URGENT: MP Letter to British Veterinary Association - Final Push 

ARDO response to Victoria, Australia Consultation

By Jamie Penrith on March 24, 2024
Association of Responsible Dog Owners® Submission to the Victorian Government (Australia) consultation on the Draft Animal Care and Protection Bill Sunday 24th March 2024 Introduction We wish to raise our concerns in relation to certain, stated proposals within the Draft Animal Care and Protection Bill. In particular, Part 4 (division 6) “Electronic Shock Devices” together […]

Association of Responsible Dog Owners® Submission to the Victorian Government (Australia) consultation on the Draft Animal Care and Protection Bill

Sunday 24th March 2024

Introduction

We wish to raise our concerns in relation to certain, stated proposals within the Draft Animal Care and Protection Bill. In particular, Part 4 (division 6) “Electronic Shock Devices” together with our reasoning.

We commend The Victoria government on their existing regulatory model, which has been in place for many years and has proven entirely adequate in promoting the protection of animals through the permitted, responsible use of quality electronic training aids under competent supervision. We note that these regulations were reviewed in 2019 and once again deemed fit for purpose.

We are concerned that the new Bill appears to be superseding these existing, recently revisited regulations, and that it seeks to put the cart before the horse, making it unclear as to what the Victoria government’s intentions are?  Government guidance[1] states one hand, that the existing regulatory model is continued in the new draft bill yet goes on to say what such regulations could include, rather than what they do include. Indeed, the guidance further states: “The regulations would be developed once a new Act was in place and would involve consultation and impact assessments.” To this end, it appears that consultees are being asked to respond to Bill proposals, which are based on regulatory requirements that are as yet, unknown and unavailable. This causes us understandable concern, as we cannot possibly know what we are agreeing or disagreeing with in this regard. Guidance further states, that regulations applying to livestock fencing

 

“Would be the basis for developing the new regulations regarding the use of electronic shock devices”.

 

 Again, this suggests that the existing, approved regulations for electronic training aids cannot be relied upon as being the regulations around which the Bill is formed, therefore this consultation invites responses based on guesswork.

 

The guidance states the electronic training aids “carry a high risk of causing unreasonable harm, pain and distress to animals.” We cannot fail to notice that this is almost an exact copy of the Dutch government statement that, “the use of electric shock equipment carries a high and irreconcilable risk of causing pain or injury or harming the animal’s health or well-being”. Then, as here, officials failed to add any ‘real world’ meat to the bones of this claim. No investigations, no prosecutions and no convictions to support it. Whilst we note that the Victoria statement includes the word “unreasonable”, to the best of our extensive knowledge, there has never been any scientific study, involving the responsible use of high-quality electronic training aids – certainly for the control of predatory behaviour by dogs – to substantiate the stated claims of “high risk of causing unreasonable harm, pain and distress”. We propose that it is far more accurate and honest to say:

“Depending on the individual animal, the wilful or reckless presentation of a non-contingent, excessive, inescapable, unpredictable and uncontrollable aversive stimulus carries a risk of causing unnecessary physical and associated psychological disturbance”.

 

Such conditions apply equally to anything and everything that the dog deems to be aversive i.e., ‘would work to remove or avoid’. Consequently, we are left asking the question: What cannot “carry a high risk of causing unreasonable harm, pain or distress to animals, if that is the intention of the human being involved?”

 

Licensing AND Regulation

  • Division 6, Subdivision1: 47 (1) “A person must not use a prohibited electronic shock device” [emphasis added]

We cannot find a definitive list of what constitutes a ‘prohibited’ electronic shock device, and we do not know whether it refers to existing or proposed devices?

  • Division 6, Subdivision1: 47 (2) “A person must not use a regulated electronic shock device” [emphasis added]

We cannot find a definitive list of what constitutes a ‘regulated’ electronic shock device, and we do not know whether it refers to existing or proposed devices?

