Love Them, Don’t Zap Them
Some training methods can be very cruel to dogs and cats. One cruel method is the use of electronic shock collars. Positive reinforcement contributes to a strong bond between dog and owner. Inflicting pain such as using electronic shock collars to administer “shocks” for behavior correction is now illegal in all of England and some states in Australia. Every single animal organization we can find in the U.S. and across the planet is against shock collars.
Love Them. Don’t Zap Them. It’s sounds like common sense, but some people actually believe it is OK to use electronic shock collars and other painful methods to control dog behavior. Not surprisingly, American organizations are overwhelmingly against their use and we have cited some text from them below. Included in the Anti-zap club are the MSPA, the Humane Society of the United States, The Pet Professional Guild, and PETA. All advocate positive reinforcement as a better way to change dog behavior. We believe a lot of patience to be the best training tool.
Do you think any truly kind dog owners and trainers cause pain to animals? I don’t think so. By the way, opposition against shock collars is international. See the quote below from the BCSPCA(Canada). And note that the British Government has banned shock collars for use on dogs and cats across England in 2018. Link to article: https://todaysveterinarybusiness.com/bva-welcomes-english-ban-on-pet-shock-collars/. In Australia, they are illegal in several states. The Australian Veterinary Association has come out strongly against their use.
We advocate for a similar complete ban on shock collars in the United States.
What does the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals say about this:
“The MSPCA strongly believes in using the best, most humane, and therefore pain-free methods for training animals. Positive reinforcement training has been proven to be effective for training numerous animal species, including marine mammals, zoo animals, cats, birds and other companion animals, and it creates exceptionally strong bonds between trainer and animal. Dogs deserve the same pain-free treatment when learning the behaviors their owners want. Our staff will help you find force-free alternatives to prong collars and electronic collars.”Read the complete page address this and other related issues: https://www.mspca.org/animal_care/nevins-dog-training-faqs/
What does PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say about this.” Cruel “training” devices such as anti-barking shock collars, electric (“invisible”) fences, and prong collars rely on painful punishment and negative reinforcement. They cause dogs to live in fear of being electrically shocked or painfully choked for normal behavior such as crossing invisible lines, barking, jumping onto surfaces within their own homes, and getting ahead of their guardians during walks. Positive, humane training methods, in which dogs are rewarded for desirable behavior, are much more effective.”
Read the complete page at: https://www.peta.org/issues/animal-companion-issues/cruel-practices/prong-shock-collar-electric-fences/?v2=1
From the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior;
“Positive Reinforcement is More Effective at Training Dogs than an Electronic Collar, Study Shows”
“We’ve known for a while that training dogs with aversive methods, including electronic collars, has risks for animal welfare. Positive reinforcement training is effective and does not have those risks. New research from the University of Lincoln, published today in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, finds that in a typical situation where proponents of electronic collars often recommend them, positive reinforcement training by trainers who specialize in reward-based training works better than training with or without a shock collar by trainers who would normally use a shock collar.
The scientists say,
“These findings refute the suggestion that training with an E-collar is either more efficient or results in less disobedience, even in the hands of experienced trainers. In many ways, training with positive reinforcement was found to be more effective at addressing the target behavior as well as general obedience training. This method of training also poses fewer risks to dog welfare and quality of the human-dog relationship. Given these results we suggest that there is no evidence to indicate that E-collar training is necessary, even for its most widely cited indication.”
What exactly does the Humane Society of the United States say about Shock Collars?
“Shock collars use electric current passing through metal contact points on the collar to give your dog an electric signal. This electric signal can range from a mild tickling sensation to a painful shock. Shock collars may be sold as training devices, although more and more companies are pulling them from the shelves. They are also used with pet containment (electronic fencing) systems. Shock collars are often misused and can create fear, anxiety and aggression in your dog toward you or other animals. While they may suppress unwanted behavior, they do not teach a dog what you would like them to do instead and therefore should not be used. Electronic fencing uses shock collars to deliver a shock when the dog approaches the boundaries of the “fenced” area. Typically, the shock is preceded by a tone to warn the dog they are about to get shocked. While the dog will be shocked if they run out through the electronic fence, they will also be shocked when they re-enter, leading to dogs who are unlikely to return home.” Read the complete page at: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/dog-collars
From the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:” Five reasons not to use a shock collar:
1.) You love your dog.
The bond between you and your dog is precious. Using aversive training methods based on fear and pain may result in your dog avoiding you, or even becoming aggressive with you. Using humane training based on rewards instead of punishment addresses unwanted behaviours without jeopardizing the special relationship you share with your pet.
2.) Shock collars are not more effective than humane training.
While punishment-based tools like shock collars can result in changes in your dog’s behaviour, studies have shown that positive, reward-based training is just as effective.
3.) Shock collars can harm your dog.
The electrostatic shock can cause psychological distress for your pet, including phobias and high levels of stress, and can result in unhealthy increases in heart rate and painful burns to your dog’s skin. Use of shock collars can also habituate your pet to pain and cause increases in aggression and fear-based behaviours.
4.) The experts advise against using shock collars.
Veterinary associations and humane organizations have long recognized that punishment-based training can be detrimental to animals. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s position statement on training strongly discourage aversive training methods.
5.) There’s a better way.
We understand that, as a pet guardian, you need to address unwelcome behaviours such as barking and lack of recall. There are many solutions and resources available to deal with behaviour issues without compromising your pet’s well-being.”
The Pet Professional Guild says this:
“It is Pet Professional Guild’s (PPG) view that electric shock in the guise of training constitutes a form of abuse towards pets, and, given that there are highly effective, positive training alternatives, should no longer be a part of the current pet industry culture of accepted practices, tools or philosophies. In this position statement, PPG will combine decades of research with the opinions of certified animal behaviorists, and highlight the question of ethics to explain why using electric shock in the name of training and care is both ineffective and harmful.”
Read the complete page: https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/shockcollars
The Australian Veterinary Association came out strongly against electric collars in 2014
“Behaviour-modifying collars that use electric shock should not be used on animals and should be banned. Behaviour-modifying collars that use citronella (or other nontoxic substances) are not recommended.
The use of positive reinforcement training methods is recommended for modifying the behaviour of animals. Negative reinforcement and positive punishment methods are not recommended. Although equipment based on these methods is available for use in Australia, its use is not recommended.”
Love Them, please Don’t Zap Them!