The Scottish Government has confirmed its decision to ban electric shock collars, saying that “painful or unpleasant training for dogs will not be tolerated.”
They go by many names: e-collar, shock collar, electronic collar, vibration collar, static collar, even “collar mounted electronic training aid.” Now, despite a November announcement that the controversial training devices would continue to be allowed, the collars (which have already been banned in Wales since 2010) will be banned in Scotland with supporters hoping for an eventual blanket ban across the entire United Kingdom.
Based on the idea of operant conditioning, shock collars allow a dog’s handler, owner or trainer to remotely (or automatically, in the case of bark activated or perimeter activated collars) give a “correction” when the dog doesn’t behave in the way that is expected of them.
A recent study, conducted by animal behavior specialists at the University of Lincoln, UK, revealed that training dogs with the use of an e-collar, or shock collar, is a risk to the dogs’ behavioral well-being, especially when compared to reward-based training methods.
While announcing the ban, Scotland’s Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said, “I want there to be no doubt that painful or unpleasant training for dogs will not be tolerated,” and that “anyone found causing pain to dogs through the use of collars or other devices can be prosecuted as they deserve.”
Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, has said that use of shock collars were ‘barbaric’. “In this day and age it is absurd that people are able to give their dog an electric shock in a misguided bid to train them – it is a cruel and lazy method,” she asserted.
Secretary Cunningham said she made the decision, in part, over the ready availability on the internet of cheap devices which can be bought and used by anyone to deliver painful electric shocks.
The ban will be finalized under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 in the coming months. Already written draft guidance says that “causing unnecessary suffering is an offense under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. This includes suffering caused by inappropriate training methods.”
What’s your opinion? Would you support a similar ban in your own country or state?
Should e-collars be outlawed entirely? What about electronic/invisible fencing?
Currently, anyone can walk into a store or go online, purchase an e-collar, strap it to their dog without ever reading an instruction or undergoing any training, and begin using it on their dog.
Should e-collars be available to the general public, or should they only be purchased an operated by someone that has been certified and understands precisely how/when to administer the “shock?”
Weigh in with a comment below!
We know this is a passionate subject for many – please be respectful to those whose opinions may differ from your own.