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Electronic shock collars for dogs and cats will now be banned in England, government officials confirmed.
They go by many names: e-collar, shock collar, electronic collar, vibration collar, static collar, even “collar mounted electronic training aid.” Now, the controversial training devices (which have been banned in Wales since 2010 and currently in the process of being banned in Scotland) will now also be banned in England, rounding out a blanket ban across Great Britain.
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.
Dr Rachel Casey, director of canine behavior and research at the Dogs Trust said in a statement, “Scientific research has demonstrated that electronic devices which deliver an aversive stimulus have a negative impact on dog welfare, so this ban will have a major positive impact for dogs in the UK.”
Environment Secretary Michael Gove called the collars ‘punitive devices’ that ’cause harm and suffering’ to pets. Gove moved to ban the devices after a survey revealed the public’s overwhelming support of a ban.
More than half of respondents, however, did not support a ban on electronic containment devices (better known as invisible or electric fences), with lobbyists explaining the danger of being struck by vehicles is a far greater danger than the discomfort of being shocked by a collar. Secretary Gove agreed to exclude containment devices from the ban.
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.
I have the most loving min pin he is my world, he is extremely food motivated I trained him everything he needs and more with food, verbal markers and corrections but he is a high energy bread loves to explore and chase prey in the trees birds across the park and he very quickly learnt that he couldn’t be corrected off leash so he would only come when called back when he wanted regardless of what reward he would get, his collar is set at the lowest possible setting he can feel he doesn’t feel any pain it is like someone tapping you on your shoulder to get your attention, he comes back most time now when I whistle him or send him an email via the audio beep tone and yes sometimes he needs the stimulation. the idea of an electric fence or invisible fence as its called is to train a dog to stay in the boundaries or he will be corrected and that correction stops him getting run over so what’s the difference in using the same training aid to teach him not to chase the squirrel across the road I would rather correct him from 100 meters away than watch helplessly as he gets flattened by a 10 tone truck the dog needs to know there is consequences for disobedients in this case the consequence if not for the stimulation collar would be bean run over I think they should regulate the maximum output of the devices at the factory and make it compulsory to have 1 training session with the supplier before purchase I wouldn’t have him where anything I wouldn’t so I put it on me first and found my working level so I could feel how he would feel absolutely painless then reset it and found his working level he loves his freedom and without his collar and his gps tracker I wouldn’t be able to give him what he enjoys most in life
We have an adorable, intelligent Labrador which we have spent many hours training. 95% of the time he is well behaved, but we have an e collar for him for the last 5% of the time when we cannot guarantee his behavior. I always hated these collars until we got one. It is IMPERATIVE that owners are trained in their use. Used correctly, you do NOT inflict pain on the dog. We call him first, then if he doesn’t respond we use a beeper. We then use the VIBRATION if necessary. Every dog owner I know who uses one of these collars uses the lowest setting possible to elicit an unpleasant buzzing and vibration NOT pain. We can take our dog out for a two hour walk off the leash and never use the collar, as it is there as a last resort only. These collars are misunderstood, but I think there should definitely be a limit on the shock they can produce, as used at the top setting our dog collar would be extremely painful, and I think that is where the public perception of these collars has come from.
Your comment shows that there is a place for these devices and they should not be banned outright even if there is a case for better education for users, and for the public, many of whom have a false idea of what they do. The misunderstanding is not helped by the quality of reporting as in the article, which misrepresented how collars are typically used
J M Hibbittsays:
I have a re-homed dog who is fixated on anything with feathers. I tried everything to keep him under control, no recall one he detected feathers training, reward nothing worked. He spent 18 months being kept on a long lead. The final straw was when he bolted from our property and destroyed several chickens from a property a quarter a mile away. Despite my best efforts, fencing etc the only alternative was to keep him on a lead at all times, no life.
I have invested in an underground electric fence, since doing so he makes no attempt to leave the property and I can let him run free without any worries. I have also invested in an electric collar, he now walks free with no attempt to bolt on me. I have only used the electric shock once, not nice but I think it upset me more than him. Those who know me cannot believe the change in him, he is obedient with no signs of cowering or aggression (this was evident when on the lead), in fact a happy dog.
I resisted the e collar as there was such a bad press related to the collar but I do wish I had done it earlier, we both could have had a much easier life. He has no problems wearing the collar and I only put it on him just in case. I at least know should he bolt on me I have control. I have a verbal command which he responds to but as a last resort I will use the collar. He can cause so much distress to the owners of the chickens he visits so surely it is better that a momentary discomfort is better than a lasting distress to the owners and livestock that is attacked.
In the right hands and for the right reasons the e collar can be a lifesaver for the dog.
Another actual case of an ecollar probably saving a dogs life. There is no good case to ban them, just the lies and misrepresentation of campaigners who do not know enough about them.
the dog laws in this county state that your dog should be under your controle at all times how is this possible off leash without your invisible leash if your dog is found to be dangerously out of your controle he will be seased and destroyed so its cruel for me to keep him in controle and humane to destroy a living animal what are they thinking its crazy!