Is Using an Electric Collar for Training Your Dog Cruel?

As a Utah dog training company that uses electric dog training collars with many of our clients I’m often asked the question on whether or not they’re cruel or inhumane.

It’s a valid question.

If you go research ‘electric collars’ or ‘remote collars’ or ‘shock collars’ or ‘e collars’ online it’s likely you’ll find:

  • Pictures of wounds from these collars
  • Stories of people telling how the collar didn’t work
  • Stories of people saying how the collar made their dog worse
  • Plenty of other horror stories…

So…are they true?

As someone who has been using e-collars for over a decade my answer will surprise you…


Well, if these horror stories are true then why would I, as a dog trainer, advocate for using these collars?


And I can answer it with a simple example.

If you give a skilled craftsperson a hammer and a saw and a few other odds and ends he or she may be able to create a beautiful and functional shelf, or table, or piece of art.

If you give those SAME TOOLS to someone who has no idea how to use them, or worse, has malevolent aims, they could create a disaster! Or tear down something of value.

Tools are neither good nor bad.

Tools simply do the bidding of those who are holding them.

So if you’re the one using the e-collar and you have no idea what you’re doing, or use it in anger, it’s highly possible you create a dog who is afraid of you.

But it’s likely you would have done the same with a leash. Or even without a leash.

Tools are simply a way to amplify your ability and intentions.

No ability? Better you don’t use the tool.

Bad intentions? Better you don’t have the dog.

Here’s the good news.

Using an electric collar to train your dog isn’t done in an intuitive way. There’s lots of things you need to learn and new techniques you have to gain competency with.

But we’ve found that just about any dog owner with the right intentions can do so.

Check out our programs to help you train your dog if you’re in Utah.

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