The Dog Collar Controversy

 I am often asked why I am so against the use of choke, pinch and shock collars. I hear statements such as: “There is nothing wrong with these tools as long as you are using them properly.”  Or… “Any tool in the wrong hands can be used in an abusive manner.”  And this one, which I find especially frustrating… “I give my dog a treat after a correction so I am using positive reinforcement.”

When you are training a dog, the dog is working either to gain something he finds desirable or working to avoid or stop something he finds undesirable. A true force-free, humane trainer always strives to keep the dog working for something the dog finds desirable. 

Choke, prong, and shock collars were specifically designed and developed to cause the level of pain, fear or discomfort necessary for the handler to force the results he wants from his dog. The handler is using positive punishment and/or negative reinforcement to either stop undesirable behaviors or to force the dog to perform desirable behaviors.

If a person intends to train using positive reinforcement and/or does not intend to hurt, scare or intimidate their dog, there is absolutely no place in the training for any of these collars. There are plenty of safe, comfortable collars, harnesses, and head halters designed to help make training a positive experience for both dog and handler.

Whether you are looking for a trainer or just a little assistance in choosing safe, dog-friendly training equipment for your dog, you can enlist the help of a truly force-free trainer in your area by going to

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