Scotland bans electric dog training collars

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BASC says dogs’ lives are at risk, while the Kennel Club calls it an animal welfare victory, as electric dog training collars are banned in Scotland.


Pic credit: Alamy

Electric dog training collars are to be banned in Scotland, after the Scottish Government made a U-turn on its previous decision not to prohibit their use.

Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham has dropped plans announced last year to introduce regulation to ensure that collars could only be used under the guidance of an approved trainer or vet. She reversed her decision after consulting with animal welfare charities, which claim that the collars cause dogs unnecessary suffering.

Painful or unpleasant training will not be tolerated


Ms Cunningham said: “I have decided to take steps to effectively and promptly ban their use in Scotland. Causing pain to dogs by inappropriate training methods is clearly completely unacceptable and I want there to be no doubt that painful or unpleasant training for dogs will not be tolerated.”

Holyrood has now issued draft guidance that prosecutions should be brought under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 for “suffering caused by inappropriate training methods”, which includes the collars. They are already banned in Wales, but permitted in England.

BASC previously said a total ban was “disproportionate” and restated its position that, when they are used properly, collars can help to address serious behavioural problems in dogs that might otherwise be put down.


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Devices have been “incredibly helpful”


Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “BASC and many other organisations and individuals made the case that the use of such remote training devices had been incredibly helpful in addressing problematic behaviour, such as sheep worrying, in a small number of dogs.


“Without the restricted but effective use of these devices, many otherwise well-behaved family pets and working dogs would probably have had to be put down.”

The Kennel Club, which pushed for the total ban, hailed the U-turn as “a victory for dogs and dog lovers”. Secretary Caroline Kisko added: “This sends the clearest possible message to dog owners that, far from being a harmless quick-fix training solution, shock collars cause long-term physical and psychological harm to dogs and that training them in this manner is unacceptable.”

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