A Man Put on a Shock Collar to See What it Was Like

June 18, 2019
Many people punish dogs that bark too much by putting a shock collar on them. One man decided to try one himself, to see what it felt like. Want to see what he thought?

Shock collars or bark collars are often recommended to people with dogs that bark too much. However, before he put a shock collar on his dog, one man decided to try it on himself to see how it felt.

The man who put a shock collar on himself

WoodysGamertag is a Youtube channel run by man named Woody. He first started filming himself as he played videogames, but then started to broaden his content. Nowadays, most of his videos are about his daily life at home with his wife.

“So, a lot of you know I have a Great Dane puppy,” he says at the beginning. “He’s 9 or 10 months old, and he’s a blast, but what you might not know is that he’s loud. He barks a lot.” So, Woody bought a shock collar, but not one of the ones you have to use a remote control for. These turn on any time they sense vibration in a dog’s throat.

But before putting the collar on his dog, Woody decided to try it on himself to see what it was like. So, he sat down with the collar on and imitated a dog’s barking. Right away, the collar turned on and started to shock him. 

You can see the shocks going through his whole body each time he barks. His arms tense up, his feet tap the floor, and his face makes involuntary expressions. Woody puts up with it for about a minute until he takes the collar off and says “It works. I don’t want to bark anymore.”

A dog with a training collar.

Health problems caused by shock collars

Woody decided to take his off after about 4 or 5 shocks in a minute. But if his dog had it on, it wouldn’t be able to make that decision. First, it would have to link its barking to the pain running throughout its body. The problem is that not all dogs can do that.

Plus, the consequences of wearing the collar are more serious for a dog than a human. On the one hand, dogs wear them for longer, and will receive more shocks. On the other, dogs have smaller bodies than we do, and so the electric shocks affect them more.

Woody is an adult man who probably weighs between 180-200 pounds. As big as it may be, his Great Dane puppy couldn’t be more than 90. Basically, Woody only feels about half the intensity that his puppy would. 

Studies have shown that shock collars, whether remote-control or automatic, have lots of negative consequences. On top of causing muscle spasms, the shocks also impact hormonal glands in the neck, like the thyroid.

The shocks can even affect a dog’s immune system in various ways. They repeatedly, unnecessarily, activate its stress mechanisms, block production of serotonin (the happiness hormone), and increase eye pressure, which can cause irreversible eye problems.

That’s just the physical side of things, too. There are just as many psychological consequences. For example, increased stress, confusion, and a lack of trust in the dog’s family, and itself. The shocks often lead to fear and anxiety. To top it all off, that fear can actually make a dog bark more, not less.

A dog lying peacefully on a bed.

Effective alternatives

A lot of people are wondering how the collar worked out. It didn’t work out very well, no behavior change,” Woody said in the description to the video.

He also says that they did find a solution, but that it didn’t involve a shock collar. “Our next step was to hire a trainer”, said Woody, “and it was then we learned that he needed to be socialized more. We put him in ‘doggie day care‘ at our local kennel to hang out with the other dogs. We also started walking him more.”

Woody concludes the description by saying: “Those things were far more successful than the collar ever was.” He hit the nail on the head: it’s impossible to solve a dog’s behavioral problems by treating the symptoms. In this case, that’s the barking.

When a dog has behavioral problems, whether barking, destroying things, or even aggressiveness, there’s an underlying issue. That negative behavior is just a symptom. If you want to solve it, you need to get to the root of the real problem. Punishing your dog for the symptoms won’t do a thing. 

You can watch the video on Woody’s channel on Youtube, along with the rest of his content. We’re glad he uploaded it, because it has a valuable lesson: the shock collar didn’t help solve his dog’s problem. It was training and socialization that his dog really needed.