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My dog barks when he hears certain sounds from our neighborhood such as the sounds of other dogs around. Some people suggest that I buy an electronic collar that shocks the dog when he barks.

Do such devices really work? Anyone here tried them themselves?

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    Not a full answer, but there’s a good chance that the dog doesn’t learn „when I bark I get zapped“, but „when that other dog barks, I get zapped“ That can have a lot of side effects and „wrong“ associations that you certainly don’t want. Also, why do you want your dog to be quiet when others are making a noise? Have you considered a „stop it“ where yours can do a quick „acknowledgement woof“ or two and then stop it? I understand that one „woof“ from next door should not trigger a full-blown „drama show“, of course.
    – Stephie
    Dec 15, 2022 at 15:44
  • When the trigger is not that big, then a ‘stop it’ can work, but not always. But when the trigger is big, like a dog is very close to our house, then he barks several times very loudly and ‘stop it’ doesn’t work at all. Sometimes when I am close to my dog I can predict he is going to bark (because whenever he is going to bark at threatening sounds from outside he first makes a snoring-like sound) and I say stop it or distract him somehow, and that often works.
    – Sasan
    Dec 17, 2022 at 7:05

2 Answers 2

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Shock collars don't usually work.

They use a microphone to associate a noise with a command from a tiny computer chip inside, connected to a battery, connected to a wire that is touching the dog. When the microphone "hears" a bark, it sends a command to the chip, that is sent to the battery, that sends a pulse of electricity through the wire, that shocks the dog.

The only problem is that most collars are designed to know what a bark sounds like from any breed of dog, and microphones are pretty bad at knowing where a sound came from. Whenever the mic hears a bark, coming from anywhere, it shocks the dog. This can mess with your dog's mind, because animals think very simply by associating good and bad with certain things. You hope the dog thinks bark=shock, shock=pain/discomfort, pain/discomfort=bad. But when you have other dogs around, they might be barking as well, so not only is the dog being shocked for itself, but for others too.

Animals think like this: good=do it again bad=avoid at all costs. As you could imagine, the shock from the collar goes into your dog's mind as bad. If you do choose to do a shock collar, please prepare to put up with the guilt of the living hell you'll put your dog through for no reason.

I looked even deeper and found an article that said and I quote "Shock collars can cause dogs to be afraid of their owners, and in severe cases, can even cause damage to the vocal cords." According to a news site I confirmed was credible, AP news, " From time immemorial, human beings have been under the impression that mammals that live among us -- from horses and cattle, oxen, sheep and goats to cats and dogs -- needed mistreatment to do what the humans wanted them to do."

"Yes, that is an appalling declaration, but it’s sadly true in so many regards. Shock collars or “e-collars,” are typically used for the alleged purpose of controlling a dog’s vocalizing (barking) or as a “tool” for other training."

Instead of a shock collar, I'd recommend something you do yourself, like if your dog is trained, you could tell it to "stop" when barking. If not, do something you know your dog dislikes (good examples would be tap in a place your dog does not like to be touched, like the snout or between the eyes) be sure to be careful when doing so because every dog is different. For example, my dog stopped barking when I lightly tapped him on the nose, but he is trained, so he knew exactly why I was doing it, your dog might not understand why you are doing it even if trained and might get the (hopefully) false impression that you dislike him/her. here's some evidence that they don't work. Lots of good research shows this including this.

So, in conclusion, shock collars don't work, and it'd be better to just discipline the dog yourself.

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    Do you have a citation for this? I've found plenty of well-researched references both supporting and opposing the effectiveness of collars; this reads more like an angry rant against them than a reasoned argument. Can you break up the wall of text and add some citations supporting your argument?
    – Allison C
    Dec 15, 2022 at 16:36
  • @AllisonC not an angry rant, but rather, a conclusion drawn from real research and personal experience. Dec 15, 2022 at 18:13
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    I'm sure you think it's not an angry rant, but the issue is it looks and reads like one. You have a dense block of text that's difficult to read, without adequate citations, just two blogs that agree with your viewpoint. I don't own dogs and thus, figuratively speaking, don't have a "dog in the fight" on shock collars, but your answer as it currently stands needs improvement to be taken seriously. Please don't be offended, this is an attempt to help you craft a good answer! At a minimum, start with some line breaks to make it readable, then you can start adding some citations.
    – Allison C
    Dec 15, 2022 at 18:39
  • @AllisonC no offence taken. I now see what you mean. But I really don't like the idea of shock collars, mainly because no one wants to get shocked every time they try to speak, and it seems like a cruel practice. Which is why every dog I own I only train by being annoying when they disobey and being really nice when they obey. I say really nice, because I'm a nice person regardless of whether training is going on or not. Dec 15, 2022 at 18:59
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    Hi and thanks for taking the time to answer. I do agree with most of what you write, but the way you cite other sources is not optimal. Please have a look at this help article. When writing / editing your answer, there's a "quote" button at the top that changes the appearance of the quoted text. This makes it very clear which parts are your own words and which parts come from other sources. In addition to that you should add a link to the original text (or write the name of the book etc) to credit the original author.
    – Elmy
    Dec 16, 2022 at 12:20
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Shock collars are cruel and horrible things. They can cause terrible electricity burns on your dog's neck, and if the pulse is strong enough, it can cause heart problems. Imagine putting your dog through an eclectically charged rat trap. That's what it would be like.

After some research I came to this article, shock collars are harmful

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    Welcome! While I understand your passion, we expect all posts to show a certain level of objectivity, so instead of just making claims (they may well be true), it’s very much recommended to back them up with scientific sources wherever possible. I strongly recommend you edit your post to make it less subjective and more objective.
    – Stephie
    Dec 16, 2022 at 19:06
  • Of course I love my dog. That is why I am taking so much time to find out about a training method before using it. To talk like a morality wise-ass is not called for here. Instead, you can give your evidentially-supported view on why you think shock therapy is not a good method.
    – Sasan
    Dec 17, 2022 at 7:20
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    @Sasan I know, and I apologize.
    – RovingMars
    Jan 3, 2023 at 16:28

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