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APDT backs Kennel Club campaign to ban electric shock collars

THE ASSOCIATION of Pet Dog Trainers, the UK’s largest professional pet dog training body, is throwing its weight behind the Kennel Club’s calls for the sale and use of electric shock collars to be banned as part of the Animal Welfare Bill.

Organisations including the RSPCA, Blue Cross and Dogs Trust also believe that the sale and use of the remote control electric shock collars should be outlawed as part of the forthcoming legislation because they compromise animal welfare.

The bodies opposed to the use of the shock collars claim they can be controlled by anybody with no experience in training dogs to abuse and punish via a remote control. By pressing a button a painful shock is transmitted to the dog’s neck via two large electric prongs – the settings on the control of one particular collar range from 0-100. Having tested the collar on the back of human volunteer’s hands many concluded that setting 20 was painful and that 35 was practically unbearable. They also described the collars as "vicious", "barbaric" and even "sadist".

Both the Kennel Club and the APDT strongly believe that the use of remote control electric shock collars to train dogs is not only cruel, but also outdated and unnecessary.

They believe that while the marketing of shock collars can easily convince people that they are a fast cure-all to every problem, modern dog training has progressed a long way from the days when punishment was the most common method of teaching dogs – in the same way as education has progressed from caning children in schools. According to the APDT there is no behaviour or training problem in dogs that is best dealt with by delivering an electric shock into a dog’s neck. The APDT addresses all problems by using up-to-date reward-based training methods and responsible dog ownership, following its motto of "kind, fair and effective". Such methods of training include basic recall and clicker training.

The APDT and the Kennel Club further recognise that not only are these collars inhumane, but that teaching a dog to respond out of fear and pain rather than a natural willingness to obey fails to address underlying behavioural problems and can give rise to far more serious problems. To illustrate, since a dog will not know where the painful shock has come from it is more likely to associate it with something in its immediate environment than with its behaviour at that time. This is why cases of dogs attacking other dogs, their owner or another animal close by at the time of the shock occur. The dog may also develop ‘superstitious’ fears to things in the environment (such as birds, wind and grass) that were heard or seen at the time of the shock.

To help people interested in adding their support to the campaign, the Kennel Club is issuing postcards for members of the public to sign and send to their MPs. These are available to download from the Kennel Club website at

www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/pressoffice/documents/KC-ElectricPostcard-060223.pdf

Readers in Scotland will also find a version of the card to send to their local MSP at

www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/pressoffice/documents/Scottishpcard.pdf

Hard copies are also available from Holly Lee who can be contacted on 020 7518 1020 or
via e-mail on hlee@the-kennel-club.org.uk

Equally well you can write your own letter to your MP or MSP telling him or her about how you feel about such devices. Details of who your local MP is can be found at www.locata.co.uk/commons/

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: "The Kennel Club has long been campaigning for the Government to ban the sale and use of remote control electric shock collars and is disappointed that even the Animal Welfare Bill fails to outlaw their use. The Kennel Club is hoping that since MPs have voted on docking they will turn their attention to other issues that the Bill needs to address and is heartened that APDT will also be pressurising them to do so".

rolyn Menteith, APDT spokesperson added: "We are totally committed to having these barbaric pieces of equipment consigned to dog training history. It is our professional opinion that it is totally unacceptable to train dogs using such inhumane devices, and a complete ban should be implemented as soon as possible. Dogs are meant to be man’s best friend – and you don’t cause your best friend pain and fear in the name of training."

For further information on the campaign to have electric shock collars banned contact: Holly Lee, Kennel Club Public Affairs Officer on 020 7518 1020 or hlee@the-kennel-club.org.uk or Carolyn Menteith, APDT Media Officer on 01932 872069 or carolyn@dogtalk.co.uk