The Kennel Club says action must be taken after two different studies – one funded by Defra and one involving the Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association – find devices could cause more problems than they solve.
The Kennel Club (KC) is urging the Government to ban electric shock collars for dogs after two different research studies found “conclusive proof” they could actually cause more behavioural problems than they solve.
According to the KC, a study funded by Defra found dogs treated with an electric shock collar displayed negative behavioural and physiological changes in comparison to a non-electric shock collar control group. It also, said the club, “provided evidence that some owners even failed to consult the accompanying instruction manual before using the device on their dogs”.
The second piece of research, which involved the Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association (ECMA), also concluded, said the club, that electric shock collars are not more effective than positive reinforcement methods – such as reward-based training – for recall and chasing, which are often cited as the two main reasons for the use of such devices.
The KC said it was not surprised by the findings from the studies, as it has already campaigned to ban electric shock collars in the UK – successfully achieving one in Wales.
KC secretary Caroline Kisko said: “There is no denying the results of these two surveys – action needs to be taken now to prevent further harm being done to the UK’s dogs.
“The first study provided strong evidence on its own, but the second research project, which was clearly biased through its involvement with the ECMA, speaks volumes.
“Both project findings and conclusions have tremendous implications on animal welfare, and fully support the certainty of many animal welfare organisations, such as the KC, that fundamentally, electric training devices fail to address underlying behaviour and can cause further behaviour problems by training a dog to respond out of fear of further punishment rather than a natural willingness to obey.
“The availability of positive training methods far outweighs the need for techniques based on aversion or pain,” she said.
The KC said it now “expects” Defra and the rest of the devolved administrations to announce a ban on electric shock collars and that it has written to ministers in Westminster, Scotland and Northern Ireland to discuss the issue in greater detail.
For more information on the KC’s campaign against electric shock collars, visit the club’s website.