am fine until shit hits the fan…then my body feels it and it takes hours for me to go back to normal.

        All of this makes me want to keep him on the leash all the time but he needs to RUN and there are no enclosed, clean, safe places in this town. Our dog park is also a filthy disgrace and he has been traumatized there too many times because of clueless dog owners.

        He also finds cat shit in our yard/flower pots and will not poop when monitored on a leash in the yard.

        As a puppy he would inhale small objects in the yard (whole acorns etc) and throw them up because they wouldn’t pass through his guts).

        Cigarette butts are another issue..and he inhales these things in an instant. A single butt CAN KILL A DOG and I had to administer emergency hydrogen peroxide twice so far.

        Do you think THAT isn’t traumatic or painful?

        I adopted him as an older puppy and have trained him for five years with clicker training and positive reinforcement.
        He is a very good, intelligent boy…with an impulsive, stubborn streak. VERY pushy.

        During an early evening training exercise at a nearby school..he chose to disobey my commands and ran after a random skateboarder who was a whole football field away. I had no time to grab him and he was too far away. He looked at me, looked at the skateboarder, looked at me and was gone. I tried everything to keep him from running off and get him back.

        I accepted the fact that he could be hit because he’s black and ran waaaay down the street toward 2 busy intersections..and the sun was down. I was totally helpless.
        I called the two people I knew with cars and my mom luckily found him 3/4 mile away from where I was.

        I have no idea what got into him…and he also became obsessed with bikes around the same time. Nothing could break his focus on the bike. I would have to pick him up and block his view/walk the other way.

        That whole incident made me incredibly ill because of my disorder and damaged my bond with my dog. He is supposed to be my service dog.

        I have not trusted him since and he has been restricted to a leash almost everywhere we go..I feel awful and try to let him loose sometimes but he almost IMMEDIATELY recognizes the fact that I cannot catch him and he will look at me, b line for something disgusting, wolf it down when I’m making a command and then does crazy 8s. Sometimes he’ll run circles around me.
        He also does this with other dogs..he antagonizes them sometimes.

        He also doesn’t recall reliably..he’s focused on his surroundings too much, not’s unpredictable, even if I have treats or his favorite toy. When he runs off I will shout BYE and run in the other direction as a last resort. That doesn’t even work sometimes.
        We had to slowly drive away before he would come to me the other day.

        I walk my dog and play with him daily. He is very well taken care of by myself and my family. He also eats a high quality diet etc.

        I have also developed a heart condition from stress in this is serious.

        I bought a collar and tried it today. Someone called me cruel and it triggered me terribly because I love my dog dearly and had already tested it on myself first. The shock he gets on the tip of his nose when I shuffle too much on the wool rug and go to pet him is FAR more intense than this thing.

        First he seemed to respond to the beep during seemed to break his focus on other things. Everything was fine until he ran across a pile of rotten grass clumps. He did his usual routine and I told him to leave it during each disciplinary action. I beeped it, nothing..level 1 shock: nothing. 2: he obviously noticed but ignored it and kept inhaling everything and would not drop it. The third time he went for it, at level 3, he stopped and just froze. There was no whimpering or anything. I told him to come to me and rewarded him when he instantly did.
        We continued playing with his frisbee afterward and everything was fine.
        He went back to the grass clumps but thought better of it and continued playing.

        This is the first time I was able to stop my dog from ingesting harmful substances. I am happy I purchased the collar.

        I’m glad these are not banned!

        Think twice before you call someone cruel for using a shock collar!!

    • me says:

      This shows that you clearly don’t understand how dogs learn and it’s no wonder that you have to rely on shock collars to make up for this.

      The shock collars are the means to an end for your dogs. They want to go out and have to put up with the shock collars in order to do so. Just like they train zoo animals to back up onto needles for blood draws in exchange for a special treat. The animals don’t enjoy being stabbed with the needles but are willing to put up with it in order to get the carrot.

  3. Now if only the USA would catch up

  4. jamanda says:

    I’m in NZ and wanted to take my beagles walking with me, but for most areas you need them to be bird aversion trained and certified. So I looked into the course and was pretty horrified to see they use shock collars, needless to say, I haven’t done the course as my beagles would not cope with this sort of abusive training.

  5. Donna says:

    how do you get a 110v charge out of a 9 v battery?

    • Wes Anderson says:

      Good question. Inductive flyback or a flyback transformer in a collar can actually create 3,000 to 10,000 volts at the maximum levels. When a magnetic field rapidly collapses across a coil large voltages are created. Here is one example from a shock collar patent

      • Wes Anderson says:

        ” In dry loading conditions, in which the electrodes are pressed against the animal’s skin, the electroshock voltage levels drop to the hundreds of volts range, which is adequate to effect the desired electroshock stimulus. ” so actually hundreds of volts will be enough according that patent

        • Susan says:

          your implication is that one can “ratchet up” power past the initial power source of a 9 volt battery by using a continuous feedback loop. (see
          However, what you are essentially arguing is “more output than input” which is, essentially, a perpetual motion machine. Congratulations! You have solved the world’s energy problems. One only need apply this to all power systems and we can all live on very low initial power sources of 9 v batteries.
          Or, one can accept that what is talked about in that patent is resistance and the issue of getting even a small charge past degradation and inefficiency so that the collar works at all.
          If one uses a single 9v battery, that battery cannot store, then transmit more power than what it has to begin with. (
          The article implies that one is shocking dogs with enough power to kill elephants (See also Edison and Tesla).

