Robert Milner, a top sporting dog trainer from Tennessee used shock collars for many years to train sporting dogs as well as SAR dogs. After 9/11 when the teams he trained had poor results at ground zero he decided to research the reasons why. He discovered that the training method was the problem, he had used shock collars.
Upon further research, he found that clicker training was the fastest, kindest way to train dogs that gave the best results.
According to Milner, “The sporting culture in this country has a poor concept of a dog’s nature and behavior. We owe it to them (the dogs) to learn the most effective and gentle ways to train them. We have a responsibility as their mentors to educate ourselves on how they learn and how to best train them. Quite frankly, culturally, we have an absolutely horrible training model.”
Milner is no stranger to disasters such as 9/11, he is the original owner of the famed Wild Rose Kennels founded in 1972, and served in the U.S. Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel 26 years as a specialist in disaster response. Although he admits that he used shock collars for many years, he says, “But that’s not the point. The point is we have a responsibility as trainers and sportsmen to learn better ways. Dogs don’t deserve training by punishment.”
Milner went on to explain that the shock collar industry has convinced the average pet owner that using their equipment is the fast and easy way to train a dog. However, he goes on to say that studies show that positive training works much faster and does not cost hundreds of dollars for equipment.
Also note that prong collars can cause severe damage to dogs as well as shock collars. There is no need to use either device on dogs. (Author note)