It’s time to ban electric dog collars

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Sir, – On behalf of our members, the committee of the Association of Pet DogTrainers Ireland (APDT Ireland), a nationwide network of highly qualified dog training instructors, unequivocally wishes to support the call of the ISPCA for the government to follow the lead of the Welsh and Scottish governments in banning shock collars for dogs in all their forms.

Members of APDT Ireland are committed to effective, powerless and evidence-based dog training. Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that the use of electric shock collars, both to train dogs and to contain them, can be potentially damaging not only to dogs physically, but also emotionally and behaviorally. Their effectiveness is based on the fact that they deliver a highly aversive shock to the dog’s throat, which the dog must find ways to avoid. The use of such “quick fix” techniques or equipment that avoid feelings of pain, discomfort or startle is known to lead to unwanted and annoying behaviors and well-being deficits, which can be difficult to readjust. Scientific evidence is supported worldwide by ethical dog trainers in an applied setting, which report serious consequences in dogs that have been exposed to training or confinement using electric shock collars, including chronic and crippling anxiety and aggression directed at both other dogs and people.

At APDT Ireland, we consider electric shock collars in all their forms to be at best very aversive, and at worst very open to misuse and abuse. Proponents of electric shock collars will defend their use by insisting that they do no harm, or that they deliver only a “small” shock, but this illustrates their misunderstanding of the very aversion of a “small” shock, especially when delivered to the sensitive area of ​​the throat. The simple truth is that unless the effect of the Shock Collar is aversive and punitive enough for dogs, they don’t work. Proponents of their use also downplay the behavioral consequences that our members and members of other internationally recognized professional dog training and behavior organizations routinely report.

Electric shock collars have no place in dog training or containment, especially in light of the existence of positive, non-harmful and more effective alternatives. – yours, etc.,

MAUREEN BYRNE,

MSc, PhD, CCAB;

EMMALINE

DUFFY-FALLON, SFSPCA, CCBev Truss RVN, DipCABT;

ALISON BUSH, B.Sc.;

Pets Association

Dog Trainers Ireland,

Rhode, County Offaly.

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