We have been shouting and jumping up and down about the E Collar ban for a couple of weeks now as we feel the truth of the matter needs to be heard! If you are lucky enough to have a dog that has never needed any form of training aids then that is amazing. However there are hundreds of thousands of owners out there with less biddable, more difficult, and often more prey driven dogs. They need equipment. Fact. This could be for their own safety, their dog's safety, other people's safety or other animal's safety or all of the above! (Hopefully not!)
Yes many of us use remote collars/e collars in our day to day obedience because they are a great tool if used correctly. It would be a real shame for us in that area but it is not a matter of welfare as it is for many other dogs.
Here is why.....
The main concern to people at the moment is recall and sheep bothering, however we have clients with large dogs that resource guard items and space. With some dogs this is genetic , it cannot be 'fixed'. However if the item or dog is removed safely, the dog becomes it's 'normal self'. We would ask anyone to approach these dogs with a treat and see how that goes. The Kennel Club have said that there are many positive reinforcement methods available now that mean the remote collars are unnecessary. We would genuinely like to be shown these methods, in person. If they work we will change our approach. We are open minded to other training methods should they be effective. In the instances of recall and severe resource guarding we do not see how they can be but would happily be proved wrong!
These dogs that we know personally may very well have to be euthanised if remote collars cannot be used, because there is no positive way to approach a 50kg dog who is guarding something . They will not trade, they will not move. However these animals are people's much loved pets and they are able to safely manage the behaviour with the use of a good quality e collar and proper training. Therefore our argument is simple. Could the collars not be licenced in some way? There are many E Collars available, even on well known shopping sites, we would not touch these. We have felt them. They are what we would deem to be 'shock collars'. We only use good quality, safe remote collars. Hence why we do not refer to them as shock collars.
Having worked in rescue we completely disagree with the ban or potential ban of certain training aids because if someone is going to abuse a dog , they will do it with whatever they have to hand. We have seen dogs that have had to have normal flat collars surgically removed from their necks. Anything in the wrong hands can be a weapon so surely it is the hands we should be controlling, not the equipment?
Jamie Penrith (a very well known trainer) actually made a video showing how prey drive cannot be overriden by food. It is a very informative watch for anyone .
Here is the link:
If discussing recall you must understand the term competing motivator. If your dog is off the lead there will be many things that could motivate your dog. For some dogs it is other people that attract them, dogs, animals scents, a picnic! Therefore what you offer (which is associated with your recall command) must be of a higher value to your dog than the competing motivator at that time. If it is not the answer is simple. Your dog will not recall. In that instance you need something to break your dog's focus which is where the remote collar comes into play. You use it to break the focus and then recall as you usually would using positive reinforcement.
Another serious implication of removing the use of E collars is that there could be an increase in Road Traffic Accidents. Someone called us recently (not a client), just to discuss the ramifications of the ban. They made a very good point that their dog could run into a road and cause a fatal accident if they were not on their E Collar. People could actually die. Now we know the answer would be do not let your dog off the lead then but do we really think people will do that? They will not want to prevent their dog, who is used to running and stretching their legs, from ever doing that again. Yes there are enclosed fields but not everyone lives near one, they get booked up quickly, and not many people can afford to book a dog field everyday!
It has also been stated that dogs trained with the use of E Collars are physically and mentally damaged. Some of our own personal dogs are trained to E Collars... trust me they are not physically or mentally damaged! We have many videos of E Collar training on our social media @yorkshirek9 where you can clearly see the dogs being trained and that they are happy and unharmed. We are not saying that E Collars cannot be used to harm dogs, of course they can, but good quality collars used by people who have been trained correctly are a brilliant, and extremely effective tool.
Below is a link to the petition to stop the ban. Please, please sign this to save dogs and other animal's lives! There is also a copy of a letter which we have all sent to our local MP's. Again, we urge you please to send this to your local MP and try to help change the ruling from ban to licenced.
I am a constituent of yours and live at ....................
My letter concerns your vote next month on the Government’s proposed ban on e-collars which are used by hundreds of thousands of dog owners.
