Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Standing up to shock collars

I remember a few years ago pet stores in Nova Scotia used to sell puppies. Pet owners and animal advocates in the province worked really hard to make a change - and do you know what? Pet stores stopped selling puppies - they realized it jeapordized their bottom line - they were not making money in other areas of their store, and they weren't making enough from puppies to make up for the losses - so they stopped selling puppies. And we won. It was wonderful. It was a great accomplishment.

Now we need to step up for something else. We need pet stores to stop selling shock collars, and we also need them to stop giving free advertising to shock collar trainers. As an aside - we also need veterinary clinics to offer free advertisements to shock collar trainers, but I'll talk about that at the end of this post.

If you don't know a lot about shock collars - they are also called "E-collars", "electronic collars" - they are also the collars that are used as part of containment systems used for "Invisible Fences" and electric fences for your property.

They can give a short sharp "ding", or they can give a continuous "shock", and some collars can also give what the literature calls an option called "vibrate" - which is supposed to be a different sensation from a "shock".

Shock collar trainers and afficanados of the devices are in love with them because they say they can train dogs "remotely" - from "a distance" - which you can't do with any other training device - you can be up to 300 feet away from your dog and tell them what you want them to do with a shock collar.

There are 2 different kinds of shock collars you can buy - the type you buy in a pet store that generally has a gauge that goes from 1-5 and the type that shock collar trainers use - and you can also buy online - who's strength goes from 1-120 - so the shocks can vary a lot more.

The types that you buy in a pet store are really highly inhumane - I have had a shock collar trainer tell me that if I want to complain about something - complain about the shock collar sold in pet stores - if you put one of those on yourself and set it to "1" - you are going to give yourself a hell of a shock - whereas if you put one of the shock collars that go from 1-120 - set at "1" - you can't even feel it - when I put the 1-120 on me, I didn't feel it until I got to about 7 or 8.

The thing about shock collars is though - I respect dog trainers when I see them successfully train dogs using positive methods - and dog trainers who use positive methods to successfully train dogs say the following about dogs who have been trained using shock collars -

They say that using methods like shock collars doesn't fix the negative behaviours that have flagged the dog as needing behaviour modification - ie aggressiveness, fearful behaviour, ect., - all it does is suppress the behaviour - it teaches the dog that if they do the negative behaviour that they are going to get this serious pain happen to their neck area that radiates throughout their entire body - so they better stop that behaviour right now. It doesn't teach them alternative behaviours, it doesn't teach them the correct way to do behvaiours - it only teaches them to suppress that bad behaviour in order to make that awful pain stop right now.

So that is the problem with shock collars - as well as prong collars and any other kind of repressive dog training that people use.

You don't get a happy, healthy, well socialized dog - you get a dog that is a ticking time bomb.

So having said all of that - shock collars sold in pet stores is something that needs to be stopped - they don't need to be sold in pet stores - just like puppies didn't need to be sold in pet stores - and we need to tell pet store owners that by talking to the people who work in those stores and saying we won't shop in their stores as long as they are selling these highly abusive appliances.

As well - most pet stores have a section where local businesses can put business cards and advertise for free - and local shock collar trainers have put their business cards there - the two local businesses you have to watch for are "Mangodogs" and "Unleashed Potential" - when you see those cards in pet stores advertising - you have to tell the pet store that as long as those cards are advertising in their store - you CANNOT shop in their store.

I have shopped at Global Pets at Bayers Lake for many years - it was always a safe place to shop - they did not sell shock collars - so it was a good place to shop - but about a month ago I noticed that they had business cards there for both Mangodogs and Unleashed Potential - and I brought it up to staff there and said I could not shop there anymore if they continued to stock their cards - and they refused to take away their cards - so I will NOT shop there anymore as long as they stock their business cards.

Almost all pet stores locally still sell shock collars - Pet Valu, Petsmart, Pet's Unlimited, Walmart, Canadian Tire - they all sell shock collars - basically the only places that do not sell shock collars that sell pet supplies are your local groomer, Jollytails in Halifax, B&R Pet Supplies in Waverly, Petsuff on the Go in Dartmouth, Best Friends Pet Supplies in Tantallon and Clayton Park, and your vet's office.

But watch out for vet's offices - a lot of them have business cards for the 2 shock collar trainers - but please alert staff at the vet's offices if you see them - a lot of vet's don't even know they are there, and when they are alerted that they are in their reception area - they will remove them, because they are as much against shock collars as we are.

So please - let your local pet stores know that you do not support shock collars and you want to see them removed from your pet stores - or you will stop shopping there - your money is going to make all the difference and will get shock collars removed from the shelves.

If you want to see what a shock collar really feels like - I will be demonstrating them on anyone who wants to feel them at the Victoria Barks – Dogs in the Park event being held July 4th from 10am to 2pm in Victoria park - which is on the corner of South Park Street and Spring Garden Road in Halifax. If you want to see what a pet store shock collar or a shock collar trainer shock collar feels like - I will have both of them available to try out.


  1. I approached PetValue regarding the issue of selling shock collars when they first came to town a few years ago. I tried to educate them in the harm that they do and I advised them that it would be in their best interest in promote positive reinforcement training. A shock collar is a one time sale, but people who train with positive reinforcement purchase training treats and toys for the life of the dog. Positive reinforcement builds relationships and when you love your dog you will most likely be spending much more $ at the pet store. They need to realize that shock collars are bad for the dog and bad for their bottom line.

  2. Stop selling them in stores but stop bashing them as well.

    1. Sorry Duke - I will never stop bashing them because I know the truth about them

    2. But Joan you don't know the truth. You spew your opinion as loud as you can. You've made that clear on any forum I've ever seen your name. You're very close minded and one sided. It's 2015 wake up

    3. Who wrote this blog anyways? If you'll even approve this comment

    4. Who am I? Who are you? I have no idea who you are

    5. And if you are a pit bull advocate - I feel sorry for pit bulls, that's for sure

    6. I see you've started your own blog, Zeus - where you are publicly bashing me - you are not a dog trainer either - but you feel qualified to support shock collars as if you are a dog trainer? Isn't that what you are calling me out for? Quite pathetic if you ask me

  3. I am "shocked" at the number of people who think shock collars are acceptable on the "people for dogs site." The site below provides excellent well researched info from real researchers, behaviourist, and trainers on the subject of shock collars.

    I have no doubt many who use shock collars love their dogs, but they resort to shock training because they don't have either the discipline, knowledge, patience or time to actually educate their dogs. They very well may end up with more problems in the long run and a dog that is shut down or worse.

    1. No.. That's what all positive does

    2. Dear Mr. Zeus, I suspect you have never taken the time to read any research studies done on the subject. The science just does not support aversive training (see sites provided above). It's time people here catch up with rest of the world of modern dog relations. It appears to me that those against shock collars are able to put forward their case in a reasoned and respectful manner and those who support the use of shock collars tend to resort to nastiness and bullying in their responses, which is rather telling don't you think?

  4. Also check out

    Keep up your good work Joan!