Local dog trainer applauds Petco for banning shock collars

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Shockproof collars like this are also often referred to as electronic collars and anti-bark collars and will no longer be on Petco’s shelves as the company continues to transform into a pet health and wellness business. (Photo licensed from The Zebra Press)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – On Tuesday, Petco announced that it will no longer sell electronic collars, aka “shock” or “bark” collars, the first major pet chain to remove the items from its stores and online.

“The dog training industry has evolved over the past 30 years. For many years the “experts” told us we had to control the dog, show them we were in control, be the big alpha or else they would try to dominate us. This training philosophy was based on a flawed wolf study in the 1940s. While more recent studies have been done on how dogs think and learn, we now know that the Dominance Theory dog training had no science behind it, ”says Sandy Modell, leading owner and trainer of Wholistic Hound Academy in Alexandria, Virginia.

Sandy Modell shockproof necklaces
Sandy Modell, owner and head coach of the Wholistic Hound Academy, applauds Petco’s decision to stop selling shock collars. (Photo: Wholistic Hound Academy)

“Electricity can be essential to power your microwave oven, but it has no role for the average parent of a pet who trains their dog,” said the CEO of Petco. Ron coughlin. “Shock collars have been shown to increase fear, anxiety and stress in dogs, and we believe there is a better way – positive reinforcement training.”

Malarky hierarchy

Modell has been okay with the concept of positive reinforcement training since she started training dogs decades ago. Citing a number of veterinary and behavioral studies including the Animal Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) and major dog training associations including the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), she says old dog training theories have been debunked and are often referred to as “hierarchy malarky.”

“Training should be fun for you and your dog. Tools that cause pain, cause dogs to curl up and bark, cause other behavioral problems, reduce a dog’s ability to problem solve, and adversely affect the human-dog bond, should be avoided, especially when there is a better and efficient way to train, ”emphasizes Modell.

Positive reinforcement training at the Wholistic Hound Academy. (Photo: Wholistic Hound Academy)

“Science shows that animals will learn new behavior faster and more successfully if they are allowed to participate voluntarily in the learning process and are rewarded for preferred behaviors,” said Dr. Whitney miller, head of veterinary medicine for Petco. “Punishment is not only less effective in changing unwanted behavior, shock collars are known to reinforce negative behavior and create anxiety in pets. “

Modell agrees, Positive reinforcement training focuses on the behaviors we want our dogs to exhibit. By giving dogs the opportunity to gain reinforcements, dogs will repeat these behaviors. Instead of suppressing the behaviors and causing pain to stop the unwanted behaviors, we create optimism in the dogs we work with so that the behaviors we want become their default behaviors.

“Anyone who understands dog behavior knows that the reason a shock collar suppresses behavior is because it hurts. Not because they feel a tickle. They tell you to try on your arm. They never tell you to put it around your neck, ”says Modell.

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