The Kennel Club believes that electric shock collars have no
place in a civilised society. The majority of dog lovers and the
welfare and veterinary bodies hold similar views.
An electric shock collar trains a dog to respond out of fear of
further punishment - having received a shock when it does not
perform what is asked of it - rather than from a natural
willingness to obey. This is not the type of training method that
the Kennel Club would endorse. Unwanted behaviour in dogs is best
resolved by positive training methods.
Furthermore, an angry or inferior trainer or even novice owner
could misuse a collar to abuse and punish. It is unacceptable that
these products are readily available by mail order, via retail
outlets and on the internet, and are therefore available to anyone
who, with no training or supervision whatsoever, can place them on
a dog and administer 'correctional' treatment.
Since 1997, the Kennel Club has not allowed electric shock
collars to be sold at Kennel Club licensed events. This reflects
the Kennel Club's Code of Practice which states 'Preference should
be given to motivational methods of training which take into
account the breed and nature of each individual dog'.
Police dogs, armed forces dogs and assistance dogs may also not
be trained using electric shock training devices. Similarly the two
largest German Shepherd Dog clubs in the country (the British
Association for German Shepherd Dogs and the German Shepherd Dog
League of Great Britain) have banned the use of electric shock
collars from their training grounds.
In March 2010, the Kennel Club greatly welcomed the Welsh
Assembly's ban on the use of electric shock collars, mats and
leads, which was passed unanimously. Subsequently, the Welsh
Assembly decision to ban was cleared by the European Commission and
the Royal Courts of Justice, which quashed the judicial review
called for by the Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association
against the ban.
The Kennel Club believes that the ruling paves the way for all
UK governments to go for a ban after the Welsh Assembly led the way
in animal welfare by proving legislating against these devices is
Despite being provided with peer reviewed scientific evidence
which proves that the use of electronic training products is 'not
only unpleasant but also painful and frightening' and 'may
influence the dog's well-being in the long term in a negative way',
Defra began conducting further research in 2007 and 2010. The
first research project exceeded its original budget, costing a
total of £538,925 to the taxpayer, and raised many concerns
regarding its ability to provide true representative data; for
example by using skilled dog trainers and heavily biased training
protocol when exposing the dogs to shock collars, instead of
general dog owners who are most likely to use the devices with
little to no guidance.
Both project findings have now been published. The initial
research identified negative behavioural and physiological changes
in a significant proportion of dogs which were trained with an
electric shock collar in comparison to the non-electric shock
collar control group of dogs in the study. It also 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, also concluded that electric
shock collars are not more effective than positive reinforcement
methods (such as reward based training) for recall and chasing,
which are cited as the two main reasons for the use of electric
shock collar training on dogs.
In light of the findings of these studies, the Kennel Club
expects that Defra and the rest of the devolved administrations
will announce a ban on electric shock collars and will continue to
lobby for this.
Last updated - November 2013