As a dog owner I fully understand how important training is. After all, we want our pets to have a good life, but we also want to make sure that they are behaving in a way that is appropriate. While I was looking at different methods of training it was inevitable that I would come across information about using dog training collars, which are essentially shock collars, in order to get your dog to behave.
There is a lot of information out there about shock collars for training your dogs. It seems to be quite common to use these types of collars for training hunting dogs.
First, let’s consider how these shock collars work. The idea behind them is quite simple. If your pet has a behavior that you want to reduce or get rid of, you simply apply a punishment each time this behavior occurs. In this case, you would give the pup a small shock each time he misbehaves. This punishment is designed to eliminate the unwanted behavior.
B.F. Skinner is considered to be the father of Operant Conditioning and he stated that positive reinforcement is more effective than punishment when trying to modify a behavior. As a teacher, I have to consider this to be somewhat true. While there are situations that call for a punishment in order to get a point across, in most cases, positive reinforcement in my classroom works much better for modifying behavior than aggressive punishment.
The question is, why do some people think that using a shock collar is the most effective way to train their hunting dogs? Would positive reinforcement work just as well? When doing some research I have found that there are arguments for both sides and when it comes down to it, the effectiveness of using a shock collar really depends on the dog. Every dog is different and while some dogs respond well to the use of training collars, there are other dogs that become traumatized from the use and even end up with symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, which in turn makes them ineffective at hunting.
On another note, there are many proponents of the use of dog training collars who state that this is the only way to train a hunting dog. These people state that training collars are the best way to keep their dogs safe during a hunt and this may be true.
When considering the training involved for a hunting dog, one has to consider the fact that these dogs are going to be out in the wilderness with other animals and it is important that they know when to come back to their owners in order to remain safe. Using a training collar for a hunting dog is one way to teach them commands that they will need to know while they are out on the hunt. These collars can also help these hunting dogs learn their boundaries so that they do not wander off to far while they are out hunting.
Overall, it seems that many hunters will use these training collars for their hunting dogs as a way to keep them safe. However, there are some hunters who prefer other training methods as well and it really comes down to the personality of the dog that is being trained.
Personally, I would only use these shock collars as an absolute last resort. I feel that most dogs can be trained using other methods of positive reinforcement that are much more humane and do not cause the dog any harm.