Veterinary Behaviorist (ACVB), reisnervetbehavior.com
I appreciate the sentiment about euphemisms for shock, and agree it's a good idea to have returned the shock collar after seeing that Phoebe was frightened enough to stop barking, at least momentarily. My guess is that she'll start barking again, though, and even if the collar is re-bought is placed around her neck without batteries (as a placebo), she'll eventually bark again. This is a basic premise in learning science, in which a learned response is extinguished. Barking happens for a reason (alarm barking, play/excitement, attention-seeking, fear etc) and it can help to understand the reasons at any given time. Citronella collars do work, by the way (for example, see this abstract: http://www.jaaha.org/content/32/3/231.shor…). Remember the pet store guy isn't really going to hear back from people who are happy with a product - just those who aren't. Shock is controversial because it causes pain. You can inhibit or stop all kinds of behaviors using pain, but the reason for the behavior isn't addressed (for example, attention, fear etc), and, more important, pain leads to fear, and fear leads to other problems, including aggression and running away. Those shock collar aisles in pet supply stores can be very misleading. Thanks for bringing this up.
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