When profit is not a factor and the best interest of an animal is the true focus, specialists in the field of animal welfare, consistently affirm the most effective and humane methods for training are those that incorporate kindness, rewards and show respect for the animal.
Karen L. Overall is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behavior (ACVB) and is certified by the Animal Behavior Society (ABS) as an Applied Animal Behaviorist.
World renowned animal expert Karen Overall has spoken out over many years of the ineffectiveness and ill that results when electric shock is used as a training tool on dogs.
"As a specialist in veterinary behavioral medicine I have been advocating for banning the use of shock collars of any kind for years. There are now ample published data in the peer-reviewed literature that show that shock harms dogs and adversely affects their behavior and welfare. Many people who resort to shock are afraid that without it their pet will die because of their behaviors. The companies who sell shock collars prey on these fears. Most people do not realize that the use of shock interferes with and suppresses normal canine behaviors, in general, not just behaviors that people find problematic. In fact, shock may render the behaviors of concern worse. In my patient population, dogs whom clients have shocked are over-represented in those euthanized because of the adverse effects shock has had on their behaviors. Dogs can recover from shock with appropriate care, and anyone considering shock should first seek the help of a qualified specialist in veterinary behavioral medicine. Specialists should be the source for competent, data-based information for any behavioral issues about which clients are concerned. I have studied the information provided by the companies manufacturing and selling most of the world's shock collars and it is my opinion that, without doubt, the information provided about behavior is incorrect and/or inadequate to address the behavioral concerns of dogs and may lead to abuse. The time to advocate for safe, effective, humane behavioral care for all animals has come, and shock has no role in such care".
Karen L. Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, ABS Certified Applied Animal Behavioriststart of page
Janice is a holistic veterinarian and the principal veterinarian in a multi-veterinarian private practice in British Columbia Canada. She has been in full time small animal practice for 18 years.
"We owe it to dogs to understand what drives behaviour and to meet their needs. Punishing a dog with a shock avoids the work of understanding what drives the dog's behaviour. Worse yet, it causes physical and psychological trauma. This is an archaic and ineffective way to train dogs. I have seen quite normal dogs with a small dose of fear become truly aggressive and not able to be rehabilitated as a result of shock collars. As Ghandi said" a culture can be judged by how it treats its animals". That does not include abuse. Please, try to consider the dog's needs and, if you are unable to understand what is going on with the dog, seek help from someone who can."
Janice Crook, DVM
Mosquito Creek Veterinary Hospital
N. Vancouver, B.C.
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (ABS)
Dr. Juarbe-Díaz has the longest established veterinary behavior referral practice in the state of Florida. She has been an adjunct professor at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine and an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine, teaching veterinary behavior medicine to students and all interested hospital staff while also seeing patients for treatment of behavior problems.
For 2 years Dr. Juarbe-Díaz was the assistant editor of the Journal of Veterinary Behavior; Clinical Applications and Research and continues to be a member of its editorial board, a position she has held since the journal's creation in the fall of 2005. More recently she was postdoctoral researcher and a research consultant for the University of Pennsylvania in a study of the genetic determinants of noise phobia in dogs and study into the cognitive abilities of working dogs. Her interests include animal welfare,animal cognition and behavioral disorders in domestic species. Her house is a home thanks to 2 rescue dogs, a cat and 2 horses (one a rescue and the other an off the track thoroughbred embarking on a second career as a sports horse.)
"Using pain to teach or train a behavior is neither teaching nor training, though it may stop a behavior that the "trainer" considers unwanted or inconvenient. There is abundant evidence of the damage, physical and psychological, that training with pain does to any sentient being. Violence begets violence, and affects all who witness or experience it. Disguising violence by labelling shock collars as training tools or by calling them electric or static charge devices is nothing short of endorsing animal cruelty. Dogs can be taught what we want them to do in a humane way that takes into account their cognitive abilities - we don't need to terrorize and abuse them to achieve our goals."start of page
The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1946, is dedicated to training future veterinarians, providing services to animal owners and veterinarians, and conducting investigations to improve the health of animals as well as people. The College of Veterinary Medicine is a leader in regional, national and international areas of teaching, research, and service.
"For both scientific and animal welfare reasons, the Behavior Service at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine never recommends the use of shock, and recommends its discontinuance in cases presented where shock is currently being used. There are much more effective and humane methods for training animals and for treating animals with behavior problems."
