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January 04, 2014

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Stephen Lewis

Hi Nikki,

What a great topic to blog about! I love all the amazing options technology offers us in our ever-evolving relationship with our dogs. As a professional dog trainer and loving dog owner I really enjoyed reading your post. However, I was concerned by the paragraph on remote collars. The main sentence about remote collars and their potential usage (shock collars) really jumped out at me "gentle and effective at training dogs to distinguish between "right" and "wrong" behaviors"

Coming from a background of punishment (+P, choke chains) based training I have used remote collars in my training. Instead of giving a long drawn out story about why I stopped using them in my training and how I crossed over to using the *hierarchy of effective procedures to help guide my training methods (*see links below) I'll just give you my personal list of why I believe they are an inhumane, ineffective, and counterproductive training tool in addition to the scientific research to back up my list:
RC = Remote Collars/E collars/Shock Collars
1. RC are aversive to many dogs even at low level stimulation
2. RC often create superstitious behaviors
3. RC build an association between owners/trainer & punishment
4. RC suppress behavior more often then change it
5. RC increase stress levels & are linked with sustained higher levels of stress hormones like cortisol (chronic elevated cortisol levels are linked with early death in dogs)
6. RC have a very high abuse potential with inexperienced trainers & dog owners
And the list goes on! If I haven't convinced you yet then please feel free to review the scientific literature linked below.

http://netrainersnetwork.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Hierarchy-Friedman-2008.png

http://eldri.ust.is/media/ljosmyndir/dyralif/Trainingdogswithshockcollar.pdf

http://www.companionanimalpsychology.com/2013/06/the-end-for-shock-collars.html

http://www.rspca.org.uk/ImageLocator/LocateAsset?asset=document&assetId=1232713013325&mode=prd

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1746-6148/8/93

http://k9behavioralgenetics.net/resources/Articles/Why%20electric%20shock%20is%20not%20behavior%20modification.pdf

“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”

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Authors

  • Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.
    Slobodchikoff is President and CEO of Animal Communications, Ltd., specializing in pet behavior problems and in educating people about the behavior of animals.
  • Karen London, Ph.D.
    London is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Pet Dog Trainer who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in the domestic dog.