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I know this isn't what peopel want to hear, but I am not against negative reinforcement. I own all rescues and while Ursa is very sensitive to corrections and rarely requires more than a sharp tone to stop her from doing something. She is very owner oriented, making postive training ideal for her.
Then there is my other dog. He is the most hard headed beastie that I ever came across. He is independent and couldn't care less how much I "click" or motivate him with a friendly voice. He reacts best to a firm hand on the leash while wearing a choker or a martingale. With the training we got him from a lost cause (he spent nearly two years in the shelter because nobody could deal with his bad behavior) to a dog that excells in agility, obedience, and parts of schutzhund (he has his BH).
I'm sorry, but it just seems none of you have haf experience with seriously out of control dogs or working dogs at all. Hard dogs like that don't react well to lovey dovey, treats, and clickers. They need a strong leader who won't let the dog walk all over him.
Much of this negative reinforcement that we like to criticize so much has gotten many dogs out of shelters and kept them from being euthanized.
One method those not work with every dog. I have no problem with people using postive training. I do not critize it and see that it works with a lot dogs. But claiming that negative reinforcement ruins a dog and makes misstrustful and agressive of its handler is just ridiculous. Just look how war dogs, police dogs, and schutzhund dogs are trained. Those are some of the finest canines I habe met and their training is hardly soft.
 

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Much of this negative reinforcement that we like to criticize so much has gotten many dogs out of shelters and kept them from being euthanized.
Until now, I've stayed out of this thread, but if you're going to make this claim - that negative reinforcement training has been successful in saving the lives of shelter dogs - then you're going to have to back it up with more than anecdotal evidence.

My local shelter has 90 dogs at this very moment, 47 of which are pit bulls and 7 are GSD. Most of those dogs were either dumped by their owners or are strays which will never be claimed. And, I wonder how many of those dogs ended up at this high-kill shelter because their owners tried and failed at negative reinforcement/ punishment-based training.
 

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Ursie, you are talking about positive punishment, not negative reinforcement ! It's hard to take your post as expert if you don't know the difference. A hard dog is no excuse. You need to train smarter ! ( not you particular, humans in general!)

The British military trains all of their bomb sniffing dogs (mostly vickers and Belgian malinois) force free.
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Until now, I've stayed out of this thread, but if you're going to make this claim - that negative reinforcement training has been successful in saving the lives of shelter dogs - then you're going to have to back it up with more than anecdotal evidence.

My local shelter has 90 dogs at this very moment, 47 of which are pit bulls and 7 are GSD. Most of those dogs were either dumped by their owners or are strays which will never be claimed. And, I wonder how many of those dogs ended up at this high-kill shelter because their owners tried and failed at negative reinforcement/ punishment-based training.
From my time spent on this forum alone, I've seen more people who are against any form of punishment either considering rehoming or returning dogs to shelters/breeders, or advising others to rehome or return dogs, because the dog is not responding well to +R training and is becoming difficult to live with. Dogs that re growling, biting, barking incessantly, failing at housebreaking, anxious, fearful, reactive, aggressive, possessive, etc. Until I came to this forum, I'd never heard the term "counter surfing" in my life, and was shocked to discover that people's dogs actually jump up and snatch things off of their counters and tables! WHAT?? I've owned dogs all of my life, large dogs that can easily take things off of my counters and tables, and they NEVER would DREAM of that.

It seems that on this forum the only advice that anyone experiencing any of these problems gets is: (a) hire a "certified behaviorist" - which is expensive and not always available in all areas, (b) hire a +R trainer - again, money and availability not to mention that this training might take months or even years to produce results, (c) see the vet about possible health issues and/or meds to put the dog on,and if all of that fails (e) rehome or return the dog.

I'm sorry, but if those are the only choices, a lot of people cannot afford to hire a professional ("behaviorist", trainer, or vet) every time the dog growls, refuses to listen, or destroys something in the house. People who are willing to use punishment/corrections with their dogs often don't find issues escalating to the point that they need some sort of intervention from a professional.

