The 1st ongoing debate – Do shock collars hurt dogs?

Last Updated on September 21, 2021 Ashley Camelia

Dogs have been known to be a man’s best friend, but the question is are men dog’s best friends or not? Over the years, we have seen trainers and homeowners use shock collars to train their dogs which raises the question as to whether the do shock collars hurt dogs are not.

Like all other topics, there are two different viewpoints. Individuals who are dog lovers tend to believe that the use of shock collars is torture and shouldn’t be allowed whereas trainers and others tend to believe that it is a necessary tool to train the dogs into avoiding harmful and unlikable behaviors.

So, the topic of discussion is open, and we believe that everyone has a right to give their opinion as they can have a different point of view about things since they are individual human beings. But as a neutral individual looking to decide whether you should be using dog collars on your dog to train him depends entirely on your own preference as there are other ways of training as well.

When it comes to deciding whether you should be using one or not, the very first question that comes to mind is, whether shock collars hurt dogs or not?

So, in order to answer this major question and help you decide. We are going to be discussing everything that we know about shock collars so that you can make a rational and preferred decision.


What is a Shock Collar?

Most of you might be a bit confused about the term shock collar as it sounds quite cruel and painful.

The shock collar is a specifically designed dog collar that comes with two metal electrodes. The electrodes come with a range of voltage that delivers an electric shock to the dog wearing the collar when the trigger is pressed.

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The collar is put around the neck of the dog similar to the regular dog collar. It is tied in such a way that the two electrodes on the collar press against the skin of the dog. Thus, when the trigger is pressed, the shock is transmitted from the electrode to the skin of the dog. It does sound a bit ruthless, but it all depends on the owner who is using the collar. 


Types of Shock Collars

Just like all the other goods in the market, shock collars also come in several varieties.

There are different types of shock collars available in the market as they come in different sizes, voltage, etc.

But in a broader sense, they are divided into two major categories:

  • Stimulus-response shock collars

  • The remote activation shock collar

Although the names suggest the major difference between the two, we are still going to explain how they vary from one another and what makes them unique in their own way.

So, let us go ahead and look at them in detail.

1.) Stimulus-Response Shock Collars

Stimulus-Response shock collars are the ones that come with inbuilt sensors which automatically send a shock signal every time the dog does what it is not supposed to do.

When you go shopping you will find that there are two major types of stimulus-response collars, one named the bark deterrent collar and the other one named the invisible fence collar.

The bark color sends a shock wave to everything the dog barks and the fence collar sends a shock when the dog gets out of the area that you have set.

They are automated collars, so you don’t need to be present for them to work as the sensors work on their own.

2.) Remote Activation Shock Collar

Remote activation shock collars are the ones that are to be operated manually by the person in charge. They usually come with a remote with a few settings and a shock button. You will manually have to press the button in order to send the signal to the collar.

The good thing about the remote activation collar is that it comes with several settings. You can control the level of shock that you wish to send along with its duration depending on how much you believe your dog can endure without getting hurt in the process of training.


How Does Shock Collar Work?

The invention of shock collars is dated way back to the 1900s. It is believed that they were first used back in the 1960s by trainers to get the hunting dog fully trained.

Since then it has become an aversive training tool that helps the trainers and the owners get the dog trained in a much shorter time period without much work as the dogs develop the behavioral changes on their own.

To clear something in the start, dog collars aren’t designed to punish the dogs.

Yes, we understand that the process seems painful and cruel but in the long run, it is beneficial for the dog as well.

Nowadays it is used by homeowners to curb unwanted behaviors such as aggressive eating and excessive barking as both can get both the owner and the dog in trouble.

So, the major question is how these shock collars work? The manufacturers have designed it with the utmost care and diligence as when the slightest mishap can hurt the dog. The voltage that these shock collars come in falls within a specified range which is endurable and not deadly towards the dog.

Plus, no dog owner who loves the dog would want to hurt him intentionally.

All living organisms have a built-in nature that allows them to adapt to certain behaviors. The same is the case with dogs. The shock collars help them understand which behavior is acceptable and which isn’t. Over time, their mind and body develop an instinct that tells them not to do something as it would deliver a shock to them.

Dogs like humans adapt to repetitive behaviors. Just like you punish your child and they understand the difference between right and wrong, the same is the case with dogs. They are wild animals and for them to fit within the human society and bond with the owners and adapt to the surrounding environment, they need to be trained.

Some of them learn quite quickly while others are quite stubborn thus intensive measures like shock collars are used to help them understand.

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It is not always about shock. Most advanced collars come with built-in sensors that automatically deliver a beep or a voice saying ‘No’ or ‘Down’ before the shock is delivered so the dogs adapt to that beep sound and stop before actually getting the shock.

The intensive use of shock collars is said to ruin the relationship between the owner and the dog. But we believe that it all depends on the owner and how he uses the collars.

Using the shock collar at a low un-shockable level doesn’t affect the dog much or hurt him as it is only a mere vibration.


How Many Vare There is a Shock Collar?

When it comes to shock collars, the very first thing that the buyers tend to consider is the voltage which determines the intensity of the shock that is delivered to the dog.

The voltage of the collar varies from the make and model of the collar. Some collars come with only one voltage level while others come with a range.

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In most cases, the voltage range of the modern collars falls between 400 volts to 6000 volts with 400 being the minimum and 6000 being the maximum.

If you want our opinion then the voltage of the collar doesn’t matter, but the duration does. The user and the brand need to keep that in mind because if the dog is exposed to the voltage for longer then it can harm the dog to death as well.