  • Division 6, Subdivision1: 47 (2) “A person shall not use a regulated electronic shock device unless the person does so (a) under and in accordance with a license to do so”

AND

(b) “In accordance with any provisions of the regulations that apply”

The Bill looks to tighten the existing regulated use of electronic training aids even further. Despite users acting responsibly and justifiably, they would also require a license from the Secretary of State to use the aids. Why is this additional red-tape necessary where a proven and workable process is already in place with the regulatory model? What events have occurred since 2020 (when the regulatory approval was published) to necessitate further roadblocks on the journey a dog owner takes to help provide, protect and promote the welfare interests of their dogs and other people/animals? This is bureaucracy for its own sake, and it offers nothing to necessitate its inclusion to help promote animal welfare. We propose that 47(2)(a) is removed as being both unnecessary and a potential risk to progressing better animal welfare outcomes.

Our submission highlights the benefits of electronic training aids (ETA’s) for dogs from both an applied perspective and the theoretical/scientific position. We argue that electrical stimulation can be responsibly utilised to harmlessly, efficiently and effectively change and improve the welfare and safety of dogs, other animals, and the experiences of people affected by the behaviour of the dog.

We take an accurate and objective look at some terms and perspectives, commonly used to justify sledgehammer legislation including the banning of all electrical stimulation for dogs (and cats) and show that, as technology advances, electrical stimulation and promotion of animal welfare are by no means mutually incompatible. Our submission focuses primarily on dogs.

 

 

Who are we?

About the Association of Responsible Dog Owners® (hereafter referred to as ARDO)

The Association of Responsible Dog Owners® (ARDO) is a non-fee- paying, not-for-profit, international collective of dog owners, canine professionals and enthusiasts, with a shared common purpose – to educate and to respond accurately and without bias or favour to pertinent, canine-related matters using both scientific and empirical evidence on behalf of those with direct experience of such matters. Historically, wide-ranging canine-related decisions directly affecting dog owners and their dogs, have been reached without the owners themselves having been consulted or having a non- political, impartial representative body to speak on their behalf. ARDO works to provide that body, the ‘owners’ voice’.

What does ARDO offer?

In 2018, ARDO opened an online survey [2] at our website regarding Electronic Training Aids [ETA’s]* for dogs. This survey was shared widely using social media platforms. *(See below).

Questions ranged from ‘where the dog was acquired’ and ‘what had been tried prior to ETA’s’, to ‘did ETA inclusion resolve the issue’ and most importantly ‘were there any negative effects?’ The survey included a ‘free text’ option, which documented an extensive body of first-hand accounts from those persons to whom any proposal to ban ETA’s would directly affect. Those persons are made up of loving, considerate dog owners, many of whom have gone to extraordinary lengths to help resolve the behavioural issues or afford adequate protections for their dogs and other animals/persons before incorporating ETA’s into their training efforts.

The survey closed in 2023 having gathered over 2,500 responses. To the best of our knowledge, no other survey exists with as much first-hand empirical data on the subject of everyday, applied ETA use to assist in the training, control and protection of their dogs and other animals/people.

Results

  • 42% of respondents used an ETA to address chase (predatory behaviour), with a further 32.7% using an ETA to address failing to come when called. 73% of respondents used/using an ETA for off-lead reliability – providing for behavioural needs, safely.
    • 86% of respondents had already undertaken alternative training to attempt to resolve the problem behaviour, with 35.6% of those having already tried a ‘reward-only’ trainer.
    • Only 7 respondents heard about ETA via their vet, suggesting that such professionals have little direct experience of working with the problem behaviours concerned and almost no experience of working with electronic training aids.
    • 78% of respondents used their ETA under supervision/guidance with 86.3% of respondents combining reward training with ETA use.
    • 42.9% of respondents believe that without the ETA inclusion, their pet would have been confined for life.[1]
    • 39.2% of respondents believe that the inclusion of an ETA prevented the death of their pet or another animal.
    • 93% of respondents state that the inclusion of the ETA resolved their problem behaviour.
    • 98.6% of respondents state that there were no negative effects.

It is also worth noting that many of the respondents have physical or psychological health or mobility impairments, limiting their ability to employ alternative approaches to satisfy the welfare needs and lawful, responsible control of their dogs.

What is an ETA?

