Should You Use an Electric Shock Collar for Training Your Dog? 

Should You Use an Electric Shock Collar for Training Your Dog? 

Electric shock collars have been used for years to train dogs to stop barking, respond to commands, and stay in the yard. As with any training method, there are pros and cons to the process. 

A shock collar should never be used to punish a dog, but as a deterrent. Advocates of the collars say that an uncomfortable jolt deters the dog from unwanted behaviors. The shock acts as a reminder to stop as it grabs the dog’s attention while leaving no lasting physical harm to the animal. 

Most shock collars have several types of enforcement and stimulation levels. You use the controls to pick the reprimand you want. Some collars will make a loud buzz/beep and others will vibrate so you can alert the dog that if the animal does not cease the unwanted action, then a shocking jolt will come. 

Pros of a Shock Collar

Below are a few pros of a shock collar to consider:


Modern shock training collars let you issue a warning beep or vibration before a shock. They also provide various adjustable shock levels. You might also encounter collars that administer an unpleasant smell that is blasted up towards the dog’s nose before a shock is issued. 

Provides Fast Results

Shock training collars do provide you with rapid results because most dogs do respond to the collar and cease the unpleasant action. Typically, it will take only a few shocks to stop the unwanted behavior. 


Most shock collars are affordable compared to enrolling your dog in professional training courses. 

Do Not Need to Be Present

If your dog has barking issues, then you can purchase an automatic shock collar that is triggered every time the dog barks, so you don’t have to be present to activate the chock mechanism. 

Cons of an Electric Shock Collar

As with any training device, there are drawbacks to using a shock collar.

Causes Pain

Yes, the electrical shock does cause pain to the dog. The jolt is fast and does not physically harm the animal, but it doesn’t feel exceptionally good either.


Some owners feel that the shock is an over-correction for a mild offense. Although with the various settings that collars have such as a beep, vibration, or foul odor burst, you now have options to render a milder correction before you use the shock choice. 

Lack of Positive Reward

The dog often does not associate the shock with the behavior due to a lack of positive reward. Instead, the shock collar simply focuses on the reprimand and uncomfortable jolt.

Using an Electric Shock Collar on a Small Dog 

Small dogs typically do not respond to a shock training collar well. Instead, they are predominately used for large breeds. The collars are especially favored for use on sporting breeds during hunting training. 

Choosing an electric shock collar is not for every pet owner. However, when used correctly most people view the collar as a humane training aid. 

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Shock collars are a proven effective training tool when used properly. The problem is that they are far too easily abused. As much as I hate to see any dog abused, the abusers get their due. They wind up with a neurotic animal that is no longer a loving pal, but one that is afraid of its owner. A dog like that will cheat every time it gets the chance.

Before deciding to get a shock collar, one should research the proper use and be ready with the right actions when getting one. As for the shock being traumatic for a dog, try it on yourself and you will realize that even on the highest setting, most collars emit a fairly mild shock. The idea is to get the animal’s attention. Not to electrocute them.

Bill Babbitt

Why not?


I was an elementary school teacher for 31 years, bottom line, corporal punishment works if used properly. I grew up with it as a child. My parents were educators as well. I only needed to be spanked a few times , as I learned quickly that pain was not good.

I realize dogs are not humans. But using a shock collar properly on a dog is a form of corporal punishment. And this “changing society” we live in today has long ago stopped corporal punishment in schools and strongly urges against it in homes. And look at the increased behavior problems and crime rates today probably somewhat due to no more corporal punishment or consequences. And now we even have less law enforcement, and with less power to stop bad behavior through outlawed techniques etc…. The criminals have the advantage by far these days! Again, not here to associate dogs to humans. (Remember, corporal punishment for humans(at least at home or in school) done properly is/was to be with a paddle to the butt after explanation as to why they are being reprimanded for their negative actions). I paddled 3 students in my 31 year teaching career. It was my first year of teaching in 1985. One day I got tired of home work not being done and made the threat that “if anyone in my class comes in tomorrow without their homework completed, they would be paddled!” The next day 3 did not have their HW done! Wow! I never thought they would defy my order. No parent notes or special circumstances either. So out in the hallway we went, got another teacher as witnesses, explained why they were being reprimanded, and spanked each one of them. There were some tears, parent phone calls, AND I FELT TERRIBLE INSIDE! But guess what, It worked, everyone in my classes had their homework done the rest of that school year. And in future years too with some exceptions, probably because I just kept them in from recess if didn’t get work done. A decade or so later , paddling became disallowed, and homework slowly became frowned upon by certain groups, etc…

