Glad Wags Service Dogs, Inc condemns the use of “shock collars” for training service dogs.
Glad Wags Service Dogs is not the only group that does not endorse the use of these collars: Dr. Ian Dunbar, DVM (Veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and dog trainer), SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), PETA, The Humane Society of United States, and The American Humane Society, just to name a few.
“Shock collars” include e-collars, tens units, electrical stimulation, vibrating collars, or anything else that uses any kind of electrical impulse to communicate with your dog. Dr. Becker explains that “Shock collars use an electric current that passes through metal contact points to deliver electric signals to your dog, which can range from a mild vibration to painful depending on the strength of the shock”.1
Think about it this way – would you consider teaching your child something by spanking or hitting them? As an example – you follow this process: Spank the child then show him how to tie his shoes; OR hit your teenager before you show him how to do a geometry problem. Do either of these make sense to you? It does not to us.
At Glad Wags we use only voice commands and treats along with appropriate training collars – a simple martingale collar and your voice (which you always have with you.)
We have trained thousands of dogs to do complicated tasks with just a handful of treats and a voice command, both on and off leash. How is your dog completely trained if the only way it responds is when it has a shock collar on? We have encountered hundreds of dogs who have been traumatized (yes traumatized) by being trained with a shock collar before they came to us. Dogs who cannot think for themselves are in a constant state of panic and are physically and emotionally damaged and can be overly reactive to everything. It is HARD to overcome.
Who are these trainers who condone this? Are they experienced trainers who can show you a willing happy dog that can do anything you ask or are they dogs acting like a robot behaving a certain way because if they don’t – they get “shocked” or “spanked” (and are they just scared?)
There are a lot of trainers that claim they can train a service dog in a short amount of time using a shock collar and afterward you get to the keep the collar to use on your dog. What’s the problem with this plan?
Dr. Ian Dunbar says this:
“To use shock as an effective dog training method you will need:
· A thorough understanding of canine behavior.
· A thorough understanding of learning theory.
· Impeccable timing.
And if you have those three things, you don't need a shock collar.”
So the problem with this plan – do you have all three of these things? Everyday dog owners do not have these three things – simply because they have not spent years and years studying and learning about dogs and dog behavior. Unfortunately, even if you have several follow-up meetings with your trainer learning how to use the shock collar you are not going to have these things because it would take YEARS to learn this.
If there are so many people in the industry that DO NOT endorse the use shock collars – why are there trainers that are setting up shop and only using shock collars? We do not know nor do we understand it either – we just know that they do not work. We have several customers who have had personal experience trying to manage a dog that has been shocked by previous owners / trainers and their dogs had (or still have) major emotional problems because of the use of the shock collar.
On October 6, 2020, Petco announced that it stopped selling specific electronic “shock collars”.2
In 2018 England bans the use of electric shock collars across the UK.
If you do an internet search for “Problems with shock collars for dogs” (or any variation of that) you will have a plethora of article to read about why NOT to use these kinds of collars.
Whether you use Glad Wags Service Dogs as your Service Dog provider or not – DO YOUR RESEARCH! Service Dogs are trained to assist you on MANY levels. . .do you want to rely on a dog who needs to alert you to an on-coming seizure when you are driving if it ONLY knows how to alert you when it is shocked?
Consider the following things:
· How many years of experience does your trainer have training service dogs?
· Do they provide follow-up support / and or face to face training for the lifetime of your service dog?
· How many do they have successfully working?
· Do they put their organization name on their dogs (are they proud of their training)?
· Are your dogs trained to federal guidelines as well as guidelines issued by IAADP or other well-known service dog associations?
· Do they provide References?
· Does their website provide testimonials?
· Do they have predatory pricing? Yes Service Dogs can be expensive – but we don’t believe that they need to be 20-50K for a service dog.
Some fact about our dogs:
· Glad Wags Service Dogs operates with very high standards and expectations of both its dogs and its clients.
· Glad Wags dogs consistently demonstrate faultless behavior in public and 100% accurate working ability.
· Glad Wags dogs WANT to work for us. They have WORK ETHIC and they enjoy their job.
We accomplish this with HUMANE AND KIND training methods that have been proven time and time again and for several decades and we test and chose dogs that want a job.
Before you decide on a trainer ask those hard questions and especially ask them how many dogs they have working and how many years they have been training dogs.
1. Becker, Dr. Karen Shaw: “Electric Shock Collars Banned In England, an Analysis”, April 4,2019. Healthypets.mercola.com.
2. “Petco Ends the Sale of Electronic “Shock” Collars, PRNeswire, 10/6/2020)