Trainer Tips–Things People do to Dogs that should be Banned: Part 1

15February 2015

As a trainer, I often see many things that people do to their dogs that is not good behavior.  Some of these things make me very sad for the dog, others make me down right angry.  Below are a few things that people do to dogs that should NEVER be allowed!

#1 – Debarking

This is a barbaric practice that should most definitely be banned!  Debarking, also called “bark softening,” is a procedure in which the dog’s vocal cords are cut to endure more of a whisper bark than a true bark.  Many people think that this is an acceptable solution to quieting a barking dog.  It is NOT!  This is one of those things that makes me furious.  This procedure is a very bloody and painful surgery for the dog.  People need to learn that this is NOT an acceptable option for getting your dog to stop barking.  Barking is a natural dog behavior, but that does not mean you cannot train your dog not to bark…you absolutely can.  Depending on how long your dog has been engaging in massive barking, the training may take a few weeks to a few months.  But with consistent, positive reinforcement training, you can teach your dog not to bark…a much better option than invasive, painful surgery!

#2 – Choke Chains/ Prong Collars

These are the tools of the past dog training methods.  Punishment-based dog training was all the rage for many years.  More recently we have learned that dogs learn faster and retain information longer when taught using positive reinforcement methods.  Using pain and/or punishment methods of training, such as these collars, can actually set back the learning process and create a relationship of mistrust between dog and owner.  Choke chains and prong collars are also often mis-used, however, even proper use of these items can cause trachea, neck, and throat damage in your dog.


#3 – Electronic Collars

Although still widely used in various dog training, including competitive obedience, hunting and tracking, and police work, the Electronic or E-collars is a negative tool.  Dogs trained using adverse training methods such as shock collars, often end up with psychological damage.  Use of the E-collar can also increase the likelihood of aggressive tendencies in your dog.  

Many countries have already banned these collars.  It is time for the United States to follow suit!


#4 – Invisible Fences

Many people were very excited when this product first came out.  It seemed to be a cheap and easy way to keep your dog confined without building an entire fence.  However, it is not.

In order to train your dog on how an Invisible Fence works, you must basically shock your dog over and over.  Repeated exposure to shocks can have many different adverse effects of your dog.  Besides this, these fences are not actually secure.  Many dogs will just run past the “shock zone” and out of the yard, especially if there is a large distraction outside the yard.  Obviously not what was intended.  The invisible fence also does not offer any protection from other animals coming INTO your yard, and possibly attacking your dog.  It offers no protections from someone stealing your dog.


Also see:  Things people do to dogs that should be banned:  Part 2.