Do Shock Collars Hurt Dogs? Or Is It Really Safe? The Truth

Do Shock Collars Hurt Dogs? Or Is It Really Safe? The Truth

Last Updated on February, 2023

Do you own a stubborn furry friend that doesn’t listen to you? And no amount of training can stop the barking, jumping over the fence, and trying to run away whenever you open the front door?

Have you tried all training methods and failed and then come across using shock collars?

And now you are thinking of the pain your pet will suffer.. Do shock collars hurt dogs??? And how do they work? 

Yes, it will hurt, just a little, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Keep reading to find out the truth about shock collars.

Here are the 3 key points from this article:

  1. Shock collars work by administering a small electric pulse to the dog when they misbehave.
  2. Shock collars are not cruel when used correctly, and they will not cause too much pain to the dog.
  3. Shock collars are a last resort recommended by veterinarians and dog trainers.

TLDR: Shock collars can be effective in training dogs, but they can also cause pain and anxiety. It is important to use them correctly to avoid worsening your dog’s behavior.

How Does a Shock Collar Work?

A shock collar is like a normal dog collar worn around the neck. Except it provides a tiny electric pulse to your dog when he chooses to misbehave. As the trainer, you can choose the behaviors you want to change and when you want to administer a shock.

Usually, there is an alarm to warn the dogs that they will be shocked. When the alarm sounds, you can use commands like “stop barking!”, “come here!” and “stay!”

Most collars have different stimulation levels. You can choose the intensity and the duration of the electric shocks. 

Are Shock Collars For Dogs Cruel? 

No, they are not cruel when used correctly.

Shock collars hurt dogs but using one correctly will not be too painful..

Remember: Never use shock collars as a punishment for dogs! Only use them to curb bad behavior.

To find out how much pain it will cause your dog, wear the collar on your arm and check it out for yourself! Use the lowest intensity, and you will feel a small electric pulse. The pain will fade away pretty soon. The pain you feel from the collar is pretty much close to what your dog will feel.

Always start with the lowest intensity possible!

Never use high-intensity shocks. They will be painful to your pet. Also, some pets show more aggressive behavior when they are scared or hurt. One thing you don’t want is to turn your dog against you!

Related: How to train an aggressive dog with a shock collar

How to Select the Right Shock Collar For Your Dog?

Now that you have decided you will use a dog shock collar, comes the next question.

What type of collar must you buy?

There are so many types of modern shock collars out there. First, you must choose the correct collar for your huge friend that aligns with your dog’s training needs. Also, buy one with various stimulation levels. The right collar will reduce the discomfort to your dog. Choosing one that fits your dog’s neck is also important. 

Here are some features to consider when choosing a shock collar:

  • Your dog’s size and growth: The first thing to consider is your dog’s growth. If you are training a growing puppy, be sure to buy an adjustable shock collar. You should be able to slip two fingers underneath the shock collar when your dog is wearing it.
  • Available modes: There are shock collars with modes like noise mode and vibration mode. Sometimes the vibration mode will be enough to get your dog’s attention and you will not have to shock him after all.
  • Multichannel controller: Some remotes have multiple channels to control more than one shock collar. If you are training a few dogs at once, these collars are the way to go.
  • Variable settings: The number of variable settings in a shock collar can be either 10 or 100. The more settings there are, the more freedom you have over selecting a low intensity shock.
  • The range of the shock collar: If you are planning to use the shock collar on a hunting dog or a dog who just loves running away, it should have a good range. 
  • Battery life: The shock collar must have a good battery life. This is especially important if you and your dog travel a lot.
  • Night light: Some shock collars have a night light fixed to them. If you walk your dog at night, this feature is a must have.

Do check out this shock collar from DOG CARE. It is adjustable, rainproof, remote controlled upto 1000 ft. It also has 3 training modes from low intensity to high intensity. 

Still can’t decide what kind of dog shock collar to buy? 

Reach out to a qualified dog trainer who will help you out. He will also advise you on the correct commanding and training tips.

At What Time Does Your Puppy Need to Wear the Shock Collar?

Whenever you train your puppy, he needs to wear a shock collar. 

Puppies behave very differently from adult dogs. They have plenty of unwanted actions that annoy us. But they are still learning, and they will not recognize most commands. So always be patient with puppies. Use a lot of positive reinforcement, use only mild shocks for bad behavior and praise them when they do something right.

How Long Does Your Dog Need to Wear a Shock Collar? 

A dog can safely wear a shock collar for 8-12 hours a day. Anything longer than this will cause pain and irritation on the neck. Never make your dog wear a shock collar for more than 12 hours a day! This will cause him unnecessary pain.

Make sure to adjust the collar every now and then to make sure that your dog is comfortable.

Pros And Cons Of Shock Collars 


There are many misconceptions about shock collars that people usually overlook the benefits.

Shock collars work! They are a good dog training tool recommended by many trainers.
Corrects behavior issues like disobedience, aggressiveness, running away and barking.
Shock collars are a long-distance training tool, and you can control it even if the dog is too far to hear you.
You are not punishing your dog. Your dog will not associate the negative feedback with you. 
Low cost. E-collars don’t cost much. They are cheaper than getting your dog professional behavior training. 
Instant feedback. Dogs have short memory spans. When they are corrected on the spot, they will be better behaved.
You can be the owner of a well-behaved dog.


Yes, there are many cons to using a shock collar.

It will be uncomfortable for your dog at first.
Shock collars will hurt your dog. Yes, they always hurt, at least a little. 
Your dog can develop fear and anxiety.
Shock collars are a punishment and not a positive reward. If you use it incorrectly, your dog’s behavior can worsen. In the worst case, they will fear you.
Shock collars are a negative reinforcement. Your dog will be listening to you due to fear more than respect. Negative reinforcement must be used when all other training methods fail.

What Do Others Think About Shock Collars?

Training a dog with Shock collar

Veterinarians don’t recommend the use of shock collars and dog trainers will use them only as a last resort. 


There are many success stories with e-collars. One such story is the story of Teddy, an adopted Anatolian shepherd dog. According to Teddy’s owner, a shock collar was the only thing that worked. And now, Teddy is enjoying long walks, hotel stays and even boat rides!



Shock collars are a proven way to train aggressive dogs who won’t listen. Of course, they will hurt your dog, but your dog will benefit in the long run. The truth is that shock collars have many benefits. But they also need the right trainer. A person with enough patience to reward and praise the dog. 

If you want to take your stubborn pet on holidays with you, make him interact with other animals, reduce excessive barking and jumping over the fence, a shock collar is a way to go! Combine a shock collar with positive reinforcement and lots of love, and you will be the proudest pet owner ever!

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Thomas Villalpando is the main author of IPet Guides. He spends his time reading, training, and working with several Dogs' behaviors. You can find more about him here.

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