Episode 214: England Banned Shock Collars, Here’s Why That Could Be Sad News

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Episode 214: England Banned Shock Collars, Here’s Why That Could Be Sad News

2023-05-12T22:21:43+00:00May 12th, 2023|6 Comments

England has banned using remote electric shock collars on dogs starting from February 2024. Why do I find this sad if shock collars aren’t tools I use or advocate? And why is the term “shock collar” offensive to some who use them? I’m covering both questions, why many people will be upset with me about my thoughts on the e-collar ban and alternate solutions for people and dogs.

In the episode you'll hear:

The pros and cons of England’s ban on e-collars.
Why the term “shock collar” triggers some dog trainers.
The three groups of people who use shock collars and why.
Why shocking dogs for ‘bad’ behaviors is not a solution.
That one of the biggest pet store chains in North America stopped selling e-Collars.
That banning one punishment device could make an even worse one popular.
How the way we choose to train dogs relates to the stories we tell ourselves.
The ways people try to manage their dog’s behavior and justifications for e-Collar use.
My curiosity as to why some elite dog sports competitors are still using shock collars.
How the positive reinforcement dog training community can advocate through education.


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  1. Jess Williams May 25, 2023 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Until you are personally competing in protection with a working line bred Malinois, I believe you’re overstepping quite a bit when discussing this topic. Many of the dogs training in these sports end up working with the police or military forces. Most of these real world situations are not games like Pickleball and don’t involve trophies or ribbons, they have actual consequences- often times grave ones.

    I have gone to bat for you many times before in relation to you training bird dogs. You used to use this example quite a bit back in the day with your community. I firmly believe you would pick proper genetics and trial-and-error your way to the top through reinforcement-based methods in that sport if you chose. However, working dogs and protection are not a field you are in the slightest bit acquainted with, so before you single out an entire community, please consider varying levels of drives and genetics and respecting those who have spent their entire careers attempting to poetically balance both of these topics.

    • Susan Garrett May 28, 2023 at 4:20 am - Reply

      Your comment Jess, is a great reflection why most people in the Bitey sport world will likely never have success training their sport without all of their tools. My personal opinion is that it is less likely to do with, the breed or breeding of the dog, and more likely to do with something that I’ve always had, and many from “your side of the fence” lack. That is belief.

      I believe in the laws of learning, I believe in what is possible with a strategic approach to reinforcement. Because I believe I don’t look to the drive state of the dog as an excuse to use a tool, I look to the protocol of the training for an opportunity to learn something new about myself, about my dog and about what ELSE is possible with the use of manipulating reinforcements, arousal states and distractions.

      But if you want to continue to believe I would never be able to train a working Malinois you go right ahead, it’s a question we will never know the real answer to because at 61 years old, I have zero interest in trying to convert non-believers into believers. I would much rather help those who truly want to believe see how brilliant their dogs can be when trained without the use of physical or verbal corrections.

  2. kate brown May 12, 2023 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Susan once again. Thank you for being the voice for every single dog in the world!

  3. Sandy Lewis May 12, 2023 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    This hurt my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Perhaps, in this video you have given us a few places from which to speak with the e-collar folk. Perhaps we will fail our dogs and community. a bit less. Perhaps, . . . because, when we know better, we do better.

  4. Bobbie Eiler May 12, 2023 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    I use a perimeter collar to keep her in the yard. When we are outside and she sees/ hears something she will go off after it if the collar is not on. I can call her back but I think that’s only if she’s not chasing something. Even right now she has 4 wk old pups – we were outside on grass for a feeding. Feeding done, she was playing with them then got distracted by something in the woods and took off.
    Would love to know something different that we can do?
    Nova is 2 1/2 yr old blue heeler, 1st time litter. She knows 30 tricks and is GCC. Will take Trick test when the pups are gone.
    Ty for your wonderful podcasts!

  5. Barbara Galbraith May 12, 2023 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    I know I have felt that desperation of wanting to try an e collar on my “stubborn “ dog, and if it weren’t for the education and encouragement of others I may have fallen for the lure of the e collar. We are a society that wants quick fixes- give me a pill for that rather than change t diet or exercise to work for improving my health for example. I am saddens to learn today that one of my clients has set up a board and train with an e collar trainer to break the dog of jumping on people in greetings, loose leash or off leash walking, and recall. This is a 10month old Labrador who is a lovely, friendly, and very intelligent pup. The family is retired, so they are concerned for safety and want better control over their dog, who is very strong. They have always had labs, but it has been 15+ years since having a puppy so I think they don’t really remember the adolescent phases. I struggle to get through to them that we have to introduce distractions at a controlled rate, and you can’t expect the dog to perform the same out on a walk as she does in the home of you aren’t practicing with distractions. They love the dog and spend more time with her than many owners. I think they are just overwhelmed (additional situations other than the dog) and looking for a quick fix. I worry about the changes they may see in this sweet pup. I even offered to bring her into my home to train her prior to her e collar boot camp, but they said I can’t change their mind on this. This is my first client that will start with an e collar and I didn’t realize how heartbreaking this could be. Your advice is welcome

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