Petco ends sale of shock collars


San Diego-based Petco announced on Tuesday that it will no longer sell electronic pet collars, also known as shock collars, because they double the health and welfare of pets.

The decision, effectively immediate, is more than a simple symbolic gesture; he simultaneously puts a $10 million a year business to bed for the company. However, the private company hopes overall sales will increase as new and existing customers seek alternative options such as online training courses and subscription veterinary care.

“Almost all pet parents want to do what’s best for their pet, but if you ask them, 50% don’t know what the right thing to do is,” the CEO said. Ron Coughlin, describing the company’s shock collar. position as a coaching moment for individuals, as opposed to an indictment on military or police use. “People don’t know how easy it is to get training help.”

Shock collars, sometimes called dog training collars, use an electrical current of varying intensity as a means of curbing unwanted behavior. They are readily available from a number of online retailers and are often marketed as a safe way to stop dogs from excessive barking, biting and jumping. However, some pet professionals who preach positive reinforcement instead of atrocious training also believe the devices are harmful and could lead to increased fear and anxiety.

So Petco is choosing sides as it seeks to break away from a reputation of being just another mass-market retailer.

The local company’s latest stance builds on a decision made nearly two years ago to stop carrying cat food and foods with artificial ingredients, a philosophy that has since been applied to its foods for reptiles, ferrets and fish. The overall strategy is emblematic of a larger vision that what’s good for pets is ultimately good for Petco’s bottom line. The company was likely emboldened by the success of its natural food campaign, which was amplified by a TV spot in which cats and dogs storm a store and empty shelves.

“At that time, our business was in decline. It really made us known for something. … It also energized our store employees because it aligned with their core philosophy,” Coughlin said. “(The decision to stop selling foods with artificial ingredients) helped start the company’s turnaround.”

Valued at $4.6 billion in 2015 when it was bought out by a private equity firm, Petco does not currently publish its financial statements. The company would only disclose that it has had several consecutive quarters of growth. It seeks to continue the trend with a greater emphasis on services – a recent launch online training platformin particular – and a brand new tagline designating the company as “Petco, the Health + Wellness Co.”

The continued shift to services also underscores Coughlin’s stated mission to disrupt the company, which means that employee values, as opposed to company interests, should guide its approach to pet care.


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