Now this story was just an example to prove my point that corporal punishment works. To some, it may seem way of course from the subject of shock collars. Of course, this little story isn’t directly about shock collars, or homework or dogs either. But I taught for 30 more years and had pretty good discipline through both positive and negative reinforcement and accepting consequences for actions. They knew to “LISTEN” to me. Because I could use the paddle hanging in my room if I had to. But never had to again and most of my career could not anyway. And If I was wrong about something I would later apologize, maybe get a phone call from a parent, etc… We are not perfect, we all make mistakes. But I always expected proper respectful behavior at the time as a teacher. I always gave it back in my “thank you’s” and “praise for good behavior” as well. My students knew there would always be consequences for their behavior. They knew to LISTEN. Yet we still had fun with time to play, still got our work done, and learned respect and responsibility along the way in my classes. But by 2015, I knew it was time to retire a little early in my career and get out, as many of the old reliable methods for discipline were being banned and taken away. Everything is now built around positive reinforcement. Heck in some cases the word “NO” is even frowned upon. Need I tell you more…..???? Students really don’t need to “LISTEN.” They are taught to make choices, and choose to listen now, etc… I will get off my soap opera now, sorry. Now here’s the “tie in” with shock collars. If a shock collar is used properly and only as a deterrent in training for improper behavior on a dog(along with first attempts at positive reinforcement through verbal commands, tone of voice, praise and treats) its a good peace of mindful understanding to have for you and your dog companion. You will probably not have to use its much as time goes forward quickly. Yet you are teaching your dog to LISTEN on command no matter what, in fear of the painful reminder that might be coming next. Especially in situations where moments or even seconds could otherwise lead to injury or death to your loving dog companion or some other human or animal if they “decide” not listen at that moment. I personally thank God we can still use shock collars if needed. Do I enjoy them, “NO!” But dogs, just like humans are all a little different, and learn quickly that they don’t like pain, and try to avoid it at all cause. Usually just a little “buzz(vibration)” or “nick” after not responding to a command when doing something they shouldn’t, is all it takes to remind them and correct it.

I have had a back lab for 12 years and two weimaraners for 12 and 14 years. They got to run and play and do so many things with us like go camping, hiking, kayaking, etc… And they had to have proper training with immediate feedback to be allowed trustingly in these situations.

We now have a rescue Rhodesian Ridgeback/Lab mix for 6 months, but is now a year old. Ginger had a rough first 6 months of her puppy life. I hate having to use the training shock collar on her, but she needed to be retrained of some bad habits and develop a respect and trust between us. We use treats and positive reinforcement along with the training collar. Its working slowly.

In past cases, I find that the shock training collar is usually only needed for a year or two. It can often be weened off of them as they mature and gain trust and knowledge through maturity, as an adult canine(just like I was brought up as a kid to an adult myself). I actually find that I still need to occasionally put the training collar on them as a reminder for little training sessions ,etc.., but usually no need to even carry the remote. They have learned to associate that there is a deterrent if necessary. Just as humans need by seeing police officers now and then.

Shock collars are anything but cruel, AS LONG AS THEY ARE USED PROPERLY! I like to consider them as an extended invisible long leash that works as a learning curve. Especially when we don’t all have the time in our busy lives to make a profession out of training our dog to perfection and would rather yell and scream at them all over the neighborhood to LISTEN.

One more final important thing. Every dog is different, just like humans. Some honestly don’t need a training shock collar in their lives. My dogs have all been big, more sporting type dogs, If you do decide you need a shock collar, AlLWAYS read and follow the directions that come with the collar. Especially for the stimulation, buzz(vibration), or tone settings. For example with my two weimaraners. One only needed a 5 stimulation level and the other needed an 8 stimulation level to respond. By the way, I always tested the shock collar on myself first, to see what it felt like at the level. If you can’t do that, I recommend you don’t get a training shock collar in the first place.

And good luck. Maybe you won’t need one. When I was young we had no such thing for our dogs. They learned pretty well to stay on our property and listen through positive and negative behavior reinforcement discipline. But I will never forget the day our dog named Husky(German Shepard mix) ran away and got hit by a train. Found her laying dead on the tracks near our house.


These shock collars should be outlawed! Only a cruel abusive person would use this on a dog or any animal! Get rid of them, I don’t even know why they exist.

Marg Cimafranca

Using a shock collar is abusive, and cruel. No one should be allowed to use these and they should be outlawed!! There no reason for anyone to torture a dog in this way!! Get rid of these!!

Marg Cimafranca

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