How to Use Shock Collars Safely
A shock collar is a very useful training device for a dog. In an effort to bring about the desired behavior in a dog very quickly, the temptation exists for the owner to use the collar liberally to get the results that they want in the shortest possible time. However, as with anything that is overused or overdone, there are some negative consequences attached to this type of action.
To begin with, the shock feature of the collar should be used only when absolutely necessary. Remember that the shock is painful, which is why the dog associates a particular behavior with the shock from the collar and will try to avoid carrying out a particular action. Therefore, when using the collar, the owner should only use the minimum level or shock intensity necessary to get the dog’s attention or to stop unwanted behavior.
The aim is not to cause pain, but to teach and remind the dog that a particular action is not acceptable. The shock intensity may need to be adjusted in certain situations. For example, if the dog is very distracted by the surroundings and what he is doing, for instance with chasing a car or heading towards danger, you might need to increase the intensity a bit to quickly get the dog’s attention. If you are training the dog to respond to commands, you may not need to have an intense shock, as the aim is to get the dog to respond to commands, and the collar is serving as a mild reinforcement.
Understand Your Dog
Owners should be mindful that increasing the intensity of the shock may not necessarily get the desired result and they should not seek to administer the most painful intensity possible in order to get compliance. There may be situations where the dog does not understand the command or what he is required to do, and no amount of shocking will help. The owner should re-assess the situation and see what the underlying problem might be and work to correct that before overusing the device. Overuse can lead to two situations.
First, the dog will cease to respond to the shock in the manner required by the owner and, second, it can have the effect of making the dog nervous and aggressive where these behaviors were not present before, simply because the dog fears the device and does not understand when punishment will be administered.
Users of containment collars and barking collars that are preset to give shocks must ensure that the device is functioning properly so that it is not shocking the dog unnecessarily, leading to its continual discomfort when it hasn’t done anything wrong and the resulting confusion and fear.
Some owners require that the dog wears the collar consistently. However, the collar has two prongs that press into the dog’s flesh, so care must be taken when the dog consistently wears the device. In order keep the collar from irritating and eventually breaking the skin – causing pain, discomfort, and possible infection – the collar should be rotated often so that no one area is consistently exposed to the prongs.