shock collar

Share your favorite training tips, ideas and methods with other Positively members!

Moderators: emmabeth, BoardHost

Posts: 73
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:15 am

shock collar

Post by pratimapthk » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:26 pm

okay so this is kind of a tough one. I work at a daycare. I have this kid who comes to the daycare. she has a dog and says that her mom uses a shock collar for her dog. When i first heard about it i cringed and finally told her that it was a cruel thing to do to any animal.
Ofcourse she went and told her mom, who complained to my boss, who then told me off. I was told that i had to keep my personal opinions to myself. I just couldn't keep my mouth shut.
the dog still wears that nasty collar. can i complain to the animal shelter? i'm afraid to say anything further because i need the job. have to pay my bills etc. i do once in a while tell her that i think it is mean and cruel to have an animal wear that thing. I even told the kid, who is 7 years old, how she would like it if she had to wear one. what do i do guys?
the kid tells me that her mom said that untill they get an invisible fence, the dog will have to wear that horrible thing. who invented it anyway?

Posts: 8894
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:24 pm
Location: West Midlands

Re: shock collar

Post by emmabeth » Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:13 am

If they get an invisible fence the dog will still be wearing a shock collar, just one that goes off when the dog goes near the fence.

There really is nothing you can do by telling this kid though, they haven't the ability to influence their parent/s and you will risk losing your job.

Unfortunately there are times when we do have to keep our opinions to ourselves - since shock collars are still legal in most places, there is nothing you can do about it unless the Mom asks your opinion, and it sounds like she is unlikely to do that.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:07 am
Location: USA

Re: shock collar

Post by Ari_RR » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:03 am

Yep.. And there is nothing for you here to complain to animal shelter about, I wouldn't waste time on that.

Keep in mind that this may well be a wonderful family in all respects. There is plenty of advertisement around shock collars that drives people towards them. But in most cases, I would hope, people are careful using them, so it's not likely that this family just enjoys shocking their dog for fun, while they are laughing sitting on the couch...

Keep your mouth shut, keep your job, and don't introduce the idea of "your mom is doing a cruel thing" to this 7 year old child. Just my 2 cents.

Posts: 1166
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:48 pm

Re: shock collar

Post by runlikethewind » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:37 am


At least you only got a warning and you may have put a grain of doubt in the mother's mind now.

Posts: 3397
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:31 am
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: shock collar

Post by wvvdiup1 » Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:59 am

Maybe if you would talk to the woman who has this dog with the shock collar, explain to her that shock collars harm/injure dogs, maybe she would get the hint and appreciate you took the time to tell her that personally, instead of telling her daughter in this case. Just remember that from now on, politely talk to the parent or guardian. :wink:
"Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius." -author unknown

Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:45 am

Re: shock collar

Post by Suzette » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:44 am

If you need this job, I'd think long and hard before approaching the mom at this point. (She's already shown by complaining to your boss that she will take action and your boss has given you a warning to stay out of it.) But please leave the child out of it. This isn't her decision and as a mom myself, I would resent someone telling my child that I'm being cruel to my dog and making poor decisions. Now you've got mom on the defensive and she's unlikely to listen anyway. Live and learn, but if this situation ever arises again and you feel the need to speak up (which I completely understand - I struggle with these types of situations myself sometimes) bypass the child and go straight to the adult.
My avatar is Piper, my sweet Pembroke Corgi. b. 5/11/11

Posts: 1637
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:18 pm

Re: shock collar

Post by MPbandmom » Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:15 am

At this point there is probably nothing more you can due since the family is already on the defensive. If they are planning on getting an electric fence, the dog will be on some type of shock collar for life.

For the future, you might consider timing dog care/training themes at appropriate times of the year like bite prevention week and such. If you were a member of Dog Scouts of America (for example) you could possibly have a picture of your dog in uniform. People might ask questions about seeing a dog with a red vest on and patches like Boy and Girl Scouts, and you could steer them to the Dog Scout website which contains loads of positive dog training and care advice. (One of the primary trainers for Dog Scout camps and a published author is also a Positively Trainer and her book is available from Victoria's store.) Be creative, with thoughts towards educating all of the children in your care, rather than just pointing out what a specific indiviudal is doing wrong. Positive training works with people too. :D
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

Posts: 4887
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:48 pm

Re: shock collar

Post by jacksdad » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:19 am

Suzette wrote:please leave the child out of it. This isn't her decision and as a mom myself, I would resent someone telling my child that I'm being cruel to my dog and making poor decisions.
While I believe we are all on the same page in regards to shock collars/invisible fences. "our" approach to people who uses these things does need work.

