If you own a dog and use a shock collar for training, the BC SPCA is coming after you.
A new campaign has been launched urging pet owners to stop using the devices, also known as electronic or e-collars, which the society, along with animal rights activists, says are cruel and inhumane.
“These tools can appear to be effective in the short term,” said Karen van Haaften of the BC SCPA. “But long-term we know they’re not more effective than rewards-based training.”
The society says while owners who use shock collars no doubt have the safety of their pets at heart, the collars can often cause both physical and psychological pain.
“We have animals surrendered to us everyday that have developed adverse behaviour reactions to shock collars,” said van Haaften, who is also a veterinarian.
WATCH: Dr. Karen van Haaften of the BC SPCA talks about the shock collar campaign on Global News Morning BC.
Not all dog owners agree, including Jeff Lolacher, who runs Sit Happens Dog Training in Port Coquitlam and has used an e-collar on his now eight-year-old dog Holly since she was a puppy.
“It’s actually the greatest thing there is to train dogs these days,” he said. “The reason for that is it’s so gentle.
“If I can find a better way tomorrow, I will switch. But what I’ve seen doing this full-time for 18 years, the proof is in the pudding.”
Global News compared the collars Lolacher uses to those provided as examples by the BC SPCA, and found Lolacher’s were much less uncomfortable to human skin.
But the BC SPCA is adamant that over time, shock collars will lead to high levels of stress, fear and aggression in dogs, and will also break the bond between pets and their owners.
Van Haaften said she hopes the campaign increases awareness of the effects of the collars, and points dog owners to alternative training methods.
“It’s something that I think people are really waking up to,” she said, while directing owners to sign a pledge on the BC SPCA website where they can also find more information.
“Just because a tool is effective, it does not mean that it’s the right thing to do for your dog.”