Why I Don't Use E-Collars

For those who are pro-e-collar,
Here is my challenge #1

Show me one study that supports the use of electronic collars!

You could not find one, right?

Challenge #2 Use it on your spouse.
Explain to them what you're up to,
and instead of asking them to do something, use the "tool.”
At the end of the day, ask them how "free" they felt, how much trust they had in their decisions, and what they felt during the stimulus control.

I everything you will read here is scientific backed you can click on the links ( bolt blue) and read up.

First I want to thank you for reading this blog. I put a lot off effort, research and experience into this; not to blame you or pro-aversive tool people, but to educate and help you learn the truth, and bust some myths that manufacturers promote to sell their products.

Who should you trust?

The scientific community:

Study Shows No Credible Scientific Evidence Justifying Electronic Shock Collars

The study considers 3 types of electronic collars: anti-bark collars that give a shock when the dog barks, electronic boundary fences that give a shock when the dog crosses the boundary, and remote-controlled collars that give a shock at the will of the pet owner.

Studies show that using shock may result in increased fear, aggression, or learned helplessness. People who use shock collars may end up paying even more money on a dog trainer or behaviorist if using the collar affects the human-animal relationship or the welfare of the dog.” Journal of Veterinary Behavior

If you don't like my association and comparison between humans and dogs, it's ok.
Just a heads up that all mammals are emotionally intelligent.

Dogs were greatly esteemed in Mesopotamia as protectors, healers, and companions of the gods.

Before I get to the technical stuff I wanted to emphasize the uniqueness of the canine species.

"This relationship is well established in Mesopotamia from as early as 3300 BCE in the southern area known as Sumer"-www.ancient.eu
see plate to the right

According to scientific research, dogs learned more from humans during their synergistic relationship over 35,000 years, than humans did from dogs. Humans would communicate with dogs in a natural way, with body language and emotional expressiveness. Humans bury dogs the last 16,000 years. We’ve gone back 100 years into a dark age of dog training when we rely on positive punishment or negative punishment  reinforcement tools to communicate with our animals.  B.F.Skinner did an extended research which some took it to the extreme.



But the problem started earlier when the war needed dogs to do the job quickly and accurate at any cost. 
"Konrad Most began training dogs for police work in Germany, and was appointed principal of the State Breeding and Training Establishment for police dogs in Berlin, where he carried out original research into training dogs for a broad range of service tasks. At the outbreak of war in 1914 he was charged with organising and directing the use of dogs to further the war effort." -Wikipedia

If you don't believe in science, you should not use the e-collar. It's made of hundreds of components designed by electronic scientists who have no scientific background of dog behavior modification. They only understand the economic value of using aversive tools to send a message to the dog.

Today the majority of professional dog training scientists who analyzed data over decades came to the conclusion that there has been more damage done than good.

Scientists confirm E- collars are not working for dogs
Ok, I get the point that some dogs need to be reached remotely.

And I also understand that you might work with the toughest dogs in the world.

Bottom line is that I hear the same arguments about e-collars that I hear about guns.

They both come from a fear point of view, and a lack of emotional power and confidence.

So we use tools.

Who I am to talk about collars?
I worked with them for several years when I began my career as a dog trainer because I was told it's ethical.  My first one I made myself ( I'm a retired industrial engineer and reverse prototype specialist- I've worked on many items that you use in your life every day.)
I work with aggressive dogs on euthanasia lists and dogs returned to rescue. I work with deaf and blind dogs. I specialize in giant breeds and so called bully breeds. I have international and local clients. I coach trainers, rescues, and the nation's biggest non-kill shelters.

The strengthening of behavior which results from reinforcement is appropriately called ‘conditioning’. In operant conditioning, we ‘strengthen’ an operant in the sense of making a response more probable or, in actual fact, more frequent.
— B. F. Skinner, (Science and Human Behavior, 1953)

Not convinced yet?


Test the collar on your skin to feel what the dog feels: BUSTED

The epidermis of a dog is 3-5 cells thick however in humans it is at least 10-15 cells thick. Testing the e/collar on your skin is not a valid comparison, this can cause the shock to feel much more intense to a dog.

  • Studies show that using shock may result in increased fear, aggression, or learned helplessness.

  • People who use shock collars may end up paying even more money on a dog trainer or behaviorist if using the collar affects the human-animal relationship or the welfare of the dog.

  • E-fence keeps your dog from escaping. BUSTED: One study showed a higher risk of escape associated with electronic fences compared to physical fences.

  • My dog loves his e-collar: BUSTED: Shocked dogs exhibited more stress than dogs trained by other methods, even outside of training sessions. Schilder, Matthijs BH, and Joanne AM Van der Borg. “Training dogs with help of the shock collar: short and long term behavioural effects.” Applied Animal Behaviour Science 85, no. 3-4 (2004): 319-334. 

  • Aggressive dogs need to be punished! BUSTED: Confrontational dog training methods can elicit aggressive responses: Herron, Meghan E., Frances S. Shofer, and Ilana R. Reisner. “Survey of the use and outcome of confrontational and non-confrontational training methods in client-owned dogs showing undesired behaviors.” Applied Animal Behaviour Science 117, no. 1-2 (2009): 47-54

  • Dogs learn faster when corrected! BUSTED: High levels of punishment may have adverse effects upon a dog’s behaviour. Reward-based training may improve a dog’s ability to learn.Rooney, Nicola Jane, and Sarah Cowan. “Training methods and owner–dog interactions: Links with dog behaviour and learning ability.” Applied Animal Behaviour Science 132, no. 3-4 (2011): 169-177.

The emotional pain is deep

As an abuse victim, canine trauma behavior specialist and intuitive ( empath) healer,
I feel and communicate with animals in a non-verbal language and I realized that an e-collar is a tool that has no use in my toolbox. I feel it's unethical as a healer to put the dog into an emotional state that creates a fear of failure.

I tested several collars on myself.

I tested several collars on myself.

I'm not calling anyone unethical, I’m just explaining my personal ethical standpoint.

It's time for us professionals to raise our vibration and confidence, and be preventive and authoritative in our interaction with dogs.

Understanding emotional energy, trauma, stress, and disabilities will allow us to help dogs better and with long term stability.


Roman Gottfried is an internationally renowned Holistic Dog Training, Intuitive Healer  and Dog/Human Relationship Coach. He works with dog parents worldwide to help their dogs reach their full potential, by teaching them the holistic philosophy of creating a healthy relationship with their dog. He sees clients both online and in-person in Phoenix, Arizona. Visit www.romansk9training.com for more information or to schedule an appointment.



Learned helplessness: Seligman, M. E. P. (1972). "Learned helplessness". Annual Review of Medicine. 23 (1): 407–412. doi:10.1146/annurev.me.23.020172.002203 

Owner Attachment and Problem Behaviors Related to Relinquishment and Training Techniques of Dogs Jennifer Y. Kwan  & Melissa J. Bain

Pages 168-183 | Published online: 01 Apr 2013


Dog-Human Communication

Clare Browne, Nicola Starkey, Mary Foster, James McEwan