Shock collars are another cringe-worthy topic in the dog training world. Most people are afraid that they are literally ‘shocking’ their dogs as a form of punishment to behave.
If that were true, shock collars would have been banned by now. But they have been around for almost 20 years.
Most shock collars come with a range of stimulation levels. In the past, that wasn’t the case.
Now, you can easily select the range your dog will respond to. The trick is to get their attention during off-leash training.
Dog trainers worldwide recommend that you start with traditional training first. It is important to begin by teaching your dogs some basic commands like ‘sit’ ‘stop’ and ‘stay’ using traditional positive reinforcement or other techniques.
Once the dog has become familiar with some commonly used training commands, you can begin with familiarizing it with an E-collar. Randomly putting it on and off and giving treats each time the collar grabs your dog’s attention is a good way to go.
Most people use e-collars for off-leash walking and when they want to go on camping trips etc. Constantly having to pull on a leash can be very tiring.
When used correctly, an e-collar can be the best investment you make to live a peaceful life with your best friend.
How to teach your dog to come with a shock collar
Start with the lowest setting and check which level grabs your dog’s attention almost immediately.
Attach a leash to the collar and loop it around ur hand loosely. Once the dog is further away from you, tap the shock button until it turns its head and says ‘come!’. As soon as the dog starts running toward you, move a few steps back and praise it. Follow that up immediately with a treat.
Begin by using a 15-inch long line then progress to a longer, thinner line made of paracord. It will give your dog a sense of freedom as well as security. Practice saying the ‘come’ command, wait a few seconds, and then tap the remote if the dog hasn’t started coming to you. This will give your dog a chance to make the right decision before you offer help.
It’s very important to have good eye contact, good voice tone, and attitude towards your dog when you are teaching it any commands with a shock collar.
The dog should learn that you are not a threat and the shock isn’t coming from you. Once it realizes that the shock only means that it has to focus on you, it will forget even wearing the collar.
What age can you start training a dog with a shock collar?
Most trainers recommend starting training dogs with e-collars at 14-16 weeks. However, there is no one size fits all method. Dogs come in different breeds and temperaments.
As a safety rule, do not train your dog with an e-collar if it is less than 6 weeks old. Puppies are very fragile and you need to be patient with them.
They need time to get used to their environment and process everything that is going on. Adding stress to that will definitely not help your growing puppy.
Do shock collars make dogs aggressive?
Shock collars are a tool. And like every other tool, if given into the wrong hands, can exacerbate a problem instead of solving it.
With that said, do not give children or very impatient adults an e-collar device. It will not go smoothly.
If you use a shock collar as a form of punishment, your dog will recognize it. Then, instead of becoming calmer, it will become aggressive.
Dogs need to be able to trust their owners. They should learn that their owners always have their best interests at heart. To communicate this to your dog is to make sure that no training tools are being used as abusive devices.
Do vets recommend shock collars?
A study in the Editorial piece from the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour showed that when used correctly, the collars did not increase cortisol levels
Correct usage means that the timing must be perfect. There should be no lag between the shock, the command, and the praise or reward.
The study also showed that when used incorrectly, shock collars do increase stress.
So while shock collars are not the first choice for vets, they are also not harmful when used properly, with the guidance of a professional trainer.
Are police dogs trained with shock collars?
Shock collars have been around for almost 20 years. They were initially designed to train police dogs. Even now, police departments use e-collars to off-leash K9 training. It is important because a dog cannot be on a leash all the time such as when it is chasing after a perpetrator.
According to Sergeant (ret.) Doug Roller, owner and lead instructor at Tactical K9 LLC, e-collars have a very important place in K9 training. They allow K9s to be trained off-leash and at a distance.
Roller was a former Chief Trainer Metropolitan Division with the Los Angeles Police Department’s K9 Platoon.
The handler uses an e-collar to shape the dog’s behavior for teaching a variety of verbal/hand commands. For instance, staying by the handler’s side, subduing a perpetrator using a bite hold and then dropping that hold upon command, etc.
How long can you leave a shock collar on a dog?
Never leave the shock collar on a dog for more than 12 hours. It is not to be worn indoors and never left on the dog at night.
Regularly check your dog’s neck for any skin irritations or rashes. If you notice the skin is red, discontinue working with the collar.
Always take guidance from a professional trainer before using a shock collar. Never give the remote to children or people with mental health issues.