An ETA exists in 3 forms:

  1. Electrical non-visible fencing system.

The animal wears a receiver collar powered by a small battery. The collar has two protruding contact points which contact the animal’s skin. A wire (marked by small, interspersed flags) is placed either above or below ground to define a permitted ‘invisible’ boundary perimeter, determined by the human operator. Each end of the wire joins a central control unit which is attached to an electrical power supply. The wire then serves as an antenna which detects the approach of the collar worn by the dog. It causes the collar to emit a tone or non-electrical vibrating pulse as the dog approaches the visual flags and the buried wire. This is the ‘safety signal’ from which the dog is trained to turn away upon hearing/feeling. Should the dog continue towards the wire, the collar emits a short, harmless electrical pulse deterrent, which travels only between the two contact points. It does not travel to Earth through the body of the dogs. It is a localised pulse, not an ‘electric shock’. This pulse stimulates tissue located between the points and is detected by nerves as unpleasant or momentarily startling, causing the dog to move away from the cause towards the safety of the contained area. Advance in technology has seen app-based, mobile phone operated GPS type fencing systems. These work in exactly the same manner as described above, but without wires and control units. The user determines the intensity of pulse from their phone via the app. These products are gaining popularity with livestock and conservation [3] uses too. They are portable, inexpensive, simple and effective at keeping animals safe. [4] Research has shown collar activated fencing does not compromise welfare and can actually improve animal confidence.[5]

 

  1. Anti-bark collars.

The animal wears a similar, battery powered collar to the containment system, but it contains a microphone and vocal-chord movement sensor technology. Should the dog bark, if both the microphone and the movement sensors are simultaneously triggered, a non-electrical safety signal is emitted, following which any additional barking triggers an immediate electrical pulse as per the containment collar. Unlike the fence wire, the pulse on an anti-bark collar is triggered by the dog barking. The collar sensitivity is adjustable so that ambient sounds, light yipping or whining will not trigger the pulse. The level of pulse can be determined by the operator, or some products use auto-detection technology. This means that the collar itself detects and remembers the appropriate level to cause a cessation of barking.

  1. Handheld training systems (e-collars).

These products work in a similar way to the more advanced (app-based) containment systems. The dog wears a receiver collar which is capable of delivering a localised, electrical pulse. This is delivered following activation from a handset or mobile phone app, operated by the user. Higher quality e-collars have additional built-in safety features, allowing the pulse to switch off after a certain time; a lock function (to mitigate accidental increases) and/or a ‘cap’ feature to restrict available pulse intensity.

The user determines the timing, intensity and duration of the pulse, which is highly adjustable to suit the individual dog and the circumstances. In the same way that the dog is trained to respond to the ‘safety signal’ of the tone, vibration or flags with fence systems, so with e-collars the dog is trained to respond to the safety signal of the operator commands. In a short space of time, the dog learns that it can reliably predict and control/avoid the pulse by responding in the appropriate manner to the commands, whereupon it is positively reinforced with food, play or praise and e-collar use may be discontinued. The unique features of the e-collar enable the delivery of an identical pulse over varying distances and contexts. This consistency and clarity expedite the learning process in the dog, whilst providing controlled, safe expression of behavioural freedom amidst highly distracting environments. E-collars are scientifically well documented [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] for their use in effectively stopping predation by dogs towards other vulnerable animals, protecting the welfare of both the dog and the prey animal. In such instances, the prey animal takes on the role of the containment fence flags, and the dog quickly learns not to approach them since they attribute the delivery of the pulse with approaching the chosen animal itself. This ‘trial and error’ learning is efficient, effective, only momentarily invasive and long lasting. Often, dogs do not differentiate between real prey and everyday moving objects such as vehicle wheels, cyclists or joggers. Responsible use of quality e-collars allows owners to swiftly cause the dog to think “the vehicle did it, but only when I chased it”, thereby quickly resolving the issue and protecting both the dog and the public.

 

The word “shock”

What is common to almost all reports written against electronic training collars is the use of wholly inaccurate, highly charged emotive language to describe both the products themselves and their effects upon the animal.

This isn’t coincidental, but rather a common, deliberate means of capturing the attention and securing the support of an audience by appealing to their emotions above their logical reasoning – the visceral appeal – where irrefutable evidence of the claims themselves is lacking. The dangers and errors of visceral provocation as a means to present an argument have been documented in multiple instances throughout recent history.

