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CAWC calls for shock collar evidence

The Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC) has issued a call for evidence relating to the use of electric pulse training aids, or ‘shock collars’, in companion animals.

The CAWC is aiming to produce an independent report on the implications of the use of these electronic training aids.

Professor Daniel Mills, a Council Member of the CAWC and Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Lincoln, said: ‘This review considers devices designed for use in the training of dogs, cats and horses, and any other companion animal species, which involve the application of an electronic current to the skin to aid the training process.’

A working group is seeking specific verifiable information in relation to direct experience of both the use of these devices and alternatives in relation to achieving specific training goals. An online questionnaire has been launched to collate information.

The group wishes to receive reports from individuals regardless of the consequences of their experience so it can identify both the positive and negative attributes of this method of training in practice. Reports must be based on direct experience and not second hand reports. A sample of respondents will be contacted for data verification purposes.

The questionnaire is available on line at and will only take a few minutes to complete. It requests individuals to report on the single most significant experience or context in which they have used a device.

Please note that only one submission per user is allowed. The Group would also like to stress that this call does not seek opinion on the regulation of the devices.

The report will anonymise private sources and individuals providing evidence either directly or indirectly unless permission is gained to the contrary, although specific examples may be cited in an anonymous way.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Communications Director said, “It is extremely important for anyone who has had a negative experience of using an electric shock collar to take part in the consultation. We fear that because of the stigma attached to using these devices, anyone who has had a bad experience may be hesitant to come forward but it is only by reporting these issues – which may be done anonymously – that changes will be made to the law.

“Pain and fear are not humane methods by which to train a dog. There are many effective positive training methods which train dogs quickly, easily and reliably, with absolutely no fear, pain, or damage to the relationship between the owner and the dog. With these methods available there is no justification for electric shock training devices.”

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