Arguments Used By Proponents Of Shock Collars
Argument 1: The Intensity Can Be Lowered
Argument: Proponents often argue that some collars allow you to set the shock intensity at a very low level, and that makes it okay to use.
Response: While it’s true that on some collars the intensity can be altered, the underlying concern does not change. The potential for psychological harm is still very much present. Read more about a scientific study evidencing that here.
Argument 2: In The Right Hands, No Harm Is Done
Argument: For a trainer who knows what he’s doing, the risk of harm is virtually eliminated.
Response: While it’s true that experienced trainers can achieve results, and some even with minimal damage - the risk is still much higher than if that same dog were trained using modern reinforcement methods.
When millions of dogs are being trained all over the world using reinforcement, and achieving enormously great results, there is no good reason to choose a harmful approach instead.
If you’re having trouble with reinforcement, please consider that you might not be doing it correctly, instead of simply turning to punitive methods.
Argument 3: The Results Speak For Themselves
Argument: The results are quick and good.
Response: It’s true that punitive methods such a shock collar use can achieve fast results (but so can reinforcement), however they often come at the expense of the dog. Read more about a scientific study evidencing that here.
I have shockingly also heard people state that the most important thing are the results, rather than the potential physical and psychological harm it can inflict on the dog. Frankly, I find that sort of mentality despicable.
Argument 4: In Police / Military Applications, Only Aversive Methods (Example: Shock Collar) Can Be Used To Achieve Desired Results
Argument: Due to the nature of what is required of these dogs, modern reinforcement methods won’t work.
Response: As another blatantly false argument, guard, police and military dogs can be trained with great results without the use of compulsion. A quick google search will provide more information on this.
Advocating Shock Collar Use To The Everyday Dog Owner Is A Potential Recipe For Disaster
When “expert” shock collar proponents advocate its use, even if they recommend inexperienced people not replicate it, people tend not to listen. By promoting and talking of shock collars and training, regular dog owners are likely to become influenced and attempt to replicate the techniques themselves. “Correctly” using a shock collar is complicated. It requires good timing and experience.
When used wrong, for instance when the timing is off, it’s easy for dogs to associate the shock with something completely unrelated to what was intended - for example - dog’s often end up associating the handler with pain, and fear and/or aggression can easily develop.