Sornetan, Switzerland, May 12, 2012
There has been a lot written and claimed as to what shock collars are and what they do or don’t do. We’ve all seen such humorous videos like this in YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4k4PVaTX_M
While these are humorous to look at, they don’t tell us much about how shock is experienced by different dogs at different levels of shock.
Some people also try to convince us, that shock collars are not painful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6ObCoIJh3I
...which does not paint a realistic picture of the capabilities of these collars, be they in the right or the wrong hands, inasmuch as they will be used with enough strength to stop the dog from doing whatever unwanted behavior the dog is doing. Furthermore, they will not be applied to the dog’s paw, but rather to the dog’s neck - one of the questions this experiment will try to clear up: does it make a difference, if shock is applied to the palm of the hand (as in the film above) or to one’s neck?
What does “training” using shock in a positive punishment/negative reinforcement avoidance training situation look like? This is an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qldWw_bm_Z0
Check out the notes concerning the video - btw, the author of this film gives a link to download the film on his own website, directly under the embedded film itself: http://www.ethopraxis.ch/publikationen.htm
So, what is this series of experiments all about? I had planned initially 3 experiments, but for various reasons am only doing 2. Each were filmed, each have data that was collected and analyzed. These experiments were not meant to be casual internet entertainment. Unfortunately since I’m not a scientist and have not mastered the correct scientific protocols for creating and carrying out experiments and writing them for peer review, I can only hope that these amateurish attempts will attract the attention of serious researchers who might want to frame these experiments in a way that will produce useable data.In my experiments, no dogs are used - only human volunteers, whom I wish to heartily thank for their assistance.
Experiment 1 concentrated on how different people experience different levels of shock, taking into consideration where the collar is applied and how much shock is applied.
Video - Subjects 1-3 Video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOT6IvFyaOo) - Subjects 4-7 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKorfRuukb0)
As an interesting postscript to this Experiment Nr. 1, here is an excerpt from a BBC1 broadcast (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gljoq-8r1qQ), that shows a gentleman wearing a PAC EXT2 shock collar on his elbow and one on his knee. These are to simulate the bone-on-bone pain of osteoarthritis while he’s doing some normal household chores. He’s hooked up with a heart monitor and cortisol measurements. Besides these shocks obviously hurting, even at the low setting of 7 from a possible 64, notice the comments from the other gentleman administering the shocks concerning raised heart beat, raised cortisol levels and such high stress levels over longer periods of time. Notice also the expressions of humor from both. Real humor or some other underlying psychological reaction??
Much thanks go to Claudia Moser for the use of her excellent training facility in Sornetan, Switzerland, to Claudia as well as Simone Fasel for letting me recruit the volunteers from their course. I'd also like to thank the 6 volunteer subjects who are amongst those course participants for their help and courage, as well as Claudia herself for taking part. And to the others who refused to take part - you might have been the smart ones. :-)