Electric shock dog collar videos on YouTube draw fierce criticism

Hunting dog in the ripening grain. Hot summer day.
Electric dog collars have been criticised by animal rights groups. (Credits: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Videos promoting the use of ‘shock collars’ for dogs on YouTube have been criticised by animal rights charities. Used in ‘dog training’ videos, animal welfare charity Blue Cross said the methods are ‘inhumane and ineffective’ and should either come with a warning or be banned altogether.

Electric shock collars for pets is currently legal, though the government promised to ban them in 2018.

Designed to deliver large jolts of electricity in order to control an animal’s behaviour, proponents of the tool say they are safe and effective.

But animal rights charities strongly disagree, arguing that the devices can cause psychological damage, making dogs more aggressive or even needing to be put down.

‘It takes two minutes for someone to watch a short video on YouTube and purchase a shock collar with no knowledge of how to use them,’ said Ryan Neile, head of behaviour at Blue Cross.

‘It is easy to find images online of dogs who have been scarred and burnt from these awful devices and they perpetuate fear and anxiety.

‘We would ask dog owners to not rely on quick fix YouTube videos and speak to a charity to get the right behavioural advice.’

Reduce Stress. Dr. Becker notes, “The key is to reduce anxiety triggers.” If you have a vet visit, “don’t get the carrier out the night before,” give them a few days to get prepared. If they’re nervous alone or travelling, play soothing music, or draw the shades. The less stimulus pets receive from the outside world, the less anxiety they’ll have about events outside their control.

electronic collar
The collars deliver a jolt of electricity to dogs (Photo: Getty)

Dog ownership has surged during the pandemic, with illegal puppy farms booming and many owners neglecting their pets.

The rise in dog ownership has led many new owners to turn to YouTube for training advice.

But Blue Cross warned that owners should look for alternative methods to e-collars when searching through YouTube for pet tips.

Last year, dog trainer David Pitbladdo filmed himself wearing the device and setting it off in a plea for the devices to be banned.

But some YouTube channel dog trainers argue that e-collars are safe with proper use, and when used responsibly can prevent livestock being harmed.

‘My work deals with dogs that will chase and kill animals, and their behaviour often cannot be helped by other methods,’ said YouTube dog trainer Jamie Penrith.

‘People should give their dog every opportunity to change – or else they could be put down for bad behaviour.’

He claimed that taking down his videos would amount to ‘censorship’, as they were an ‘educational resource on responsible use’.

Make your own pill pockets when you need to feed your dog some medicine.

The government, acting under the guidance of then Environment Secretary Michael Gove, promised to ban the devices in 2018, arguing the collars caused ‘harm and suffering’, but they have yet to do so. ‘Wales banned electric shock collars over ten years ago but Westminster continues to lag behind in bringing in legislation to stop cruel aversive training tools,’ says Ryan Neile of Blue Cross.

Sign Up for News Updates

Get your need-to-know latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more

Not convinced? Find out more »