Fresh call to ban cruel devices
Defra funded research found that use of electric shock collars on
• can cause negative behavioural and
physiological changes in dogs
• was not more effective than positive
reinforcement methods, despite this being the main argument for
• was open to misuse as owners tended not to
read the manual or, in some cases, were not provided a
The Kennel Club is urging the government to take action following
two different research studies which found conclusive proof that
electric shock collars do not deliver the promises the
manufacturers claim and could actually cause more behavioural
problems than they solve.
Research funded by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs (Defra) 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.
Furthermore, a 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.
The findings from these reports are shocking but are of no
surprise to the Kennel Club, which has campaigned to ban electric
shock collars in the UK and has successfully achieved a ban in
Wales. Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary 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 Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association,
speaks volumes. Even with industry trained professionals, and the
project being conducted by an organisation with a clear agenda, it
was still found that electric shock collars often had a detrimental
effect on dogs and did not prove to be a better alternative than
training using positive reinforcement.
"Both project findings and conclusions have tremendous
implications on animal welfare, and fully support the certainty of
many animal welfare organisations such as the Kennel Club 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
Following these damning reports, the Kennel Club expects that
Defra and the rest of the devolved administrations will announce a
ban on electric shock collars. Previous Defra Ministers have stated
that the government will not consider any proposals regarding a ban
on electric shock collars until the peer review process has been
completed and these research study project reports are made
available, which they have now been.
The Kennel Club has written to Ministers in Westminster, Scotland
and Northern Ireland to discuss this important issue in greater
detail and hopes to hear from the Ministers regarding their
departments' next steps in this matter.
For further information on the Kennel Club's campaign against
electric shock collars, visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/banshockcollars.