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ADVOCACY

PPG Releases Open Letter to Pet Industry Representatives Regarding the Use of Shock in Animal Training

In terms of pet training, management and care, we now know enough to stop shocking

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our pets, states PPG in its open letter to industry associations (Part One of three)

© Can Stock Photo/Nejron

hocking pet dogs remains a common, if controversial, training ited to -- products often referred to as e-collars, training collars, shock practice worldwide. In this open letter, Pet Professional Guild collars, e-touch, stimulation, tingle,TENS unit collar, remote trainers, (PPG) combines decades of research, the opinions of certified and e-prods.) In 2017, can there really still be a debate over the animal behaviorists, and the question of ethics to explain why issue of using pain as a “method” of animal training? Decades of using electric shock in the name of training “Shocking constitutes a form of peer-reviewed, scientific studies show, and care is both ineffective and harmful. whether discussing dogs, humans, dolphins or abuse towards pets, and, given PPG concludes that shocking constitutes a that there are highly effective, elephants, that electric shock as a form of positive training alternatives, form of abuse towards pets, and, given that training to teach or correct a behavior is inshould no longer be a part of there are highly effective, positive training effective at best, and physically and psychothe current accepted practices, logically damaging at worst. alternatives, should no longer be a part of tools or philosophies.” the current pet industry culture of acRenowned board certified animal behavcepted practices, tools or philosophies. iorist and veterinarian, Dr. Karen Overall (2005) states: “There are now terrific scientific and research data that show the harm Introduction that shock collars can do behaviorally. At the July 2005, International Veterinary Behavior Meeting, held in conjunction with the This document will present and attempt to answer three quesAmerican Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior and American tions PPG believes to be key for those leading, guiding and creCollege of Veterinary Behaviorists research meetings, data were dentialing pet industry professionals: 1. Can professional associations and credentialing bodies work presented by E. Schalke, J. Stichnoth, and R. Jones-Baade that docwithin the confines of applied animal behavior without endorsing umented these damaging effects...There is no longer a reason for people to remain misinformed. Let me make my opinion peror enabling shock collar practitioners? fectly clear: Shock is not training - in the vast majority of cases it 2. Can pet industry associations and credentialing bodies redefine the rules for humane hierarchies simply by applying a layer meets the criteria for abuse.” Ziv (2017) condenses a number of studies and surveys to reof ethics that rules out certain equipment choices deemed highly view the data on the relationship between the use of electronic aversive and invasive? collars and dogs’ behavior and concludes that, “given the available 3. As a minimum and first step, should members of professional associations be identified by data and in order to avoid risking the dogs’ welfare, trainers An electric shock provides no should avoid using electronic collars when training dogs.” Yet, in training philosophy and tools of effective strategy for an animal to learn a new or alternative choice, enabling pet owners to spite of the decades of studies, there is still plethora of organizabehavior; it simply inflicts pain tions, associations and councils responsible for the representamake informed and transparand risks making him fearful, anxious and/or aggressive tion, guidance and certification of pet industry professionals ent choices on behalf of their adhering to the belief that shock is an acceptable way to train, pets? care for and manage pets. These associations play a critical role in Since its inception in establishing and recommending best practices, education, leader2012, PPG’s position has been ship and technical standards in their respective arena. With this that “the use of electronic role comes the obligation to take a transparent and consistent stimulation, or ‘shock’ or ‘eposition on important and urgent issues, including training praccollars’ to care for, manage tices and equipment use. This does not mean said organizations and train/modify the behavior need to remove or inhibit required levels of professional autonof pet animals is simply not omy by practicing, ethical individuals. Indeed, PPG believes that a necessary.” (Note: For the purline based on research, science, and ethics should be drawn as to poses of this document, elecwhat are, and are not, acceptable business practices in terms of tronic stimulation devices applied animal behavior (ABA), core principles, and informed include --but are not lim18

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

BARKS from the Guild May 2017  

The bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, canine, feline, equine, p...

BARKS from the Guild May 2017  

The bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, canine, feline, equine, p...