Lesson learned here isn't necessarily to not say any thing, but to pick your battle and pick an APPROPRIATE audience at a receptive time. If this happened in the US, I am not personally aware of any locations that have banned shock collars. So threatening to go to the authorities or going to the authorities is an empty threat and or wast of time in the vast majority of cases.

next time I would suggest handling something like this along the following..

Hey, you have a dog too? fun aren't they?...Hey, your child mentioned/I observed you using a shock collar.

Followed by...

Is there a particular issue your trying to address? I love training dogs, I would be willing to help if you ever need.

If the "issue" is one you have addressed with positive methods you could maybe say something like "oh, that..ya had to train my dog in that too, all better now." which might then open the question to how you did it. or you might take an chance and tell them how you did right then.

"attack" the issue from the "rear" or "flank" so to speak. hitting someone head on with how wrong/bad etc their choices are do tend to have more negative results than positive ones. People generally don't think of them self as "mean" or "bad" or "cruel". when a stranger comes "at them" head on or through their very young child it tends to bring up their defenses and close their ears.

The thing to remember, if you want to change something someone is doing/believing, you will only be success IF they are either in a receptive state of mind or are already looking to change. That is key. hitting people out of the blue (when their minds are on other things, like getting their child home and making dinner for example)about something they are doing that you disagree with generally creates a non receptive situation.

Posts: 7018
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK

Re: shock collar

Post by JudyN » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:22 am

I have an internet friend who had a similar jumping & biting problem to what Jasper had, but worse, generalised to more situations, and more resistant to training. She trained positively, worked with positive behaviourists, cured a lot of other issues, learnt a lot about dog behaviour and built a great bond but 10 months later, still had a real problem with the biting. Reluctantly, she got a shock collar, tried it on her hand at the lowest setting, got help from a trainer to help her get the timing spot on...

... The dog's biting is no longer a problem, they have a great relationship, she can really enjoy walks and they have fun together. The collar has a 'warning' tone and that is all she ever needs to use now.

I can't say that this was her only option and that there haven't been negatives in terms of their relationship. I still wouldn't use one on my dog and wouldn't recommend them to anyone else. However, I would also not condemn this person or criticise what she has done (particularly to her child). She and her dog are happy together and have a great relationship so though I may disagree with her methods I don't feel it is my place to state categorically that she was wrong in her choice, and wouldn't dream of saying that she's cruel.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Posts: 73
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:15 am

Re: shock collar

Post by pratimapthk » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:34 pm

Thank you all.

Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:25 pm

Re: shock collar

Post by Analia » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:59 pm

Hi, i don´t know if by now you already did something, but in my experience it helps that instead of criticize the method of another person you tell her that it´s a better way and give some solutions. For example: Here´s the phone of an excelent dog trainer that can help you with your dogs problems, why don´t you try it?
About 7 years ago when i started studing for dog behaviorist and trainer in Uruguay choke collars where the only way, so i learn to used them. At some point i thought "there´s has to be something better and less cruel" so i started to buying books from other countrys, visits webpages until i found a diferent method, POSITIVELY. Now, and for almost 6 years i been studing what i believe it´s the right way to train dogs. Most people stays with what they know, so the answer is teaching something else, something better.

Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 2:18 pm

Re: shock collar

Post by Steve156 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:02 am

I know many people have a real problem with the "shock collar" but why is that. Don't get me wrong I have never used one and I'm not condoning the use of these things but would like to understand why everyone hates them so much. As on a low setting they can hardly be felt and just vibrate like a mobile phone on silent, is that really doing any harm to a dog.

Posts: 536
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:04 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: shock collar

Post by Flyby » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:50 am

In my experience, people who use shock collars don't do it to be evil or cruel, but need guidance and direction towards a more positive solution to the problem, with the heavy emphasis on 'solution to a problem'.

If your dog persitantly strays into the busy road, or shows too much interest in a farmers livestock, or generally places himself in circumstances where his owner has to intervene, I fully understand the logical thought progression when their dog just refuses to obey, causing the owner to become completely exasprated, which draws their attention towards a shock collar as something the dog cannot ignore. These people are very often simply desperate to have their dog 'just behave' but don't have the knowledge to make it happen, and don't know what else they can do. It's the very model of being 'cruel to be kind'. They're not cheap to buy, and many people wouldn't buy them unless they felt they had no choice.