          • Wes Anderson says:

            Actually the question was not about stepping up power ( but voltage step up. Power=voltage*current. Stepping up voltage is very common(ex. power lines). A reason to increase voltage is to overcome skin resistance so that enough current can disrupt nerve potentials to cause pain. Try putting your fingers on a 9 volt battery and there is no “shock”. Now try that on the terminals of a shock collar. Something changed from the battery to the terminals. The voltage went up.

  6. says:

    The only thing this study tells me is that using a positive only approach produces decreased stress levels over using aversions. It doesn’t take a study to tell me that stress rises when introducing aversions. If you want to convince me the e-collar, itself, is bad, then I want to see the stress levels measured against other aversion devices such as head gear (Halti, Gentle Leader, etc.), slip collars, etc. I also want to see stress measured against physical corrections. In essence, I want to know the stress levels connected to that actual device. This is another “study” that pits e-collars against positive only reinforcement. I can’t find any data but I suspect the same results would be produced regardless of the aversion device.

    • Nikki says:

      There is one out there. I found it on Sophia Yin’s website. Some dogs had prong collars and/or choke chains and still showed more stress when the shock collar was used, even if the shock collar was used on lower settings.

      • These studies are really examining the efficacy of specific training techniques, some sort of police dog training and just because these techniques and application of shock are stressful (they don’t tell us how training was set up however) and hard on dogs does not prove that there is no effective and humane application of shock. These might be situations where the collars are being used as “negative reinforcement,”ie, shocked and then cued, with shock continuing until the dogs respond to the cue. We can’t tell at what stage of training the shock is introduced (ie, to puppies learning sit or down or come, or in advanced training around distractions?) and the study doesn’t tell us how long the shock lasted. Maybe the lower levels were used for longer durations. We can’t tell if shock was being used as a punishment (P+) or (R-) or what, but it does say that it is more stressful when dogs can’t predict or control when they get shocked, which seems obvious. It would be equally stupid training if dogs couldn’t predict how they earn reinforcement.

    • I’m not sure it even tells us that. What is the positive only approach, really? We are just supposed to trust and believe that the researchers determine somehow that something is positive and something else is negative? How are they using the terms? What does that mean? This is not even behavior science terminology.

    • threenorns says:

      well, here’s an observation from today: i met a golden retriever – so pale he was almost pure white, just *gorgeous* – name rory at the park in town. my dog is on a halter, after having been trained to walk nicely using a slip leash – a length of ordinary rope with a carabiner clip to serve as the slip which, 90% of the time hung open so much it was dragging on the ground.

      every time rory’s mum stopped – to throw something in the garbage, to answer her phone, to chat with me – rory bellied out on the ground and began gouging at the halti. i could see scars where clearly his nails had missed and dug into his own skin.

      tell me that’s more humane than a shock collar.

      • Dan says:

        Head Halters are very aversive to some dogs as well. That doesn’t change the aversiveness of shock collars in anyway. So the conclusion is don’t use either.

      • Jenny H says:

        But the article was NOT about head halters.

        That is anoher question altogether.

        In addition, head halters are NOT training tools, but mere management tools.

  7. Walt Hutchens says:

    I don’t know whether these studies could be called biased, but the use of the collars reported isn’t really competent, let alone skilled. A dog that associates the collar stimulus with the collar isn’t being trained correctly. Any sign that the dog associates the aversive stimulus with the trainer/owner is evidence of improper use.

    The study analysis of the instruction manuals seems correct: Many ARE incomplete and I’m sure many buyers don’t read the directions. The E-collar is a DIFFICULT tool to use and a trainer who doesn’t know some fairly serious training theory will get poor results at best.

    Basically I don’t think the average dog owner ought to use an E-collar. However we allow the same group of people to drive automobiles, and vote …

    Oh shirt … they VOTE, too …

  8. Surprise! Remote training collars can cause stress in dogs. Well, they are supposed to. In the real world many dogs benifit from learning behaviors to avoid a stressful consequence – which improves reliability and often saves their lives and gives them more freedom. Positive reinforcement is not a REPLACEMENT for positive punishment. You can not accomplish exactly the same thing for training purposes with opposing motivations. If remote collars are banned, trainers that teach and have a need for discipline would replace ecollars with the “old ways” of throw chains and sling shots for “off-leash” control which are MORE stressful to a dog than a properly used ecollar. The better solution is regulating who may use an ecollar since they have the POTENTIAL to be abused. Should be used under the supervision of TRAINED professional.

