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[2023] Do Vets Recommend Shock Collars? The Surprising Truth

Do Vets Recommend Shock Collar

Shock collars are cruel tools that cause pain to our dogs. 

There is no scientific evidence proving their effectiveness. 

So, many dog behaviorists and trainers don’t use this harmful training method. 

But what about the vets’ stand on this issue?

Keep reading to learn:

  • Vets’ view on e-collars. 
  • What this harmful training method does to dogs. 
  • How shock collars violate a vet’s ethical obligations.
  • And a lot more…

Do vets recommend shock collars?

Most vets don’t recommend shock collars. 

Various vet associations are against using shock collars as they’re bad for dogs.

Such pain-inflicting training methods are dangerous to our fur babies’ health. 

What is an aversive or harmful dog training method?

From a behaviorist’s stance, it involves an unpleasant way to stop disliked behavior. 

When training dogs, there are behaviors we want them to learn and unlearn. 

This is where operant conditioning comes in.

It is when dogs learn to connect their behavior with consequences.

There are four quadrants of operant conditioning:

Positive punishmentAdds unpleasant things to dogs to end unwanted behavior. 
Negative reinforcementRemoves uncomfortable things to change Fido’s behavior.
Positive reinforcementAdds something to continue doing good behavior. 
Negative punishmentTakes something away to decrease awful behavior. 

Further reading: 13 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Punish Your Dog

Lauren Tsao, a professional dog trainer, said e-collars have long-term negative behavioral effects.

Harsh dog training devices include:

  • Prong collars.
  • Shock collars.
  • Choke collars.
  • Invisible fence. 
  • Taste deterrents (substances that taste awful to dogs).

Other trainers use these harmful actions to correct dogs’ behavior:

Harmful Actions To Correct Dog Behavior
  • Yelling. 
  • Hitting. 
  • Alpha roll.
  • Grabbing collars.
  • Dominance downs.

And using these harsh methods causes the following side effects:

  • Affect dogs’ confidence.
  • Hurts your bond with them.
  • Breaks their trust in their trainers. 

The British Veterinary Association is one of the associations against these training methods. 

They issued a statement requesting a ban on the use and sale of shock collars.

They argued that there’s no scientific evidence to support its effectiveness.

Also, it impacts the dog’s welfare.

Instead, they recommend training using a reward-based method. 

This type of method is safe and effective, according to researchers. 

Moreover, it protects our dogs from pain or suffering. 

Read also: 7 Painful Reasons Why Shock Collars Are Bad For Dogs

You might ask…

 “Why would some vets would go over and beyond to ban this kind of collar?”

Veterinarians have an oath they should honor. 

They vow to use their scientific knowledge and skills to benefit society by:

  • Promoting public health.
  • Conserving animal resources.
  • Advancing medical knowledge. 
  • Protecting animal health and welfare. 
  • Preventing and relieving animal suffering.

This is why the issue of shock collars bothers some vets. 

I am not saying that those who don’t take a stand betray their commitment.

There are vets who are outspoken about their opinion on these things…

While others do their share differently in honoring such oath. 

Vets have an ethical obligation to speak up when animals’ welfare is in danger. 

A renowned organization for vets and animal behaviorists, AVSAB, published a position statement.

They agreed that there are various behavior modification methods that are effective. 

However, they think that trainers and vets should choose a method that doesn’t harm canines. 

More than the effectiveness it brings, they must consider the long-term results. 

This is why they dislike the use of shock collars

It inflicts phobia, anxiety, and fear but doesn’t address the underlying problem. 

Electronic collars suppress bad behavior and don’t change it. 

Also, a study revealed that shocks cause learned helplessness in dogs. 

It’s a psychological condition where dogs feel weak after experiencing constant abuse.

SPCA Singapore even released a powerful advertisement discouraging the use of this harmful tool:

Moreover, these are some of the countries that banned e-collars:

  • Austria.
  • Norway.
  • Slovenia. 
  • Denmark.
  • Germany.

In Wales, you’ll face imprisonment and/or a fine once found guilty of using such devices. 

To add, Australian Veterinary Association said this method is out of the line and should be banned. 

Thus, it’s illegal now in some parts of Australia.

One prominent voice that supported the campaign to ban shock collars is Dr. Neil Hudson

He said public officials must pass legislation stopping this unnecessary and cruel practice. 

He advocates training dogs using positive reinforcement techniques.

Like giving treats and toys for every good deed done. 

Aside from him, there are others who also gave their stances on shock collars. 

Dog psychologist Dr. Lindsa Michaels urged canine research scientists to stand against e-collars. 

Michaels advocates for positive reinforcement and believes in its longer-lasting impact on dogs.  

So, dog trainers who continue to use this must stop.

Also, she asks canine researchers to expound more on the effects of shock collars.

Especially since research plays a significant role in being a fur parent.

As Dr. Karen L Overall said…

The presence of scientific research and data is enough to show that shock harms dogs. 

And there’s no way for dog parents to remain misinformed or clueless about its side effects. 

She’s convinced shock collars don’t only cause more behavioral problems…

But also affects the dog’s natural behavior. 

With how vets presented their views about this controversial issue…

There’s also another thing we must understand:

Like other devices, shock collars can malfunction. 

Remember that these remote collars function on batteries. 

Imagine Fido suffering from excessive shocks because their collars are malfunctioning.  

Since it’s unregulated…

Anyone can use it without a proper understanding of how it works. 

Why vets won’t recommend shock collars (anymore)

Using electronic training collars to stop dogs’ unwanted behavior violates vets’ ethical standards.

More than the health issues this device causes…

Scientists have yet to come up with research proving its effectiveness. 

Vets claim that the best way to train our dogs is through positive reinforcement and rewards. 

After all, they must ensure the safety and protection of their patient at all times. 

Moreover, there are alternatives to shock collars you can use for Fido, such as: 

  • Using clickers. 
  • Installing physical fence. 
  • Introducing more brain games
  • Hiring a behavioral or dog trainer.
  • Enrolling them in an obedience training class. 

These are safe options that strengthen your bond with your furry friends. 

Plus, they’ll become motivated and confident to perform an activity during training.