Dog Behaviour Clinic Joins the Pet Professional Guild’s #ShockFreeCoalition
to End the Use of Electric Shock as a Training Tool for Pets
Global Advocacy Campaign and Website Launch Takes Place September 25, 2017
For the welfare of pets and those around them, and to improve the relationship people have with them, the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), an international member association for animal behavior and training professionals, is launching a global advocacy campaign and website to end the practice of using electric shock to train, manage, and care for pets. Dog Behaviour Clinic is proud to participate in this worthy initiative as a local partner, to provide resources and share knowledge with pet owners in South Lincolnshire, West Norfolk and North Cambridgeshire.
PPG’s #ShockFreeCoalition, which will launch as a week-long campaign from September 25 – October 1, 2017, comes at a time when animal behaviour and emotions are being researched more than ever before. Countless studies, conducted by veterinary scientists and canine behaviour specialists worldwide, indicate that using pain and fear to train animals risks causing physical injury, as well as a host of psychological issues that may include a pet becoming fearful of other animals and people — and potentially aggressive towards them as a result.
The goal of the #ShockFreeCoalition is to build a strong and broad movement committed to eliminating shock devices from the supply chain once and for all. Though electric shock in animal training is currently banned in a handful of countries, it is still legal in [name your state and/or country if applicable], the United States and many other countries worldwide. Part of the #ShockFreeCoalition’s remit is to educate pet owners and shelter/rescue workers to help them provide the pets under their charge the best care and training, and to help owners find competent, professional pet industry service providers whom they can trust to use only humane practices.
“What’s so sad is that most people do not realize that they are hurting and scaring their pets with electric shock training devices,” said Niki Tudge, president and founder of PPG and the #ShockFreeCoalition. “Unfortunately, they often find out the hard way when their pet becomes shut down from fear, or aggressive towards people and/or other animals, as fallout from the electric shock. Fear is incredibly easy to instil in any animal, and exceptionally difficult to get rid of. These pet owners end up facing a long road of hard work that can require a tremendous amount of patience, time and money to help their pet overcome this newly — and unnecessarily — created fear. Indeed, in all too many cases, a pet may end up being abandoned in a shelter, inaccurately labelled as “aggressive,” or euthanized.
“The pet training industry is entirely unregulated at present, meaning that anyone can say they are an animal trainer or behaviour consultant,” Tudge continued. “As a result, those who call themselves dog trainers, or even “dog whisperers,” may still be utilizing outdated punitive methods, such as disc throwing, loud correctional “no’s” and, in some cases, more extreme tools such as electric shock collars, choke chains and prong collars. All of these are, sadly, still at large. They are training tools that, by design, have one purpose: to reduce or stop behaviour through pain and fear.”
Global leaders in the animal welfare, veterinary, behavior and training worlds — such as celebrity dog trainer, Victoria Stillwell; best-selling author and ethologist, Marc Bekoff Ph.D.; and renowned author, veterinarian and certified applied veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Karen Overall — have lent their voices to the #ShockFreeCoalition to help educate pet owners and professionals on the dangers of these devices.
“Electric shock has no place in modern dog training and behaviour management,” author and founder of San Francisco, California-based The Academy for Dog Trainers, Jean Donaldson, wrote in her statement for the Coalition. “It is never necessary and is inhumane and side-effect laden. I know of no valid argument for the continued sale of these devices.”
“Our goal is to spread the word about the dangers of electric shock collars, and teach people in our community about effective, humane ways to train and care for their pets, to keep everyone safe, healthy and happy,”
In addition to hosting a pledge document for signatures, the #ShockFreeCoalition’s website (www.shockfree.org) will be a clearinghouse of position statements, scientific studies, articles, videos and research on the dangers of electric shock. The site will also provide guidance on humane training practices and how to find educated pet care professionals who use scientifically-informed, humane, force-free practices.
Events during the campaign week will include an “Ask the Expert” Facebook chat with Jean Donaldson, on September 27, 2017 at 3 p.m. E.T., and a special “Shock-Free” edition of the PPG World Service live radio show/podcast with Marc Bekoff Ph.D., on October 1, 2017 at 4 p.m. E.T.
The #ShockFreeCoalition on Social Media
To participate in the campaign on social media or learn more about it, use the #ShockFreeCoalition hashtag and follow PPG on Facebook (facebook.com/PetProfessionalGuild) and Twitter (@PetGuild).
Dog Behaviour Clinic
Shock Free Coalition