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Regulation of Electronic Dog Training Collars

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In the UK there has been much hotly contested debate on the use (and misuse) of electronic dog training collars, particularly those which emit a form of electric shock. Some groups have called for their complete ban while some dog owners have declared the tool to be a (literal) life saving device.

Wales has banned the device but the rest of the UK still finds them to be legal and they are widely advertised for sale – both online and elsewhere. But should we be looking to the other side of the world for a model as to how they can (or should) be regulated? Here’s how Australia tackles the ‘eCollar’ issue.

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The following text comes from The Australian Department of Primary Industries:

Electronic Collar Use in Victoria

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008 set out when and how electronic collars can be used on animals in Victoria.

Electronic collars are defined in the regulations as an animal collar that is designed to be capable of imparting an electric shock to an animal. This does not include citronealla type collars.

Electronic collars can only be used on dogs and cats, they cannot be used on any other species.

Only authorised collars can be used on cats and dogs.

Authorised electronic collars are split into two categories:

* containment systems – can be used on dogs and cats
* remote training and anti-bark type collars – can be used on dogs only

The regulations also set out a number of conditions for authorised collars and their use as well as requirements for sellers and hirers of these collars.

These legislative requirements are explained in three information sheets which can be downloaded via the links below.
You will need Adobe Acrobat to view these documents. A free copy can be downloaded from Adobe Acrobat (external link)

# Factsheet 1: Electronic Collars – Anti-bark and Remote Training collars (PDF 40KB)
# Factsheet 2: Electronic Collars – Containment systems (PDF 40KB)
# Factsheet 3: Electronic Collars – Conditions for sellers & hirers (PDF 40KB)

These information sheets have been developed for use by sellers and hirers of authorised electronic collars to provide to those purchasing or hiring these collars to enable them to meet their requirements for notification under regulation 24(4). Regulation 24(4) requires that purchasers are informed in writing of the legal requirements of use of these collars in Victoria.

Failure to comply with the requirements of the Regulations can result in either an infringement notice or prosecution in a court of law with a maximum penalty of 10 penalty units (approximately $1134*).
(*based on 08/09 penalty unit value of 113.42, note penalty unit value is indexed and changes annually)

Source

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What’s your view?

Should the (whole of the) UK take a more regulatory approach to the use and sale of electronic pet training and containment devices as has happened over in Australia or do you feel that electronic collars are a tool that have their place and should remain free from government intervention on their sale?

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Mary Alice

    July 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    To be quite honest I hate the things and I don’t think they should be allowed ! I am not sure that I would even trust a trainer with them !

    I don’t even like collars full stop – don’t like seeing animals yanked about by the neck. I only use harness’s and if a dog is a bit overly active, a head halter is something I would reccomend.

  2. michelle

    July 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I am a trainer and the harshest method of training I would use would be no treat. I would be appalled at any reputable dog trainer that advocates the use of these devices. They are cruel and completely unnecessary. Along with pinch collars, choke chains and any electronic shock method of training should be completely banned.
    please visit my website and add your signature to the petition regarding banning scat mats. yet another horror product to give your pet ‘a mild electric shock’ disgraceful!!

  3. annabell

    August 5, 2011 at 12:41 am

    I have 8 foot fences that my rescued husky used to climb with ease, as a result he had been knocked over by 2 cars and shot at by the game keeper. he hated having to be on a chain if i went out, and found being shut inside even worse, he now wears an electric collar, it took 2 days of training for him to avoid the warning flags, during this time he was supervised and learnt to avoid the beep, leave the area at a vibration and only stayed in the area to get one shock (set at mild, which i did try myself first). He is now a different dog, calmer, happier and no one has tried to shoot him either, without the electric fence he would have had to be put down, in the 20 years i have had dogs this is the first that i could not keep in the grounds! I also have electric fences for the horses, which no government says is cruel, just efficient when used correctly.

  4. Tony

    September 2, 2011 at 7:04 am

    As one who truly understands operant conditioning, I have to say that I’m against all forms of “punishment’ based training. I hate clicker trainers that us “negative punishment” (that includes Victoria Stillwell). I cant stand dog trainers that use remote collars for “positive punishment”

    However I do enjoy trainers who use “positive reinforcement” and remote collar trainers that use “negative reinforcement” Also if trainers should not be allowed to use T.E.N.S ( temporary electrical nerve stimulation) units on dogs, then I believe they shouldn’t be used on people as well. They should not be used by doctors to help patients in pain, or used by chiropractors, or accident victims during muscle rehabilitation. If operant conditioning confuses you, here is an example Positive punishment= if a cop pulls you over for speeding, he punches you in the nose, Positive reinforcement= a cop saw you stop at a red light, so he pulls you over and gives you praise or a “high five!” woohoo! Negative punishment= You run a red light, so the cop pulls you over and takes your car. Negative reinforcement= A cop notices an aversive reaction you are having to the sun while driving so he gives you a pair of sun glasses. If this post is totally confusing you. Or if you fail to hold a degree in psychology or in the medical profession then please do not respond to my post. Especially a dog trainer that has never taken psych101. That goes for you shock collar trainers too 😉 In short there should be just as much regulations on proper clicker training, as there should be for remote training.

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