Skewer, electric or hanging collars have long been seen as effective tools to correct the behavior of dogs. However, with time, it has been seen that dogs that use punishment collars do not improve, but develop new behavioral problems.
What are punishment necklaces
Punishment collars are also called training collars. These collars are objects or devices that are placed on the dogs’ neck and that produce a negative experience when they act incorrectly.
Electric collars, for example, produce a vibration or an electric shock when the trainer presses a button on the remote control, or they have activated alone when the dog’s throat vibrates to bark.
Skewer collars feature metal or plastic spikes are nailed to the dog’s neck when he pulls on the leash or is pulled to correct his behavior. Hanging collars, on the other hand, are movable collars that narrow without limit on the neck of the animal.
These collars have been used for many years in the education of dogs. For a time it was thought that they were effective and that dogs that use punishment collars learn to behave better, but it is being shown that they are not only not effective, but only cause new problems.
At present, there are still many canine trainers that employ these collars. However, in many places they are prohibited by law: in many countries in Europe and elsewhere outside the continent they are illegal; in Spain, they are being regulated by autonomous communities.
Why dogs that use punishment collars
Many reasons can lead an owner to wear a punishment collar with his dog: normally, the bad advice of someone who is not a dog education professional, such as a neighbor who has large dogs or a veterinarian who sees the opportunity to Sell a new necklace.
In general, dogs that use punishment collars take them to try to solve a behavior problem that worries their owner: leashes, aggressiveness or excessive energy in the street.
However, punishment collars are not a solution to behavioral problems: at best, what they do is hide the initial problem. That is, the dog learns to contain itself so as not to receive the annoying stimulus, such as the discharge or squeeze of the spikes in the neck.
This does not solve the problem of behavior: it only hides it. The day the owner gets rid of the training collar or increases the dog’s discomfort, which worried the owner so much will reappear. To solve a behavioral problem, you have to go to the root of it, and a necklace will never be the solution.
Behavioral problems that appear with its use
Training collars not only do not solve behavior problems, but they also make them worse and can cause new ones.
Many times, a dog’s bad behavior indicates that there is discomfort in the dog’s day-to-day life: stress, fear or pain, for example. For example, it is common for dogs that bark a lot to suffer from high stress, which, of course, an electric collar for raids does not solve: it only covers the bark, but the problem that causes it still exists.
Covering the symptoms of a bigger problem is not a solution: it is a temporary patch. If the dog feels discomfort and is not resolved, the symptoms of this will end up appearing in other ways: following the example, instead of barking, it could destroy household objects.
Also, provoking the dog continuously negative experiences causes the appearance of behavioral problems that were not there before, according to the rules of behavior and the classical conditioning of Pavlov.
For example, an owner puts a spiked collar on his dog so that he stops pulling the leash. However, the dog feels discomfort or pain in the neck when it is on the street: when a bicycle appears, when another dog approaches to greet, when there is a noise and it scares, etc.
The dog’s brain, unconsciously, begins to relate each of these situations to the pain it feels. Soon, he will believe that every time an unknown dog approaches, he will feel pain: he will do everything possible to keep him away and so that the collar does not tighten him.
Through this basic learning mechanism, the dog will begin to show aggressiveness towards other dogs, children, bicycles, the garbage truck … It is unpredictable what relationships your brain will make.
Fear and stress are very frequent emotions in dogs that use punishment collars. These two emotions derive almost all behavioral problems that bother us in dogs: aggressiveness, excessive barking, leashes, inability to get along with other dogs, destruction of objects at home, etc.
Alternatives to punishment collars
Luckily, animal psychology and dog education have evolved in recent decades. Well-trained educators and families who want the best for their dogs already have many other methods and tools to solve their dogs’ behavioral problems without resorting to fear or pain.
The only effective way to solve a dog’s behavioral problems is to get to the root of this behavior: this way they don’t put on temporary patches and the fix is durable.
Veterinary studies have found that dogs that use punishment collars feel 55% more stress than other dogs. This kind of training collars cause fear and, with this, many other behavior problems derived.