Shock Collars and Electric DogFences
Right now there’s a pretty big shift in the ways we train our dogs. Since everyone lives a more busy lifestyle, there’s a need for finding shortcuts, simple solutions, and quick fixes everywhere. Raising a dog, like everything else, has found such a magic cure-all in the form of electric shock collars, used for both barking and keeping your dog within a specific perimeter. Are these collars right for your dog? Let’s consider that for a moment.
First, let’s look at the need for an invisible fence. The way these work is that specific beacons are placed around the edge of your yard and a shock collar is programmed with go off should your dog ever go outside this area. From what I’ve seen with relatives, this actually works extremely well. My aunt had a dog that was perfectly trained not to leave the grass in her front yard, knowing that should she ever take a few steps onto the pavement, she would get a shock. She learned this so quickly in fact that my aunt rarely seemed to bother with the collar as her dog had figured out that leaving the yard was a bad thing.
Furthermore, the actual cost of an electric dog fence is surprisingly cheaper than that of a typical wooden or chain link fence. For the invisible option, you’re generally looking at a cost of between $1000 and $2000, depending on the size of your yard or the specific model you go with. Overall, it’s not a bad choice. Most dogs figure it out rather quickly and don’t have further problems. The only thing to watch out for is you as the owner as it can be pretty easy to load your dog up in the car but forget to turn off their collar, meaning they suddenly get shocked for no reason, a confusing thing to happen when they’ve done nothing to warrant discipline.
An electric shock collar, however, is far more dubious as a training device. Commonly used to train dogs not to bark, the collar will be turned on and give a mild shock every time the dog barks or makes a loud noise. It can actually be pretty effective, but there’s a huge downside: It can breed laziness on the part of the owner.
The collar itself doesn’t do a great job of disciplining the dog, especially if the dog becomes extremely confused as to what’s going on. Much like how I’ve seen my aunt’s dog understand the invisible fence, I’ve witnessed other dogs completely misunderstand the concept of the shock collar, so one bark becomes a yelp, then a shriek, and eventually they are stuck in a cycle of yips and shocks.
Some shock collars have a manual function, so that you can give your dog a shock whenever you feel the need to point something out to them and train them, but unless you’re willing to take an active role in helping them learn, you’re essentially just paying for a no-nonsense babysitter to shock them whenever they bark, and that can be tough to handle for some dogs.
Either way, you’ll want to be sure you’re getting the collar for the right reason. Every dog deserves an owner that cares about them and wants to help them learn rather than one that just wants to see them shocked again and again. Make the right choice for your dog and take an active role in their life.
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