 

Once powerful emotions have been stirred, it becomes increasingly difficult to encourage the audience to listen objectively and dispassionately to facts. People ‘trust’ their feelings and so become very resistant and quickly dismissive of additional evidence showing their feelings to be wrong. Alarmingly, this ‘appeal to emotion/defence of emotion’ interplay of shared ignorance exists way beyond the naïve, loving companion dog owner. It extends into the animal welfare charities and organisations and on through academic institutions, influencing much of the research of ‘impartial’ scientists responsible for producing the studies being cited to support the narrative in the first place.

 

This would imply that electronic training aids have and need only 1 level of static stimulation since they have just 1 function and 1 purpose – to ‘shock’ the animal. We know that this is untrue. Research into electronic training aids [13] conducted by Defra (an English government body) deliberately avoided the use of the word “shock”.

 

“Shock” would perhaps be accurate when describing a response as opposed to the stimulus itself. Such as where electronic training aids are used at higher levels of stimulation intensity as part of a programme intended to cause a deliberate, negative association between the dog and an aspect of its environment known or likely to represent a harm. Here, the use of the word “shock” might accurately describe the psychological experience of a sudden, intense but momentary electronic pulse. The surprise or alarm effects upon the dog, not the electrical impulse itself.

 

Simple first-hand experience will reveal that the levels of static stimulation on electronic training aids range from imperceptible to perceptible, through tickling and irritation, on to annoyance and increasingly aversive, culminating in (and restricted to) what most would consider highly startling under given conditions.

 

We MUST acknowledge and appreciate however, that such perceptions are entirely subjective. We simply cannot say that such self-reported experiences remain consistent amongst individuals within a species, certainly across species. Video evidence reveals dogs experiencing high level stimulation on an electronic training aid yet paying no attention to the sensation whatsoever.

 

The fact that this sensation is made possible using a remotely operated electronic device which stimulates tissue including nerves through electrical impulse does not meet the criteria for the everyday understanding of giving the animal ‘electric shocks.’

 

.

 

 

Suppression of undesirable behaviours

When arguing against electronic training aids, the words “suppress behaviours” or “behavioural suppression” are generally presented in a negative light, as if to imply that conditioned behavioural suppression can only ever be an anti-welfare, anti-safety, irresponsible course of action.

 

We say long-term (often lifelong) suppression of behaviours, where such behaviours represent a significant threat to the well-being of the dog, third-party persons or animals directly affected by the behaviour of the dog, is not representative of irresponsible or inhumane action. Certainly, where the dog is simultaneously taught appropriate and acceptable, alternative behaviours.

 

Rather it is where we focus exclusively, on only one of these obligations (suppression of undesirable or teaching of desirable behaviours) that our actions might be deemed insufficient in ensuring the interests and safety of the dog, third-party persons, or other animals directly affected by the behaviour of the dog.

 

Many ‘veterinary approved’ medications and means of behaviour modification rely entirely on suppression of undesirable behaviours, including:

  • Routine gonadal mutilation [14], to suppress the urge to reproduce or indulge in hormone-driven behaviours;
  • Muzzles to aggressive or abnormal eating behaviours;
  • Surgical cones [15] to suppress self-soothing/self-healing behaviours,

 

even despite the fact that such approaches are shown and known to compromise the welfare of many dogs.

 

We say that it is either ignorance or a deliberate misrepresentation of behavioural psychology to suggest that self-rewarding or heavily reinforced ‘undesirable behaviours’ can be effectively suppressed, without the dog experiencing appropriate, negative consequences directly associated with the expression of those behaviours.

 

Learned behaviour cannot be forgotten, and the future expression of that behaviour is based on associated consequences. Where a dog has experienced highly enjoyable consequences (such as chasing livestock or other animals) despite the behaviour being harmful or potentially harmful, suppressing that ‘undesirable behaviour’ is a fundamental duty in ensuring safe, acceptable, social coexistence. Decision-makers are quick to punish transgressions from familial, social or legal expectations and obligations.

