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When One Calls a Shock Device an "Innocuous Vibration," Here Is Our Response

21 Feb 2020 11:37 AM | Shock Free Administrator (Administrator)

A vibration is simply a euphemism for electric shock. It doesn't matter what the product is called. The effect is the same. An aversive Is anything that a pet tries to avoid or escape from. This leash technique is designed to work as a correction device. 

PPG does not recommend any “pet correction devices” or aversive stimuli intended for pet care, management, or training by eliciting a “startle response,” and/or an alarm reaction to prevent a behavior such as pulling, barking, jumping up, growling or any other problematic behavior. Ramirez-Moreno and Sejnowski (2012) define the startle response as a “largely unconscious defensive response to sudden or threatening stimuli, such as sudden noise or sharp movement” that is “associated with negative affect.” (cited from The Use of Pet Correction Devices, 2019:

Please consider the following:

Masson et al. (2018) note there are many parameters to consider when modulating the intensity of shock delivered and highlight all of the following as concerns: “…the level of pain felt by the dog…shock intensity (Schilder and van der Borg, 2007, Lindsay, 2005), shock duration (Schilder and van der Borg, 2007), electrode size (Lindsay, 2005), beep warning and response time (Schalke et al. 2007), degree of humidity, and the morphology of the dog itself [hair length, moisture level of skin, subcutaneous fat level (Jacques and Myers, 2007)]. Together, these data render it nearly impossible to determine the appropriate intensity of shock for a particular dog in any given situation (Lindsay, 2005).”

There also appears to be a significant individual difference among dogs in terms of sensitivity to the pain caused by an electric shock. This is unrelated to the thickness of the dog’s coat (Masson et al., 2018). Masson et al. (2018) address reports by individuals who have tested an electric shock collar on themselves and stated that it does not hurt by pointing out that dog skin is “more sensitive to shock” than human skin. Indeed, the canine epidermis is 3-5 cells thick; however, in humans, it is at least 10-15 cells thick.” (Vet West Animal Hospitals, 2019).

State Ha and Campion (2019): “Animals can learn through both positive and negative learning, which operate on different brain pathways and use unique dopamine receptors…the DR1 receptors are generally viewed as ‘positive’ receptors, while the DR2 receptors are ‘negative’ receptors. Across multiple species, studies have shown that individuals will prefer to stimulate their DR1 receptors over their DR2. While punishment, which stimulates the DR2 receptors, might appear to have an immediate result, stimulating the DR1 receptors is more effective for learning in the longer term. Combining positive and negative with one another neurologically and psychologically confuses the learning process.” (cited from Pet Training and Behavior Consulting: A Model for Raising the Bar to Protect Professionals, Pets and Their People, 2019:

A dog trained via shock or vibration or whatever you want to call it is not being taught a new behavior. He is not learning anything. He will not be in the right frame of mind to learn anything because he will be too busy trying to avoid the next shock. It is virtually impossible for the trainer to be consistent in the application of the punishment, particularly in the hands of a child or unskilled trainer. In addition, any time the device is not present, the pulling behavior will still be there. The fallout of such unpredictable and aversive training methods has been well documented by a growing body of scientific research; risks include aggression, fearfulness, and total shutdown. There is absolutely no need to use aversive training methods when all the scientific research shows that the opposite, i.e. positive reinforcement methods, are more effective and, not to mention, ethically sound. It would really be a shame if any licensed veterinarian were to endorse any kind of product that is already known to cause behavior problems that are far more serious than the basic manners issue of a dog that pulls because he has not been trained to walk on a loose leash. Behavior problems are the top reason that pets are relinquished to shelters and/or euthanized. Why on earth would anyone want to add to that already damning statistic?

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The Shock-Free Coalition believes that pets have an intrinsic right to be treated humanely,to have each of their individual needs met, and to live in a safe, enriched environment free from force, pain and fear.

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