According to a recent 194 page European research study dissertation, YES, the electronic remote collar or invisible leash, is more humane and more effective than the Pinch/Prong/Choke type collars.
The "pinch or choke collar’’ is a standard tool or piece of equipment traditionally used in dog training and widely used by dog owners. An alternative method is the ‘’electronic training collar’’, however, it remains a highly controversial issue. On one hand, supporters claim that electronic training collars, when used properly, are safer than the mechanical training aids and, further, they have no adverse effects at all. Opponents, on the other hand, argue that the use of electronic training collar is painful, unethical and unnecessary regardless of the severity of the training situation or problem behavior.
This large study was designed to compare the Stress and Learning Effects of three different training methods: Electronic Training Collar, Pinch Collar and Quitting Signal. There were 42 adult police dogs of the breed Belgian Malinois that served as subjects for this study. The decision to use only Belgian Malinois was made in an attempt to avoid variability, due to breed characteristics. All dogs in the study were previously trained for the official police service dog certification.
The results of the present study indicate that the electronic training collar induces less distress and shows stronger “learning effect” in dogs in comparison to the pinch collar. The quitting signal is, on the other hand, not found effective in police dog training although it causes the “least distress” reactions in dogs when comparing with the electronic training- and pinch collar. Altogether, concerning the “bodily reactions”, the pinch collar was evaluated as the most distressful method and considering the “learning effect”, the electronic training collar was found to be the most effective method.
Our 2 cents worth is that electronic collars, used on low level stimulation or vibrate mode as an "invisible leash" can be an invaluable tool in training and handling of your dog but you must learn how & when to use it. some of the country's most known trainers believe, use and recommend remote training collars.
Shock Collar Advantage 1
The electronic collar allows us to control the amount of pain delivered to our dog, and administer that pain from a distance.
One of the great challenges of implementing pain based aversive techniques such as leash jerks, muzzle slaps, and finger pokes, is in controlling the amount of force delivered to the dog.
Too much force and our dog may break down and become extremely stressed, or fearful.
Too little force and our dog will get habituated to the corrections, and just ignore them.
Master aversive trainers are able to deliver just the right amount of force, so that the dog will not repeat a bad behavior, but at the same time, he will also not become unbalanced and fearful.
Unlike other aversive methods, the shock collar allows us to easily adjust the amount of pain delivered to a dog, and to keep that level of pain consistent in subsequent corrections. We can also administer the pain from a distance.
Shock Collar Advantage 2
The electronic collar can automatically deliver a shock correction to the dog, even when we are not there.
Another challenge of implementing proper aversive corrections, is using the right timing. We want to correct our dog as soon as he performs an unacceptable behavior, and stop correcting him as soon as he stops that behavior.
Shock collars can be tied to a particular trigger event, such as barking or proximity to our fence-line. In this way, a shock is automatically and consistently delivered to the dog, as soon as he starts to bark or tries to escape. In fact, the invisible fence, or shock-anti-bark systems are convenient, because we do not even have to be there to deliver the corrections.
Shock collars such as these may sound tempting and easy to use, but unfortunately, consistent and automatic timing does not necessarily mean correct timing.
Studies show that automatic collars are dangerous because tying a shock correction to a single trigger event, such as barking or proximity is too simplistic, and will frequently result in bad timing. This can subsequently lead to aggression and other dog behavioral issues.
There are some anti-bark collars that use sound aversion to stop dog barking, for example, the Ultrasonic Anti-bark Collar. However, customer reviews have been poor because the sound stimulus is often insufficient to prevent the barking behavior.
In dog training, timing is very important. One of the dangers of shock collars, is that they may deliver pain at the wrong time, or too frequently.
Aversive training has a high risk of losing our dog’s trust, and weakening our bond with him.
Resource management and reward training has worked best on Sephy. That is what I use today with all of my dogs.
With an electronic collar, the source of the aversive stimulus is less clear.
When we use other pain-based aversive techniques, it is usually obvious that the pain comes from us. This may teach our dogs to associate people with physical distress, which can also lead to fear. In this way, aversive training has a high risk of losing our dog’s trust, and weakening our bond with him.
For example, when we apply a leash correction, it is apparent that the pain originates from the leash, and sometimes (if not redirected) from us. Therefore, the dog may decide to fight with the leash, or worse, with us.
This is less of a problem with shock collars because the source of the pain is obscured, and there is no leash to fight with. However, electronic collars may cause a whole host of other problems including dog aggression.
Most experienced aversive dog trainers are good at redirecting the source of an aversive stimulus away from themselves, so that the dog is not really sure where the pain is coming from. They are also very careful about not over-correcting the dog, so that he does not develop fear and stress issues. Automatic shock collars have a high risk of over-correcting a dog.
While training a dog, it is important not to over-correct him. Over-correction can erode trust, cause fear issues, and teach a dog to associate people with negative events.