Of course the professionals that make money off of these kinds of owners are going to be heavily biased in favor of their methods! That's how they keep their jobs!

But I can tell you that a firm "NO!!" and a swat on the behind, or a well-timed jerk on a leash, or, yes, a common sense and strategic use of an e-collar can save the dog and the owner a lot of wasted time, energy, anxiety and money.

+R is wonderful for a lot of things, and I love what I've learned here on the Dog Forum about it. I've bought +R books and read them, watched lots of videos, and I'm glad I gained this new knowledge when Winston came along as a pup.

There is a balance to me...just like with raising kids.
 

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Couple things...

First, this forum has rules and guidelines about what training methods and tools can be recommended. Ya'll are welcome to discuss shock collars but you are not able to recommend their usage to others as that crosses the line and is indeed a rule violation. Please see rule #13 for more information.
http://www.dogforum.com/dogforum-community-rules/dogforum-com-rules-1606/




That said just a few thoughts/questions that popped into my head as I skimmed...

Those of you suggesting one can train positively via electric shock, please elaborate. If referring to positive punishment, no argument here. The use of electric shock is practically always either positive punishment or negative reinforcement. But positive reinforcement? I've yet to see it or hear of electric shock as such.

Next, there is a huge difference between an emergency situation and training.... I'm just not sure that the use of an aversive in an emergency is the equivalent of or justifies the use of aversive in actual training sessions...
The example of jerking the lead to prevent a dog from getting hit for example... emergency situation. But would ya'll those same leash corrections to teach a dog perhaps an auto-sit when you stop at a crosswalk? For some of you maybe, but most here likely no. Instead many people choose to teach that via +R. Both ''address'' the problem but do not call for the same means...

And one more thing I was left wondering...
Putting on an aversive tool can certainly become a positive experience. You are after all pairing it with something the dog wants.
However, how does that carry over and prove the application of the shocks at a later point and time as not being aversive? Simply looking at definitions, ya'll are using the stim to STOP unwanted behavior. By definition you are using Positive Punishment (addition of a stim to decrease frequency of/stop a behavior) and also Negative Reinforcement (removal of a stim to increase wanted behavior). That means if the collar is working, your dog is actually working to avoid the stim and the stim is aversive...
I have never used one but I don't believe all use cases are bad. I also don't think that positive training and positive punishment (in select situations) have to be mutually exclusive.

Is not giving "time outs" by all means positive punishment?
 
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Ursie, you are talking about positive punishment, not negative reinforcement ! It's hard to take your post as expert if you don't know the difference. A hard dog is no excuse. You need to train smarter ! ( not you particular, humans in general!)

The British military trains all of their bomb sniffing dogs (mostly vickers and Belgian malinois) force free.
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According to this article the Navy SEALS believe in positive punishment (not sure if it is accurate but I fund a couple articles/books that make it look this way).

Overall your training should be positive like in elementary school. But that doesn't mean there aren't consequences for throwing something at the teacher.
A Navy SEAL's 5 Tips to Train Your Dog - MensJournal.com
 

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Did I say navy seals ? I know nothing about their training ! I did get an opportunity to work with some bomb sniffing dogs in England and they are against any form of positive punishment. They want their dogs to always want to do their job and they don't want them to stop or hesitate for fear of punishment.

That is why force free / positive training is so great. It opens the door for your dog to try new things and not worry about getting punished. I noticed when I stopped using positive punishment with my dog, he started learning behaviora way more quickly and more solidly. You aren't always going to have a leash to jerk or be able to get your hands on your dog to smack it. Praise and reward, are always there.
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After I read that article, it seems like it's just one persons opinion, not an organizations opinion.
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After I read that article, it seems like it's just one persons opinion, not an organizations opinion.
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Hence the not sure of the accuracy statement (and only a single I found in a couple articles and books).
 

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I seems kind of crazy that as adults who all greatly care for their animals we can not agree to disagree. Not everyone must maintain the same viewpoint on a subject.