 

As evidence shows, for dogs who are unable to ‘suppress’ undesirable behaviours, the price to pay is often premature destruction [16]. It is ethically grotesque, that we are more comfortable killing healthy dogs with problem behaviours than we are with suppressing the problem behaviours that cause their unnecessary deaths.

 

It would require very sound reasoning and detailed explanation, to justify any legislative proposals aimed at prohibiting the right of owners to prevent or suppress such transgressions in the prevention of harms or protection of lives.

 

Electronic Training Aids destroy trust and the human-animal bond

We must guard against making or accepting sweeping, false generalisations. Especially where, without evidence to substantiate the claim, the effect of an individual is presented as synonymous with the effect of a training aid. To simplify, an individual’s character, approach and intentions are arguably of equal, if not of greater importance in terms of effect upon the subject animal than the training aids they choose to use:

 

  • “.. debates over effectiveness of training methods should include not only the training aids but also the qualification of the trainer.” Salgirli [17]

 

  • “.. effects of the electric collar, at least when used in a harsh way, may be visible outside the training area. The most likely factor here is the presence of the handler .. it is mostly men, that do these trainings and they have been doing it their way and successfully for many years. Men mostly are harder on animals than women, men may be perceived as more threatening than females” [Emphasis added] Schilder and Van Der Borg [18]

 

It is the detached, impersonal, non-correlative association between electronic stimulation and operator, that enables electronic training aids to establish clear and consistent associations between the dog’s behaviour towards, or specific aspects of the dog’s environment, not the operator. A search of the available academic literature yields nothing to confirm any charge, that the effective control of predatory behaviour by dogs through responsible use of quality electronic training aids, results in any breakdown in bond or tarnishing of trust whatsoever. This is hardly surprising. Why would a dog associate an immediate, brief unpleasant experience with its owner, when that owner is   100m+ away? Put simply, it cannot, which is why it does not. Any more than the sea swimmer experiencing a brief cramp, blames her partner sat reading on the shore.

 

The role of the operator is not to “threaten” the dog, but to provide valuable information via signal or instruction, thereby allowing the dog to effectively predict and control events in accordance with their behaviour. In direct opposition to “threatening” the dog, the user guides and assists the dog in successfully avoiding electronic stimulation through their own behaviour or the owner’s use of preceding ‘safety signals’. In doing so, the dog is purported to acquire positive associations arising from the resultant experiences of ‘relief/relaxation’[19] not negative associations resulting from threats. The dog comes to know which behaviour will help it achieve the best outcomes and when.

 

This is something that is simply impossible to reliably achieve – certainly in terms of associations which hold with the dog when we might not be present – if we deny the dog the opportunity to experience anything and everything it might perceive as negative, purely because we might disagree with the idea of doing so. It takes little imagination to appreciate just how dangerous and short-lived a life would be if an animal lacked the ability to experience and learn from unpleasant events and situations [20], and so it follows that to deny an animal this natural necessity, this welfare imperative, is flawed from any welfare promotion perspective.

 

 

“Threatening” the dog is entirely unnecessary and counterproductive and forms no part of any ethical training or behaviour modification program.

 

Electronic Training Aids rely on “PAIN”

To present electronic training aid stimulation as always and only ever “Painful”, is to step outside of the defined realms of scientific, impartial and objective enquiry, into the vague arena of unsubstantiated, emotionally charged, subjective assumption.

 

We simply cannot speak with impartiality of “painful”, because our subjective conclusion cannot be validated by the self-reporting of the dog. We can certainly talk in terms of objective, measurable data – of what the dog does or does not do in response to a stimulus presentation or non-presentation. When it comes to electronic training aids, we can say that many dogs produce responses that lead us to believe that electronic stimulation can be considered aversive at individually determined levels, based on individual temperaments and individual learning experiences, under certain experimental conditions. But this is all. Pain is a subjective experience. As such, it is possible for one animal to perceive a stimulus in a way that we consider to be painful, whilst another appears to consider the exact same experience to be of little or no concern, or indeed motivational. It is not difficult to find everyday examples such as tattoo’s, ice baths, combat sports, weightlifting or even childbirth where mothers voluntarily elect to reject pain relief.

