Over the last 24 hours several people have reached out to PPG regarding the new Netflix Dog Training Show that will air on February 24, 2021. There is much concern about the show, the featured trainer and the methods being used.
The Pet Professional Guild has a Position Statement on Reality TV Dog Training that can be viewed on our website or using the link below
Help us to educate the pet owning community about the damaging effects of punitive pet training methods by taking a few short actions.
1. Please share this post and the Position Statement as far and wide as you can.
2. Download the Position Statement and post it across your social media platforms.
3. Sign and share this petition that has been set up, the link is below
4. Reach out to Netflix and share the science and facts supporting the use of Pet Friendly training methods.
The statement begins with ………
“In recent years, much creditable scientific study has been given to dog training and behavior modification methods and their respective efficacy and consequences. The preponderance of the evidence shown by these studies indicates that the implementation of training and/or behavior modification protocols predicated upon outdated “dominance theory” and social structures (“alpha,” or “pack leader”), usage of physical or mental force, intimidation, coercion or fear are empirically less effective and often create as a consequence “fallout” behaviors, such as fear, aggression, global suppression of behavior, or total shutdown – behaviors which may be dangerous to the human and animal involved.
Unfortunately, and to the great disservice of dogs and their owners, some of these methods – specifically corporal punishment, choke chains, prong collars, shocking with an electronic collar, leash jerks, antibark collars and verbal punishment – are often used in reality television programming. Television broadcasters are responsible for the shows they air and for putting the welfare of pets ahead of what passes as entertainment. The Pet Professional Guild, an international member organization for force-free pet trainers and behavior consultants, thus appeals to all programming organizations to re-evaluate any decision to showcase forceful, painful and aversive training methods and equipment.
Regardless of any disclaimers or warnings given for viewers not to attempt the methods displayed at home, some pet owners will undoubtedly still attempt to use them, potentially leading to situations that risk injury (either to dog, human, or both), and/or psychological damage, and/or are extremely dangerous. In addition, the nature of reality television tends to promote the misconception that there are “quick fixes” to training and behavior issues, when, in the real world, a professionally devised and applied training and/or behavior modification protocol can take weeks, months or, in the case of separation-related disorders for example, even years to implement successfully. The Pet Professional Guild thus respectfully requests television channels to replace programming that promotes aversive tools and methods immediately with competent, progressive, force-free, formally-educated, scientifically-sound trainers and/or behavior consultants”.
The statement concludes with ………
“As part of the PPG Mission we respectfully submit that showcasing training methods that use force, fear or pain are morally and ethically wrong as well as damaging to the animal, damaging to the human-animal bond, and potentially create hazards for the pet-owning public that may attempt to use such methods. Showcasing such methods creates significant danger for animals and humans and perpetuates training methods which science does not support as effective and which the Pet Professional Guild deems unethical treatment of animals”.
Position Statement https://issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/position_statement_on_reality_dog_training
The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is greatly encouraged by Petco’s announcement on October 6, 2020 that it will no longer sell electric shock collars “operated by a person with a remote in hand.”
PPG has always believed unequivocally that the pet-owning general public needs – and deserves – to have access to better educational tools so they can, 1) make the right decisions regarding their pets’ training, care and welfare, and 2) ensure they live in safe, nurturing and stable environments, free from fear and pain.
Increasingly, peer reviewed, scientific studies are showing that, whether discussing dogs, humans, dolphins or elephants, shock as a form of training to teach or correct a behavior is ineffective at best and physically and psychologically damaging at worst (Schilder & van der Borg, 2004; Schalke, Stichnoth, Ott, & Jones-Baade, 2007; Polsky, 2000; Cooper, Cracknell, Hardiman, Wright & Mills, 2014). Overall (2013) states that shock collars, aka e-collars, “violate the principles of three of five freedoms that define adequate welfare for animals: Freedom from pain, injury, and disease, freedom to express normal behavior and freedom from fear and distress.”
The current scientific data, in addition to the moral and ethical concerns about mental and physical damage to animals subjected to methods using force, fear and/or pain, have moved a number of representing professional organizations* to advocate for the use of humane training techniques founded on evidence-based learning theories and avoid training methods or devices which employ coercion and force. PPG is delighted that Petco has now joined their ranks.
Effects of Electric Shock
The use and application of electric shock provides no effective strategy for an animal to learn a new or alternative behavior. Some common problems resulting from the use of electronic stimulation devices include, but are not limited to:
In September 2017, the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) rolled out its Shock-Free Coalition, the key purpose of which is to build a strong and broad movement committed to eliminating electric shock devices from the worldwide supply and demand chain. This would be achieved by:
1. Engaging and educating pet owners and shelter/rescue workers to help them make informed decisions about the management, care and training of the pets in their charge.
2. Building a worldwide coalition that provides pet owners access to competent, professional pet industry service providers.
3. Creating widespread pet industry transparency and compliance regarding how professionals implement their services and communicate their philosophy to pet owners.
Supporters are encouraged to sign the Shock-Free Pledge, much in the same way as Petco has invited supporters to sign its #StoptheShock petition.
One of PPG’s key goals is to shape the pet industry to ensure that dog trainers, behavior consultants and professional pet care providers, 1) pursue an ethical responsibility to do no harm to the animals in their care, and 2) present their qualifications and experience truthfully with full transparency and disclosure – including the training tools and methods they use.
PPG recognizes that industry changes will happen in stages and, just like the progressive behavior change programs we create for the animals in our care, gradual changes must be reinforced. By encouraging “anyone using or looking for shock collars to consider training with treats instead of electricity and partnership instead of pain,” Petco has made an important first step towards improving the lives of pets everywhere, as well as educating dog owners about alternative, kinder training methods and tools. We look forward to seeing electric fence systems, which work in exactly the same way as shock collars, i.e. by causing fear and pain, follow suit.
*Including, but not limited to, the American Animal Hospital Association, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the British Veterinary Association, the New Zealand Veterinary Association, the European Society of Veterinary Clinical Ethology and Pet Dog Trainers of Europe.
Petco. (2020). Stop the Shock
Pet Professional Guild. (2015). Open Letter Regarding Shock Collar Training. Available at: https://petprofessionalguild.com/An-Open-Letter-Regarding-Shock-Collar-Training
Tudge, N.J, Nilson, S.J., Millikan, D.A., & Stapleton-Frappell, L.A. (2019). Pet Training and Behavior Consulting: A Model for Raising the Bar to Protect Professionals, Pets and Their People. (n.p.): DogNostics Career Center Publishing
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About Shock-Free Coalition
The Shock-Free Coalition believes that pets have an intrinsic right to be treated humanely,to have each of their individual needs met, and to live in a safe, enriched environment free from force, pain and fear.
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