Is shock collar safe for dogs?

WHAT IS “STATIC” STIMULATION FROM DOG COLLARS?

At some point in our lives we have all received a static shock. I’m sure you can remember at least one occasion, when you walked barefoot across a carpeted floor and felt a small shock after touching a doorknob.

But let’s be honest, did it actually hurt, or did it just startle you a bit?

Yes, the crack of static electricity is “shocking” in that it surprises you, but there’s certainly no pain or damaging effect experienced from this harmless transfer.

The earliest shock collars, initially developed in the early 1960s, were powerful units that were designed to release a shock at only one high level. Powered by a large battery, that level proved to be too high for smaller or sensitive dogs and just wasn’t very effective for dog training purposes.

Today’s e-collars, however, come with as many as 127 levels of stimulation that can be fine-tuned to any dog’s size or temperament.

Static correction (also known as static stimulation) applied through modern-day electronic training collars is designed to gently get your pet’s attention, until he complies with a command or interrupts undesirable behavior, and the term “shock” isn’t even an accurate description of the stimulation generated. The electric collar actually delivers a smaller fraction of the energy than electronic medical devices or fitness products advertised on TV.

HERE’S A USEFUL COMPARISON OF A FEW ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS DESIGNED TO DELIVER ELECTRIC STIMULATION:

 

As is apparent, the level of the static stimulation involved with a shock collar is minuscule. In fact, many respected dog trainers and veterinarians promote the use of static correction as a highly effective and humane obedience training aid, and prefer the method over choke chains or pinch collars as being more effective and much more gentle for dogs.

Most remote trainers also come with vibration and/or tone only warning features. When used consistently before the static correction is applied, it will quickly teach your dog to completely avoid static stimulation – when trained correctly, your dog will respond to the vibration or tone warning feature alone and will rarely have to experience the training shock.

CAN STATIC STIMULATION FROM SHOCK COLLAR BURN MY DOG’S SKIN?

Rumors that remote training collars can cause electrical burns from static correction on a pet's neck are entirely untrue. The applied training shock does not last long enough, nor is it intense enough to cause burns.

An e-static collar's stimulation is supplied by smooth-tipped, medical grade, stainless steel contact points that make direct contact with the skin of your dog. The probes will irritate the skin and cause sores, similar to bedsores, if the dog is forced to wear its collar for long periods.

That is why, for more than 12 hours at a time, electric collars can never be worn. Similarly, it may also irritate the skin if the collar is not fitted correctly.

You should put the collar high on the neck of your dog to ensure the well-being of your dog. For the receiver, the best location is on either side of the throat of your dog.

It must not be too loose for the shock collar, otherwise it will slip around the neck of your dog, irritating the skin. It may also irritate the skin if the collar is too tight, on top of being painful for your dog.

TEST THE E-COLLAR ON YOURSELF BEFORE USING IT ON YOUR DOG

Remote transmitters generally come with a test light that indicates the proper function of your remote collar. However, we always recommend testing the shock collar on yourself first, so you can know exactly what your dog will feel during obedience training:

  • Turn the stimulation level to zero.
  • Place the collar on the inside of your forearm or the top of your thigh.
  • Slowly increase the stimulation level while tapping on the Nick/Momentary button on the remote transmitter.

  • You'll realize quickly that it feels like touching the above mentioned doorknob, and that there is no pain involved. However, keep in mind that dog skin is much thicker and harder than human skin, particularly dogs with lots of fur and a dense undercoat. So you are going to feel the intensity at least 3 times more than your dog would while testing the collar on yourself.