Sharon Crowell-Davis DVM, PhD, DACVBstart of page
Anders Hallgren, citizen of Sweden and Europe's first dog psychologist has written 30 books and booklets about dog behaviour. His impressive body of work also includes numerous articles for magazines, participation in several radio and TV programs and training several thousand dogs with problematic behavior in more than 50 years.
"The more gadgets and training apparatuses you need, the worse trainer you are."
Anders Hallgren, Author, Animal Psychologist & Trainerstart of page
Kathy is a renowned Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, lecturer and author. She has decades of experience working with marine mammals and is now focused on training dogs and owners alike. She lectures nationally on operant conditioning sharing her passion for the science of training and the awesome power of clicker training which she has experienced with so many species.
"I feel deep compassion for dog owners who believe that shock collars are a reasonable option for their pet. In their eagerness to solve a behavior problem, they ignore the fact that these collars are, at minimum, painful, and in many cases, torturous.
Electric shock is a uniquely dangerous form of punishment because it's invisible to the punisher. People have difficulty gauging the level of discomfort or suffering the animal is experiencing. The pioneering research conducted by Yale professor Dr. Stanley Milgram 50 years ago demonstrated how willing most people are to inflict dangerous (and even potentially lethal) levels of shock on another person if convinced this will help him learn. These data are directly relevant to the often disastrous choices people make when trying to "educate" their dogs.
The good news is that shock collars are archaic and unnecessary. Suppressing "bad" behaviors through the use of shock and other physical punishment may seem like a quick fix but is never a long-term solution. As an alternative, skillful training builds calm and cooperative behaviors in dogs through the structured use of positive reinforcement.
Next to my desk, I have a scrap of paper on which I wrote this quote from the life-changing book Coercion & its Fallout by Dr. Murray Sidman (2001; available at http://store.behavior.org): "An overworked and incorrect bit of folk wisdom pronounces the carrot to be of no avail unless backed up by the stick. But the carrot can do the job all by itself."
Milgram S. Behavioral study of obedience. J. Abnormal Soc. Psychology. 67:371-8, 1963.start of page
Dr. Meyer is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. She currently practices at the Veterinary Behavior Clinic in Gaithersburg, MD. Dr. Meyer employs non-painful techniques that utilize current scientific knowledge in learning theory, animal behavior, and psychopharmacology to treat animal behavior problems.
"I would never suggest or condone the use of a manually operated electronic shock (stimulation) collar in a pet dog. If used in fearful/anxious dogs or used with poor training technique, a shock collar can dramatically worsen existing behavioral problems and create new problems. This can mean increased risk of aggressive behavior directed toward other animals or people, including the handler; suppression of all behavior (shutting down); and/or a damaged human/animal bond, which can affect the dog's behavior toward people for the rest of its life. Dogs are, by far, the easiest animal on earth to train. People who routinely use shock-collars for general training in pet dogs are not, in my opinion, very skilled trainers."
E. Kathryn Meyer, VMD
Veterinary Behavior Clinic, Gaithersburg, MD
Darlene Arden is an award winning Writer, Lecturer and Certified Behavior Consultant. She is internationally recognized for her work and passion for helping to enhance the lives of dogs & cats.
"There is no place for electronic collars in training a dog or cat (yes, there are collars for cats). It is inhumane, unnecessary and dangerous. Inflicting pain not only breaks the human-animal bond, but can cause injury to the dog or cat, and redirected aggression to the owner. Aversive training has fallout that may or may not immediately appear. This also applies to electronic fencing. It not only shocks the dog but the dog, in an effort to escape the pain, will break through the fence area causing even more pain. The dog is in danger of being hit by a car. Even if uninjured, he will not likely return to his yard because he will remember the pain. Positive training provides excellent training results and builds a bond of love and trust. Inflicting pain on a living, breathing, sentient being is unconscionable."
Darlene Arden, Certified Animal Behavior Consultantstart of page
She has over 200 in-depth dog training tutorials posted on Youtube with the intent that humane training information should be free to everyone. Emily created the term Progressive Reinforcement Training to describe an ethical way of training animals that involves no form of physical or psychological intimidation. She has conducted seminars in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia.
