Whole Dog Journal Tips June 4, 2012

(Collars & Leashes #2) - The Canine Shock Collar Debate

Whole Dog Journal is against the use of shock collars under any circumstances. As our mission statement asserts,  “The methods we discuss will endeavor to do no harm to dogs; we do not advocate perpetrating even minor transgressions in the name of ‘greater good.’

Shock collars were initially used primarily for the administration of harsh “positive punishment” and/or “negative reinforcement” . If your dog didn’t come promptly when you called, you’d hit the button and keep the button pressed, delivering a constant and unpleasant stimulus until the dog came and sat in front of you;  then you stopped pressing the button. This is “negative reinforcement”; the dog’s behavior of coming to you makes a bad thing (shock) go away, and the behavior of coming when called increases.  “Dog-friendly” trainers primarily use positive reinforcement and secondarily negative punishment, and only rarely and/or as a last resort use positive punishment or negative reinforcement. That would seem to rule out the use of shock collars.

For more information on Whole Dog Journal’s thoughts on electronic training equipment and details and advice on how to select the best collar and leash for you and your dog, purchase Whole Dog Journal's ebook Guide to Collars & Leashes.