“But e-collars aren’t shock collars!”

Petco announced they would no longer sell remote shock collars, a huge step forward for the dog training industry, and I join the many voices applauding that change and their #StopTheShock Movement. You can read more about it here.

But as I read the posts what is jumping out is the amount of people in the comments asking if that meant e-collars are also banned. They are told yes, e-collars are shock collars and therefore no longer sold. So then they reply that e-collars are different though and don’t hurt the dog . . . and my head explodes. Not because of the people making these comments, but because of the professionals who told them that.

This to me is why there needs to be more regulation in the dog training industry. Because there are people out there telling clients that e-collars are different, that they don’t hurt, that they just “stimulate” the dog. And while they do make collars that just vibrate or beep, the e-collars they are referring to are not those types. Are the trainers lying or are they ignorant? I don’t know which is scarier.

If you want to train with fear/pain, that is your choice, and if you want to sell those methods to clients, that is your choice. But please don’t misrepresent those methods to your clients. That is not fair. They deserve to make an educated choice.

Clients deserve full disclosure of the pros and cons of any method used with their dog, and trainers who are educated enough to provide those pros and cons.

The bottom line is e-collars/shock collars, whatever you want to call them work because they apply an unpleasant stimulus. Just as marking and rewarding with food/play work by applying a pleasant stimulus. It’s science.

Dog owners – please do your research because until the industry has some kind of regulation, and likely even then, it is buyer beware and there are a lot of people out there who you need to be aware of. Just because someone is on YouTube saying they are an expert doesn’t mean they are, it just means they have a camera and a YouTube channel. And this applies to all people saying they are dog trainers, regardless of their methods. And don’t trust all certifications, some require nothing more then the willingness to pay $100 and an e-mail address.

Find out what those credentials after someone’s name means, and what they stand for before you hire someone.

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