The Truth About Shock and Dog Training

There is much debate in the dog training and pet owning world about the use of shock and other aversive methods. I have compiled a list of the research, recommendations and opinions submitted by some of the most esteemed, respected and qualified animal behaviorists in the world. Click here to get the facts!

Here’s what the experts say:

"As a specialist in veterinary behavioral medicine I have been advocating for banning the use of shock collars of any kind for years. There are now ample published data in the peer-reviewed literature that show that shock harms dogs and adversely affects their behavior and welfare. Many people who resort to shock are afraid that without it their pet will die because of their behaviors. The companies who sell shock collars prey on these fears. Most people do not realize that the use of shock interferes with and suppresses normal canine behaviors, in general, not just behaviors that people find problematic. In fact, shock may render the behaviors of concern worse. In my patient population, dogs whom clients have shocked are over-represented in those euthanized because of the adverse effects shock has had on their behaviors. Dogs can recover from shock with appropriate care, and anyone considering shock should first seek the help of a qualified specialist in veterinary behavioral medicine. Specialists should be the source for competent, data-based information for any behavioral issues about which clients are concerned. I have studied the information provided by the companies manufacturing and selling most of the world's shock collars and it is my opinion that, without doubt, the information provided about behavior is incorrect and/or inadequate to address the behavioral concerns of dogs and may lead to abuse. The time to advocate for safe, effective, humane behavioral care for all animals has come, and shock has no role in such care."
Karen L. Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, ABS Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist

Karen L. Overall is a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Behavior (ACVB) and is certified by the Animal Behavior Society (ABS) as an Applied Animal Behaviorist. World renowned animal expert Karen Overall has spoken out over many years of the ineffectiveness and ill that results when electric shock is used as a training tool on dogs.

"Shock collars should never have been developed in the first place, and surely they should be universally banned immediately if not sooner. They have no place in 'positive dog training,' or what I prefer to call 'positive dog teaching,' or in any sort of dog teaching whatsoever, and I'm incredulous and I shudder when I hear that some people still argue that they can and should be used." Marc Bekoff, Ph.D

Marc Bekoff is a former Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is a Fellow of the Animal Behaviour Society and a past Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000 he received the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behaviour Society for major long-term contributions to the field of animal behaviour. Marc is also an ambassador for Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots program. He and Jane co-founded the organization Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Citizens for Responsible Animal Behavior Studies in 2000.

“To use shock as an effective dog training method you will need:
A thorough understanding of canine behavior
A thorough understanding of learning theory.
Impeccable timing.
And if you have those three things, you don’t need a shock collar." Dr. Ian Dunbar

"The more gadgets and training apparatuses you need, the worse trainer you are." Anders Hallgren, Author, Animal Psychologist & Trainer

Anders Hallgren, citizen of Sweden and Europe's first dog psychologist has written 30 books and booklets about dog behaviour. His impressive body of work also includes numerous articles for magazines, participation in several radio and TV programs and training several thousand dogs with problematic behavior in more than 50 years.

"For both scientific and animal welfare reasons, the Behavior Service at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine never recommends the use of shock, and recommends its discontinuance in cases presented where shock is currently being used. There are much more effective and humane methods for training animals and for treating animals with behavior problems." Sharon Crowell-Davis DVM, PhD, DACVB

The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1946, is dedicated to training future veterinarians, providing services to animal owners and veterinarians, and conducting investigations to improve the health of animals as well as people. The College of Veterinary Medicine is a leader in regional, national and international areas of teaching, research, and service.

“We do not advocate shock collars or shock devices. We believe in relationship-based training. It is all positive and takes a long time and a lot of practice but we believe it is well worth it.” Jennifer Andrews
Humane Educator Best Friends Animal Society - www.bestfriends.org

“YOU can judge a man's true character by the way he treats his fellow animals." Sir Paul McCartney