"I support the ban on the use of shock collars. I live in Sweden where the use of shock collars on animals is banned already for being inhumane. I believe companion animals, working animals and farm animals in North America as well as the rest of the world deserve the same humane treatment and respect as the animals that reside in the country I live in..." full statement herestart of page
Dr. John Ciribassi, board certified veterinary behaviorist, is a consultant with the Chicagoland Vet Behavior Consultants. Their mission is to diagnose and treat the numerous behaviorial problems that can interfere with the special bond that exists between animal and human.
"The vast majority of behavior issues that I deal with in my behavior practice have fear and/or anxiety as the basis for the resulting behavior problems. These often manifest as conditions such as fear based aggression, separation anxiety, noise phobias and compulsive disorders. The use of punishment, including the use of manually operated shock collars, only serves to deepen the level of fear and anxiety and worsen the condition. In addition, the application of shock in the presence of another stimulus (a person, another dog or situation) can create a negative association with that stimulus thus increasing the likelihood of problem behaviors in future encounters with that stimulus.
In addition, the use of shock collars in routine training can create conflict and anxiety in dogs, particularly when the collars are used with little or no training (as most collars are, when sold randomly to the general public). There are better, more humane methods of training which focuses on rewarding the wanted behaviors rather than punishing the unwanted ones."
John Ciribassi DVM, DACVB
Chicagoland Veterinary Behavior Consultants
Established in 1898 The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) was formed as a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and enhancing the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in BC.
“We are completely opposed to shock training! We support training methods that use positive re-enforcement as the primary motivating tool. At no time do we advocate for any method of training that inflicts pain or suffering on an animal.”
General Manager Cruelty Investigations
Dr. Jill Taggart, clinical animal behaviourist, runs private clinics in North & West Vancouver. She has a Master of Science degree in companion animal behavior and a PhD in behavioural psychology. She is a behaviour consultant to the BC SPCA running dog, cat and small animal behaviour seminars for pet guardians throughout the lower mainland.
"Shock collars induce pain and suffering and are often overused. The pain from the shocks is on its own, a serious welfare issue. But, in order for a dog to learn from these devices the shock has to be of an intensity to invoke fear. As the dog starts to habituate to lower levels of shock, the handler will usually increase the shock to get the dog to respond. The dog doesn't know from where the shock is emanating, so its stress hormones and heart rate will escalate creating significant physiological as well as psychological stress. So they are not only experiencing intense pain, but intense fear. As the shock is remote and the dogs have a problem identifying which of their actions are generating the shock, they will often then generalize their fear to a broad range of other neutral things that they believe are associated with pain. With electric fences, dogs may become fearful of going outside instead of just near the boundary of the property. More importantly, the shocks will motivate the dog to escape the stimulus that is causing the pain resulting in defensive aggression. There is evidence from invisible fence studies that dogs redirect this aggression towards the nearest human, causing serious injury (Polsky, 2000). Alternatively, if they believe there is no escape for the pain, a type of learned helplessness or psychopathology resulting in self-mutilation or other destructive behaviours could result."
Dr. Jill Taggart
Clinical Animal Behaviorist
Lecturer, Human/Companion Animal Bond
The Toronto Humane Society's mission is "To promote the humane care and protection of all animals and to prevent cruelty and suffering." The day-to-day operation of the THS involves the direct handling of lost, abandoned, unwanted and injured pets.
“"We disagree with ALL shock devices.”
Toronto Humane Society
Stanley Coren is a well respected scientist and Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Coren has won a number of awards for his research, and the quality of his contribution to science has been recognized by a number of major scientific organizations. In addition to studying dog behavior and writing books about dogs, Coren is also an instructor with the Vancouver Dog Obedience Training Club.
“I have never used shock collars. I do not like them on principle. First punishment is an ineffective method of teaching which also weakens the bond between dog and trainer. Second, as a psychologist I don't like what it does to the person delivering the shock. It builds an insensitivity in the handler to the pain of others and causes a long term reduction of empathy”.
Prof. Stanley Coren, Ph.D., F.R.S.C.
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia
2136 West Mall
Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z4
* Mr. Coren's quote was provided to us upon request along with permission to use it. Mr. Coren has since requested that it be noted he believes the misuse of tools is best resolved by education, not a legislated ban, and therefore is not in favour of the outright ban we are calling for.start of page
The HSC works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment.
“The Humane Society of Canada is adamantly opposed to any form of training that inflicts pain or suffering on any animal”.
