Collars that deliver an electric shock for up to 30 seconds “can injure dogs and do not beat traditional training”
- The Kennel Club calls for an immediate ban on controversial electric collars
- Government Research Finds ‘Electronic Necklaces’ No More Effective Than Rewards
- The collars emit 30 second shocks and are used by 500,000 owners
Prohibition: the ‘e-collar’, preferred by celebrities including Hollywood actress Jessica Biel, is no more effective than traditional forms of dog training
Collars that give dogs electric shocks should be banned immediately after government research concluded that they were no better for training dogs than traditional reward methods.
This is the opinion of the Kennel Club in response to two reports commissioned by DMinistry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), who discovered that they could actually harm people’s pets rather than change their behavior.
The devices, used by Hollywood dog whisperer Cesar Millan and actress Jessica Biel, have already been banned in Wales and pressure is now mounting on ministers to extend this to the rest of the UK.
The Kennel Club is campaigning for action on the grounds that “electronic collars” are cruel and harmful and has written to ministers calling for action.
Controversial necklaces can deliver a shock lasting up to 30 seconds. It is said that up to 500,000 British owners use them.
Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko argued that the reports, which cost £ 540,000, proved the devices hurt dogs and were less effective than the manufacturers claimed.
She said: “There is no denying the results of these two surveys.
“Steps must be taken now to prevent further damage to dogs in the UK.
“Even with industry and organization-led project (ECMA) trained professionals with a clear program, it has always been found that electric shock collars often have a detrimental effect on dogs and have not proven to be be a better alternative than training using positive reinforcement. ‘
She added that the devices did not address the underlying behavior and could lead to other behavioral issues by training a dog to react out of fear of further punishment rather than a natural desire to obey.
Fan: Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan Uses Electric Shock Collars To Help Train Neglected Dogs, Although The Kennel Club Believes They Are Harmful
Good Boy: Traditional rewards work just as well as punishments from electric shocks
In the first of the two studies, scientists at Bristol and Lincoln Universities and the Food and Environment Research Agency concluded that the use of electronic collars “can have a negative impact on well-being at least to an extent ( number) of animals trained using this technique ”.
He revealed that many owners were using the devices without following instructions.
Cruel: Electric necklaces, such as the ones pictured here, can emit shocks lasting up to 30 seconds
The second follow-up study was conducted by the Lincoln team in conjunction with the Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association (ECMA).
He showed that the devices were no more effective than other training methods, such as rewarding dogs who have problems chasing other animals, a reason often cited for using shock collars.
But ECMA has denied the necklaces caused pain, although spokeswoman Angela Critchley admitted Defra officials have been in contact with its members since the reports were released.
She told the Telegraph: ‘Defra has contacted ECMA to ensure that its members ‘products continue to be manufactured to standards and to further educate users on how to use training products responsibly.’
“The members of ECMA have subscribed to a robust code of practice in which all products meet the latest technical requirements and provide user guides with consistent instructions to improve the quality of life of dogs while protecting the well- be animals. “
A Defra spokesperson said his research has shown that collars “do not cause long-term harm to the well-being of dogs when manufactured to high standards and used appropriately”, but those that do use the devices “to inflict unnecessary suffering can be prosecuted under animal welfare laws”.