Dogs Trust And Kennel Club Join Forces To Support Shock Bill In Parliament

Dog welfare organisations Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club are supporting Matthew Offord, Conservative MP for Hendon, who is calling for a ban on the sale and use of electric shock collars during a Ten Minute Rule Bill presented to the House of Commons on Wednesday 22ndJanuary.

The Ten Minute Rule Bill follows the publication of two pieces of research, funded by Defra and published last summer, which show that electric shock collars can cause negative behavioural and physiological changes in dogs and are open to misuse by users of these devices.

Although banned by the Welsh government in 2010, electric shock collars are used widely in the UK, with over 300,000* reportedly in use in 2012. They are worn around a dog's neck and work by delivering a short or prolonged electric shock to the dog (either via a remote control or delivered automatically) to 'correct' an undesirable behaviour.

Both Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club are against the use of negative training methods or devices and believe the use of electric shock collars is both irresponsible and ineffective.  Every dog should be trained using kind, fair and reward-based methods which are effectively used to train dogs by the police, the army and assistance dog charities, which have some of the best trained dogs in the world.  Defra's research found that positive reinforcement is just as effective in treating behavioural issues in dogs, including livestock chasing, which is often the main justification given for their use.

Matthew Offord MP explains: "The reason I am raising this issue is because Defra is continuing to ignore its own research.  In 2013, Defra published its two studies which showed that electric shock collars can cause some dogs negative welfare issues even when trained by a professional using "relatively benign training programmes", so therefore many would deem them unsafe. Very few people who buy these devices would have the skill set of an experienced training and behaviour advisor, so there would surely be a heightened chance of long-term negative impacts.

"Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club have long campaigned for the sale and use of electric shock collars to be banned as numerous pieces of research, including the most recent Defra studies, have shown that they can have a negative effect on dog welfare.

"As a dog will have no idea what has caused the pain, it is far more likely to associate it with something in its immediate environment than to connect it with its own behaviour at the time. This is why cases of dogs attacking other dogs, their owner, or another animal close by at the time of the shock are common. Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club believe positive training methods have a greater influence over a dog's behaviour than electric shock collars without ever compromising the dog's health and well-being or the bond between an owner and their dog."

*Research from University of Lincoln - http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/news/2012/09/561.asp

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