The Humane Society of Canadastart of page
CVMA Mission Statement - "The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is the national voice for the veterinary profession dedicated to serving and representing the veterinarians of Canada." "The Association is committed to excellence within the profession and to the well-being of animals. It shall promote public awareness of the contribution of animals and veterinarians to society." (Revised June, 2009)
Animal welfare advocacy is a priority of the CVMA. Through its Animal Welfare Committee, the CVMA concentrates its efforts on developing guidelines and standards that address the welfare, humane treatment, and care of animals.
Humane Training Methods for Dogs
“The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) supports the use of humane training methods that are built on current scientific knowledge of learning theory. Methods using positive reinforcement are highly favoured. Methods causing fear, distress, pain or anxiety are unacceptable”.
Recent years have seen a shift towards reward-based methods, such as clicker training and the use of food, toys and praise as motivators. Training methods utilizing pain, fear, distress or anxiety, including violent use of choke collars and shock collars are to be condemned. The use of shock collars for invisible fencing systems can be acceptable if the dog is properly trained and monitored to ensure there are no negative effects on the dog. Some dogs become very agitated from the shock and may even be afraid to enter the yard. Owners should also be mindful that invisible fencing does not keep other animals out.
- Tucker MT, ed. Professional Standards for Dog Trainers: Effective, Humane Principles. 2001. Delta Society. Renton, Washington, USA
- Miller P. The Power of positive Dog Training. Hungry Minds, Indianapolis, Indiana,USA. 2001.
- Overall K. Clinical behavioural medicine for small animals. Mosby-YearBook Inc., Missouri, USA 1997.
Adopted July 2004
St John Ambulance mission is to enable Canadians to improve their health, safety and quality of life by providing training and community service, first aid, and CPR training. Community services volunteers include uniformed members who serve communities across Canada, providing first aid and emergency response support, as well as improving the quality of life for people confined to a health care facility through our Therapy Dog visitation program.
"St. John Ambulance (SJA) prides itself on offering a safe and effective Animal (Dog)-Assisted Therapy Program. Handler-dogs teams in the SJA Therapy Dog Program are tested for temperament and therapeutic qualities. Handler-dog teams in the Program cannot visit with the aid of behavioural control devices beyond reasonable, simple collar/leash control".
Ontario Director, Standards and Support | NationalDirector, Community Services
St. John Ambulance
15 Toronto Street, Suite 800, Toronto, Ontario M5C 2E3
The Calgary Humane Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was incorporated in 1922. At that time, the Society's mandate included the protection of children, homeless people as well as animals. Now, The Calgary Humane Society is the only organization providing a service under the Animal Protection Act in Calgary . The CHS provides care for sick, injured, homeless and unwanted animals.The Calgary Humane Society continues to work for the animals with the aim of preventing and suppressing cruelty.
Humane training enhances the human-animal bond and reflects respect and empathy for the natural needs and capacities of the animals being trained.
As a community leader in humane training, Calgary Humane Society supports training that rewards animals for desired behaviours and that helps animals succeed in their homes and in the community. Animals who receive humane training become willing partners in training and enjoy their relationship with their trainers.
Calgary Humane Society strongly objects both to inhumane training methods focused on punishment, and to dominance-based training focused on intimidation/fear/pain.
The Calgary Humane Society agrees with and supports the positions taken against punishment and dominance-based training by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB), and endorses the AVSAB approach to puppy socialization. Please see the following link for more information on these statements.
The Animal Defence League of Canada is a not-for-profit organization which promotes animal rights/welfare. We are opposed to all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty. The League was formed in 1958 and now has approximately 2,500 members across Canada and abroad.
“The Animal Defence League of Canada is strongly opposed to the use of electric shock collars and/or using electric shock devices on animal.”.
Animal Defence League of Canada
WSPA’s vision is of a world where animal welfare matters, and animal cruelty ends. WSPA has been promoting animal welfare for more than 25 years. Their work is concentrated in regions of the world where few, if any, measures exist to protect animals.
“Aversive training techniques are based on the principle of applying an unpleasant stimulus to inhibit behavior. This kind of training technique can include the use of prong collars, electric shock collars, restricting dogs’ air supply using nooses/leads or pinning them to the ground, which can cause pain and distress. The use of such techniques may compromise the welfare of dogs and may worsen the behavioral problems they aim to address, potentially placing owners at considerable risk. A number of scientific studies have found an association between the use of aversive training techniques and the occurrence of undesired behaviors in dogs.