    • Dan says:

      Everyone is missing the other main point of the study. Positive reinforcement training worked better to teach the behaviors than the other methods used. You get all of the same behaviors but without hurting the dog, hence the reduction in stressful behaviors liking yawning. If you teach the dog what you want him to do, the dog will do it. Period. If you are trying to decrease a behavior, you can train a DRI and or use P- without in any way scaring or hurting dogs.

    • Mike brunning says:

      Totally disagree. These collars simply cover up poor leader skills when it comes to dogs. Or they cover poor breeding of the dog .
      The logic is flawed. Train the command then re enforcement of the command with a electric shock . Should leaders take the time in investing training time , these would not be required.
      If dogs could choose their owners a few would have many dogs .

  9. Wes Anderson says:

    NOTE: Comments are welcome as long as they are not inflammatory or name calling etc. i.e. just play nice. We prefer discussions based in science, but unsupported opinions are ok.

    • And it’s fine to argue with a scientific study regarding what it is really proving or failing to prove. Of course applying shock collar — probably like a prong collar or a choke collar or even a crate — is going to raise stress levels in dogs. We really need to compare the levels of stress found here and compare it to the levels of stress found in dogs entering a show ring or a training class or a crate or going to a party to have any idea of the scale of stress and how the scale of a shock collar compares to the stress of anything else.

      I use classical and operant conditioning in training, going out with food, toys, Premack principle, privileges, but one of my dogs has a genetically intense hunting drive and it developed into a very dangerous escape behavior to go after squirrels, birds, deer, feral cats — leaping out windows, off boats, swimming way out to sea in December. If someone could have measured her stress levels when she saw a squirrel but was prevented from going to get it, it would have been off the chart! Our stress level was intense together, because it was dangerous to ever let her off leash, yet in so many other ways she is very highly skilled and fun to train (as long as she doesn’t take off like a rocket). I used a shock collar to teach her danger, and she did fantastic. She wasn’t damaged (or run over or drowned) and it was really a lot less painful for her when she decided for herself that blasting off to chase whatever wasn’t as much fun as she thought.

      I wish, when she was 8 or 10 weeks old, that I had put her into a pen with chickens and a scary rooster, or near a mini-horse or geese, so that she could have learned from the start that hunting can be dangerous. But that would have been stressful for her too. Learning is stressful. As many people were saying here, unfortunately lots of trainers really don’t have the skills they need to train their dogs. While this article says what the study “seemed to” find, it “seems to me” to be looking for a scape-goat. If I were Queen for the day I would say, yes, ban the choke collars! No reason to choke dogs ever. And then, do some real studies, starting by studying the results of people who know what they are doing.

      • threenorns says:

        THANK YOU!!!!!!

        holy crap, someone who finally gets it!

        except for the choke collars – they are not “choke” collars, they squeeze then drop open again. if they don’t drop open again, they are improperly fitted and probably not being used correctly, either. you don’t “drag back” on the leash and “choke” the dog – you pop the leash which creates an even pressure all around the dog’s neck, exactly the same as you momentarily squeeze your toddler’s hand or upper arm when you sense she’s about to bolt into the road. it does exactly the same thing – breaks that impulse and returns their attention to you. the trick is in the followup: the moment the child looks at you, you smile back and say “hi! remember we wait for the cars to stop before we step onto the road” or the moment the dog looks at you, smile and treat “good boy!” – the reward is for looking at you, not because you had to correct.

        if the dog is lunging and lunging and lunging on a choke chain, it’s because the handler is pulling, pulling, pulling back – dogs act in opposition – and now the dog’s gone completely numb around the neck, possibly has nerve damage. the damage, however, would be even worse with a flat-buckle collar, since all the force is applied to a limited area – usually the direct front of the throat.

        • Jenny Yasi says:

          Yes. The thing is applied punishment is just so much more difficult and requires more skill to apply, risks are associated with punishment, more so than with reinforcement. But punishment versus “positive “( whatever that means) is an easy way to drive traffic to a blog!

        • me says:

          They’re STILL choke collars even if they do so for a few seconds at a time.

        • chris says:

          You may squeeze your toddler’s hand. That’s a WORLD away from squeezing his THROAT–even momentarily.

      • MikeC says:

        Jenny says “do some real studies, starting by studying the results of people who know what they are doing”

        So in this study co-designed by the Electronic Collar Manufacturers’ Association (ECMA), using only the most highly experienced UK e-collar trainers handpicked by the ECMA to represent best practice and give the best results, you’re saying that even those trainers did not know how to use e-collars properly?

        Jenny, you seem to be arguing in favour of banning e-collars, at least in the UK 😉 … as apparently there’s not a single person in the UK good enough to really ‘know what they are doing’ with an e-collar!

        Alternatively, maybe it’s just you’re unaware that there really are proven methods for competent ‘minimally aversive’ trainers to stop ‘chasing’ behaviours, e.g.

        This was APBC’s viewpoint on banning e-collars, worth a read at least:

        • Matisse says:

          I think Mike, they mean ‘keep doing studies until they tell us what we want to see, that it’s ok to give dogs electric shocks in the name of training’.

