What equipment should I avoid using on my dog?
There are so many pieces of equipment on the market now for our dogs – all promising to solve all our problems. No piece of equipment will replace you investing time in developing a good relationship with your dog, and in teaching the behaviours you do want to see. Also, any piece of equipment, if fitted incorrectly, or used inappropriately, can be damaging to your relationship with your dog, and can potentially cause injury.
PPGA does not recommend the use of equipment designed to inflict force-based training techniques that cause or threaten, shock, hurt, fear, or stress in our dogs.
When choosing equipment, we encourage you to consider whether the equipment is designed to tighten, hurt, pinch or restrict your dog in any way. While all equipment can tighten uncomfortably (especially if not fitted correctly) on a dog that pulls or lunges on lead, some equipment is specifically designed to tighten and restrict airways on a dog that pulls, and other types of equipment administer electric shocks.
Specifically, we do not recommend the use of choke chains (aka. Choke collars, slip collars, slip chains), prong collars (aka. pinch collars), or electric shock collars (aka. e-collars, stim collars) for any purpose. We encourage you to look into alternate types of equipment, even if you have a strong or large breed that you have previously associated with needing a particular type of equipment. Any dog can be trained and lived with safely and happily without the use of above, even with problem behaviours like aggression or anxiety. If you don’t need to use equipment that causes pain or fear to get the dog you want, why would you?
In addition to the potential health risks, and increases in stress signs in some cases, remember that dogs are always learning by association. If out and about, and your dog excitedly pulls toward another dog or child, and the collar tightens painfully, your dog will very likely associate that pain with the thing they were thinking of at the time – the dog or child! Always best to give yourself as much space as possible and ensure every interaction your dog has out and about is a positive and welcomed one by rewarding polite greeting behaviour.
Electric shock collars are illegal under Animal Welfare Acts in many states - ACT, NSW, SA, NSW (except invisible fences) - due to the nature of the device and its negative impact on animal welfare. Further, Prong collars are illegal to import into Australia due to their negative impact on animal welfare. These aversive equipment types are also not recommended by the RSPCA SA, the Australian Veterinary Association and other international veterinary or welfare organisations and prominent animal behaviourists.
More information on appropriate equipment and how dogs learn can be found on the RSPCA SA’s Lead By Example campaign: http://www.rspcasa.org.au/the-issues/lead-by-example/