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5 Hidden Ways How E-Collars Can Ruin Your Dog (2023)

E-Collar Ruined My Dog

It’s an ongoing debate.

Whether using an e-collar on your dog is necessary.

Because there’s no denying that it can help with training.

However, there are some hidden risks.

And it’s about time you hear about them.

Continue reading to know:

  • If e-collars can make a dog sad.
  • What vets think about shock collars.
  • 5 alarming ways how e-collars can ruin your dog.
  • And much, much more…

5 ways how e-collars can ruin your dog

#1: General discomfort

Here’s something most of us can agree on:

The slightest pressure on the neck is uncomfortable.

So, think about a dog’s struggle with collars in general.

Because, just like ours, a canine’s neck is fragile. 

That said, if regular collars can already irritate your pooch…

Imagine how more unbearable it is to wear a shock collar.

Because apart from the wrap around the neck…

It also has this box part where the prongs are attached.

Those are usually 2 metal pieces pressed on your dog’s throat.  

And some puppers don’t easily show this discomfort. But when they do, you’ll notice these signs:

  • Neck spasms.
  • Yelping and whining.
  • Inability to move head properly.
  • Avoiding chewy treats and toys.
  • Struggling to eat and drink (which makes them reluctant to do so).

For further reading: Do Dogs Like Their Collars? 5 Vital Answers

#2: Choking and strangulation

As I mentioned, the metal pieces in an e-collar put pressure on your dog’s neck.

That’s also why it won’t take much for Fido to feel like they’re choking. 

So it’s best to let the collar hang a little loose. But not too much.

Because a wobbly one puts the dog at risk of strangulation.

As canines are naturally curious creatures…

If left on their own, there’s a rare but existing chance that they’ll get stuck somewhere.

And don’t wait for a loose collar to let Fido hang on something. 

May it be a nail in the fence or the handles on your kitchen drawers. Almost anything that can hook the loose collar is a hazard.

Fact: 26,000 dogs a year get injured or killed due to collar strangulation.

You might also want to know: Can A Dog Wear A Collar And A Harness? 3 Dangers

#3: Loss of trust

Many dog parents warn others not to use e-collars.

Because based on their experience, this one hurt them as well:

Their dogs lost trust in them after using a shock collar.

And let me tell you…

Even after the first try, Fido can change their whole attitude towards you.

The application of unnecessary pain will make your fur baby avoid you. They’ll do it through:

  • Hiding from you.
  • Avoiding eye contact.
  • Stiffening up on your touch.
  • Refusal to take treats from you.
  • Cowering when you’re near them.
  • Leaving the room whenever you enter it.

Moreover, it can cause pain-elicited aggression. Which, according to ASPCA, can affect even a gentle dog.

Now, you’ll be the receiver of this aggressive attitude. Your dog will show these behavior directed to you:

  • Growling.
  • Trying to bite you.
  • Showing their teeth.

Reading tip: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Avoiding You (All Of A Sudden)

#4:  Psychological distress

E-Collars Can Ruin Your Dog Due To Psychological Stress

Apart from the electric shock…

E-collars also ruin your dog psychologically. 

Not only will your pup be scared of wearing the collar again…

They can start to get frightened whenever they see you with the remote. Or just you.

Fido will also feel terrified to repeat an undesirable behavior. Because if they show it, they’ll get shocked in the neck.

That’s how e-collars work in training. And the reason that it’s “effective.”

But is fear really the way to go?

I ask because it creates a phobia in your pooch. Which then puts them at high levels of stress. 

And according to VCA Hospitals, here are the signs that your dog is stressed:

  • Hiding.
  • Barking.
  • Panting.
  • Whining.
  • Yawning.
  • Shedding.
  • Trying to escape.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Licking their lips repeatedly.

#5: Painful burns and punctures 

And the most concerning of them all:

The wounds that your pupper will get from the e-collar. 

Those burns, sores, and punctures can ruin Fido badly.

Remember those metal pieces sticking out of the collar?

The shock from them burns your dog’s skin. You’ll see redness around their neck.

What’s worse…

Since the prongs press on your dog’s throat, they can puncture that area.

And for dogs with long hair…

You won’t see punctures easily. But if you clip their fur, you’ll be greeted with reddish holes on your dog’s neck.

Imagine how painful all that is.

Recommended read: 5 Vital TIps To Treat Shock Collar Wounds (How-To)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do e-collars make dogs sad?

E-collars can make dogs sad. That’s because their relationship with you will be affected when you use that method. It leads to loss of trust and feeling unsafe with you.

Moreover, negative training methods cause insecurity in dogs.

They’ll start being hesitant to make certain actions due to fear of pain. You’ll notice that they’ll easily get startled as well.

All in all, it’ll be like failing your dog’s expectations.

Fido trusted you, and you’re their comfort. So, it’s really hard to accept that they’ll get hurt on your command.

What do vets think about e-collars?

Most vets discourage the use of e-collars in dogs. 

They label this training tool as bad for the puppers.

Moreover, here’s the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s (CVMA) stance:

They only support humane training methods for dogs. Plus, the techniques have to be proven by current scientific knowledge. So no outdated practices as well.

For CVMA, the usage of e-collar is unnecessary in behavior modification.

And with the many ways it can ruin your dog…

I won’t recommend it as well.

Especially since research says:

Positive training methods are as effective as negative practices

Because of that finding…

The researchers don’t see any necessity in using e-collars.

Moreover, they suggest going for positive training methods.

Because not only can it curb unwanted behaviors…

It also poses less risk to the dog’s welfare. Moreover, it can contribute to a thriving human-dog relationship.

Compare that to using negative methods. Which don’t address the underlying reason behind the misbehavior.

You see, dogs are people pleasers. They want nothing but to impress you.

So, you can take advantage of that properly by using:

Positive reinforcement

This is a type of training method where you reward your dog. Whenever they show desirable behavior, they get a praise or a treat. 

And that’ll inspire Fido to repeat the manners. 

They understand that it makes you happy. 

So I highly suggest going this route instead of using an e-collar on your pooch.

That said, here’s how to approach this method the right way:

First, remember that timing is everything.

Teach Fido to do the thing you want them to perform. Whether it be sitting, lying down, or staying still.

Once they show the behavior, reward them immediately. 

If not, your dog will associate the prize with something else. With that, you’ll risk keeping the wrong action.

Another one is consistency. 

Whatever way that you said the command for the first time…

That’s how you’re going to say it every time. Otherwise, Fido will be confused. 

So, if you only say “Sit!” then stick to that. Because telling your pupper, “Sit down!” won’t work the same.

Lastly, if you have multiple dogs…

Ensure that the rules apply to every canine.

If one pupper isn’t allowed to go to this part of the house…

That means that area is restricted to every pawed baby.