Misuse of these collars appears to be the most common problem. Pet owners will typically pull on these chains or use these collars after the dog misbehaved. The problem is that the dog has almost always shifted his or her attention to something else and isn’t thinking about what angered the owner. The dog then associates this random painful sensation with whatever he or she is focusing on. This can be dangerous if the dog is focusing on another object, another dog, a child or the owner.
Shock, pinch, choke, command and Illusion collars serve one purpose: to block the blood flow to the dog's brain.
According to neurologist and animal welfare advocate, Jean Zuniga, MD, PhD, these collars can actually cause permanent damage in the dog.
Strokes happen because not enough blood gets to the brain. Blood flow stops when an artery carrying blood to the brain becomes blocked. The technical name for this type of brain attack is cerebral infarction. It is also called ischemic stroke. "Ischemic" refers to a condition caused by a decreased supply of oxygenated blood to a body part.
Other behavioral side effects could occur, including fear of a certain person or a certain area. Or worse, the dog could become aggressive toward people or places he or she associates with the pain.
Even in experienced hands, it can take several repeated attempts before the dog associates the shock or choke with the wrong behavior and even more before he or she learns how to avoid it by acting the correct way. Then, of course, there is the chance of accidentally pulling on the chains at the wrong times or a shock collar malfunctioning, confusing the dog even more.
According to recent medical studies, the use of these methods can cause numerous types of physical injuries to a dog, including vertebrae damage, fainting, spinal cord injuries, organ malfunctions, bruising of the trachea, larynx or esophagus and sharp headaches.
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Lockwood, R., Ascione, F.R., 1998. Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence: Readings in Research and Application. Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, IN. p. 452.
Overall, K.L., 2007. Why electric shock is not behavior modification. J. Vet. Behav.: Clin. Appl. Res. 2, 1-4.
Pauli, A.M., Bentley, E., Diehl, K.A., Miller, P.E., 2006. Effects of the application of neck pressure by a collar or harness on intraocular pressure in dogs. J. Am. Anim. Hosp. Assoc. 42, 207-211.
Schafe, G.E., Nader, K., Blair, H.T., LeDoux, J.E., 2001. Memory consolidation of Pavlovian fear conditioning: A cellular and molecular perspective. Trends Neurosci. 24, 540-546.
Schilder, M.B.H., van der Borg, J.A.M., 2004. Training dogs with the help of the shock collar: Short and long term behavioural effects. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 85, 319-334
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