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American Humane Calls on Service Dog Trainers and Organizations to Pledge to Stop the Cruel and Inhumane Use of Shock Collars

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA, March 24, 2021American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, today called on service dog trainers and service dog organizations to sign its pledge to stop the cruel and inhumane use of shock collars as part of their training methodology, ahead of its Pups4PatriotsTM celebration in Palm Beach. The program, part of the Lois Pope LIFE Center for Military Affairs, trains service dogs for veterans without the use of shock collars.

“The use of shock collars to train dogs is nothing short of barbaric and should be halted immediately,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “Organizations who pledge to cease this inhumane practice should be lauded for prioritizing the physical and mental well-being of dogs in their care.”

Study after study demonstrates that punishment-based training can have deeply negative effects on a dog’s personality. In fact, some dogs will become fearful and shut down, losing their confidence altogether while others become overtly aggressive and, through no fault of their own, ultimately a dangerous animal. Positive reinforcement training, however, is a kinder and more thoughtful approach that leads to the development of behaviors that are more deeply ingrained in the mind of the dog and a benefit to all who interact with her or him.

“The fact that shock collars are still being used, despite all the evidence pointing to the negative repercussions of such methods, is inexcusable and inhumane, Ganzert said. “Service dogs are heroes who will spend their lives assisting a human companion with a disability. These dogs deserve our utmost respect and the highest level of care, including when they are still in their training phase. Service dogs should not be subject to painful and unnecessary training methods, nor should any animal.”

Through its Pups4Patriots™ program, American Humane sets the bar for the humane treatment of service dogs. Using only positive, reward-based training methods as outlined in its service dog standards – an approach developed by a Scientific Advisory Committee of scientists, veteran experts, mental health professionals, animal welfare specialists, veterinarians, dog trainers and other key advocates – qualified dogs are trained to offer the best possible assistance to veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. All training methods grow and enhance the human-animal bond, building trust and love, not fear and anxiety.

“Immediately and explicitly prohibiting the use of shock collars and pledging to utilize fear-free training methods is a must for all reputable trainers and service dog organizations,” Ganzert concluded.

About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization. Founded in 1877, American Humane is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare, and well-being of animals, and our leadership programs are first to serve in promoting and nurturing the bonds between animals and people. For more information or to support our work, please visit https://www.americanhumane.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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