Positive Dog Training
I’m a positive dog trainer. A REAL positive dog trainer. I don’t say that and then tell you to put a choke chain or shock collar on your dog. I train dogs using science-based methods that have been proven time and again to work.
I’m often pulled into conversations about shock collars and choke chains and prong collars. I politely try to give people good solid science-based information about how they can train their dogs without using these items. How you can simply teach a dog to sit without jarring their neck with a metal chain. How you can teach a dog to walk nicely beside you without poking into their necks with metal spikes. How you can teach dogs an excellent recall without shocking them to do it. All of these things are possible. And not difficult to do.
I also try to stress the importance of not using these collars because they can cause physiological harm – tracheal and esophageal damage, sprained necks, asphyxiation, laryngeal nerve paralysis, among other things. They create stress and may raise cortisol levels. This, in turn, can cause emotional and behavioral issues.
I hear things like, “It doesn’t hurt them” or “They must not be able to feel it, they just keep pulling,” and “The shock is turned all the way down, it’s just a vibration” or “If you use them the correct way they are fine.” That one really gets me. What is the “correct way” to choke a dog or shock him?
You’re Hurting Your Dog
I know people don’t really want to hurt their dogs. I don’t think they put a shock collar on their dog thinking it would cause harm. How could they? People love their dogs. Right?
I never want to make people feel bad for using these things. I just want to make sure they have the chance to make an educated decision for their dog. Most use them because they’ve been given incorrect information. They have been informed by someone or told by someone to use these things. I hear, “Heck, they’ve been using these things for ages. My grandfather used them on all of his dogs!”
Yup. It’s true. It also used to be acceptable to beat your children. Things change. Time goes on and we learn new and better ways to do things. People also used to think the world was flat.
The thing is – these collars work. I’m not saying they don’t. Your dog will do whatever you make him do if you are choking him or shocking him. Even if it’s just a quick little “pop” or a “vibration instead of a shock.” You will definitely get his attention. It sure would get mine!
Love Your Dog
But the very real downside (among others) is that your dog will wonder why his human is suddenly doing these that make him feel discomfort and pain. He may even start fearing you and distrusting you. The relationship with your dog will not get stronger. He will not be a totally happy dog. Have you ever noticed the body language of a dog that has been trained with a shock collar?
This poor guy is NOT having a good time training.
What needs to happen is a paradigm shift. Just like when people were first told that the earth was round. Their reactions were that it was simply impossible! Everyone knows that the earth is flat! If your ship kept sailing on the ocean, it would eventually fall right off! It’s silly the things we think until we are learn otherwise.
Already places like Quebec and Wales have banned shock collars. Scotland will soon be following suit.
It seems pretty clear to me that if a whole country (OK – I know Quebec is actually a province!), wants to ban them, that should tell you something. It is because of studies done. Based on science.
It’s tough being a positive dog trainer. Help me out. Stop using collars that can hurt your dog. Tell your family. Tell your friends.
Spread the word. Start the dog training paradigm shift!
Why, yes, I think I do know what you are saying. And I love you too!