          Amazing how many people are saying that it’s okay that shock collars cause stress and that they are supposed to. Stress affects the dog’s ability to learn. There is no point in keeping a dog sub threshold of a fear or chase stimulus if you are just going to replace that threshold with fear of your methods.

        • The problem with “highly experienced UK e-collar trainers” is they might likely be using e-collars to train behaviors like come when called, sit down stay. Maybe that’s the way they were taught to train everything! Whereas I could imagine it would be possible to find a “reinforcement” focused trainer who has trained a dog to a very high level, but now has a five year old dog who needs to find out one important thing about “danger.” Maybe we aren’t talking dogs that need to avoid snakes, but dogs working in the military, or in cattle or horse barns, where a misstep could result in significant danger, risk of human and other life. Where a dog really needs to learn “danger,” it could be safer for the dog to learn about it through a controlled stimulus, rather than through exposure to bigger risk. I’m was saying, back in 2013, that the way shock collars are commonly used by “shock collar experts” is commonly wrong. That doesn’t mean that there will never ever be an ethical reason for a skillful trainer to decide, after all other options have been exhausted, that a remote collar might communicate an essential bit of information in the least risky, most humane, effective and safest manner, maybe helping SAR dogs or other working dogs, who must be handled off leash, avoid thin ice or who knows, I don’t know. But today’s “experts” might be described as shock collar experts, but that definitely doesn’t mean they are dog training experts.

  10. lindzeywills says:

    “The researchers watched for behaviors such as: stopping play, redirected attention, head, eye or ear movements and vocalization. All dogs were over 6 months old, social and playful with no nervous, fearful or aggressive disposition. None of them had been previously exposed to electronic collars.”

    This part really gets me

    • lindzeywills says:

      *was cut off, my apologies.

      It really gets me because of course, this is absurd. No wonder these dogs were worried or stressed or confused, vocalizing even, they were being stimmed at random with no previous experience. Before using an e-collar the dog needs to know what that correction means, you have to teach the dog that a stim is a correction. Throwing an electronic collar on a dog and stimming at random is ridiculous, how many actual trainers do you think do that? What benefit is does that technique give? Other than learned helplessness, as a working dog training, how on Earth would I get a dog to search a building for a dangerous suspect if he’s shaking on the ground or excessively salivating from fear of a training tool?

      These studies are blatantly biased, and cause more harm to dogs than what they claim e-collar advocates do. Who was their ‘professional’ trainers in the second part of the study? With the trained dogs? I would like to know if anyone could shed light on that, they sounded pretty amateur to me. Banning training tools will not ‘fix’ a ‘problem’, you will make it worse. Instead of stimming a dog for a correction, you might witness that same dog instead now being yanked his head off by some well-meaning but ultimately frustrated and clueless owner. Actual trainers (not the jokes in the study) such as Schutzhund/IPO, French Ring, PSA, KNPV, Military, Police etc. often use e-collars for a wide variety of uses. This study sounds like the e-collars only function is to slam a dog with an electrical shock- have any of you actually been shocked? By an exposed cord? Plugging in a hairdryer with wet hands? I don’t know what devices they were using in this study, but wow, that’s dangerous. E-collars should never ‘shock’ a dog in the actual definition of shock, they use electrical stimulation much like the kind physical therapists use in muscle stimulators. It can be painful yes, it is uncomfortable yes. The device uses the quadrants of positive punishment and negative reinforcement, it’s not meant to be a feel good application, but that doesn’t make it abusive. Correction is not abusive, even when it’s in the form of a stimulus. Of everything mentioned in this study, I have witnessed none of it from my dog who is involved in IPO and other bitework sports. He is trained on an e-collar and does not yawn, lip lick, ears back, tail down, jump away from me etc- he’s quite the opposite, very bouncy and engaging. Driven for work and toy, when I correct him on the e-collar (or even prong) there is little to no indication that he was corrected other than him fixing himself and receiving a reward for doing so. When he feels stim his ears shoot UP waiting for more information or altering his decisions. That is good e-collar training, done right.

      These paint brushed biased studies are not helping anyone, they are more harmful than not.

      • Dana B. says:

        I too wondered why they would set up the test to stim a dog at “Play” and without any teaching first. I certainly don’t use the ecollar on every dog, in fact in 2 years — only 3 dogs. But believe it has a place and can be used quite humanely — especially if the alternative is to put the dog down.

      • MikeC says:

        There’s 70 pages of details in the full report that is downloadable by anyone.

        The e-collars were not just thrown on the dog, the very best e-collar trainers in the UK as chosen by the e-collar manufacturer’s association, followed e-collar best practice including as long a period of pre-training as those trainers needed to be sure the dogs were ready to do the tests, with test conditions co-designed by the e-collar manufacturer’s experts to give the most favourable results.
        Ie scientists leaned over backwards to give the e-collars every chance of their best possible results…

        And e-collar training results for tasks such as a simulated recall away from livestock were never any better than the equally competent “positive” trainers. (With the “blinded test” independent expert judges not knowing which dogs were which on videos, as even the positive trained dogs were wearing dummy e-collars.)

