Here’s some shocking news: A man in Wales was fined £2,000—about $3,200—for using a shock collar on his dog, the first such prosecution in Britain since the collars were outlawed in Wales last year because of animal welfare concerns. England and Scotland are also considering implementing bans, and the U.S. would do well to follow suit.
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Not only are shock collars cruel by design (they cause dogs to live in fear of being painfully shocked for engaging in normal behavior such as jumping or barking), they can also malfunction and cause serious burns. And shock collars and other cruel “training” devices are also unsafe. For example, an invisible fence is a nonexistent fence for cruel humans, roaming dogs, or other animals who can freely enter the property. Invisible fences can even encourage dogs to escape: Because they only suffer painful shocks in the yard, dogs can come to associate the shock with the yard itself. The Welsh dog whose owner was fined escaped his invisible fence so often that the townsfolk had come to know him as “the dog with the shock collar.”
Never use a shock collar, prong collar, invisible fence, or other cruel device to train your dog. The four “P’s” of dog training—praise, practice, prevention, and patience—don’t include harsh punishment. Even if your dog’s confused, frightened eyes don’t move you, you’ll never forgive yourself if your beloved friend escapes the “invisible fence” and gets hit by a car.
Written by Alisa Mullins