So instead of only looking at the volts alone, keep the duration in mind as well. Look for versatility in the shock collar so that you can have better control over your actions and have multiple choices and use them based on your own judgment.


Do Shock Collars Hurt Dogs?

So, the major question is, do these shock collars hurt the dogs or not?

To be honest, shock collars used back in the day were quite deadly and were simply nightmares for the dogs as they hadn’t been designed properly since the technology wasn’t at a point back then.

So, their modes were only linked to high voltage.

But nowadays with the help of technology and advance positive thinking, there has been a huge shift in shock collars designs. Instead, of going with the high intensity of the shock. They come with low, medium, and high voltage ranging between 400 to 6000 volts. So, you can easily adjust the voltage according to your judgment along with its duration so that it doesn’t hurt the dog much.

Most trainers and homeowners go with a very low voltage that feels like a mere vibration for just a few seconds, so with the modern shock collars, there is no chance that you will be hurting your dog. It all depends on the type of collar that you get and how you use it. Using it the right way wouldn’t hurt the dog and nor your relationship with the dog.

Never experiment with the shock collar on your dog as you can harm them to a deadly level.

Always ask the professional trainer for advice or do your research on the internet to have as much information about it as possible.

In short, when used right, shock collars do not hurt the dog.


What to Consider Before Buying Shock Collars?

If you are planning on buying a shock collar as you believe it to be the last resort to training your dog, then you need to do your research properly.

Here is the list of things that you should consider before buying a shock collar.

1.      They’re Not All the Same

As said earlier, there is a different type of shock collar available in the market which means that they are not all the same and you need to keep that in mind. If a collar is working for your friend’s dog, that doesn’t mean that it would be best suited for your dog as well.

Plus, the cheaper dog collars are often of low quality and cause a load of harm and stress to your dog which is something that you want to avoid.

So instead of saving a few bucks, go with the more advanced and branded shock collars that offer your versatility to control the level and the duration of the shock so that you can use it based on your own preferences.

2.      They Are the Last Resort

Yes, shock collars get your fast results but that doesn’t mean they should be your first option. When it comes to training your dog, the very first thing that you need to do is use reward training as most of the dogs do respond to them.

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But in case, you believe that the dog isn’t responding to the training technique as you want him to and isn’t showing any possible results then we would say that he is stubborn and does need a bit of punishment. In such a case, to protect the dog from running into the street or barking excessively, you should go for shock collars as they seem like the last resort. But always manage to reward the dog in between just to make him feel loved as well.

3.      They Can Be Effective

For decades, trainers have been using shock collars to train hunting dogs and professional dogs. The reason being that they work, and they don’t just get you average results but the best and the most effective ones as well quickly. So, they seem like a great option if used right.

They would only be effective if you know how to use them right. If you don’t use it right, then you would ruin the relationship between you and your dog.

So always do your research first as you don’t want the training to go sideways.

4.      Combine with Positive Reinforcement

Going with the punishment mode, wouldn’t get you anywhere on its own as only using it would destroy the relationship with your dog which is something that we don’t want.

So, the best way to ensure that the shock collar doesn’t ruin your relationship would suggest that you combine the training with a bit of positive reinforcement as well.

Rewarding the dog with treats shows him that he is still loved, and the shock collar is only a small part of his relationship with you. Sharing the training time with your dog using both the shock collar and some great treats would strengthen your relationship and would hurt the dog as well.

Plus, he would adapt to both positive and negative actions so you can easily switch between them from time to time.

5.      Dog Trainers Use Them

Most people hire trainers when they fail to get the dog to listen to them.

Well, we have seen that dog trainer has been using shock collars for decades now but the difference between them and homeowners is that they know ins and out of those devices and know exactly when and how to use it.

They have been professionally trained and know what they are doing.

So, shock collars in their hands don’t hurt the dog even if you don’t know how to use one,

Always consult a trainer as he would help you understand the process and even help you with the training as well.


The Bottom Line

To wind up the whole discussion we would say that shock collars are designed to train the dogs not punish them. Similar to all other things, they come with pros and cons which make them likable by some and unlikeable by others, so it all depends on your personal preference.

They are definitely a great way to trains the dogs especially if you are looking for effectiveness and efficiency.

They work and if used right, they do not hurt the dogs. It all depends on the in control.

Plus, when it comes to shock collars, never go for the cheaper option. You don’t want to save a few bucks and hurt your dog in the process. Cheaper dog collars that you can get from the farm supply store are not perfectly designed for training thus with just a little mishap you can hurt your dog and even kill them if things go wrong.

So, if you believe that your dog is exhibiting any of the behavioral problems and the treat training isn’t working then shock collars are your best option. But before you get one and use it, make sure that you do your research properly and fully so that you can use the collar right without hurting your dog in the process of ruining your relationship with him.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When it comes to shock collars, buyers usually have a few questions in mind. Here are a few questions that most readers tend to ask so read through them in order to get your answers and clear away the confusion.

1. Can modern collars hurt the dogs?

Yes, modern collars can also hurt dogs. They do come with modern technology but that doesn’t mean that they are fully harmless. It all depends on the user. The more you use it the more harm you do. So make sure that you use it in the right way.

2. Does using a shock collar make you cruel?

No, using the shock collar in the right way doesn’t make you cruel especially if it is the last resort. There are individuals who use it to harm the dogs which are quite wrong but if you are only using it for the right purposes to benefit the dog in the long run then you are not cruel. 

3. Can you use shock collars for small dogs?

Yes, you can use shock collars for small dogs as well. You can find collars with different voltages. Depending on the dog’s breed and size, you can get the right collar for your small dogs as well. So do your research properly to find the best collar.