  11. Karen says:

    1) The training studied was WRONG if the dogs associated the shock with the collar. When trained correctly, dogs are happy to see the collars brought out because they know they’re going to have a good time. 2) Where are the studies on the efficacy of positive reinforcement training vs e-collar training, especially in life threatening situations. IOW, how well can positive reinforcement training prevent a dog from chasing a cat into the street , or to avoid a rattlesnake, etc.

    • Wes Anderson says:

      It is important to note that the Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association participated in the study.

  12. Kirby Hill says:

    One can never remove the skill of the trainer from the formula when evaluating the effectiveness of any training method or tool. I could give hundreds of examples of ‘positive motivational’ training being done poorly but it would be an unfair ‘indictment’ of the method. I have attended many a seminar over the years where advocates of ‘correction’ based training have done just that. They were wrong and so was this study in the way it was conducted. When properly used ‘positive’ and ‘aversive’ training methods not only worked well together, both seem to be enhanced by the other.

    Purely positive trainers have claimed for years how effective the approach is, why then do you come to class with the dog on a leash and collar? Your are physically denying his free will and causing him stress. There in begins the slippery slope of whats aversive and what isn’t. Good training is a continuum that flows back and forth from the positive to the negative, just as life in the real world.

    I have had many clients come to me over the years that had been through purely positive courses, many of them through multiple classes. The complaint is always the same, “he usually listens well and happily but when I take off leash to go hiking in the forest and something very exciting comes by I lose him and no amount of treats and good boys will bring him back until he’s ready” (if he survives of course). Usually 1 or two lessons with an e-collar on the lower settings magically brings back the dogs memory of all the lessons they learned in their classes. The owners are always delightfully surprised their dogs attitude didn’t change a bit, only his reliability. By the way, the Purely Positive trainers always have the same answer to the above mentioned problem, “you haven’t done enough repetition” they will keep telling you this till the dog is dead from old age!

    I would like to be clear….. I love clickers, food reward, toys, praise and I love e-collars and prong collars. I have trained somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 dogs and clients in the use of the e-collar. I do believe that the e-collar should only be used with the supervision of an expert. The reason is simple, if you screw up positive based training you have a spoiled dog that doesn’t listen reliably and an expert can fix that in a lesson or two. If you screw up with an e-collar or any aversive approach you can ruin the dogs attitude and trust. I also have to say I have seen more dogs than I could count turned into fearful, insecure beings and the owners have never corrected them in any way. Many a dog’s life has literally been saved by the use of an e-collar by a competent professional. While it’s true you can provoke an aggressive response in a dominant dog with a poor e-collar correction, you can also get humane, reliable control over a dominant dog that would not have been possible without the collar. There is and never will be a simple answer.

    Banning the collars is simplistic and patriarchal, regulating their use would be an idea I would be open to.

    • Wes Anderson says:

      One of the findings did a direct comparison..”Finally, this study also pointed to the fact that using shock collars along with treats did not make a difference in the efficacy of the training over using treats alone. This was true even for livestock chasing protocols, which is one of the most common reasons for using such devices.”

      • Wes,can you find exactly how the training exercises went, and what they are talking about here? This quote that you have here really doesn’t tell us anything. How can you tell anything from this? What exactly did they do with the treats and the shock collars? What exactly are the “livestock chasing protocols?” A direct comparison? Of what? It did not make a difference in the efficacy? Are they saying treats didn’t work, and also treat plus shock collar didn’t work? I don’t know how anyone can tell anything from this sort of vague statement. It’s meaningless.

        • Wes Anderson says:

          A fair question. The blog article has links to the details of both scientific studies. I will list one of the studies again here for your convenience.

          The conclusion of no difference is statistical based on the methods of training less than 10% of the effect on recall or chasing could be connected to method(shock or reward).
          from the report:
          “It is salient that only between 8.4 and 10.1% of the variance between training methods used for recall or chasing problems is explained by the variables measured in this study. Hence, approximately 90% of the difference between categories is due to other factors, not measured here. ”
          There are also several other studies cited by this extensive UK study. From one of those 2 other studies…
          “Some literature also compares the perception of owners more widely regarding the relative success of reward based and more coercive methods of training. For example, Loftus et al. [36] reported that across a range of undesired behaviours, owners reported reward based training as ‘more successful’ than other methods. Bussey [37] conducted an investigation of methods used in obedience training at a time when use of reward based training approaches were relatively new in this discipline. She suggested that dogs were no less successful where owners used reward based training rather than more traditional techniques, and that use of a fixed collar rather than choke / check chain had a positive influence on success.”

