We want only the best for our pets. When it comes to training, most of us will do anything it takes to keep them safe. One tactic that has been used widely by pet owners is the use of shock collars. Now, the BC SPCA is urging dog owners to stop using shock collars as it has negative long term side effects.
The BC SPCA is encouraging the public to take action and pledge not to use shock collars on their dogs. Also known as e-collars, these tools were once used as a way to train dogs. Now, they are being labeled as inhumane causing long term physical and psychological side effects for your pet.
According to the SPCA, many pet owners are not aware that e-collars can cause both physical and psychological pain. It is obvious by the name that a shock collar delivers an electric shock to warn your pet when they are doing something wrong. It is less obvious that these reactions cause long term damage to your pet.
While these collars can alter behavior, there has been evidence across North America and Europe that suggests both short and long-term use has impacted animals negatively. These collars have been linked to high levels of stress, phobias, fear, and increased aggression in dogs.
In addition to psychological harm, physical harm has been proven to be caused by shock collars. Increased heart rate and severe burns around the animal's neck have been found in some cases.
Dr. Karen Van Haaften, senior manager of behaviour and welfare for the BC SPCA and a Board-certified veterinary specialist in behaviour has stated that another devastating result of shock collars is the breakdown of the bond formed by owner and pet.
“An animal will sometimes associate the pain of the shock with other things in their environment at the time, including their owner. We urge people to seek out one of the many effective, reward-based training options available and to take a stand against harmful tools like shock collars," said Dr. Van Haaften.
A good training alternative suggested by the BC SPCA is to use reward based training. An example of the would be giving treats or a toy to your dog when they do something correctly. Not only are reward based training tactics effective, but they also have no negative psychological impacts.
The BC SPCA is now asking dog owners to take an online pledge to never use e-collars. Click here to learn more or to take the pledge.