 

As Perone [21] succinctly explained in 2003 when talking of aversive control and scientific accuracy:

 

“A stimulus is aversive if its contingent removal, prevention or postponement maintains behaviour – that constitutes negative reinforcement – or if its contingent presentation suppresses behaviour – punishment”.

 

Perone continues:

 

Compare this objective explanation with the AVSAB (2021) statement on ‘humane training’ [22]:

 

“Aversive methods, which by definition, rely on application of force, pain or emotional or physical discomfort”

 

“Pain” and “emotional discomfort” – The exact subjective attributes that behavioural science rejects as unnecessary, unscientific and unhelpful when describing an ‘aversive’ stimulus.

 

The ability to recognise, respond and adapt to unpleasant stimuli or situations associated with unpleasant events is by no means in itself a ‘negative’ event. Basically speaking, pain involves a stimulus causing sensory input, which is transmitted as information to the brain via the nociceptive system, causing the animal to make the biologically appropriate responses including immediate withdrawal or avoidance from the perceived cause of the input; to “Learn how to behave when confronted with actual or possible tissue damage” [23]. The purpose of pain is to protect the animal from potentially harmful stimuli so that they can perpetuate their species. Pain is not so much a harm to the animal, but rather a signal to respond to a perceived harm. We include the word ‘potentially’ because it is possible to for the animal to be ‘tricked’ into perceiving an experience as having the potential to cause physical tissue damage, even where no such damage is possible. An example of such trickery is snake or sheep proofing, where a dog is rapidly trained with an e-collar to avoid approaching a prey animal through the timed administration of a harmless, targeted, localised electrical pulse. The maximum (5mj) strength [24] of this pulse is limited so as to make actual cellular (tissue) damage impossible [25], however the animal’s brain can be ‘tricked’ into responding as though the potential for tissue damage actually exists, thus causing the animal to behave in accordance with keeping itself safe by avoiding that which it is trained to consider responsible.

 

We know that animals lack the capacity to self-report, and we know that dogs are not production line replicas of one another. Consequently, we cannot accurately state that exposure to all electrical current constitutes a ‘painful practise’. Given that pain is a matter of subjective experience and, like electrical current, is also a matter of degree.

 

“To suppress pain would in many situations be disastrous .. Animals need to experience pain, or at least aversive stimuli, in order to escape damaging conditions [26], to produce memories of pain that help them to evade such conditions in the future, and to survive”

 

Palmer [27] exercises similar caution and has caveats when discussing the deliberate causing of ‘harm’ to an animal. To suppose that all experiences which might elicit pain are therefore harms to the animal would, according to palmer, be incorrect. “A fleeting moment of fear” would be insufficient to reach Palmer’s harm threshold. As would “short-term pain but long-term experiential benefits”, because the experience is short-lived, and the interests of the dog are not negatively affected over time. Instead, when we consider the use of an Electronic Training Aid to prevent predatory attacks by dogs, the moral actions jigsaw beautifully with Palmer’s criteria. Both the dog and other animals are made better-off over time than they would have been had the action not been taken.

 

In Sandoe et al [28], Meyer concurs, stating that “Training a dog not to chase livestock [is] indirectly beneficial to the animal .. Because ignoring it may, indirectly, lead to harm the animals in question.”

 

Electronic Training Aids “Result in or increase aggression”

We state that there is no credible evidence whatsoever to support any claim that the appropriate, proportionate use of quality electronic training aids following quality supervision “results in or increases aggression”. Where research tenuously links the two, that research routinely fails to establish a direct correlation by effectively eliminating confounding variables. Consequently, early to mid-20th Century research involving electrified floors in research chambers is instead used to make untested, hypothetical correlations appear scientifically credible in attempts to support a wholly unsubstantiated narrative.

 

In one of the only scientific research projects where electronic training aids have been studied in respect of their deliberate presentation and aggression in dogs, Tortora (1983) [29] found that rather than “result” in aggression, their inclusion:

 

“Resulted in complete and permanent elimination of aggression in all of the 36 dogs tested .. produced extremely extinction-resistant prosocial avoidance responses, significant increases in the dogs’ emotional stability, an avoidance-learning and safety acquisition response set, and improvements in measures of the dog’s “carriage.” [Emphasis added]

 

Conclusion

In Victoria, as elsewhere around the world, The Association of Responsible Dog Owners® will always prioritise the welfare of the dog above ulterior motives and welcome engagement with stakeholders and decision makers with regards to increasing education and encouraging responsible dog ownership.

