I just watched a very interesting video. Trainer Frances Dauster decided to see for herself what a shock collar feels like. No, she didn’t put it around her neck, but she did position it so the two prongs that are normally placed against a dog’s neck were positioned against the inside of her wrist.
The “stimulation” as it is sometimes called, began at a very low level, and moved up through level 8, at which point the shock became too painful to proceed any further. The sensation was described at various levels as akin to a mosquito bite, static electricity, a bee sting, a painful slap, and…well, one that elicited an exclamation I can’t reprint here.
At a certain level of shock, although the prongs were against her wrist, one of Frances’ fingers began to twitch. This makes sense, given the nerve pathways’ ability to conduct electricity—we are electrical beings, as are dogs. It does make me wonder, though, in what other parts of a dog’s body the shock is felt, and whether the pain is localized to the neck or if it travels. She also mentioned that it hurt more each time. Do dogs become more and more sensitized when shocked multiple times?
Perhaps most interesting was the comment that was made after a few of the tests that the pain lingered on for a few seconds afterward, then gradually faded. Even if you were a proponent of shock collars, you’d have to admit that if this is the case with dogs as well (and there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t be), pain lingering on after a correction is pretty sloppy training, not to mention cruel. (For the record, I don’t recommend citronella collars for the same reason.)
I’m sure some people will watch the video and thinkm Oh, but you wouldn’t just put a shock collar on a dog at that high of a level. Why then, I would love to know, do shock collars even go up to such insanely strong levels? Naturally, some dogs are more sensitive than others, just as people are, but at some point it becomes obvious that a particular sensation is going to cause serious pain to the majority of recipients.
Another important point to consider is that during this video, the trainer controlled the remote; she knew when she was going to receive a shock. Dogs don’t know. Pain combined with lack of control and the element of surprise is much worse than pain that is self-administered.
I commend Frances Dauster for doing what I certainly would not have done. Perhaps watching this video and hearing the description of the pain at various levels of “stimulation” will stimulate some to throw their shock collars away and “train with your brain—not pain.” You can check out the video for yourself here.