I am not a person who has used a e-collar and I most likely never will use anything more than a GPS collar on my dog but that is for my dog's reasons. If a person chooses to use an e-collar or electric fence I believe that is their choice as long as they are abusing the dog with it. I wish that they weren't so easily accessible and required some sort of training before purchase so that owners had a better idea of how to use them as intended.
 
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Answering why would folks who use shock collars be reading a 'positive' forum--& coming out of the closet as one of them.
I'm here on this forum to gain knowledge of dog training. I use positive training extensively (+R, management, -P) but will use aversives (-R (escape training) & +P (correction) when the positive training stalls at a point where 'management' is far more averse to the dog than using a limited aversive to train safe behaviours (an emergency recall).

I love training dogs and having fun with my dog, and that means +R*; there is no better joy for dog and handler both than to be in sync on the agility course or rally-obedience, I miss those times with Dynamo when she was bouncing and jawing at my side in eager anticipation of a treat and toy. But I also hated seeing a large powerful dog stuck on a leash and under-exercised just keep my 'positive only' trainer purity in tact, so yep, I used an e-collar to train an emergency recall so that she could be off-leash in the woods (her obedience was excellent in other situations).

I can not offer safe 'free range' exercise to a dog, but once a recall is learned, I can offer daily romps through woodlands & fields, frisbee, training games (taught exclusively +R) & just letting the dog be a dog within safe limits, as close as it gets to free range without allowing the dog to harrass, stress and possibly kill wildlife, or get lost, injured or killed by wildlife.

Sorry, it's long, but there's the personal why. But, here's the thing, if this forum continues to make everyone welcome then the dogs win, because we will all learn & apply more positive reinforcement training by being here reading and absorbing.

& kudo's to all for a very civil discourse on a truly emotional hot button issue. I am impressed by all of you.
 

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I don't understand why people think the need an ecollar to teach an emergency recall. What about using a whistle or teaching an emergency sit (which is so much easier for most dogs anyways) if you are going to put the time and effort into training an "emergency recall" with an ecollar, why not just invest that time into positive training of recall or other off lead behaviors ?

I'm not judging you artdog or trying to single you out, because many other people have said something similar, and this question is for all of you. Why do you think using stim/shock on your dog is going to make them come to you in an emergency situation ?
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I don't understand why people think the need an ecollar to teach an emergency recall. What about using a whistle or teaching an emergency sit (which is so much easier for most dogs anyways) if you are going to put the time and effort into training an "emergency recall" with an ecollar, why not just invest that time into positive training of recall or other off lead behaviors ?

I'm not judging you artdog or trying to single you out, because many other people have said something similar, and this question is for all of you. Why do you think using stim/shock on your dog is going to make them come to you in an emergency situation ?
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I'll let others should they wish; I'm not here to argue or convert anybody. As I said, I am always looking to learn more, see more training video's (love kikopups) and expand my training vocabulary.
 
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I have never used one but I don't believe all use cases are bad. I also don't think that positive training and positive punishment (in select situations) have to be mutually exclusive.

Is not giving "time outs" by all means positive punishment?
I didn't speak as to my personal opinion on shock being good or bad... I actually avoid at this point using ''bad'' in regards to training methods....

My points were that some people here using them aren't really understanding how they work (learning theory) and that the reasoning they use to justify usage (''can't be that aversive because...'') doesn't hold up.

I've come to really hate terms like positive only, positive training, etc. Just not clear. Of course one can't use exclusively R+... not even the very best trainers. At best there will be instances of P-. Most trainers will in their lifetime use all 4 quadrants. BUT we do get to choose which methods we are going to use to intentionally train with (a set up scenario or formal training session). So why do so many automatically jump to aversives? Tradition? Not knowing any different? Lack of skill? Ime often a combo as well as other factors...

Time outs would likely (as intended and if done correctly) be negative punishment. You removed something the dog wants or access to what the dog wants to stop a behavior.
 

