Shock, Spray, Beep, we've all heard of them, but how do they work?
The new collar is put on the dog. It feels a little heavy, but, hey, they’re used to wearing a collar so they go about their business and soon forget they are wearing it.
Next, somebody approaches their land, so the dog does its normal job of alerting its humans that someone is approaching.
WHACK!!! Out of nowhere they get a blow to the neck. The Whack can be the shock, a squirt of something disgusting right in to their face that makes them cough, sneeze and hurts their throat, or a frightening noise that upsets the dog.
They have no idea where it came from, or how to avoid it, but all they know is that when they saw the person approaching, and decided that person had become enough of a threat to them or their family that they needed to bark, OUCH!!
Later, someone approaches again. This time the dog may become aware of the sensation of the vibration, but it’s likely the dog will pay little attention to it because they are busy doing their job of warning away the stranger. Again, the stranger comes close enough for them to feel threatened, and again, WHACK!!!
After a couple of repetitions of this the dog will start to associate the vibration as a warning that the whack is imminent.
They will also, and this is important, associate the approaching person as the cause of the warning and the whack.
As time goes on the dog will learn (in many cases) that even if you fear the person approaching, or feel that they might be a threat to your family, you dare not bark because then the person will cause a WHACK to your neck.
Now the vibration has become the bully holding their fist up to their victim’s face. Maybe the victim will stay quiet because the threat of a punch is enough to frighten them in to silence. Maybe the victim will speak out (bark) every now and again, and the WHACK will come. Either way, the whack, or the threat of the whack is enough to keep the dog in a stressful state and continue to strengthen their fear and dislike of approaching people.
When the marketing companies advertise electric shock collars as ‘only giving a mild vibration to stop the bark’ they forget about the fall out. If the vibration stops the dog from barking, then we know that they are so afraid of the WHACK that they remain silent and do not tell the scary person approaching to go away.
IF the collar was not frightening the dog, the dog would continue to bark. If learning occurs, the dog learns to stay quiet, yes, this is true, but the dog also learns to fear the person approaching and lives in a world where the threat of a WHACK is ever present. Not the world I want my dogs to live in!