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what functioning? Is it really a good idea?

The dog training collar is a solution that some dog owners choose to use. But if this accessory has made followers, more and more educators and canine experts are warning about the dangers and the uselessness of its use. Indeed, the positive effects of the training collar are to be qualified, because even if the animal ceases to have the behavior which displeases its master so much, this aggressive tool is not without consequences on its physical and psychological health.

In this file, we invite you to discover the different models of dog training collars and how they work. We will also discuss the consequences of their use on the animal as well as other proven methods of education.

What is the dog training collar? How does it work?

Before going into the debate, it seems important to us to talk about the dog and to evoke certain behaviors. When a pooch suddenly spirals out of control upon encountering other dogs on a walk or smelling a trail, this is simply called canine reactivity. The dog thus manifests excitement, frustration or even fear at the sight of a stimulus.

To avoid this natural phenomenon, some masters prefer to opt for the training collar. In reality, there are several types of training collars, also called electric collars.

Anti-bark collars

These anti-bark collars are training collars intended to stop your dog’s repeated barking. As soon as the collar detects the vibrations of the doggie’s vocal cords, it first emits a beep which serves as no more and no less than a warning.

If the dog still barks again, the device sends him an electrostatic stimulation or a light electric shock to encourage the dog to shut up.

Other models of collars send a jet of product to the dog, which is unpleasant for him. Lemongrass is the most used product.

Anti-distance collars

These collars are used to call to order a dog who crosses a certain perimeter defined by his master and who thus strays far too far from him. Equipped with a GPS, the anti-fugue collars also trigger a system of beeps, electrostatic stimulation or electric shock, or a jet of citronella to encourage the animal to return to its master.

What are the consequences of the dog training collar?

Many masters think that the training collar is a miracle solution, because their doggie stops barking as soon as it is used. Indeed, the animal is surprised by the beep it hears, by the electric shock it receives or by the jet of lemongrass that stings its face. As we would in this case, he stops his behavior and therefore he stops barking, to the delight of his master who thinks he has found the remedy to his troubles.

However, the effectiveness of these training collars should be put into perspective. In some doggies, the effect even wears off very quickly and the animal starts barking again after a week or adopting other techniques, such as growling, baring its teeth or attacking when he sees another dog, for example.

But the fact that your little companion stops barking once and for all with the training collar is one thing. On the other hand, the impact of this anti-bark collar on his mental health should not be overlooked. Why ? Quite simply because the message that this process sends to him is not the one you think.

A mixed message

Indeed, if, when your dog sees one of his congeners, he starts barking to invite him to play or to impose himself on him in case of fear, he receives a beep, a jet of lemongrass or electrostatic stimulation, it will stop calling out to the animal due to the startle effect. But it is by no means the idea that he “acted badly” by barking. The dog will associate the jet of citronella or the electric shock with the presence of the other doggie.

As a result, your dog will associate the sight of another dog with an unpleasant or even very unpleasant sensation. On the one hand, your dog is being punished for simply showing emotion. On the other hand, by associating the sight of a congener with a kind of aggression, he risks developing in turn a much more aggressive feeling at the mere sight of a dog.

An inconsistent message

That’s not all. The training collar is not intended to be worn permanently by your dog. As a result, when you are away, your doggie stays at home without wearing it. If he sees another dog through the window, he can quite naturally start barking to show his surprise, his fear or even his excitement. However, since he is not wearing the training collar, he will not hear a warning beep or receive an electric shock or a jet of citronella.

In this case, how could your dog understand that you want him to stop barking since he can do so freely from time to time, especially when you are not present? The risk that your pooch will associate your presence with the pain or embarrassment felt by these warnings is real.

It is not without reason that many canine experts say they are against the use of training collars. In addition to not respecting the well-being of the animal, they send contrary and incoherent messages which can lead to bad associations by the dog and thus lead to behavioral disorders much more serious than the tendency to bark or to stray a little too far from his master.

Furthermore, it seems important to us to alert dog owners to the risk of these devices when they are of poor quality. The danger of failure can cause physical damage (lesions, burns, etc.) in the animal, but also psychological (stress, anxiety, depression, etc.).

Positive education, a preferred method

Rather than using the principle of punishment, as the training collar does, dog training specialists recommend positive dog training. This technique, which has been widely developed for several years, has clearly proven itself. It is based on the benevolence, encouragement and motivation of the animal. By being congratulated, rewarded, the dog takes pleasure in satisfying his master and reproducing good behavior. He thus acts under his free will and develops a healthier relationship with his master, based on trust.

Conversely, the training collar, like any form of punitive education, uses coercion. The animal obeys not out of will, but out of fear of punishment. He gradually loses confidence in his master, who is not a reassuring model.

Here are some keys to help you with an “overly” reactive dog.

Understand him in order to anticipate his reactions

When a dog is stressed, frightened or excited, he shows some warning signs. His hair stands on end, his ears stand up or lie down, his tail wags, his body tenses… these signs should alert you and help you adopt the right behavior.

Avoid the problem

It is best to avoid a confrontation with another dog. It is better to turn around or to distance yourself and go around the animal that excites or frightens your dog. Don’t think your dog will get used to it, his reaction is natural and instinctive.

Work with your pooch

If your dog has a tendency to go towards others or run away from you, work on the recall order. Many owners think that their animal masters it, but this is generally the case at home or in the garden. In the majority of cases, the dog does not master this order to perfection, which is why he does not execute it in any context other than within his home. Do not hesitate to resume learning from the start.

In the meantime, be sure to keep it on a leash when you go out to avoid these inconveniences.

Make sure your dog is healthy

Some behavioral problems may have a medical origin. Thyroid disorders indeed exacerbate feelings of aggression, frustration and irritation in dogs. They are involved in more than 60% of abnormal canine behavior and they are not the only ones. Do not hesitate to talk about it with your veterinarian!

Consult a dog trainer

Despite your good will and your efforts, the situation may not improve. In this case, we recommend that you call on a dog trainer who works according to the principle of the positive method. He will be able to give you advice adapted to your dog and identify the reasons for this behavior.

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