WSPA believes that the use of such training techniques is not only unacceptable from a welfare perspective, but that this type of approach is not necessary for the modification of dog behavior. Dog trainers all over the world use reward-based methods to train dogs very effectively. Where dogs have behaviors which owners find unacceptable, such as aggression or destruction, qualified behaviorists achieve long term changes in behavior through the use of established and validated techniques of behavior modification without subjecting dogs to training techniques which may cause pain or distress.
WSPA has joined forces with other animal protection groups to voice their serious concerns about techniques which pose welfare problems for dogs and significant risk to owners who may copy them. For more information please visit www.dogwelfarecampaign.org”.
Interim Regional Manager, Canada
It is the position of the Pet Professional Guild that effective animal training procedures lay the foundation for an animal’s healthy socialization and training and helps prevent behavior problems. The general pet-owning public should be educated by organizations and associations to ensure pet animals live in nurturing and stable environments to better prevent behavior problems. In this effort, it is the position of the PPG that the use of electronic stimulation, or “shock” or “e-collars,” to train and/or modify the behavior of pet animals is not necessary for effective behavior modification or training and damaging to the animal. For the purposes of this statement, electronic stimulation devices include products often referred to as: e-collars, training collars, e-touch, stimulation, tingle, TENS unit collar, remote trainers. FULL STATEMENT HERE
The primary objective of The Kennel Club is 'to promote in every way, the general improvement of dogs'. The Kennel Club was founded in 1873 and is able to offer dog owners an unparalleled source of information, experience and advice on dog welfare, dog health, dog training and dog breeding.
Issue Statement - Electric Shock Collars
June 6, 2006 The Kennel Club believes that electric shock collars have no place in a civilised society. The majority of dogdom, and the welfare and veterinary bodies have similar views. An electric shock collar trains a dog to respond out of fear of further punishment - having received a shock when it does not perform what is asked of it - rather than from a natural willingness to obey. This is not the type of training method that the Kennel Club would endorse. Unwanted behaviour in dogs is best resolved by positive training methods...
to continue statement
RSPCA, APBC, Blue Cross, Dog Trust, Wood Green Animal Charity, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, ABTC, The Mayhew Animal Home, The Kennel Club
We, the organisations above, are opposed to the use of electronic training devices (ETDs) and pinch collars (also known as prong collars) believing they are unacceptable and unnecessary as a means of training and controlling dogs. We are calling for the sale and use of these devices to be prohibited….Full statement herestart of page
Paphiakos Animal Welfare in Paphos, Cyprus, would like to confirm they are AGAINST these collars and therefore fully support the ban of shock collars.start of page
The Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a charitable organization that in 2009 celebrates its 126th year of continued service. Their mission is to advance the welfare of all animals in New Zealand by
- Preventing cruelty to animals
- Alleviating the suffering of animals
- Promoting our policies through education and advocacy
2. COMPANION ANIMALS - continued
2.11 Training Aids for dogs The SPCA is opposed to the use of electric dog collars (both bark-activated and remote controlled) by the generic public. The SPCA is opposed to the use of citronella bark collars. Electric dog collars should only be used under the guidance of animal behaviour professionals, as the last resort. These collars can easily be misused by the general public looking for a quick solution to the problem, more often than not, related to a barren living environment with little or no social interaction. These are usually better ways of training a dog and/or modifying bad habits by analysing the underlying causes of the problem. The SPCA believes that citronella may be much harshier than originally thought, due to dog's keen sense of smell. Until evidence is provided demonstrating that these collars are not severe, the SPCA does not condone their use.start of page
Animal Defenders International founded in 1990 is a non-profit international group working for the better treatment of animals. Based in the UK, ADI courageously steps in and helps rescue animals internationally as well as is involved in educational work on animal welfare, conservation and the environment.
“Animal Defenders International is deeply opposed to the use of shock devices on animals and has spoken out against their use on many occasions”
Animal Defenders International
A bill passed recently in Connecticut outlawing the use of electric shock devices, as well as elephant hooks, on elephants in circuses and traveling shows. Under the new legislation, anyone who works with circus elephants would also be guilty of a criminal offence if found to possess an electric shock device or elephant hook.
See here for further details.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has more than 2.0 million members and supporters. PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in laboratories, in the clothing trade, and in the entertainment industry. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.