          • Of course reward based training is more successful that other methods. You can’t teach a dog what to DO with a shock collar. But how do you teach a dog to avoid danger with reinforcement? I just looked at your study and again, it is talking about shock “anti-bark” collar and shock fences and then talking about recalls. These so-called studies are strangely nonsensical, really broad brush studies (ie, we don’t really know what they were doing exactly with the dogs or the tools, it’s a variety of things, or how they are measuring results. Where are the numbers, measurements? Why aren’t we comparing trainers training the same thing using different tools?) and then you get the owners self-report of “more successful” (and whether their report is correct or not, who knows? Maybe their expectations were lower? Maybe they are counting differently? Maybe they are different breeds/ages or they have been training longer? We have no idea). “She suggested that dogs were no less successful….” This is all so vague and loosey goosey it really seems more like opinion than a scientific study. If you are trying to prove that people use shock more than they need to, obviously, it seems true that they are over-used, misused, and dogs are abused by shock, I certainly see that on the internet. Same is true of choke, prong and I hate to say it, but as much as I love and value crate training, an awful lot of dogs are abused with crates. However, I know from my own experience that a shock collar is a super valuable life-saving tool that can convey important information for dogs who really need that information. No other tool can do what a modern highly adjustable remote shock/vibration collar can do. It’s an essential tool, like a scalpel, a potentially dangerous tool. You really need to know what you are doing with it and why. I’m not saying these studies are wrong in their conclusions. I’m saying, these aren’t really studies. They tell us nothing. They are so poorly designed, they are really opinion pieces.

          • Okay, I see, this quote that you just posted is saying the same thing I am saying, that they actually didn’t come to any conclusions with this study. “The conclusion of no difference is statistical based on the methods of training less than 10% of the effect on recall or chasing could be connected to method(shock or reward).
            from the report:
            “It is salient that only between 8.4 and 10.1% of the variance between training methods used for recall or chasing problems is explained by the variables measured in this study. Hence, approximately 90% of the difference between categories is due to other factors, not measured here. ”

            Yeah. I thought so! Oh well. I would love to design the study, it makes me crazy this sort of thing, because we NEED good studies, people need evidence based protocols and practices, and yet researchers are just floundering around.

  13. Wes says:

    Position statement from American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

    • threenorns says:

      interesting: i never read that before, but you’ll find any number of ppl online swearing that AVSAB “bans” or “prohibits” their use, which now i see is clearly not the case!

  14. Linda says:

    I have a friend who participated in the study with her dogs and she is a very good force free trainer, she was in group C I believe.

    It is, as has been noted already, important to understand that if the study was biased, it was biased almost in favour of shock, because of the use of the ECMA trainers! It is rather foolish to suggest it is biased against shock, as these trainers used the shock collars however they, as professionals using shock, would normally do. Ie the study was MORE than fair.

    I think it was a good study and we do need to ban the shock collars in the rest of the UK (England and Scotland, Wales has already banned them and stood firm against opposition from groups to repeal the ban).

  15. Muddy paws says:

    Oh for heavens sake! If you put the E-collar on and start zapping the poor dog then of course it’s going to cause anxiety. It would do the exact same thing to you! But if you take the time to TEACH the dog how to turn of the stimulation at the very lowest level, while having it on a leash, it works without fear. In other words start on the very mildest level while the dog is on a leash , call the dog, press the button, if the dog so much as looks at you, then stop, praise, give a treat and do it again.

    I run all my dogs on e-collars because I am usually on one of my horses and I certainly do not want to get off to go catch my dogs. With the E-collar they are afforded the opportunity to run for miles, chase the chipmunks/squirrels, swim in any water they find, get positively filthy and return home very happy pooches. If they ever started chasing a deer or something ,a quick low beep stops them , I praise them and cast them off again in a different direction. I am not chasing them while they are mindlessly chasing the deer and the best thing is, I always come home with all the dogs!

    Nothing irritates me more than a dog hauling its owner around while chocking itself with a choke collar. The dog isn’t having fun, the owner certainly isn’t having fun and pretty soon the poor dog doesn’t get to go out for any excercise because he is to strong or he runs away if let off leash. The dog then gets into all kinds of mischief because he can’t run to release his energy. Lots of times these dogs end up in the pounds. I’m liking the fact my dogs get tons and tons of off leash time

    I have always said to any of my clients that I have trained, there is nothing I can do to your dog that is going to hurt them as much as a 5000lb car, traveling at 30 miles/ hour will do when it slams into the dog as it is chasing a cat across the road while its owner is screaming ” COME” and clicking or waving a treat . Personally, I think a small well placed zap is a much kinder thing than being run over. JMHO

    • threenorns says:

      that’s exactly what i say – “if something is going to hurt my dog (or child) i’d rather it be me than the speeding car, the hot stove, the rattlesnake, the strange dog, etc”.

      • threenorns says:

        just to clarify – i don’t use a shock collar on my dog or my kid. i don’t need to.

        (but it’s come real close a time or two and i’m not talking the dog!)

