< A version of this article was published in the April 2016 issue of Down East Dog News>
Does your boarding or daycare facility use shock collars for training or in an attempt to get a dog to stop barking? While Green Acres Kennel Shop has never used such a device, nor would we use such a device, they are used at other pet care facilities. The story at this link from WNCN details how a boarding facility used a shock collar on Sophie, a dog owned by Danielle Shroyer and Jason Freeman (http://wncn.com/2016/03/12/shocking-nc-couple-picks-up-dog-from-daycare-finds-shock-collar-around-her-neck/). It was just a year ago that I shared a similar story about a dog in Las Vegas. What is even scarier, some facilities will not tell you that they are using these tools and methods, as was the case in this incident in North Carolina and Las Vegas. The fact is, I see or hear stories like this on a regular basis, and yes, this does happen in Maine.
Although we have never used shock collars at Green Acres, we wanted to make sure that our clients and prospective clients know our policy on training tools and methodologies. That is why we adopted our Pet-Friendly position statement <click to read> back in February of 2006. Since then we have also adopted a Position Statement on the Use of Dominance and Punishment for the Training and Behavior Modification of Dogs <click to read> to further clarify our position and to include a list of articles supporting our position.
We are far from alone in our philosophy. Last summer the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) issued their 2015 AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines which states:
“This Task Force opposes training methods that use aversive techniques. Aversive training has been associated with detrimental effects on the human–animal bond, problem-solving ability, and the physical and behavioral health of the patient. It causes problem behaviors in normal animals and hastens progression of behavioral disorders in distressed animals. Aversive techniques are especially injurious to fearful and aggressive patients and often suppress signals of impending aggression, rendering any aggressive dog more dangerous.
Aversive techniques include prong (pinch) or choke collars, cattle prods, alpha rolls, dominance downs, electronic shock collars, lunge whips, starving or withholding food, entrapment, and beating. None of those tools and methods should be used to either teach or alter behavior. “ [Emphasis added]
The Pet Professional Guild (PPG), is an organization made up of dog trainers, boarding and daycare operators, groomers, veterinarians and pet owners that are committed to pet care that is free from pain, force, and fear. The PPG not only has position statements on dominance and punishment, but they require their members to comply with their guiding principles which state:
“To be in anyway affiliated with the Pet Professional Guild all members must adhere to a strict code of conduct. Pet Professional Guild Members Understand Force-Free to mean: No shock, No pain, No choke, No fear, No physical force, No compulsion based methods are employed to train or care for a pet.”[Emphasis added]
Green Acres Kennel Shop is proud to be a member of The Pet Professional Guild and we enroll all of our staff as members as well, because we believe in and support PPG’s Guiding Principles.
So what can you do to make sure this does not happen to your pet? First of all, before leaving your pet anywhere; for boarding, daycare or grooming, ask these questions:
“Do you use any tools or training techniques that are aversive like; prong/pinch or choke collars, cattle prods, alpha rolls, dominance downs, electronic shock collars, or squirt bottles?”
“Are you aware of and do you comply with the 2015 AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines?”
“Are all of the members of your staff members of The Pet Professional Guild and does your facility comply with the PPG Guiding Principles which state that no shock, no pain, no choke, no fear, no physical force, and no compulsion based methods will be employed to train or care for a pet?”
If you are not getting the answers you want, or if there is hesitation and dithering, look for another facility. A good pace to look is at the website for The Pet Professional Guild – http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Zip-Code-Search
Pet Care Options When You Go Away: Pet Sitter, Neighbor, Boarding Facility – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/09/01/pets-who-cares-for-them-when-you-are-away/
Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet Friendly” Philosophy – Part 1 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/04/02/yes-a-trend-towards-kinder-and-gentler-professional-pet-care-green-acres-kennel-shops-pet-friendly-philosophy-part-1/
Traveling – Do you take the dog along or leave him with someone? –
Pet Care Options When You Go Away: Pet Sitter, Neighbor, Boarding Facility – http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2015-09-05-Pet_Care_Options_When_You_Go_Away.mp3
Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet Friendly” Philosophy – Part 1 – http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2015-04-11-Kinder_Gentler_Pet_Care_Part-1_GAKS_Pet_Friendly.mp3
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop (greenacreskennel.com) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.
©2016, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>