Shock Collars

Written by Sarah Provost
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Shock collars, when properly used, can be extremely helpful in training your dog. There are two basic types of shock collars. Some are designed specifically to control excessive barking; these collars respond automatically to barking noise and/or vibrations. Others are controlled by the trainer, who uses a remote-control device to administer the correction at will.

Shock Collars to Correct Unwanted Barking

Collars specifically designed for barking have the advantage that you do not need to be present for the training to work, and if you are present, you don't need to do anything. These collars automatically respond to either the sound of barking or vibrations from your dog's vocal cords, or both. A microprocessor responds to the stimulus by emitting a sonic signal, a mild electrostatic shock, or both. These collars can be programmed to begin with a weak correction and increase the level as the barking continues.

The drawback to this kind of collar is that it is only effective against barking, whereas remote shock collars can be used for any kind of training or behavior modification. If you're relaxing on the porch and Cissy's digging up the garden or chasing a car or the neighbor's cat, you can send her an instant message to stop. Shock collars can also be used to reinforce obedience training, or as an aid to training sporting dogs.

In such cases, it is very important to teach the dog the proper behavior first, and then use the shock collar for correction when the dog does not obey the command. Using "correction" until a dog learns a behavior is ineffective, since the dog can only obey by chance when he doesn't know what is expected. He will be confused and frightened, and this negative response may well transfer to the training sessions or to the trainer himself.

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