It's an education issue. Most of us here are thankfully wise enough to know there are effective alternatives, and unwanted side effects to their use, but it's not enough to criticise someone just for using a collar without helping them understand why it's wrong, and also present them with effective option of how to win control of their dog.

In your situation Pratimapthk, before you give advice people they may not want to hear, I'd get your boss on side first, and get them up to speed with the use of shock collars, and hopefully convert them to positive reinforcement. I'd also drop the mindset of considering it cruel to use a shock collar, because these people may be anything but cruel. There's a world of difference between being wrong and being cruel. Cruel people won't care about being wrong, but 'wrong' people may be very hurt indeed if you call them cruel.

@ Steve156 - It varies. But if the 'low' shock isn't impacting on the dogs behavoir, the force get's increased until it does. That's how it works. Dogs do get hurt, and it's not an easy thing for a dog to work out how or why the pain happens. It's true, it may appear that a shock collar is working, but the dog may also be in a continual state of anxiety that instant pain might occur with no obvious reason to him for it. He might then become scared to do 'anything' for fear it might prompt the pain, and he may shut down his inquisitive and curious instincts to become a dog which merely exists rather than lives. With positive reinforcement, you don't burden your dog with fears and anxiety that trying out new things is a bad thing, and you subsequently have a dog with an open mind and eager to learn new thing things, and motivated to do the right things because thats when good things happen.

The object of positive reinforcement is to have a positive, creative, and interactive relationship with your dog built on love, trust and desire to be happy. The product of negative reinforment is often a dog which may be very docile and subdued, (what some people consider well behaved), but very often he's like that because he's too scared to be anything else but docile. If you maintained a relationship with a person by inflicting pain on them whenever they did something you didn't like, you'd call that an abusive relationship built on weakness and doubt.
Last edited by Flyby on Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 1166
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:48 pm

Re: shock collar

Post by runlikethewind » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:58 am

I feel a list coming on:

1) The dogs gets immune to the lowest setting and has to have stronger and stronger shocks to get any punishment/correction/interruption
2) Some people by their very nature will turn it up to its highest setting from the onset
3) You just have to look at videos of dogs who wear these collars. Most are shut down or fearful to offer any behaviour
4) What does the shock collar actually teach? It has been said on here before: if you start a job and your boss gives you a list of things you cannot do and tells you off no, don't do that, no don't do this, what exactly do you think would be ok to do? You wouldn't know. Same with dogs who are trained with aversives.
5) Using an aversive, even on the lowest setting, is just that - an aversive. People who feel they need to use them because they say things like 'my dog doesn't respond to anything else' have failed to grasp the power of kinder, more ethical training
6) Using an aversive makes you either a mean or a misguided person. Far better to be happier and positive and look at training from relationship building point of view, not from your dog fearing something or fearing you
7) If you shock your dog when he might have run off (AND IS LOOKING AT A PERSON at the same time) say for the sake of an example, the dog associates the shock with the person. NOT GOOD
eight) They are banned in some countries...
9) If they were acceptable, why do some trainers feel the need to hide them under neck scarves?

I can go on and on and on. There is no excuse to use these things

Posts: 7018
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK

Re: shock collar

Post by JudyN » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:14 pm

Steve156 wrote:I know many people have a real problem with the "shock collar" but why is that. Don't get me wrong I have never used one and I'm not condoning the use of these things but would like to understand why everyone hates them so much. As on a low setting they can hardly be felt and just vibrate like a mobile phone on silent, is that really doing any harm to a dog.
From my experience:

a) Any time my dog is in a state of mind where he will pay any attention to me, I've managed to solve behavioural problems with positive techniques.

b) The times I have problems is when my dog 'loses it'. Now, he's a lurcher, renowned for high prey drive, and when he takes off after a deer it would be lovely to be able to stop him. Yet a lurcher chasing a deer can rip his skin off on a barbed wire fence and not notice (despite the fact that lurchers have very low pain threshold!). When he comes back to you, skin hanging off and blood pouring out, you'd better put him on a lead because if he spots another deer he'll be off again. So just how high would you you turn the settings on the shock collar to deter him?
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Post Reply