        • What bothers me is that so many people think that you have to use an aversive as a consequence for behavior they’d like to suppress. Consequences can be benign in the sense that they cause no fear or pain, but are still influential on the dog’s behavior. If all the quadrants of operant conditioning work to modify behavior, then I stand squarely for R+ and P-, and not R- and P+. The bane of dogs’ existence are the trainers who fail to learn the science adequately, make mechanical errors in its application, and don’t consider the dogs’ feelings about how they might like to be treated as learners. Or, even as employees. Which would people prefer? A boss who is always waiting for them to make an error so that he can jump right in and correct it, or a boss who gives clear instructions, and pays you well for your completed work?

  16. k9pack says:

    It isn’t about what is true at this point but rather about the agenda. Sure they are going to be banned everywhere. Expect it.

  17. Richard says:

    People who advocate the used of electric dog collars should be prepared to wear them first on themselves. I have had someone put one on me I was surprised just how painful the shock was from one of these devices. Personally after wearing an electric dog collar I would like them ban. I am very experience masochist.

  18. Jenny H says:

    I’m sorry.

    I just cannot understand how any sane person would WANT to use a source of painful stimuli to ‘train’ a dog.

    It reeks to me of sadism.

    We are after all asking them to alter their behaviour to suit us. The dogs have done NOTHING WRONG but are being shocked to try to stop them doing something other than what we want.

    I went from the check-chain methd of training to ‘reward-based’ training because I found life so much more pleasant for myself when I was not always on the lookout for something to punish (aka ‘proofing” 🙁

    A training session now becomes a fun and relaxing game for both me and my dogs. Sure there are things I want to STOP then from doing. BUT when you have the relationship with your dog that reward-based training gives you, a simple “Uh!Uh!” to distract the dog and then a cue to do something else works well.

  19. k9pack says:

    These bans are based on caving into a political agenda rather than real world evidence. The science of dog training is based on an ideology rather than facts.

  20. Jannifer says:

    We have many ways to train a dog. You can use a treat that your dog like. Get a treat for reward your dog when they make a good behavior. It is a win-win solution with you and your dog.

  21. Mark says:

    why don’t we ever look for a middle ground solution? Allow shock collars only to be manufactured with a low, maximum output. That way the lazy dimwits can’t turn them up.

  22. John says:

    Here’s an interesting study I came across regarding stress in dogs caused by different training methods. University of Hanover profs tested e-collar, prong, and negative punishment (food/toy distraction) on police dogs. Their results showed that greater physiological stress – as tested by the cortisol in the saliva – was produced by withholding food from a dog than using a prong or e-collar. Positive reinforcement also had the lowest learning effect on dogs. Here’s the link to the study –

    • colette wilkie says:

      Very interesting article of that study John, we must investigate further , I remember talking to an Ex police dog handler and asked how do you get your dogs to what it wants if it doesnt listen to you if you wont allow an E-collar to divert the unwanted behaviour given these dogs are trained to attack from afar he just looked at me and looked away, I knew the answer he didnt have to say , you cant , you have to beat the thing to get it off now surely a nick static to the neck to behave would be alot less stres to everyone concenred but to the public we are hurting but actually we are not we are diverting.We must use this evidence to educate governments and dog handlers alike, and get proper informed training courses set up. Dont ban this tool due to ignorance.

  23. Jennifer Lovett says:

    We use them on our dogs with an underground electric fence so that they can run free behind our house but cannot go in the road where they are in danger of being hit by a car. We do not use them for any other purpose and the man who installed our underground fence trained both my dogs so well ( and very quickly–one or two corrections only) that we have never had an incident of a dog going through the fence wearing a collar. They easily learned to recognize the beeping signal that is a warning that the fence is nearby and will not go close enough to get zapped.They know that when they put their non-shock collars on they are going for a leash walk outside the barrier. I would much prefer to have had one or two instructive shocks that have been respected by both dogs, and then be able to let them out back unsupervised or leashed. I cannot see where these collars would be humane in ordinary obedience training though. They certainly should not be used routinely for corrections.

  24. Charles Wheeler III says:

    Who else sponsored this research? I’m sure there was no bias, lol. I use all different types of methods for training from shock collar, choker (not pincher), food, praise, etc. and it all depends on the dog as well as the trainer. This study also never talked about introducing the shock collar with a choker, and when making a correction, you give a pull on choker and low dose shock. Eventually they work out of the choker and use just the electronic collar. And quite honestly, it’s there for looks, I don’t even use it, and my dogs are great (mind you they’re also Boxers). How about using common sense and use the right tools for the right job.

  25. Will Allen says:

    I have a Pit Bull / Dogo Argentino 2yo mixed dog, he is a fantastic dog and very well balanced and socialized. I live on a predominantly muslim asian island, a lot of people are very intolerant of dogs here and it is common for unwelcome wandering dogs to be poisoned and dogs purposefully run down in the road. My dog is very active and I have to know that whatever happens I can (for his benefit) stop him in any situation (cat chasing, bird chasing, approaching intolerant/scared people). I use an e-collar initially for training reinforcement and ongoing as a last resort emergency situation tool. I very rarely use the collar but find that having the dog wear it increases my confidence with him and he knows that when he wears it we are going out. I have never applied a stimulus to the dog without trying it on myself first (it is not painful, I would say it is extremely annoying). The e-collar is an invaluable tool when used responsibly and both my dog and me have only benefited from it.

