Last year, a couple in Singapore did an experiment: They both tried on a shock collar and a prong collar to see what they feel like. They summed it up as follows:
“I expected it to be uncomfortable but I had no idea how painful it would really be. I had to remove the shock collar immediately for fear of being shocked again. It’s not just the physical pain that’s scary. The anticipation and not knowing when you will be shocked again is actually worse than the physical pain.”
And the prong collar left red marks around the man’s neck, even though he hadn’t forcefully tugged or yanked on it.
Not only do shock, prong, and choke collars cause pain, dogs have also died as a result of wearing these devices. A dog was apparently strangled to death by a Wisconsin trainer using a choke collar, and at an “elite” Manhattan doggie day care, a dog was found strangled and hanging from a choke collar.
Try to imagine metal prongs working their way into your neck. That’s happened to countless dogs, including Roc, who was found in South Carolina with a prong collar embedded deeply into his skin and another dog named Rocky found with a choke chain embedded at least an inch into his neck.
Even when dogs aren’t experiencing serious or fatal injuries as a result of wearing these collars, they’re often left traumatized. A Melbourne, Florida, K-9 named Canto apparently suffered from severe psychological trauma and sustained injuries to his neck from the “prolonged overuse” of an electric shock collar. A Pennsylvania woman said that her dog “completely withdrew and isolated and … he looked broken” after being shocked at a boarding kennel.
As ethicist Dr. Marc Bekoff puts it:
“There simply is no reason to cause pain to teach dogs how to live with us. Mutual respect and tolerance go a long way in developing and maintaining positive relationships between dogs and humans, and it’s surely not at all shocking to know that dogs don’t want to be shocked into submission or fear. Who would?”
If you’re using a shock, prong, or choke collar, please stop immediately. Humane harnesses are available, and in fact, many companion animal supply stores rightfully refuse to sell painful collars.
If your dog’s trainer claims that a prong or shock collar is necessary, drop them, too. Here are some tips on choosing an ethical trainer and additional information on collar safety.