Electronic Fences and Shock Collars
Electronic training devices such as electronic fences and anti-barking collars rely on painful punishment and negative reinforcement, causing dogs to live in fear of being electrocuted for normal behaviors like crossing invisible lines, barking, and jumping onto surfaces within their own homes. Positive training methods, in which dogs are rewarded for what they do right, are kinder and more effective.
Dogs wearing shock collars can suffer from physical pain and injury (ranging from burns to cardiac fibrillation) and psychological stress, including severe anxiety and displaced aggression. Individual animals vary in their temperaments and pain thresholds; a shock that seems mild to one dog may be severe to another. The anxiety and confusion caused by repeated shocks can lead to changes in the heart and respiration rate or gastrointestinal disorders. Electronic collars can also malfunction, either administering nonstop shocks or delivering no shocks at all.start of page
Best Friends Animal Society is guided by a simple philosophy: kindness to animals builds a better world for all of us. Best Friends' No More Homeless Pets campaign is a grassroots effort to place dogs and cats considered "unadoptable" into good homes, and to reduce the number of unwanted pets through effective spay and neuter programs.
“We do not advocate shock collars or shock devices. We believe in relationship-based training. It is all positive and takes a long time and a lot of practice but we believe it is well worth it”.
Humane Educator Best Friends Animal Society
“A better world through kindness to animals”
The guidelines ('position statements') below have been developed by the NCCAW and are suggested practices for the acceptable use and treatment of animals in Australia . They are based on scientific knowledge and expertise, and have been developed in consultation with relevant industries and other stakeholders. As the advisory committee to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on animal welfare issues of national significance, NCCAW submits these statements to the Minister who formally reports them to the state and territory ministers, responsible for animal welfare, for their consideration and appropriate action. Disclaimer The Position Statements on this website represent the considered views of NCCAW members which have been developed in consultation with stakeholders and, on particular issues, may not be the view or policy of the Australian Government.
NCCAW's Position - Electronic dog collars
NCCAW makes the following recommendations on the use of electronic shock collars for dogs:
- Category 1: NCCAW opposes the general use of electronic collars which are manually operated by a remote-controlled transmitter.
- Category 2: NCCAW opposes the use of anti-barking electronic shock collars and believes that the sale and use of these devices should be banned.
- Category 3: NCCAW opposes the use of an electronic collar system as the sole means of confining a dog within a defined boundary.
NCCAW's agreed position is to oppose the manufacture, importation and use of electronic dog collars.
Last reviewed: 08 Oct 2007start of page
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is a registered animal welfare charity with IPC status. The SPCA is not a government agency. We rely on donations from our supporters to continue our important role as animal protector. The Singapore SPCA receive approximately 700 unwanted pets and stray animals every month
The two main objectives of the SPCA are:
- to promote kindness to animals and birds
- to prevent cruelty to animals and birds
Say no to use of electric collars
In the SPCA's view, the use of electric collars on dogs is not only unnecessary, cruel and inhumane but also causes harm to the animal. The Society also condemns the use of such devices.
The Electric Collar, or e-collar, gives an electric shock to the dog whenever it demonstrates unacceptable behaviour. Each time a shock is delivered, it can also cause unnecessary pain, stress and suffering to the dog. The use of electric collars is merely a `quick fix' approach to controlling a dog's behaviour. This form of training is no substitute for training based on understanding and love, coupled with the establishment of a rewarding and trusting relationship.
Australia has banned the importation of electric collars and such devices and anyone found using them can be prosecuted. In 1999 SPCA Singapore supported the Singapore Kennel Club's proposal to the government, that a ban of these collars be introduced, but without success. The Primary Production Department (now called the Agri-food & Veterinary Authority), although not banning the use of the collars at that time, said that it would not hesitate to take action against any person found to be using an electric collar cruelly and in an abusive manner, to hurt a dog.
Please Note: The SPCA advises all dog owners not to engage services of any dog trainer who uses electric dog collars. Anyone who has witnessed misuse of this device is advised to contact SPCA at 6287 5355 ext. 26 to lodge a complaint of cruelty to animals.
© 2009. Singapore Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. All Rights Reserved.start of page
Advocates for Animals is a campaigning animal protection charity working to improve the lives of animals in the UK, Europe and beyond. We effect positive change for animals through high-profile campaigns, political lobbying, investigations and public education. Our vision is to create a world in which all animals are valued, respected and treated with compassion. Our mission is to inspire and create a movement of people to support this vision and bring about an end to the exploitation and abuse of animals.
