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The use of electric pulse training aids (EPTAs) in companion animals

By Daniel Mills, Ernest Soulsby, Anne McBride, David Lamb, David Morton, Sean Wesley, Charles Deeming, L. Dixon, D. Foster

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There is currently little regulation of training and behaviour modification processes in the UK (CAWC 2008) besides measures enshrined in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and a voluntary Code of Practice launched in 2010 (see: This Code is consistent with current UK legislation outside of Wales and emphasises the need to safeguard the welfare of all interested parties involved in the “training contract” (animals and people alike) and the importance of adopting sound scientific methods within the skills base of the practitioner. There is much debate and opinion over whether the use of certain training techniques and devices meet these requirements, especially the use of electric pulse training aids (EPTAs). An EPTA is defined for the purposes of this report as a device designed for use in the training of dogs, cats and other companion animal species, which involves the application of an electric current to the skin to aid the training process. In Wales the use of all electronic collars has been banned ostensibly on animal welfare grounds, including those related to boundary fencing (The Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (Wales) Regulations 2010). It has been
suggested that there are currently around 350000 EPTAs in the UK, although the number in active use is unknown. Nonetheless they clearly represent a significant practice within the sphere of animal training and it is appropriate that careful consideration be given to their use, especially when there appears to be so much contradictory information available and such passionately held convictions (often linked to ethical and animal welfare concerns) by those expressing an opinion. This report critically reviews current evidence and arguments used both for and against the use of such devices and the conclusions drawn. It highlights gaps in our knowledge and awareness of both
theory and practice. Recommendations are drawn on this basis.


Katie Carroll

Date June 2012
Publisher Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC)
Language English
Institution University of Lincoln
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Cats
  5. Dogs
  6. Mammals
  7. Pet ownership
  8. Pets and companion animals
  9. training
  10. training of animals
  11. United Kingdom
  12. Well-being