Welcome to You Would Be Shocked

Welcome to the website of You Would be Shocked - an information clearinghouse for the dog owners of Nova Scotia who are thinking about what kind of training they want to use for their dog.

This site will give you information about trainers who use science based dog training, we also talk about what is called "balanced training" - what it is, and let you know the difference between that and science based dog training.

There are a lot of dog rescues who are using "balanced trainers" so we have a section of the site that talks about rescues in Nova Scotia who are committed to using trainers who use science based dog training - we believe it is very important - especially for rescue dogs who can sometimes come from traumatized situations.

As well - we talk about the "5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare" - if you haven't heard about it before - it is a must read!

We also have a lot of links to articles about how the devices that "balanced trainers" use…

Media around Shock Collar Initiatve

There has been some local press around the shock collar initiative that's been started.

On September 18th, 2017  I talked to Sheldon MacLeod on News 95.7 - here's is what we said:

Sheldon: This got a bit of attention on the weekend - online group campaigns against shock collars used on Nova Scotia dogs and Nova Scotia advocates - says Tom Ayers, the reporter - are looking to bring awareness to training positively as opposed to shock collars/e-collars on dogs and they are lining up against the use as some trainers say the devices are as safe as muscle stimulating devices used on physiotherapists. Here to give us her thoughts on this is a person who is speaking up and speaking out on it and welcome back to our program – Joan Sinden, Joan – thank you for doing this 

Joan: (dogs barking in background) : Oh dear, somebody must be walking by the front of my house 

Sheldon: Why is it that you felt it was necessary, and again you’re not necessarily against them as much as you a…

What do Advocates for shock/e-collar training say?

Dog trainers who use shock/e-collars as their main protocol for training dogs are certainly excited and enthusiastic about it.  Some of them are truthful with what they are doing - that the collars are negative reinforcement/positive punishment, but unfortunately others will tell you that they are part of a positive training protocol, which just isn't true.

Looking on facebook - when people talk about shock/e-collars, it's interesting what people say when they are discussing why they use the devices and I'm going to quote why people say they are good and life-saving parts of their dog's life - a lot of people say that they'd have to euthanize their dog if they hadn't have started to use the collars, which is too bad.  Too bad for their dogs, anyway.

Here is an interesting one:

"Dog agression is a good example on when the collar would be useful. Correcting the dog before they get into a higer energy or agressive state can really help them understand that t…

New Initiative in Nova Scotia - Nova Scotia Shock Free Rescue Coalition

A new coalition between rescue groups has begun in Nova Scotia to build awareness about the humane and ethical treatment of dogs in our province.

The mission statement reads:

At Nova Scotia Shock Free Rescue Coalition , we are governed by principles that demand the highest level of humane and ethical treatment of dogs. With years of experience, training and research on the subject, we are a coalition of rescues who stand together against force training. We will only employ and will promote trainers who use positive, reward-based training practices. We will only accept the use of humane devices such as flat collars, soft martingales and body harnesses. In our adoption agreements, we will stipulate all training for our rescue dogs will be positive training. As stated in our mandate we do not allow the use of methods that are punitive, inhibit learning, increase fear, promote aggression or could result in physical and psychological injury to the dog. We recognize that they teach th…

Electronic Containment Systems just don't work - and here's why

Electronic containment systems - the devices that either have wires that you bury in the ground or are wireless and transmit to a collar you put on your dog - work through the use of electric shock.

You put the wires around the perimeter of your house and when your dog comes too close to those wires usually the collar will make a beep or have a vibration and if the dog keeps going the collar will then emit an electric shock to tell the dog to back off so that he does not leave your property.
That is how things should go when everything is working as you want it to - but there are a lot of things that can go wrong.  And I am going to lay out a few of those things.
There was a newspaper article in the Chronicle Herald about a dog In Eastern Passage that was attacked by a coyote - it was very serious - the poor dog almost died - it is very serious, and really it's still very touch and go - hopefully the poor dog Daisy is  going to pull through - I've put the article at the end o…

The Pet Professional Guild is planning a new initiative effective September 25, 2017 - a Shock Free Coalition

There is awesome news from the Pet Professional Guild - a consortiom of force free trainers around the world - has announced that on September 25, 2017 they will be rolling out their plans for a "shock free coalition".

I'm going to copy here the missive they sent out because it's just so awesome -


It is with great pleasure that I am now able to inform you that, on September 25, 2017, PPG will be rolling out its Shock-Free Coalition.

This is an initiative that has been developed through the PPG Advocacy Committee over the last 12 months.

Its aim is to build an international movement committed to eliminating shock devices once and for all.

The Shock-Free Coalition will feature a Shock-Free Pledge, a signature drive, and the rollout of tools and resources to help you help us promote the initiative across our communities.

We are also developing “Blueprint” documents to support the execution of local and targeted legislative initiativ…

Pet Collar Awareness

The following is excerpted from the website "Pet Collar Awareness" - a Canadian website that's working to build awareness around dog collars and their abuse - there is a lot more information at that website - if you want to read their information in it's entirety - I suggest you go there to read it all - it is all really important - this is just some of the information that's written there.

Here is some of the information on that site:

Collar choices for pets are endless. They are the perfect place to hang identification and, with a variety of colors and designs available, to make a statement. However, the aesthetics of collars is not what plagues most pets. It is how they work. If your collar works by shocking, choking, pinching, inducing pain, fear and intimidation, then you've picked the wrong collar. Through recent credible research we've learned that many of the assumptions previously made about shock, choke & prong collars are completely wrong a…

Hierarchy of a dog's needs

The "Hierarchy of Dog Needs" was developed by Linda Michaels, MA - you can read all about it on her website at and an interesting thing about her website that you should check out is her "about me" page - it lists all her qualifications - it's huge - her credentials go on and on and on, unlike other types of trainers who have just gone to seminars and are basically just autodidacts and then from that consider themselves dog trainers.

This Hierarchy of a Dog's Needs is a force free alternative to other types of dog training and meets all your dog's needs in terms of modifying behaviour and does it in a certain order so that your dog will feel safe, healthy, secure, and bonded with you - the most important thing in their life - which is how things are supposed to work.

You can either go to the website we've provided at the top of this page or click on the picture and save it so you can p…

What are the positions of different rescues and the NS SPCA in Nova Scotia?

Some rescues in Nova Scotia do use shock/e-collars extensively, and that is too bad.  We are not going to talk about them.

But a lot of rescues don't use them.
Here are the position statements of a couple rescues who don't use them.
The Nova Scotia SPCA - the only organization in Nova Scotia who has the authority to implement the Animal Cruelty Act in our province has this position statement on shock/prong/e-collars:

The Nova Scotia SPCA opposes the use of pinch, pronged or choking collars due to the physical damage that can occur to the trachea, oesophagus, vertebrae and brain of the dog, in addition to the psychological damage from pain and stress associated with such devices.

The Nova Scotia SPCA is also opposed to shock collars used for training or containment, because they cause pain and generate a fear based response (verses positive-reinforcement based training).

The Nova Scotia SPCA advocates for the use of humane a…