Make a Difference on Shock Collars

Scots and Canadians have the chance to support controls on electronic collars.

A beautiful Golden Retriever gives his paw to his owner
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By Zazie Todd, PhD

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Electronic collars for dogs and cats are already banned in many jurisdictions (including Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales, Quebec, and parts of Australia). Now, people in Scotland and Canada have the chance to let their governments know how they feel. Please support these campaigns to ban shock collars by taking part and sharing with friends and family.

The Scottish Government consultation, “potential controls or prohibition of electronic training aids in Scotland”, is open for comment until 29th January 2016. The website says, “This consultation seeks views on whether some or all electronic training aids should be subject to tighter controls in Scotland or whether they should be banned outright. It also seeks evidence to support these views.” 

In Canada, the first ever e-petition to Parliament is to ban shock collars (sponsored by Kennedy Stewart, MP for Burnaby South). It is open to Canadian citizens and residents until 2nd April at 3.50pm (EDT). Signing is a two-part process – after signing, you have to verify your email before your signature counts. 

If you would like to follow these campaigns, is on twitter and facebook, and Ban the shock in Scotland is on facebook.
Useful resources:

Listen to the brilliant dog trainer Jean Donaldson, interviewed by Michael Howie about why she supports a ban on shock collars. 

The BC SPCA supports the petition to ban shock collars in Canada. Here, Dr. Emilia Gordon explains why.

Read Eileen Anderson’s analysis of a shock collar training session. ("We counted 74 times when Sonny was being shocked in the course of 8 1/2 minutes of training. However, some of these may have been part of longer continuous shocks...").
My article, The end for shock collars?, on the Defra-funded research studies.

Jennifer Cattet on the same studies: New findings on shock collars: Why the UK wants to ban them. "Other methods are just as efficient, do not increase the chances of problematic behaviors to develop, promote a desire to respond and enhance the relationship between humans and their dogs."

Read the British Small Animal Veterinary Association statement on aversive training methods. “Shocks and other aversive stimuli received during training may not only be acutely stressful, painful and frightening for the animals, but may also produce long term adverse effects on behavioural and emotional responses.”

The Pet Professional Guild position statement on the use of shock in animal training. "...electronic stimulation can play no part of effective and ethical animal training."
“The good news is that shock collars are archaic and unnecessary.” Kathy Sdao’s position statement on the use of shock collars
The late Sophia Yin’s summary of Schilder and van der Borg’s (2004) study on training with shock collar.
How many people use electronic shock collars? My summary of Blackwell et al 2012. 

"Just now we aren't just saying no to a collar, we are saying yes to a change in how dogs are treated in the name of behavior modification and training." The shocking truth by Claire Staines. 

For additional information, check out my research resources on the science of dog training methods.

If you liked this post, check out my book Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. Modern Dog magazine calls it "The must-have guide to improving your dog's life."

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the award-winning author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy and Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy. She is the creator of the popular blog, Companion Animal Psychology, writes The Pawsitive Post premium newsletter, and also has a column at Psychology Today. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband, one dog, and two cats. 

Useful links:

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