The Science: References and Resources
The members of the Alliance of Force Free Animal Professionals are committed to providing only science-based, current training and care for your animals. Members of the Alliance participate in continuing education and follow the principles of LIMA (least invasive, minimally aversive) and the humane hierarchy of animal care and training.
American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
The use of electronic collars for training domestic dogs: estimated prevalence, reasons and risk factors for use, and owner perceived success as compared to other training methods
E. J. Blackwell, C. Bolster, G. Richards, B. A. Loftus, R. A. Casey
"AVSAB’s position is that punishment (e.g. choke chains, pinch collars, and electronic collars) should not be used as a first-line or early-use treatment for behavior problems. This is due to the potential adverse effects which include but are not limited to: inhibition of learning, increased fear-related and aggressive behaviors, and injury to animals and people interacting with animals.
AVSAB recommends that training should focus on reinforcing desired behaviors, removing the reinforcer for inappropriate behaviors, and addressing the emotional state and environmental conditions driving the undesirable behavior. This approach promotes a better understanding of the pet’s behavior and better awareness of how humans may have inadvertently contributed to the development of the undesirable behavior"
"Keep it positive. The guidelines strongly endorse positive behavior-modification techniques, such as rewarding correct behaviors and removing rewards for unwanted behaviors. Never use aversive techniques, such as shock or prong collars, cattle prods, alpha rolls, or beating, which harm the human-animal bond, problem-solving ability, and health of the pet."
The ASPCA supports training methods that are based on an understanding of how animals learn and incorporate kindness and respect for both the pet and the guardian. Humane training does not inflict unnecessary distress or discomfort on the pet. Humane training makes primary use of lures and rewards such as food, praise, petting and play. In addition to lures and rewards, there are many training tools and types of equipment designed to assist guardians in managing their pets’ behavior at home and in public places. The ASPCA supports the use of methods and equipment that effectively accomplish the training objective with the least amount of stress for the pet. The ASPCA is opposed to any training equipment that causes a pet to experience physical discomfort or undue anxiety.
"We seek to prevent the abuses and potential repercussions of unnecessary, inappropriate, poorly applied or inhumane uses of punishment. The potential effects of punishment can include aggression or counter-aggression; suppressed behavior (preventing the consultant/trainer from adequately reading the animal); increased anxiety and fear; physical harm; a negative association with the owner or handlers; and increased unwanted behavior, or new unwanted behaviors."
"It is Pet Professional Guild’s (PPG) view that electric shock in the guise of training constitutes a form of abuse towards pets, and, given that there are highly effective, positive training alternatives, should no longer be a part of the current pet industry culture of accepted practices, tools or philosophies. In this position statement, PPG will combine decades of research with the opinions of certified animal behaviorists, and highlight the question of ethics to explain why using electric shock in the name of training and care is both ineffective and harmful."
References, Links, and Studies
Clicker Training: The science of clicker training and tips on using a clicker to train your dog
Eileen and Dogs: Articles and references on dog training and behavior
Fear Free Happy Homes: Articles and videos on dog training, behavior and husbandry
Clinical signs caused by the use of electric training collars on dogs in everyday life situations.
E. Schalke, J. Stichnoth, S. Ott, R. Jones-Baade
Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness, and interactions with behaviour and welfare
E. Hiby, N. J. Rooney
The welfare consequences and efficacy of training of training pet dogs with remote electronic training collars in comparison to reward based training
Jonathan J. Cooper, Nina Cracknell, Jessica Hardiman, Hannah Wright, Daniel Mills