Gillian Keegan supports a ban on shock collars

Dogs Trust calling on Government to ban sale of electric shock collars with #ShockinglyLegal campaign

  • Shock collars can continuously shock a dog for 11 terrifying seconds
  • A third of the public WRONGLY believe shock collars are already ILLEGAL
  • Animation reveals the heart-breaking effects shock collars can have on man’s best friend

Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity launched its #ShockinglyLegal campaign to help urge the Government to ban the sale of electronic shock collars. Gillian Keegan MP for Chichester attended a drop in event at the House of Commons to pledge her support to help ban the use and sale of these aversive training devices.

A recent poll revealed around a third (31%) of the public wrongly believe shock collars are already illegal, yet despite public opinion, buying and using one of these painful devices to correct a dog’s behaviour, is shockingly still lawful in England.

84% of people know that shock collars cause a dog pain, but the sad reality is that they are still readily available to buy at the click of a button. These torturous devices can send between 100 to 6000 Volts2 to a dog’s neck, and have the capacity to continuously shock a dog for up to 11 terrifying seconds at a time. Research shows that physical effects can include yelping, squealing, crouching, and physiological signs of distress in direct response to an electric shock3,4. It’s not just shock collars – spray and sonic collars are also widely for sale.

What is an electronic shock collar?

Electronic shock collars are devices used to remotely or automatically deliver a shock to the wearer via metal contacts with the neck, and are used by some people to try and correct problem behaviour in their dogs.

Whilst the use of electronic shock collars is banned in Wales, and Scotland has also made moves towards prohibiting the use of these cruel devices, England is dragging its heels. Only Westminster has the power to ban the sale of electronic shock collars so Dogs Trust is urging members of the public to tweet their MP using the hashtag #ShockinglyLegal to help bring this important issue to light.

Gillian Keegan MP for Chichester said,

"These aversive training methods are outdated and cruel, and there is no need for them to be used when there are so many positive training methods available. This is a hugely important issue for dog welfare and I hope my support will help make a difference. ”

Rachel Casey Director of Canine Behaviour and Research at Dogs Trust explains

“We are appalled that it is still legal to buy and use electronic shock collars in England - 83% of dog owners polled said they wouldn’t use them so why on earth are they legal? It is both unnecessary and cruel to resort to the use of these collars on dogs. This type of device is not only painful for a dog, it can have a serious negative impact on their mental and physical wellbeing. A dog can’t understand when or why it’s being shocked and this can cause it immense distress, with many dogs exhibiting signs of anxiety and worsened behaviour as a result.”

“Positive based methods, such as using rewards like food, are the most effective and kindest way to train your dog, so there is absolutely no need for owners to even consider the use of these devices. We urge everyone who loves dogs to consider the impact that using these kinds of devices can have on our four-legged friends, and join with us in asking your MP for an immediate ban on their sale and their use.”

What is positive based training?

Positive reinforcement training or reward-based training uses praise and/or treats to reward your dog for behaving in the right way. The dog will associate a reward with the desired behaviour, which makes him more likely to repeat the behaviour.

Positive methods of training were reported to be more successful than e-collar use when direct comparisons were made between training with e-collars vs with positive reinforcement.