The key questions are i) are they cruel and ii) are they effective at stopping dog attacks on sheep? On cruelty: when you next meet Therese Coffey please would you ask her why she proposes to ban e-collars when she used one on her dog? The Times reported that she used an e-collar despite being a Defra minister responsible for the plan to ban them.  This is astonishing. It is the type of hypocrisy which makes people lose trust in politicians. Her department is so inconsistent: they propose to ban e-collar training for dogs which delivers a 5 mJ pulse, while allowing e-collars on sheep and goats which deliver 100 mJ. And Defra permits electric fences, which any animal can run into, to deliver up to 15,000 mJ.  Her department is so incompetent: they commissioned research on e-collar training from campaigners who had previously urged them to ban e-collars! The research was so poor that one of the world’s top experts wrote that it was “very seriously flawed and should not be relied on”.  And yet it is the only study Defra quotes. Her department has no real-world evidence: Defra has failed to provide even one example of e-collars being abused. So how can it justify banning them? On effectiveness: there is lots of research which shows that e-collars are uniquely effective at making dogs wary of going near sheep. “All 1,156 dogs displayed avoidance… after the first training session”, Dale  “The collar averted all 13 attempted attacks on lambs”, Andelt  e-collars “resulted in complete and permanent elimination of aggression in all of the 36 dogs tested”, Tortora  “no dogs showed interest in… sheep in the path test”, Christiansen  the aversion response “lasts at least 1 year after training”, Dale and Statham  e-collar training “shows stronger ‘learning effect’” than other training methods, Salgirli  “the most effective” training, Howell and Bennett  We don’t have to guess what will happen if Defra does ban e-collars in England because Wales banned them in 2010. According to The Telegraph Wales suffers from four times more sheep attacks and has three times more dogs being shot by farmers than other parts of the UK.  Do we want to copy that? That is why the National Sheep Association sent a letter from hundreds of sheep farmers which said a ban would be “utterly irresponsible”.  Everyone agrees that dog owners should be encouraged to use leads. But Scotland has increased penalties to £40,000 and it has not stopped attacks there.  And Rishi Sunak was spoken to by the police in March for failing to keep his dog on its lead.  So laws on leads are not enough - we also have to have training that works. Which means e-collars. Deluded Defra argues that rewarding dogs with biscuits can persuade them not to attack sheep. Only people who live in cities would believe that. Under Defra’s plan it will remain legal to use e-collars to keep dogs off flowerbeds or to stop them barking - but illegal to use them to train dogs not to kill other animals. I don’t want my dog shot and I don’t want other animals harmed. Don’t criminalise me for protecting my dog by training it with an e-collar. May I meet you at your surgery before you vote on this measure?  Finally, please do not send me any standard letter from Defra - they never answer the real questions. Yours sincerely, Sources:  Therese Coffey uses e-collar: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/therese-coffey-minister-uses-cruel-electric-dog-collar-wshlqs85d  E-collars for dogs are much less powerful than other permitted devices: - they have a maximum strength of 5 mJ under ECMA manufacturing standards: http://ecma.eu.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/120411amc-ECMA-Technical-Requirement-6-0-FINAL-APPROVED.pdf - Defra allows sheep and goats to be fitted with e-collars are receiving shocks twenty times higher at 100 mJ (“0.1 J”) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awc-opinion-on-the-welfare-implications-of-using-virtual-fencing-for-livestock/opinion-on-the-welfare-implications-of-using-virtual-fencing-systems-to-contain-move-and-monitor-livestock - livestock fences can produce 15,000 mJ discharges e.g. Ubison 15000 at p21 http://www.lacme.com/international/catalogues/cat_UK.pdf  A world authority on animal psychology, Professor Douglas Elliffe of the University of Auckland, concluded that Defra’s research is “very seriously flawed” https://joinardo.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/D-201127-Lincoln-Review-Professor-Elliffe.pdf The Defra researchers had previously campaigned for a ban on e-collars: - Professor Daniel Mills wrote to Defra urging a ban on e-collars. See p79: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15fnxt71d3OL7fQUPfzKriTWJCxXFGEaO/view?usp=share_link - two other researchers, Nina Cracknell and Hannah Wright, signed a petition calling for a ban. https://web.archive.org/web/20090821171442/http://www.gopetition.co.uk/online/27913/signatures-page14.html  “All 1,156 dogs displayed avoidance… after the first training session”: Dale 2017 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168159117300746  “The collar averted all 13 attempted attacks on lambs” Andelt: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258098937_Coyote_predation_on_domestic_sheep_deterred_with_electronic_dog-training_collar  e-collars “resulted in complete and permanent elimination of aggression in all of the 36 dogs tested” Tortora: https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/about.illinoisstate.edu/dist/6/45/files/2019/10/tortora-1983-safety-signal-training-elimination-of-avoidance-motivated-aggression-in-dogs.pdf  “no dogs showed interest in… sheep in the path test” Christiansen: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11278032  the aversion response “lasts at least 1 year after training” Dale and Statham: https://www.researchbank.ac.nz/handle/10652/2630  e-collar training “shows stronger ‘learning effect’” than other training methods, Salgirli 2008: https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Comparison-of-learning-effects-and-stress-between-3-Salgirli-Schalke/6e2a2acbad0a3a9d1a630fa804c0e54536f17251  “the most effective” training, Howell and Bennett: see page 6: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S016815912030071X  The Telegraph reported that in 2021 there were four times more dog attacks three times more dogs being shot in Wales than in other parts of the country: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/06/11/gareth-wyn-jones-joins-farmers-calls-reversal-electric-dog-collar/  The National Sheep Association calls bans on e-collars “utterly irresponsible”: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/09/03/electric-dog-collar-ban-will-lead-animal-welfare-disaster-warns/  The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2021 provides up to 12 months in prison and a fine of £40,000 for livestock attacks: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2021/18/section/1  In March 2023 Rishi Sunak was spoken to by the police after failing to keep his dog on a lead: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11857831/Rishi-Sunaks-dog-spotted-roaming-free-Hyde-Park-PM-walks-dogs-kept-lead.html  The measure to ban e-collar training: https://statutoryinstruments.parliament.uk/instrument/vUkNBtTH/timeline/JTqCGO