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Dog boarders warn e-collar ban risking livelihoods

Dog boarders are warning that their livelihoods are being put at risk by the proposed ban on e-collars.

A number of dog boarders have signed a letter to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which has promised to ban the use of e-collars, warning that they are being refused licences if they use the training method.

Councils have said that although an e-collar ban is not yet in place, they can only allow businesses to operate if they use reward-based training because Defra guidance that states: “Where used, training methods or equipment must not cause pain, suffering or injury.

“Training must be reward-based that rewards good behaviour and ignores unwanted behaviour.”

The letter to Defra was organised through the E-Collars – UK ONLY dog owners supporting their humane use Facebook group, which currently has more than 1,100 members.

In the letter, the boarders warn that in some cases “the best means of deterring a dog from harming itself or other animals is to use an electronic collar at the request of and with the full and informed consent of the owner”.

The letter also questions whether there is “any scientific evidence that the use of reward-based training is effective at deterring dogs from unwanted behaviour such as attacking pregnant ewes during lambing season”.

In response, a Defra spokesperson told The Telegraph: “The government’s proposed ban on hand-operated electric shock collars will protect dogs and cats from these harmful devices which can be all too easily open to abuse.

“We are clear that it’s important that dogs are trained to behave well, ideally from a young age, and introduced gradually and positively to different environments, people and animals.”


  • Rachael Black

    This is disgusting! Anyone signing this must be very uneducated. Punishment is never needed. Perhaps these silly humans can put the shock collars on their own necks and buzz away!

  • Karen

    I am in full support of banning punitive training equipment such as e.collars. There is so much research on the harm this product does to a dogs physical and mental well-being.
    As a dog behaviourist, and one that has a passion for working with reactive dogs, there are different ways to interrupting a dogs behaviour without using an e.collar.

  • Charlotte Kasner

    There is an enormous amount of science proving that positive reinforcement works better than positive punishment, including specifically with dogs.

    Quite apart from ethical considerations, positive punishment, escpecially something as harsh as electrocution is likely to backfire because of the likelihood that the dog will not pair the pain with the behaviour of chasing livestock because it is extremely difficult to time and control in an open environment but also because the dog is highly likely to exhibit even more unwanted, and possibly dangerous behaviours such as re-directed aggression.

    There is also research that shows that the level of the shock delivered is poorly controlled by e-collars so that in some circumstances, even if the owner has selected a lower level of shock, a severe shock can be administered.

    I run a Country Canines course ( which has successfully shown owners how to train their dog to avoid wildlife and livestock using positive reinforcement only. When combined with sensible management – not allowing a dog off lead when close to livestock and training reliable recall – it completely obviates the use of punishment and trains behaviours that are reliable.

  • Zena

    Ahhh just a moment, how about: … some cases “the best means of deterring a dog from harming itself or other animals is to keep it on a lead?!?!”

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