Hey Canada, so you want to ban shock collars?

Libby Davies, MP Vancouver East is supporting this ban shock collars petition and presenting to parliament.

I have a question for you Ms. Davies and the 1400 who signed this petition…can you please explain your decision to Cindy who has MS and has already tried 3 other trainers and just about gave up on her dog before she found a humane and effective solution with a remote dog training collar.

shock collars vancouver, BC canada

Granted, I understand the reason most people sign these ban shock collars petitions. Most of them have no first hand experience with the tool. They haven’t seen them or worked with them. Heck on this petition there is no age restriction…so apparently a 5 year old can sign it.

It is easy for the petition writers to paint a horrific picture of abuse when you use words like *shock collar*. What caring, dog loving individual would not support a ban on such a barbaric idea as *shocking dogs*?

You can take a look at all the emotive “information” I’m speaking of. Lots of pictures of very sad looking dogs and snippets of quotes from either people not named or people who have never had experience using the equipment.

We already know that the “collars burning dogs” stories are not true. Remote collars can not “burn” they do not generate heat.  Collar sores are a result of pressure necrosis (the collar is left on too long and therefore causes tissue damage) the manufacturers even warn about it in their manuals and advise limiting wear time. The same outcome happens with flat buckle collars, chain or prong AND head halters left on too long and we have all seen the pictures that prove it.

We also know that the most recent studies on e-collars demonstrated higher learning effects than the positively only trained dogs and less stress behaviors than dogs trained with pinch collars.

But what really chaps my hide on the ban shock collars site is much of it’s burden of proof are stories of collars used on kids. Are we supposed to extrapolate that banning this tool will stop child abuse? Does anyone seriously believe that unstable people who abuse kids or anyone else will stop because you take this particular tool off the market?

I certainly don’t deny that their are still individuals who may abuse this tool…but does that mean no one should have access to it? Abuse is abuse and individuals should be held accountable.

It is not about the tool.

So if you are considering supporting such a petition I urge you to think about people like Cindy and all the other 3 million that bought these products in North America just in 2010 (sales numbers provided to me from Dogtra, Tri-tronics and Radio Systems Corp) That is just in 2010 and these tools have been around for 50 years. If they are such torture devices and they cause such horrid outcomes when used on the dogs… then where is the over whelming evidence? We should be seeing these trembling, sad dogs on every street corner.

enough of my rant for today. Congrats to Cindy for not giving up after working with 3 other trainers and nothing worked. Kudos for persevering and finding a solution that keeps Rozy in your home and happy. A lot of people would of quit and took the dog back to the shelter.

Individuals who sign these short sighted “ban shock collars” petitions owe you and many others an apology.

I have had Australian Blue Heelers for the past 25 years, they are my breed of choice.
When I lost my last one in 2008 I began my search for another one. I had always used a breeder before but this time decided to rescue an adult dog from the Burnaby SPCA. There I found the very lovable Rozy. She was 4 1/2 yrs. I was told she was not socialized, living her entire life in the back yard, surrounded by a chain link fence. The SPCA spayed her and released her into my care 2 days later. Yea!
Rozy rode well in the car home, walked by my side well. A perfect Velcro dog!

Then we went inside my home, she sniffed at things and then happily went to the bathroom on the floor, smiling up at me the whole time. Oh! She wasn’t house broken, silly me! One of the reasons I had wanted an older dog was to avoid puppy training. I have MS  and didn’t think I had the strength or energy for that again. Surprise!
Rozy got me out walking several times a day, in all types of weather. It took 1 month to fully housebreak her. But the real challenge was to come.

I noticed that as Rozy got more comfortable with me she began to display some uncontrollable behaviour around other dogs. Especially “yappy” dogs. She would do a quick lunge, not biting but scaring them and their owners, and nearly knocking me off my feet.

I took Rozy to 3 different dog trainers over the next 5 months. All would train me & Rozy well at their place but when I left them Rozy would be back at her lunge routine within 1 week.