    Incidentally it is worth noting that both of the breeds my dog descends from are banned in the UK presumably after a similar study into dog behaviors by a similar group of experts…….

  26. Wes Anderson says:

    new article on shock collar research

  27. Wes Anderson says:

    “E-collar training did not result in a substantially superior response to training in comparison to similarly experienced trainers who do not use e-collars to improve recall and control chasing behaviour. Accordingly, it seems that the routine use of e-collars even in accordance with best practice (as suggested by collar manufacturers) presents a risk to the well-being of pet dogs. The scale of this risk would be expected to be increased when practice falls outside of this ideal.”

  28. Laz says:

    It seems clear that people do not know what dog shock collars are about, whether used as anti-bark, remote training or fence devices, their electric strength is far from being hurtful. I would highly recommend an article I wrote myself using and sourcing studies I discuss about:

    It is essential to rethink everything that has been said about ecollars since they are not worse than a tap on your child’s arm.

  29. colette wilkie says:

    If used properly and doing lots of training an E collar is the most amazing tool,it should be a diversion or a correction never ever a punishment as the dog will dissconnect, the level should discourage not hurt and the dog will eventually connect your voice to the command, the very fact people dont like it is becuase their is not enough education on them. Lets face it if an irresponsible owner is going to own a dog the dog has it no matter what tool is out there, a fist, a kick a leash a stick the dogs life is at its owners mercy. The E-collar simply discourages unwanted behaviour without touching your dog as some dogs when touched can react towards the owner. You have to stop unwanted behaviour how do you do that if your dog does something you dont like from afar by the time you get to it its already done the behaviour and if you correct it wont understand , the E-collar can catch this from a distance to discourage unwanted behaviour along with a firm “no” immediately as you correct your dog and it is simply amazing to see a dog stop. Once you see that connection and your dog stops being rude dominent exicted then you will feel the best owner of a dog in the world and your dog will respect you as he/she will put together that unwanted behaviour whilst by our side or not will not be allowed. Your also being kinder to your dog stopping behaviour immediatley so coritsol levels dont get too high maintaining balance to your dog. To ban this tool then they must ban “Bit” on a horse and whips and ringpull on a bull , funny how thats aloud.

  30. Tali says:

    E collars are very safe and not harmful to dogs, and have saved the lives of dogs who may otherwise have been put down for behavior problems. Even food training can be stressful for dogs if done wrong, should all training be banned? Perhaps we should ban leashes, since so many people will tug on them to correct a dog, and if done wrong is very stressful. Personally, I don’t care if my dogs get a little stressed as long as they don’t get hit by a car and killed because they know to obey my recall no matter what the distraction.

  31. Cheron Frazier says:

    I don’t know how any testing of a shock collar could be made because animals using a pecking order hide their pain due to fear of being attacked by others. I saw it in chickens, if one is hurt, the others attack it and can peck it to death. Dogs hide their pain in order for other dogs not to be able to see their pain and attack it. Shock collar tests could never reveal their true pain. They need to be outlawed. No animal should be deliberated subjected to pain for any reason at all.

  32. smianhead says:

    dog shock collars if used correctly can be a great product…. the problem is that some dog owners dont tend to use them correctly and this is why they are deemed to be dangerous. Using the right Dog Shock Collars and the right settings, you will b able to train your dog. there are so many guides out there to help you train your dog effectively and if you are looking for the best dog shock collars then look no further

11 Pings/Trackbacks for "New findings on shock collars: why the UK wants to ban them"
  1. […] New findings on shock collars: why the UK wants to ban them. […]

  2. […] are so many other effective ways of training a dog- why risk harm to your relationship with yours? New findings on shock collars: why the UK wants to ban them | Smart Animal Training Systems… __________________ Jill & Goldiva Tangled Up In Blue CD RAE TDI TT CGCA CGC GCH Harborview […]

  3. […] Directed by Prof. Mills, this Clinic has been very active in researching the factors that lead our dogs to bite and look into all aspects of dog cognition and psychology. They were also involved in a very extensive study on shock collars. […]

  4. […] Medication Options Anxiety Medications for Dogs Dog Shock Collar – The Good and The Bad New findings on shock collars: why the UK wants to ban them Rage Syndrome in Dogs Calming Products for Fearful […]

  5. […] are saying about the shock collar, there seems to be mixed reviews.  Some countries like the UK are fighting to ban the use of these devices, while Scotland and Quebec have already prohibited […]

  6. […] New findings on shock collars – why the UK wants to ban them: ‘In the dog world, few subjects are as controversial as the debate on shock collars (electronic or e-collars)’. This post brought forth the results of two recent and extensive studies on the efficiency of training with such devices and their potential effects on the dogs. […]

  7. […] with lots of schooling under his or her belt. Dog shock collars are actually illegal in many parts of Europe because they do not believe the public should be using them. So why do we think it’s a legitimate […]

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