How shock collars are used.
A shock collar delivers varying intensities of shocks to an animal through a remotely controlled collar. The shock collar is secured tightly around a dog's neck with two protruding metal prongs positioned snug against the sensitive unprotected area of the throat in order to transfer the full effect of the electric shock. The animal has no escape. Shock devices are used to control unwanted barking, jumping, running, socializing etc. Sadly, these are normal behaviours that healthy dogs exhibit and that contribute to a dog's well being and happiness. Shock collars are manufactured for dogs as small as two pounds and can sell for as low as $30 US. Devices such as electric mats and electric fencing systems are also widely available to the public. The operator of the remote will determine how often, how intense, and how long the shock will go on for. Some collars emit a warning sound alerting the dog a shock is imminent. The dog is then expected to respond out of fear of further punishment. The problem is many dogs don't know why they are being shocked and consequently don't know how to respond. Therefore, when the punishing shock is delivered it causes further confusion. The warning beep is promoted as a humane component of the shock collar. This type of distortion and minimizing is typical of the industry. The threat of pain is just as capable of inducing stress, fear and emotional damage as the pain itself. Add to this, the potential for defective collars, the unstable vindictive nature of an operator and you've set the stage for serious animal abuse.
If your animal could talk what would he say about you?
It is surprising how many people get a pet believing it is a mindless creature just waiting for someone to control its every move. The belief seems to be that this new addition to the family will provide amusement, love, loyalty and protection without causing any stress, inconvenience or cost whatsoever. When they realize this little life has needs and a mind of it’s own they are unable to cope. Animal shelters are full of these throwaways. It's obvious to most of us why the bully and the control freak use shock collars. The reason that others use shock collars is often due to bad advice combined with time pressures. The lack of time spent with their pet often explains why they act out in the first place. What's needed is ample exercise, socializing and time spent with the family. A serious lapse of judgment allows pet owners to be persuaded by someone profiting from shock devices that shocking their dog short term will bring long-term gain. Some come to their senses; destroy the collars, ending up sorry and guilt ridden that they ever used it in the first place. Even easier to convince is the first time dog owner. Permission (Milgrim Experiment) from a so-called "professional" trainer to shock their dog seems to validate the method for them. “So called" because unfortunately anyone can call themselves a trainer. No industry standards or regulations exists.
What further nurtures the delusion that shock collars are harmless is that the damage isn't always obvious. You probably couldn't convince most people to train their dogs by hitting and kicking them. They could understand the brutality of that. Besides, it would be embarrassing when onlookers protested. Nevertheless, by literally distancing themselves from their target they are able to inflict pain on their pets without guilt. The anonymity the remote control provides convinces them that a trusting relationship with their dog is still possible. Watching their dog wince in pain doesn't seem to deter them. They seem blind to the flood of information from credible sources that shock collars are harmful. Ultimately, it is their degree of respect for living beings that determines if they can stomach hurting animals. Often we believe education will make the difference but just as crucial is a person's ability to feel empathy. Then there are those people who feel little or no empathy at all. They use shock collars to satisfy their sadistic mean streaks fully understanding the agony these archaic weapons inflict. Bullies looking for victims to control will target defenseless animals and children. Sadly, there are many news stories that confirm this. All human beings are volatile creatures. Consider the daily display of road rage. Is there a driver who hasn't been given the finger or flashed one at someone else? Domestic violence, family squabbles, schoolyard bullying and hate crimes are everyday occurrences. You are deceiving yourself if you believe that people in control of a weapon like a shock collar would not use it out of anger and frustration. After all, it is the frustrated dog owner who seeks out these devices. Most shock users agree that abuse is possible but each one feels they are the "responsible" one. The plain fact is, some people are not cut out to be pet owners.
Anyone can buy and use a shock device. No training, character references, background checks, age restrictions or special canine knowledge is required. Shock devices are easily available through stores and the Internet. The industries that sell and promote these products are aggressive about protecting their profits. Shock collar use is widespread in the USA and gaining ground in Canada. Decent people everywhere want these devices banned. Our local shock collar pusher/trainer does not mention shock collars in his ads, on his website or when someone calls to inquire about his training methods. It is only during face-to-face visits that he lures people into trying the collar. What civilized person would allow a painful tool to be used on their animal that they would not allow to be used on their child?
In a classic case of spin, the shock industry now uses words such as tap, tingle or tickle instead of shock. The shock collar is now referred to by the more benign descriptive, E-collar. Difficult as it is to believe, they manage to sell the concept that a shocked pet is a happy pet and a safer one too. In an attempt to prove their myth that shocking is harmless, trainers will shock clients on the top of their forearms at the lowest setting. It is a misleading stunt that doesn't replicate the real pain, anxiety, stress and confusion a dog feels when an unexpected shock is delivered. Nor does it come close to exposing the further trauma of repeated shocking over time. This is a typical deception employed to hide the fact, a shock collar can drop a full-grown man. Another risk of shock devices is the unintentional rogue shocks caused by device malfunction. The pet owner may not notice unintended shocks until actual physical damage is visible on the dog. A dog experiencing intense pain is not always easy to recognize. Especially if a dog is stoic, leaving the impression nothing is wrong. Even trained veterinarians can miss or misinterpret indicators of pain. The outcome will be a dog with a broken spirit and a fear of expression. A dog transformed from joyful and loving to paranoid and unpredictable.