Animal rights groups and vets are backing calls to remove electric dog collars from the shelves at Kiwi pet stores.
The Animates pet store responded to a customer’s concerns about the collars this week, saying it stood behind Petsafe anti-bark collars to “be used to correct many harmful behaviors, which could otherwise result in the euthanasia of pets. animals”.
“Anime are very passionate about the welfare of pets and don’t sell products that we deem inhumane,” the store told NetGuide.
Animates provides “ongoing training to our team members to ensure that the correct collar is recommended based on the behavior / size / age of the dogs and most importantly that the collars are used correctly”.
But collars are banned in some countries, and the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) says many dogs respond to shocks with fear, anxiety, arrest and aggression.
“Not everyone is skilled at reading a dog’s body language, and some of the more subtle signs of fear and anxiety – such as holding your ears flat and tucking your tail – may not be understood by an unqualified trainer whose dog undergoes punishment-based training, “said Rochelle Ferguson, NZVA director of operations.
Ms Ferguson said the NZVA would like the collars to be reserved for people who are properly trained, qualified and experienced in animal behavior.
“The potential for unqualified users to worsen the behavior problem and cause stress and anxiety to their dog is far too great to be purchased and used without expert supervision.”
She says that in cases of severe and prolonged barking, dog owners should seek advice from a veterinarian or a qualified canine behaviorist.
“For some dogs, this may be about solving their boredom. They are pack animals, and being left alone for more than four hours has been shown to reduce the well-being of some dogs.”
The animal rights group SAFE agrees and would like to see the products banned.
“Electric collars are often used as a ‘shortcut’ for good dog training,” explains executive director Hans Kriek.
“When used by inexperienced trainers, these necklaces will do more harm than good. We would definitely recommend Animates to stop selling these necklaces.”