Shock Collars Unnecessary -- and Cruel
By Sally Cragin
Dear Pet Talk: Are shock collars necessary to train dogs? -- Hannah, Memorial Middle School, Fitchburg.
Dear Hannah: Absolutely not. 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.
The shock collar administers a painful dose of electricity to the animal from a remote control. What many experts say shock collars and similar treatment achieves is the reverse of what’s desirable: an animal comes to associate its interactions with humans with pain. The predictability of the pain can prompt a dog to start displaying fearful or aggressive behavior.
Please share this column with anyone you know considering this barbaric method. But let’s give a cheer to Scotland, Wales, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany, Quebec and parts of Australia, all of which have banned the e-collar. Stateside, Denver-based dog trainer Mary Angilly has proposed an ordinance to ban the shock collar. If passed, this would be the first time a U.S. city has outlawed this cruel and unnecessary implement.
Sally Cragin is the director of Be PAWSitive: Therapy Pets and Community Education. Send questions to sallycragin @verizon.net . Visit “Be PAWSitive” on Facebook. The agency is happy to visit residential care facilities, after-school programs, and other facilities where a therapy pet could provide some comfort and joy.