Dogs Trust

Remotely Controlled Electric Shock Collars

Remotely controlled electric shock collars are at present legal in Ireland. These devices inflict unnecessary pain and fear on dogs. Their use (on dogs) has been banned in several European countries on the grounds of animal welfare and this is something we would love to see happen in Ireland also.

Banning the use of remotely controlled electric collars is currently under consideration by the Advisory Council for Companion Animal Welfare, which advises the Minister on such matters. If you would like to have your say on this matter, submissions should be sent by email to [email protected] before 16th February 2024.

What is a remotely controlled electrical collar?

  • Electric shock collars, or ‘e-collars’, are training devices that deliver a static pulse (electric shock) to the dog via metal protrusions from the collar making contact with the neck.
  • Collars are activated by the owner by remote control.
  • These collars work on the principle of positive punishment (applying something unpleasant to the dog to reduce an unwanted behaviour) or in some cases negative reinforcement (removing something unpleasant to increase a desired behaviour).
  • These collars are sadly used by some to train dogs by punishing unwanted behaviours through the application of a shock to the dog’s neck. To change unwanted behaviour, the shock administered by electric shock collars needs to be strong enough for the dog to feel pain and be fearful of feeling that pain again. However, research has shown that instead of improving behaviour, the use of such devices can risk causing undesirable behaviours, including aggression.

Why we advise against their use:

  • Studies have shown that the use of devices such as electric shock collars have serious impact on the welfare of dogs. This includes behavioural and physiological signs of distress and the exacerbation of, or development of new, unwanted behaviours.
  • Robust research evidence shows that such techniques are not needed as positive reinforcement is effective at changing behaviour.  
  • The use of shock collars also requires the dog to associate the shock with their unwanted behaviour.
  • Creating fear in this way risks numerous negative consequences for the dog and owner.
  • Dogs may associate the pain with other things in their environment, such as other dogs or people, and learn to avoid or be aggressive towards these.
  • Collar use can cause physical injury to the dog.
  • Shocks can last for up to 11 painful seconds, causing some dogs to yelp, squeal or crouch.
  • We believe there is no place or need for these cruel devices in modern dog training.