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Risks of Shock, Prong, and Choke Collars

Choosing Compassion Over Coercion: The Dangers of Shock, Prong, and Choke Collars for Your Dog's Well-Being

Shock, prong, and choke collars can harm your dog. They are designed to cause discomfort and pain. We believe this punishment-based method of training not only avoids the work of understanding what drives the dog's behaviour, it also causes physical and psychological trauma. Although it may appear that pain can stop a behaviour in the short term, there is abundant evidence of the damage that pain does to any sentient being. (1) If they REALLY worked, you would only need to use them for a short training period. As an alternative, skillful training builds calm and cooperative behaviours in dogs through positive reinforcement.

We at Centretown Veterinary Hospital strive to avoid fear and distress within our hospital. Inflicting pain via shock or prong collars not only breaks the human-animal bond, but it can increase stress and anxiety at the hospital, which can be redirected as aggression to the owner and even our staff.  

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) states that ample evidence supports the use of reward-based methods for all canine training. (2) A number of scientific studies confirm an association between the use of aversive training techniques and the occurrence of undesired behaviours in dogs, (3)

We encourage you to seek a trainer who uses reward-based methods. When unwanted behaviours, such as aggression or destruction, are more severe, we encourage contacting qualified behaviourists to achieve long-term changes by using established and validated techniques. Please speak to your veterinarian on alternatives to shock, choke, and prong collars.

Written by: Dr. Ariane Finsten


  1.  Karen L. Overall, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, ABS Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist
  2. AVSAB- Position statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals
  3.  World Society for the Protection of Animals Canada