We hope to have made our case in a succinct, yet logical manner. We speak on behalf of over 2,500 loving and committed dog owners with first-hand experience of the responsible use of electronic training aids. Our concerns are not with defending the right to gratuitously cause unjustifiable harms to dogs in any capacity. Instead, we urge decision makers to think twice about the potential ‘ripple effect’ of further regulatory restrictions, and to rethink the unnecessary inclusion of a licensing requirement, where ETA use is in accordance with well-established, workable and proven existing regulations.

 

In the absence of independent robust, repeatable research and a body of real-world prosecutions to corroborate sensationalist claims that electronic training aids pose a proven, realised, high risk to canine welfare, our position is based on extensive collective experience, ‘the whole science’ and the findings of our own research. It is worthy of note that our research reveals that the majority of such behaviour-resolution necessitating ETA use relates to welfare-compromising, life-threatening behaviours which had otherwise proven intractable to alternative, reward-based efforts.

 

The Association of Responsible Dog Owners®

Committed to welfare and safety

 

ENDS

 

[1] https://engage.vic.gov.au/project/new-animal-welfare-act-victoria/page/animal-welfare-faqs

 

[2] https://joinardo.com/ongoing-e-collar-survey-results/

 

[3] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/one-swipe-on-the-mobile-and-cattle-are-fenced-in-with-invisible-barrier-t9rtb7t8h

 

[4] https://www.gallagher.eu/en_gb/advice-inspiration/electric-fencing/eshepherd

 

[5] https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0162073

 

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11278032

 

[7] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168159117300746

 

[8] https://cpb-us w2.wpmucdn.com/about.illinoisstate.edu/dist/6/45/files/2019/10/tortora-1983-safety-signal-training-elimination-of-avoidance-motivated-aggression-in-dogs.pdf

 

[9] https://www.researchbank.ac.nz/handle/10652/2630

 

[10] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S016815912030071X

 

[11] https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Comparison-of-learning-effects-and-stress-between-3-Salgirli-Schalke/6e2a2acbad0a3a9d1a630fa804c0e54536f17251

 

[12] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258098937_Coyote_predation_on_domestic_sheep_deterred_with_electronic_dog-training_collar

 

[13] http://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/id/eprint/7827/1/vetrec-2012-101144.pdf

 

[14] https://skeptvet.com/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/PAV045web.pdf

 

[15] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32093257/

 

[16] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33668532/

 

[17] https://spca.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/shock-collar-assets-Salgirli-Efficacy-and-stress-effects-between-3-training-methods.pdf

 

[18] https://banshockcollars.ca/pdf/dokumen.tips_training-dogs-with-help-of-the-shock-collar-short-and-long-term-behavioural.pdf

 

[19] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0005791676900987

 

[20] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3564101/#:~:text=Congenital%20insensitivity%20to%20pain%20and%20anhydrosis%20(CIPA)%20is%20a%20very,that%20receive%20the%20pain%20messages.

 

[21] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/223960201_Negative_effects_of_positive_reinforcement

 

[22] https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/AVSAB-Humane-Dog-Training-Position-Statement-2021.pdf

 

[23] Allen.C. (2017) Animal Pain (in/ The Animal Ethics Reader; Armstrong.S.J, Botzler.R.G) Routledge

 

[24] http://ecma.eu.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/120411amc-ECMA-Technical-Requirement-6-0-FINAL-APPROVED.pdf

 

[25] https://jade.io/article/332481

 

[26] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289768320_Stress_and_Animal_Welfare

 

[27] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289768320_Stress_and_Animal_Welfare

 

[28] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289768320_Stress_and_Animal_Welfare

 

[29] https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/about.illinoisstate.edu/dist/6/45/files/2019/10/tortora-1983-safety-signal-training-elimination-of-avoidance-motivated-aggression-in-dogs.pdf

 

Article written by Jamie Penrith

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