Stun guns and dogs
February 26, 2013 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Are civilian-grade stun guns effective on dogs?

Internet searches turn up plenty of recommendations, and some stories of law enforcement officers using tasers on dogs, but is there any data on ordinary stun guns being used on aggressive dogs? To be extremely specific, I'm talking only about the application of the business end of a stun gun or stun baton to the body of a medium-sized dog or similar animal (not taser darts, not frightening the dog by test-firing, etc).
posted by Maximian to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
Do you mean for behavioral remediation or protection from the dog?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:26 PM on February 26, 2013

Also, what do you mean by "civilian-grade stun gun"? Civilians can buy TASER products, which are about as potent as law enforcement grade. Do you mean the "shocker" kind powered by 9v batteries? I wouldn't trust that to protect against anything truly aggressive, if that's what your question is about.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:36 PM on February 26, 2013

What are your criteria for efficacy?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:49 PM on February 26, 2013

Burhanistan: I'm talking about any of the innumerable stun gun or stun baton products marketed for personal defense. They are often recommended for protection against dogs, both by retailers and by people discussing how to protect themselves, but I can't find any discussion of actual situations in which they were used, and what the outcome was.
posted by Maximian at 1:53 PM on February 26, 2013

Having experienced a relatively low voltage taser personally: yes.
posted by wrok at 1:59 PM on February 26, 2013

People use E-collars all the time for training dogs, and some dogs are responsive to even the lowest settings. I can't imagine that civilian grade stun guns would be ineffective as a deterrent.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:00 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ah, without knowing which specific product, I'd say that most of those are the 9 volt battery-powered kind. I would not be confident in their ability to incapicate an aggressive large dog, assuming you could even maneuver in time to shock it.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:00 PM on February 26, 2013

Given that a medium sized dog probably weighs around as much as a human child, my concern would not be whether the stun gun is effective (it would be) but whether it would kill the dog rather than stun it.
posted by Justinian at 2:06 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

In my experience most dogs really, really hate being shocked and are very sensitive to it. I don't know if you could stop a trained attack dog but deterring a regular dog seems likely.

Problem being deployment. By the time a dog is close enough to taze I imagine you've already been bitten? I carry bear spray on my bike, personally. I know that works!
posted by fshgrl at 2:07 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh, yes, I'm talking about law enforcement grade products, not the wimpier stuff.
posted by Justinian at 2:07 PM on February 26, 2013

Well, one brand claims to be "the only Stun Gun Company to have conducted extensive medical and animal control studies to insure our stun guns and Stun Batons are safe and non-lethal, while at the same time effective and powerful." This stun gun company blogger says he found "no peer reviewed controlled study that examines the effectiveness of stun guns on animals" (my googling keeps pointing me to copies of this article or references to it, so there's not even much commentary out there). Thus, this probably qualifies as an open question.
posted by dhartung at 2:18 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've shocked myself with a 9 volt prod intended for cattle (I was young and curious), and while it may be enough to encourage a l'il dogie to git along, I second not trusting one to be of help against a large aggressive animal.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:25 PM on February 26, 2013

The issue isn't the efficacy (although that is sort of suspect), the problem is that by the time they are within range for the handheld pole (and i believe that all that is available to the public is the handheld baton), the fractious animal is within range to bite. Bear spray is the way to go here.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 9:11 PM on February 26, 2013

Nickel Pickle: Thanks, but my question is specifically and entirely about the efficacy of stun guns/batons. I'm sure bear spray works. That's not at issue here.

Some more research yesterday turned up a single newspaper story about an owner of a small dog applying a handheld stun gun to a loose larger dog which was attacking his dog. The story implied that it worked, but these kinds of anecdotes seem to be few and far between. Moreover, the news media seems to call any electroshock weapon a "stun gun", including the police TASER weapons, so it's hard to discern what actually happened in these events. There are stories about animal control departments being issued "stun guns", but what exactly did they get, and have they used them? Etc.

If anyone has any more information about the effectiveness of stun guns on dogs or similarly-sized animals, I'd love to see it.
posted by Maximian at 9:35 AM on February 27, 2013

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