If you have ever tried to train a pet, you realize that there are certain challenges that go along with it. In some cases, you may even get frustrated with the process. When you find yourself struggling to keep your dog or cat from doing something like digging in the trash or peeing in the house, some people will take more extreme measures. One of the more infamous of those extreme measures is the shock collar.
Just in case you have never heard of the shock collar before, the name is rather descriptive. They are collars worn by animals and they deliver a jolt of electricity to the neck of the animal when they misbehave. In some cases, it may be as much as 6000 V!
Most people use these collars as a type of negative reinforcement and there are some that are even remote-controlled. Bark collars, on the other hand, go off when the pet makes a noise. There is also another variety that shocks the animal when they go across a buried line, typically around the border of the yard.
The controversy that surrounds these types of collars is easy to understand. Since they were invented in the 1960s, animal-rights activists have been fighting against their use but change has been slow in coming.
Something new and interesting that has happened in Great Britain is the government announced a ban of shock collars. This isn’t just a local ban, it is countrywide.
A spokesperson from the RSPCA had the following to say:
“In modern day society there is no excuse or need for the use of devices which can compromise cat and dog welfare, especially when humane and viable alternatives to training and containing dogs and cats are available.”
This organization would like to see shock collars and other forms of negative reinforcement to be replaced with “positive methods, free from pain.”
Some people are applauding this sweeping ban but others are unhappy. According to a survey done by the RSPCA, 5% of dog owners say that they have used shock collars. In other words, this ban is going to affect hundreds of thousands of humans and animals.
Containment fences are still legal in the UK, as more than half of the people who responded to a government poll said that they did not want those fences banned. Activists are still working toward the ban of those electric fences while others are trying to keep them legal.
Ian Gregory is a lobbyist for pet collar manufacturers. He is arguing the point that those containment fences have helped to prevent some of the 300,000 deaths of cats in road accidents.
“The anecdotal problems reported with pet collars can be resolved by product standards rather than by banning a proven technology,” he said. “The hundreds of thousands of dog owners using remote trainers do not deserve to be criminalized.”
According to Gregory, animal charities have “exaggerated the impact of the shock delivered by a collar.” They will often compare the collars to cattle fencing, which is thousands of times more powerful.