Vets call for ban on electric pulse collars

1 February 2016

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and the British Veterinary Association (BVA) are calling for a complete ban on the sale and use of electric pulse training collars, in response to the Scottish Government’s consultation (6 Nov 2015 – 29 Jan 2016) on the use of electronic aversive training aids.

Electric pulse devices are sometimes used in dog training as a form of punishment to prevent a dog from repeating bad behaviour however, although training a dog is important for their wellbeing, research shows that electric pulse collars are no more effective than positive reinforcement methods. BVA and BSAVA’s response is a result of consultation and an examination of evidence which has found the collars raise a number of welfare issues, such as the difficulty in accurately judging the level of electric pulse to apply to a dog without causing unnecessary suffering or understanding how variables such as the dog being wet can impact the electric pulse felt.

Grace Webster, President of BVA Scottish Branch, said:
“Electronic training devices, such as electric pulse collars, have a negative, painful effect on dogs and can cause them unnecessary suffering. We know from our own experience and expertise, and consultation with leading veterinary behaviourists, that using fear as a training tool is less effective than positive reinforcement and can instead take a toll on the dog’s overall welfare. Further to this, it is too easy to purchase one of these devices and despite good guidance and manuals, these are often not read fully, leaving the devices open to misuse in the wrong hands.&”

Until further research is completed around the impact of other aversive training collars, such as anti-bark spray collars, BVA and BSAVA are also calling for regulation around the devices’ sale and manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that the potential adverse effects of use are highlighted to animal owners and consumers.