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 alternatives such as simple flat buckle collars, properly fitted harnesses or pressure/control harnesses that do not encourage pulling (fitting flat to the body), limited slip collars (martingale slip and quick release) or head halters also referred to as halti head collars or gentle leaders (attaching under the chin and controlling the dogs nose to point down).

Position Statement of Marley’s Hope Dog Training 

When training or handling any animal, Marley’s Hope advocates the use of force-free, humane training techniques utilizing evidence-based learning theories which foster trust and build positive human-animal relationships.

Marley’s Hope is opposed to training methods or devices which employ coercion and force.

Aversive, punishment-based techniques may alter behaviour, but the methods fail to address the underlying cause and, in the case of unwanted behaviour, can lead to undue anxiety, fear, distress, pain or injury.

Behaviour research on animal training techniques supports a force-free methodology.

Humane (force-free) training is defined as training or caring for an animal without using pain, fear, or physical or verbal intimidation techniques.

Animals learn best when training follows the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviour’s recommendations: “Focus on reinforcing desired behaviours [positive reinforcement], removing the reinforcer for inappropriate behaviours, and addressing the emotional state and environmental conditions driving the undesirable behaviour.”

For dogs, studies indicate that humane training techniques are more effective than punishment-based approaches with the benefits that dogs are more likely to perform well in novel tasks, to be more playful, and to interact more positively with strangers.

Research also indicates that over the long term, dogs trained through punishment may develop a fear response to the handler, less bonding with the guardian, less playful behaviour, less inclination to engage positively with strangers and show an increase in fear-associated behaviours, including aggression.

Humane dog training is an inherently safer methodology for both animals and people. Dominance theory” to explain problem behaviours in dogs has recently re-gained public popularity. This is an incorrect and harmful concept when applied to human-animal relationships. Traditional dominance theory training uses force and intimidation as a way to assert “pack leader” or “alpha dog” status over dogs to control their behaviour.

Tools and techniques used may include restricting movement, striking (hitting or pinching), pinning down or kneeling on animals; the use of physically or verbally harsh corrections on animals; and the aggressive use of choke chains, prong collars or devices that shock animals (collars, invisible fencing, prods, etc.).

 These techniques cause anxiety, fear, distress and, in some cases, pain or injury. Because fear and anxiety are often the underlying causes of behaviour problems in dogs, these techniques often make the behaviour issue even worse.

REFERENCES American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior 2008
AVSAB Position Statement: The Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals. http://avsabonline.org/uploads/position_statements/Dominance_Position_Statement_download-10-3-14.pdf 
 American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior 2007 AVSAB Position Statement: The Use of Punishment for Behavior Modification in Animals. http://avsabonline.org/uploads/position_statements/Combined_Punishment_Statements.pdf. Blackwell EJ, Bolster C, Richards G, Loftus BA and Casey RA 2012 The use of electronic collars for training domestic dogs: estimated prevalence, reasons and risk factors for use, and owner perceived success as compared to other training methods. BMC Veterinary Research 8: 93 Deldalle S and Gaunet F 2014 Effects of 2 training methods on stress-related behaviors of the dog (Canis familiaris) and on the dog-owner relationship. Journal of Veterinary Behavior 9: 58-65

Other rescues who also are against shock collars/e-collars are:

Animal Rescue Coalitions
No Chains All Love Dog Rescue Society
Misfit Manor Rescue Society
Home to Stay Dog Rescue
Atlantic Canadian Dachshund Rescue

If you are a rescue in Nova Scotia and want to add your name to this coalition of rescues who are against the use of shock/e-collars - email us at dogkisser@gmail.comdogkisser@gmail.com