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From my time spent on this forum alone, I've seen more people who are against any form of punishment either considering rehoming or returning dogs to shelters/breeders, or advising others to rehome or return dogs, because the dog is not responding well to +R training and is becoming difficult to live with. Dogs that re growling, biting, barking incessantly, failing at housebreaking, anxious, fearful, reactive, aggressive, possessive, etc. Until I came to this forum, I'd never heard the term "counter surfing" in my life, and was shocked to discover that people's dogs actually jump up and snatch things off of their counters and tables! WHAT?? I've owned dogs all of my life, large dogs that can easily take things off of my counters and tables, and they NEVER would DREAM of that.

It seems that on this forum the only advice that anyone experiencing any of these problems gets is: (a) hire a "certified behaviorist" - which is expensive and not always available in all areas, (b) hire a +R trainer - again, money and availability not to mention that this training might take months or even years to produce results, (c) see the vet about possible health issues and/or meds to put the dog on,and if all of that fails (e) rehome or return the dog.

I'm sorry, but if those are the only choices, a lot of people cannot afford to hire a professional ("behaviorist", trainer, or vet) every time the dog growls, refuses to listen, or destroys something in the house. People who are willing to use punishment/corrections with their dogs often don't find issues escalating to the point that they need some sort of intervention from a professional.

Of course the professionals that make money off of these kinds of owners are going to be heavily biased in favor of their methods! That's how they keep their jobs!

But I can tell you that a firm "NO!!" and a swat on the behind, or a well-timed jerk on a leash, or, yes, a common sense and strategic use of an e-collar can save the dog and the owner a lot of wasted time, energy, anxiety and money.

+R is wonderful for a lot of things, and I love what I've learned here on the Dog Forum about it. I've bought +R books and read them, watched lots of videos, and I'm glad I gained this new knowledge when Winston came along as a pup.

There is a balance to me...just like with raising kids.
I've been here a really long time...
Advice has changed with time and current members. But there is plenty of good advice to be found and still multiple members who are experienced and able to provide very good advice.

That said, if a dog is behaving aggressively, has a sudden and drastic change in behavior, has ongoing issues that may be medically linked or has not improved via the owner's current training plan... Seems like lots of stuff like this recently... Honestly in such cases a vet visit and/or hiring a pro is a good idea. It's not always as simple as a ''no'' and swat and it's not always safe to do so. We cannot see the dog, the owner, the home...

At least for me here online, there's a certain point at which I feel a professional is needed. And frankly that is part of dog ownership. If your dog is ill or may have a medical issue exacerbating/causing behavior issues then it is your responsibility to get veterinary care. I feel similarly about training. If something is going on that is above your skill level and/or you have not seen improvement then time to seek help, and when it comes to behavior problems it often should be in person.

I am a trainer.... I see just as many people who have attempted to deal with issues with corrections as I do those who are trying reward based methods. Probably actually more people using a correction than reward based method for unwanted behavior... In general, the average person is not all that good at managing their dog, doesn't have good timing, doesn't understand dogs (instincts, drives, body language, etc.) well. I can guarantee you it's not an issue with quadrants.

As for the rehoming of dogs...
That's not something I take lightly and in general is not something I'm for... won't comment any further as I don't want to cause issues.
 

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I know this isn't what peopel want to hear, but I am not against negative reinforcement. I own all rescues and while Ursa is very sensitive to corrections and rarely requires more than a sharp tone to stop her from doing something. She is very owner oriented, making postive training ideal for her.
Then there is my other dog. He is the most hard headed beastie that I ever came across. He is independent and couldn't care less how much I "click" or motivate him with a friendly voice. He reacts best to a firm hand on the leash while wearing a choker or a martingale. With the training we got him from a lost cause (he spent nearly two years in the shelter because nobody could deal with his bad behavior) to a dog that excells in agility, obedience, and parts of schutzhund (he has his BH).
I'm sorry, but it just seems none of you have haf experience with seriously out of control dogs or working dogs at all. Hard dogs like that don't react well to lovey dovey, treats, and clickers. They need a strong leader who won't let the dog walk all over him.
Much of this negative reinforcement that we like to criticize so much has gotten many dogs out of shelters and kept them from being euthanized.
One method those not work with every dog. I have no problem with people using postive training. I do not critize it and see that it works with a lot dogs. But claiming that negative reinforcement ruins a dog and makes misstrustful and agressive of its handler is just ridiculous. Just look how war dogs, police dogs, and schutzhund dogs are trained. Those are some of the finest canines I habe met and their training is hardly soft.
I have had 5 rescues/shelter dogs myself. A couple were at the shelter for (one who was adopted and returned for) ''being too much to handle''. The adopted and returned dog is pushy, dislikes strangers, very high prey drive, resource guards, quick to snark other dogs, super good at problem solving, yet also quite sensitive. He was a pita for shelter staff used to such dogs. Using reward based methods (some creative solutions and reinforcers needed) he is now excelling just as your dog is. He recently started his competition career in Rally FrEe/Freestyle (has been placing too btw) and treibball. He goes to seminars and workshops with me. He is often my demo dog and ''neutral dog''. He looks and behaves as a gentleman most of the time. He's not perfect and we still have plenty of work to do, but seldom do people see what a snothead he can really be (I adore him and say it with love, but he's a snot) simply due the level of training and management I put in.