I was doubting my ability to keep Rozy, but I did love her. I went online  and looked for a trainer in my area. That was where I learned about Sit Happens. I was not too hopeful when I initially spoke with Jeff, but he sent a trainer over to my place. I was taught how to use the E (electronic) Collar. This great device has been such a benefit to humanely get Rozy’s attention and modify her behaviour around other dogs and people. Rozy is much more confident now. Sit Happens took the time to teach me how to train Rozy with the E- Collar. It  has given me the ability to keep my loveable Rozy.
Roxy in classRozy has responded so well! Jeff assessed Rozy as a reactive, not aggressive dog. We go to outdoor training with 20 or more dogs. They are all responsive to the owners, including my Rozy!
Rozy is now 61/2 yrs. old. I can walk down the street with Rozy, past other dogs and there is no lunging. I even take her to my neighbourhood park off-leash and others are praising her good behaviour. I tell them to phone Sit Happens. It works for Rozy and me!

I thank God for Rozy and Jeff and the crew at Sit Happens. They truly love dogs and want to improve the relationship between dogs and their human pack.


Cindy Mason and Rozy too!


If you are thinking of signing the ban shock collars petitions, please be very aware of who you are affecting.


  • I often hear people say, “it is just as easy to use a clicker to TEACH a behavior.” I think there is no question that anyone with sufficient knowledge of operant conditioning can teach a behavior very easily with a clicker. I think the operative question is if there is a difference between teaching and building reliability? In many, if not most situations, reliability can be built with clicker methods. However, it does take longer, and requires a certain level of drive for rewards that can be provided efficiently by the owner. Sometimes this is not the case.
    That by no means is a statement meant to bash clicker training. It has wonderful benefits. IT works great for many dogs.
    The other question of whether a shock collar must cause pain to be used as a communication device has been discussed extensively here, and I feel no need to continue repeating that discussion.

      • Hi Jon, Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m curious what brand of e-collar you felt and what level it was turned to?

        Unpleasant depends on the level being used. E-collars with a good range of levels to choice from allow the user to tailor the sensation to suit the dogs level of sensitivity as well as the situation. For the majority of training situations, only a noticeable level of stimulation is needed to gain attention. It is only for avoidance situations (snake proofing for example) that much higher and unpleasant levels are needed.

  • Anyone with sufficient skill to teach behaviors using operant conditioning can just as easily teach the same behaviors with a clicker as they do with a shock collar. So these arguments are patently ridiculous. In truth, absolutely the only thing that separates clicker training from shock collar training is ETHICS. It’s just unethical to cause pain to teach when you could teach without its use and be just as successful.

    • It is obvious that you do not understand dog psychology. That being the case this post is most likely in vain. Dogs are not humans. A dog that is trained using only positive methods, is not going to be as reliable as a dog that is trained using a balanced approach. An e-collar is nothing more than a long leash. You see dogs are self serving, and selfish…all of the time. A dog is going to do what it wants, and what makes it happy…this is why treat/clicker training works, because the dog wants the treat more than what ever else is around. The moment that the dog wants to chase the cat more than he wants the treat, what are you going to do then? Clicker it into listening? I don’t think so. A dog that has been properly trained with the E-collar, as well as positively reinforced for good behavior is going to be rock solid…all of the time. Its unfortunate that E-collars get such a bad wrap. With my clients, even those who are skeptical of the E-collar, usually a quick demonstration is all it takes. If dogs were being negatively affected by my training techniques, wouldn’t you expect them to have their tail between the legs, hunkered down, and sad? Not the dogs I train…or any dog that has been properly trained with an E-collar. I can’t even count how many dogs I have trained with an E-collar, after the owner wasted hundreds of dollars on positive only trainers…what a joke.

  • I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1984. I have a very good dog names Dice for the past 12 years. I adopted a cocker spaniel named Axl and he has…issues. I let them outside to bathroom, Axl comes back in and does it on the floor. For 7 months now I have tried to correct this bad habit using Ceasar Millan (dog whisperer) advice, to no avail. And also, if I put him out to the bathroom, he turns right around and whines at the door and scratched the metal outside door. Help !!! My last recourse is the e collar, if it does not work I will have to find Axl a new home, my health cannot take the stress of cleaning up his messes in the house, nor the strain on my nerves when he whines and scratches. Where do I find an affordable e collar. I really am at my wits end.

