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Shock Collar Safety for Dogs
The question of shock collar safety for dogs is a topic that comes up frequently. Just last month I was in Cleveland, OH working with Bill Wittrock of Obedient Dogs and More.
Our group was composed primarily of professional dog trainers but there was a pet dog owner in the crowd that peaked my interest considerably when he shared a personal story during our opening discussion.
Joe Golob is a surgeon who also happens to own a Newfoundland pup named Barkley. He had been doing some training with Barkley using an electronic training collar and wanted to learn more.
In the spirit of science and compassion, Dr. Golob decided to do some experimenting to make sure he was doing his dog no harm in using a remote collar to train her. I asked Joe if he would mind sharing his findings with all of you.
I think his passion for exploration of shock collar safety for dogs and personal discovery of some truths is pretty cool. I hope you enjoy his story as much as I did.
E-Collars and Cardiac Arrhythmias?
As a new person to the world of canine e-collar training, I came across many web pages which described the horrors of the “shock collar”. One myth that I found particularly intriguing was the electricity generated from an e-collar can cause cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) and even asystole (sudden cardiac death). In the spirit of one of my favorite shows on the Discovery Channel, Mythbusters, I decided to put this myth to the test.
I am a surgeon, so one night when on call, I stopped by my surgical intensive care unit and connected myself to a continuous EKG machine. I then placed my Dogtra 1900 NCP on my neck, my leg, and my chest. I used both the nick and continuous button with low, medium, and high levels of stimulation while watching and recording my EKG. As I suspected, no arrhythmias and obviously no asystole since I am still alive to tell my story.
So this myth is clearly ‘BUSTED’. There wasn’t even enough current generated to cause interference with EKG reading. I feel with proper instruction, e-collars are a very safe and humane way to train dogs. I continue to use my Dogtra collar. I love my dog and she loves me! I have no doubt I have the best behaved dog in my neighborhood thanks to my e-collar training!
Joseph F. Golob Jr., MD
MetroHealth Medical Center
Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma Critical Care