Aversive training devices

BVA has concerns about the use of aversive training devices to control or punish animals.

The use of devices such as electronic collars, as a means of punishing or controlling behaviour of companion animals is open to potential abuse and incorrect use of such training aids has the potential to cause welfare problems.

Instead we recommend the use of positive reinforcement methods.

BVA position

The BVA position on aversive training aids for dogs was developed in July 2016 following a Scottish Government consultation (in January 2016) on the use of electronic aversive training aids.

Electric pulse devices are sometimes used in dog training as a form of punishment to prevent a dog from repeating bad behaviour. However, although training a dog is important for their wellbeing, research shows that electric pulse collars are no more effective than positive reinforcement methods.

BVA and BSAVA consulted with experts and examined evidence which found the collars raise a number of welfare issues, such as the difficulty in accurately judging the level of electric pulse to apply to a dog without causing unnecessary suffering.

Until further research is completed around the impact of other aversive training collars, such as anti-bark spray collars, BVA and BSAVA are also calling for regulation around the devices’ sale and manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that the potential adverse effects of use are highlighted to animal owners and consumers.

BVA activity

In January 2016, BVA, BSAVA and the BVA Scottish Branch submitted a joint response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on training aids (252 KB PDF).

BVA and BSAVA issued a press release in January 2016 about the joint consultation response and the call for electric pulse training collars to be banned.

Further information