Dogs & Laws

Colorado Trainer Hopes to Ban Shock, Choke, and Prong Collars for Boulder Dogs

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A Colorado woman hopes to make Boulder the first city in the nation to ban the use of shock, choke, and prong collars on dogs within the city.


Dog trainer, Mary Angilly has started a citywide campaign to ban the use of controversial training collars and hopes to reach the ballot in 2018.

Her proposal would ban the use of shock collars (also known as e-collars, electric collars, zap collars), prong collars (sometimes called pinch collars), and choke collars (chain or rope collars that are looped around the dog’s neck and do not have a fixed size, meaning they can be a strangulation risk) within the city of Boulder, although the sale of these training collars would still be legal.

“I don’t want residents in Boulder to feel alienated or badly if they’re using them,” Angilly told the Daily Camera. “This is about educating people and showing them there are other ways.”

Angilly’s proposed ban would not include invisible fences, which use vibration or shock to prevent a dog from leaving a specified perimeter.

A ban of this type would be the first of its kind within the United States, although similar bans have been enacted in several countries and provinces around the world including New Zealand, Wales, Switzerland, parts of Australia, Quebec, and are being considered for a ban in Germany.

Positive and science-based trainers agree that these “tools” cause dogs to do things because they want to avoid the pain or stimuli associated with them – not because they’ve learned the behaviors the collars prevent are not allowed. Science has shown us that there are better ways to teach dogs and modify their behavior. Yes, even in severe cases. In other words, when properly trained using science-based training methods, your dog can reliably do what you ask of him because he wants to do it, not because he is afraid not to.

Even still, Angilly understands these tools work, and that many trainers and dog owners have had success with them.

“My argument, and most trainers who are against the use of this equipment, is not that it doesn’t work. Punishment and using force and fear to train dogs can totally work. The main issue is the many potential fallouts.”

Among the side effects observed in some dogs when owners use fear- or pain-based training equipment, she told the Daily Caller, are added stress; suppressed or unusually high aggression; and emotional shut-down and stunting.

To get her proposal on the ballot, Angilly has a long road ahead of her, starting with collecting thousands of signatures in support of the ban. Since no such ban exists anywhere in the country, she’ll need to start from the ground-up, determining what exactly the ban would entail, how it would be enforced, and, of course, win the support of enough voters for it to pass.

Would you support a similar ban in your own city or state? Why or why not?

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  1. Avatar Of Kathy Janes

    Kathy Janes


    I completely support such a ban. And if it does become successful, I would like to learn about how to accomplish this in other cities and states.
    Using aversive training equipment does nothing to teach a dog a behavior you would like to see. It only trains him that his handler is willing to cause him pain, and that whatever is currently in his environment could also be related to that pain. Dogs “trained” with this type of equipment are not trained at all – they have been coerced by fear to avoid something, but they don’t know what!
    Would you train your child by slapping him each time he did something wrong, but never tell him what is right or expected? How would he know why you were slapping him? It could be anything he sees, smells or touches. Rewarding the behavior you want helps dogs, and kids, to know what behavior is desired in a given situation.
    Think about it, People!

  2. Avatar Of Devan



    E-collars and prong collars, when used correctly, are an extremely humane and clear tool to communicate with a dog. Many scientific studies that are cited as “proof” that these tools do not work or are less effective are either highly biased or utilize too small of a sample size to be statistically significant. Animal behavior is absolutely not an exact science. The vast majority of trainers advocating for these tools rely heavily on positive reinforcement FIRST, and follow with these tools in order to address very specific behaviors.

    I bought into the positive only line of thinking for YEARS until I adopted a severely reactive dog that was not only not responding to exclusively reward based methods, but actively getting worse. Within a few sessions of reward based methods PAIRED with prong collar work, we were able to finally leave the back yard and enjoy time out in the world together without going into states of extreme stress. In my mind, there’s nothing more humane than training that reduces long term stress and allows you and your dog to enjoy public spaces as a team.

  3. […] Numerous people who choose to share their lives with a dog also choose to use various types of collars, including electric shock collars (e-collars), choke collars, or prong collars that are connected to different sorts of leashes, both of which give people varying degrees of control over their canine companions. The use of any type of restraint, whether a collar that goes around a dog’s neck or a front-clip harness, is elective. Their use is discretionary, optional, or voluntary. This essay was written with Boulder (Colorado) force-free certified dog trainer, Mary Angilly, who, in December 2017, started a campaign to ban on shock, choke, and prong collars in the city. […]

  4. […] Numerous people who choose to share their lives with a dog also choose to use various types of collars, including electric shock collars (e-collars), choke collars, or prong collars that are connected to different sorts of leashes, both of which give people varying degrees of control over their canine companions. The use of any type of restraint, whether a collar that goes around a dog’s neck or a front-clip harness, is elective. Their use is discretionary, optional, or voluntary. This essay was written with Boulder (Colorado) force-free certified dog trainer, Mary Angilly, who, in December 2017, started a campaign to ban on shock, choke, and prong collars in the city.  […]

  5. Avatar Of Lindac



    Any person who uses “ballet” in place of “ballot” should just go away…
    I use a shock collar to keep my 13 lb JET from chasing horses. I would use it for chasing cars if nothing else worked. I occasionally use a prong collar to stop pulling but it hasn’t carried over. Nothing has worked for that, but the shock collar set on 5 out of 100, causes him to stop and run back to me immediately.

  6. Avatar Of Service Dog Handler

    Service dog handler


    I do not support the ban of e collars or prongs etc.
    while I’ve never had to use one there are some ppl with disabilities who use service dogs who do not have use of their hands or use is limited.
    If used properly these become tools not punishing training methods.
    There are some dogs who are just too huge and wild and strong for their 95lbs female handler and can work wonders.
    This is another know it all snowflake who is trying to ruin things for disabled ppl

    • Avatar Of Mel



      May you come back as a dog who needs “handling” according to some know it all ignoramus who thinks they are in charge of you.

  7. Avatar Of Angela Gilden

    Angela Gilden


    Dogington Post should not accept advertising from the promoters of these ineffective, cruel, unscientific canine torture devices. Good article.

    • Unfortunately, Google places the ads on our site, giving us little control over which ads are displayed (and ads appear differently to each person that visits) – they missed the mark big time if they placed a shock collar ad here!

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