Training and training aids - Policy
Advocates for Animals believes that good training, especially of dogs, is a fundamental part of responsible pet ownership and offers benefits for pets and people alike. Training should only be based on positive reinforcement techniques and never on physical punishment.
In particular, Advocates for Animals believes that electronic training aids (such as electric shock collars) should be banned. These devices are marketed for use on dogs, cats and horses, intended either as a remedy for problem behaviours such as barking or not returning to the owner, or as a means of confining the animal to a given area such as a garden or a small area indoors. The device delivers an electric shock to the animal when it behaves in a way thought undesirable by the owner or trainer.
Electric shocks and their effects on the animals are usually referred to in the manufacturers’ literature as “impulses”, “stimulation” or “correction” rather than “shocks” or “pain”. However, the evidence of behaviour experts and scientific studies provides clear evidence that the use of such devices is unnecessary, causes pain and can actually lead to long-term behaviour problems in dogs.
Advocates For Animals
TrulyDogFriendly.com was launched in May 2006 by a coalition of dog trainers and behavior consultants concerned with the proliferation of the use of shock collars and other harmful tools and methods within their profession. How do we define dog-friendly? Simple: pain-free.
"I've spent more than 3 years researching shock collars and 'invisible' shock fencing systems for a published literature review (Jacques and Myers 2007, Electronic Training Devices: A Review of Current Literature, Animal Behavior Consulting: Theory and Practice, Spring 2007, 22-39); all of the available peer-reviewed* scientific literature comes to the same conclusions. The fallout from these devices becomes attached to the environment as well as the trainer, and can result in unwanted superstitious behaviors as well as redirected and fear-based aggression issues. When one looks at the available humane methods and procedures that are just as effective - in some cases, .even more effective - than electric shock for training and behavior modification, the use of shock devices with companion animals becomes far more inhumane and cruel.
* Contracted data from shock collar companies was not included due to inherent data bias and conflict of interest."
An affiliate of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association
The use of electronic training aids
CABTSG Policy Statement on Electronic Training Devices
A number of devices that administer an electric shock are now available to pet owners The manufacturers of there devices recommend their use in the training or control of animals.
Their effectiveness depends upon the pain and fear experienced by the animal, but to use them correctly requires detailed understanding of behaviour and its motivation, as well as very precise timing. Few operators are able to achieve any reliable success with these devices and the consequences of failure can be a worsening of the problem behaviour. These devices are now available to dog trainers and the general public via mail order, through pet shops and veterinary practices. The product marketing implies that electronic training devices are simple, humane and effective.
Pet owners, with little or no experience or understanding of training can purchase this equipment and use it on their animals with no proper guidance and without any attempt to identify the motivation for the unwanted behaviour. Such an approach at best results in control of symptoms rather than treatment of cause and at worst may cause new problems to develop. For example, the use of pain and fear as a method of training or controlling an animal has been shown to have the potential to induce aggression and to cause long term behavioural problems. This is due to inappropriate associations made between the aversion of the device and the presence of unconnected stimuli in the environment, including people.
The indiscriminate use of shock collars therefore poses a threat to the safety of the general public, as well as to the welfare of the animal. We believe that sufficient alternative methods of treatment exist that such electronic training devices are redundant.
It is the responsibility of the veterinary surgeon to prevent unnecessary suffering in animals under our care.
Therefore, as an association affiliated to BSAVA, it is our duty to recommend that shock collars and all other related training and control aids should be banned from sale or use.
CABTSG 2001start of page
Use of electronic shock collars in companion animals
The BVA supports the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) position statement (March 2006) on the use of electronic shock collars in companion animals, namely:
In principle, the BSAVA opposes the use of electronic shock collars for training and containment of animals. Shocks received during training may not only be acutely stressful, painful and frightening for the animal but also may produce long term adverse effects on behavioural and emotional responses.
The Association recognises that all electronic devices that employ shock as a means of punishing or controlling behaviour are open to potential abuse and that incorrect use of such training aids has the potential to cause welfare problems.
Apart from the potentially detrimental effect on the animal receiving the shocks there is also evidence that there is a risk to public safety from the use of shock-collar based containment systems, as they may evoke aggression in dogs under certain circumstances.
The BSAVA strongly recommends the use of positive reinforcement methods in training dogs wherever possible and supports investigation of positive reinforcement training methods that could replace those using aversive stimuli.start of page