    • Hi Larene,

      I don’t think an e-collar will provide a solution for you. Housebreaking problems are typically about supervision and scheduling. If Axl is going to the bathroom when he comes back in it sounds like he is getting trained “in reverse”..basically thinking that the toilet is inside. One simple thing you can do is make sure you take him outside on leash. That way you can supervise and make sure he goes…keep him on task by using the leash to not let him “goof off” like chase butterflies etc. Give him 3 – 5 minutes, if he does not go, take him in and either crate him or keep him on the leash and 100% supervised. Try again to take him out after 30 minutes or so. Continue this cycle until he goes and make sure to really reward him AS soon AS he goes. This teaches him you are pleased when he goes Outside.
      It is also possible that there is an underlying physical problem so it may be advisable to get a thorough Vet check. I do have a e-book about housebreaking that might help you get back on track. It goes over creating a schedule, feeding, crating, rewarding appropriate toilet habits and interrupting in appropriate ones. You can find it here. http://www.thatsmydogstore.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=HB+Booklet

      If what he is doing is actually related to marking in the house then it is possible that the e-collar could help. You can use it to interrupt the THOUGHT of marking. You need to have good timing and use the pager or stim function just as he is sniffing the furniture/woodwork and thinking about lifting his leg. If the e-collar is used in this fashion do not attach a verbal command to your actions. You want the dog to think you had nothing to do with it and it was HIS action that caused the stimulation.

      Hopefully you can get back on track, good luck.

  • Hi Emily, I may have some ability to help out is there anyway I could contact you directly? I am unsure on the details at this moment but would like to be able to do all I can regarding this situation.

    Also thank you to Robin for this great website helping educate people on the truth about e-collar training.

  • Hi there,
    I saw this blog post several months ago and wrote to my MP urging him to vote against this ban (I have pasted my letter below). His EA contacted me today and asked if I would like to meet with him in early November! I am definitely going, but I would like to get either a group to go with me or at the very least a petition with as many, if not more signatures as the one Libby Davies put forth. I’ve never done anything like this so I could really use some help! Any Canadians willing to join me or help me circulate a petition? I have no idea where to start.

    My letter:

    Dear Mr. Carmichael,
    I live in your riding, Don Valley West. I am writing to you with regard to the proposed ban on e-collars (or “shock” collars) used for dog training. Can you please tell me where this issue stands currently? What is the time frame of such a matter once proposed?

    I strongly disagree with this ban, and I believe that those who are in favour of it are focussing on the stories of misuse of this tool, and are misinformed or completely uninformed about its benefits. I have had German Shorthaired Pointers for the past 16 years, four in total (one is deceased), and have used e-collars on all of them. The e-collar is an effective tool and if used properly, is humane and safe. I do agree, that there are people who misuse this tool, but this should not justify an overarching ban for all. My dogs are hunting dogs, they are bred with incredible instincts that can sometimes take over. An e-collar is a way that I can 100%, no doubt, get their attention back on me when they are tracking a scent and intensely driven by their instincts when we are hiking or working in the woods. When my dogs see the e-collar come out, they know we are going to do something really fun and they get super excited. These dogs are not abused or neglected by any means and if this ban goes through, I will be forced to limit my dogs’ freedom, significantly impacting the quality of their lives. I urge you to consider voting against this ban. If you wish to have further information, please see the many gun dog and working dog forums on the internet as there has been much discussion on this matter.

    In addition to having three German Shorthaired Pointers as part of my family, I also own a business that involves this breed as well as other sporting breeds of dogs. Many people, like my husband and me, live in the city of Toronto and have these dogs. They require an intensity of mental and physical activity that most other breeds do not require and living in the city makes it difficult to provide such activity. I take my clients’ and my dogs outside of the city every day for hiking and training adventures, providing the dogs with what they need to be properly stimulated, happy and healthy. All of the dogs that come on my excursions where e-collars so that I have that control if I need it when the dogs’ natural instincts kick in. All of my clients are 100% on board with this and in fact, I have had a client ask me to use an e-collar on her dog “just in case”.

    I would be happy to discuss this with you further and provide you with more information based on my own experience.


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