Why are Shock Collars Still Being Used?

It could be the fact that they have been around for quite some time. Since the late 1960's dog owners have had the option of purchasing these collars. Albeit in their nascent beginnings, they were primarily bought and used to train hunting dogs, their popularity grew among dog owners, finding them useful for other training purposes.

The fact that they are not only still around, but have technologically evolved, with more retailers selling them, it does beg the question: with so many other options out there to address behavioral problems with our furry family members, why are shock collars still being used?

In a recent article published in the Washington Post   this issue is again being surfaced with clear lines being drawn between those for and against using a shock collar. In other developed countries such as Quebec, Wales, and parts of Australia the shock collar has been banned completely, with Canada, Scotland, and Britain considering it. In the U.S. shock collars are unregulated and far from being banned. This could very well change, as a growing number of people are beginning to speak out against the use of these collars resulting in a recent ordinance adopted by Alexandria, VA which limits their use on public property. Not a complete ban, but viewed by its proponents as a step in the right direction. And if Russel Upol, interviewee for the article, is successful with his petition to ban them in the state of Oklahoma this will be another win for those opposed to this type of training. In Russell's case, however, things took a bit of a turn. He did some research, talked to a few people who actually used shock collars on their animals and decided that an all-out ban on shock collars might not be the right way to go. He softened his position a bit pushing instead for mandatory training for folks who wish to use shock collars on their dogs.

Often in some cases the answer to a question is easier than one might think. So why are shock collars still being used, well maybe it is as simple as, “because they can.” I don't think those people who decide to use shock collars are doing so with the intent to be mean or cruel to their pet. I think it is a matter of convenience for some as they are readily available, while others find the use of “shock” and the efficacy of these collars are strong enough to work on their dogs because nothing else has. At the very least I think we all owe it to our four-legged friends we share this planet with that at the very least we need to keep the conversation going. Reminding people that shock collars are not for every dog and that other options are available and should be acknowledged before considering this method of behavior modification. Even though Russel Upol was only able to garner 700 of the 50,000 signatures he needed for his petition, “for now,” he said, he's satisfied with having brought attention to the collars.

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