I regularly volunteer and work with such dogs at my local shelter. Ime each and everyone responds to R+. Many shelters and rescues across the US are using reward based methods to train and increase adoptability. Not to mention when it comes to the nutty, out of control, often adolescent dogs it's more often than not, a LACK of training and owner dedication that resulted in them being in the shelter in the first place...

Perhaps expand your circle a bit. What you'll find is that there are plenty of individuals training the dogs you mention via reward based methods.
 

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From my time spent on this forum alone, I've seen more people who are against any form of punishment either considering rehoming or returning dogs to shelters/breeders, or advising others to rehome or return dogs, because the dog is not responding well to +R training and is becoming difficult to live with. Dogs that re growling, biting, barking incessantly, failing at housebreaking, anxious, fearful, reactive, aggressive, possessive, etc. Until I came to this forum, I'd never heard the term "counter surfing" in my life, and was shocked to discover that people's dogs actually jump up and snatch things off of their counters and tables! WHAT?? I've owned dogs all of my life, large dogs that can easily take things off of my counters and tables, and they NEVER would DREAM of that.

It seems that on this forum the only advice that anyone experiencing any of these problems gets is: (a) hire a "certified behaviorist" - which is expensive and not always available in all areas, (b) hire a +R trainer - again, money and availability not to mention that this training might take months or even years to produce results, (c) see the vet about possible health issues and/or meds to put the dog on,and if all of that fails (e) rehome or return the dog.

I'm sorry, but if those are the only choices, a lot of people cannot afford to hire a professional ("behaviorist", trainer, or vet) every time the dog growls, refuses to listen, or destroys something in the house. People who are willing to use punishment/corrections with their dogs often don't find issues escalating to the point that they need some sort of intervention from a professional.

Of course the professionals that make money off of these kinds of owners are going to be heavily biased in favor of their methods! That's how they keep their jobs!

But I can tell you that a firm "NO!!" and a swat on the behind, or a well-timed jerk on a leash, or, yes, a common sense and strategic use of an e-collar can save the dog and the owner a lot of wasted time, energy, anxiety and money.

+R is wonderful for a lot of things, and I love what I've learned here on the Dog Forum about it. I've bought +R books and read them, watched lots of videos, and I'm glad I gained this new knowledge when Winston came along as a pup.

There is a balance to me...just like with raising kids.
I generally advise a behaviorist when the dog is acting out with aggression, and the owner is saying the dog is doing so without known cause, or the dog has gotten to the point that it's snapping and biting. I'd NEVER tell the owner in such circumstances to use -R or +P in such circumstances since it is pretty well known that such techniques can cause aggression to escalate, and will at best suppress the behavior. If the owner can give examples about why the dog is acting aggressively, and I have an idea about why the dog is acting out, like with resource guarding, or the dog does not like to be handled, then I'll offer advice on how to work with the dog, and how to manage him so that he does not feel the need to act worse. It's very rare that I simply tell someone to hire a behaviorist and end my post at that, and in those cases it's because the owner is stating that the dog is acting out with aggression "out of the blue", OR because a child is in the house that could be harmed by the dog.

It's also very rare that I suggest rehoming a dog, mainly I will do so when the behavior could be manageable in a different home, like with a severe resource guarder and the owner has a toddler in the house, or a nervous, people fearing, fear aggressive dog and the owner likes to have company over, or the new dog is DA and the owner has 4 other dogs in the house. In circumstances like that I feel it's safer to rehome, or simply better for the dogs mental health. I have a dog that is fearful of people, and fear aggressive, I rarely have company so he's great with living here, but in a busy home he'd likely be a miserable, nervous, wreck.

The reason I don't advise stuff like a swat on the butt, leash corrections, a stern NO, or even my favorite ah-ah, is that I do not know what the poster's dog's temperament is. My old terrier mix could take whatever I dished out back when I was purposely using all 4 quardrants, leash corrections, swats on the but, yelling at him, Ah Ah, NO, using a choke chain, whatever it was that dog was seemingly fine, never shut down, never acted like he was afraid of me, and would cheerfully carry on like nothing had happened. A few years later I got my chow chow mix, she had a much softer temperament and I saw her cringing down when I fussed at Shadow, still she had a harder temperament then my new boy Zody the Chi x Dach mix. He's sensitive and most -R and +P would crush his spirit. 3 dogs, 3 different temperaments. I have no way of knowing just how a person's dog would respond to -R and +P but I do know that +R has never mentally harmed any dog, so even if now a days I was using -R +P I'd not recommend it to other people on DF.
 

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I'll let others should they wish; I'm not here to argue or convert anybody. As I said, I am always looking to learn more, see more training video's (love kikopups) and expand my training vocabulary.
Ok ? It would be nice if you could explain your training method, but I guess that's ok.
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After reading this entire thread, here are some of my thoughts. I'm not trying to contradict anyone, I'm mostly just trying to organize my thoughts because I want to cement some of the realizations that are forming in my mind.

I have never used a shock collar. I have wondered why some insist that they are cruel/extremely aversive when the lowest setting is a vibration or a mild shock that feels like static. A vibration isn't painful, and the pressure on a dog's neck that results when it pulls on the leash must be more painful than a mild shock. However, I've realized that just because it isn't painful, doesn't mean it isn't aversive and stressful for the dog. It must be, because the dog will stop engaging in a highly rewarding behavior in order to avoid the sensation. So even if the owner tries it on them-self and doesn't find it painful, their dog can still find it very unpleasant. Maybe it has to do with the fact that it's sudden and unexpected and has no clear cause. If I were a dog I'd find that confusing and frightening.

There is no question that positive reinforcement/force free training can be used successfully to train any behavior. But it can be sooo hard sometimes. If you have an independent dog that's not motivated much by food/toys, you have to get really creative and put a lot of effort into developing an effective training regimen. You've got to do tons of research and develop an understanding of behavior modification concepts that can be complicated. If, like me, you're not in the position to hire a trainer, you've got to learn everything yourself. It's hard and it takes time. It's also 100% worth it. Thankfully these days there are an ever-growing number of resources in the form of books, youtube videos, websites, etc., for people trying to learn.

I completely understand the temptation to take the quick route with a shock collar. Many people feel that a few mild shocks are worth it if they result, for example, in the dog having increased freedom and opportunity due to a reliable recall. I think people assume that the shocks have no lasting negative effects - they are unpleasant at the time, but don't negatively affect the dog after the initial use. Here's my question: If a shock collar is used for several training sessions to improve recall, after which the dog has a reliable recall and the collar is never used again, is every recall now stressful for the dog because it comes out of fear of getting shocked? I'm talking long-term, like 6 months after the fact. Or does coming when called become habit and the fear of a shock fades away?

I am not of the opinion that it is cruel and unacceptable for a dog to experience brief discomfort. Dogs growl, nip, and snap at each other as part of normal dog communication. The problem with using that fact to justify aversive training methods is that due to our inability to accurately replicate "dog speak", our corrections very often just confuse and stress the dog without teaching it anything. As Rain said, +R never hurt anyone (dog or otherwise).
 
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