Dogs & Laws

Quebec Bans Shock and Prong Dog Collars

The Canadian province of Quebec has taken important steps in protecting the safety and welfare of pets by establishing their “MAPAQ Guide d’application du règlement sur la sécurité et le bien-être des chats et des chiens,” or Guide to Implementing Rules on the Safety and Well-Being of Dogs and Cats.

The guide, which outlines regulations regarding pet ownership in Quebec including standards of care, licensing, housing and shelter requirements, was met with both praise and backlash when the latest version, released in November of 2013, included a province-wide ban on the use of shock and/or prong collars.

Specifically, the law states that the collar “must not interfere with breathing or cause him pain or injury.” In addition to an absolute ban on shock and prong type collars, the Guide further clarifies that choke-chain type collars should only be used as a temporary measure of restraint, such as during walks, and should never be left on a dog that is unattended.

Excerpt from MAPAQ Guide d'application du règlement sur la sécurité et le bien-être des chats et des chiens, Article 26, page 21, shows the two types of collars now banned in Quebec.

Excerpt from MAPAQ Guide d’application du règlement sur la sécurité et le bien-être des chats et des chiens, Article 26, page 21, shows the two types of collars now banned in Quebec.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dog owners in Quebec caught using shock or prong collars will initially be given a warning, and subsequently issued heavy fines, no less than about $600 per incident.

These types of collars are already banned in several countries and provinces around the world including New Zealand, Wales, Switzerland, parts of Australia, and are currently being considered for a ban in Germany.

This ban on shock (also called electronic collars, e-collars, zap collars) and prong (sometimes called pinch collars) collars is a victory for both the dogs of Quebec that will no longer be subjected to pain and suffering through such aversion training techniques, but also for proponents of scientifically proven Positive Training techniques.

Trainer Kevin Duggan, CPDT-KA of All Dogs Go To Kevin, LLC, explained, “This is a huge step in the right direction. These “tools” cause dogs to do things because they want to avoid the pain or stimuli associated with them. Science has shown us that there are better ways to teach dogs and also modify their behavior. Yes, even severe cases can be fixed without these. We refer to dogs as “man’s best friend” so lets treat them like they deserve to be treated.”

In other words, when properly trained using Positive training methods, your dog can reliably do what you ask of him because he wants to do it, not because he is afraid not to.

Still, those who oppose the ban believe this in an infringement on their right to train their dogs as they see fit, or in a method that they have found to work for them. Rather than viewing it as an opportunity to learn longer lasting, proven, reward-based training methods, these pet owners are angered by their government’s position, seeking to overturn the rule.

Do you agree or disagree with Quebec’s ban on shock and prong collars? Would you celebrate a similar ban in your own country or state?

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Jennifer Fisk

    Aug 25, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    This is crazy. I have used a prong collar on my GSDs for years. For the most part, they rarely get a correction but wearing the collar reminds them of how to behave. What are they going to do about visitors to Quebec who use a prong?

  2. Me

    Aug 6, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    No one mentioned that the table is within a chapter called “contention”, which means immobilization.
    So basically it says that those collars (e-collar or prong) should not be left on the animal when immobilizing him.

    This is very different to say that those collars are banned, as “contention” doesn’t include walking/training.

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  4. Karla

    Jul 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    I am an owner of 2 Rottweilers. I have an invisible fence around my large backyard. My dogs NEVER leave the backyard and I have watched them chase a rabbit right up to the fence and stop, as it crosses over to the neighbour’s yard. I have felt the low intensity ‘shock’ on my hand and it was more of a vibration/tickle than a shock. It’s more of a distraction than a delivery of pain. I do not leave the property with the dogs outside.

    My neighbour, on the other hand, has two large German Shepherds confined to a very small fenced pen. They are NEVER walked. They bark incessantly out of frustration and boredom. In my view, my invisible fence allows for a far better lifestyle and more mentally healthy dogs than my physically fenced neighbour’s dogs.

  5. James

    Jul 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Have you ever seen or heard a Labrador being fried in the water….I have.
    This was done by a ‘pro-trainer’ who has been training for over 40 years!!!?
    There are very few good pro-trainers in Ontario.
    Yes, the e-collar does need to be banned all across Canada. Trying putting an e-collar around your ankle and burn yourself…..I doubt you will.

  6. Ted

    Jun 11, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    First off, I am a professional dog trainer in the US, training therapy and medical alert dogs with a mixture of methodologies including e-collars. This type of knee jerk reaction and the support in this article is pure foolishness. The trainer interviewed quotes “science as proving” yet has no substantive references to any actual science. Notice, no professional e-collar trainers were interviewed. It is the utter anthropomorphizing of dogs (treating them like humans) which is denying what is their true nature as dogs. It is a relatively modern (as one of my clients aptly put it) pop psychology toward dog training. None of our dogs work for us out of fear and it is evident in the dogs response to commands and e-collar use. A dog properly trained with an e-collar as an operant conditioning device responds to it like a dog would to his leash before going on a walk, with excitement and enthusiasm. This is the kind of ridiculous group think that drives me mad… more based on emotional response and ideology than logic, fact and behavioral analysis.

    What is dog socialization other than operant conditioning through a series of behavioral responses including both positive, neutral and negative. This is how dogs communicate and trying to impose human psychology on dogs is arrogant and a fools errand.

    I hope Quebec ups their budget for animal control in preparation for an increase in dog and human attacks while also upping the budget for shelters as more people will be dumping dogs they cannot control or help leading to more being put down.

    I can’t tell you how many people come to us after spending loads of money on supposed “positive” methodologies that don’t or didn’t work. And how many supposed “positive” dog trainers tell the owner that their dog is un-trainable or should be put down.

  7. Lauren

    Jun 10, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I have to say I very much disagree with the ban on the e-collars only. I have a 120 lb cane corso who was a holy terror when he was younger. I hired a behaviorist to help me with him, and she insisted we use the shock collar for training. Initially I was very against the idea, but we spent three weeks working with Riley on what was expected of him, with the collar on him, but never using it (so he wouldn’t get collar smart and only listen when he was wearing the collar). When it came time to use the collar, I first had to zap myself with it before ever being allowed to turn it on and put it on my dog. The zap, at a 1 (I have a SportDog400) barely felt like a tickle (and to this day whenever someone sees the collar and is upset with me using it, I shock myself with it, and offer to let them feel. They’re very surprised by how little you feel). My behaviorist told me that he collar was to be used as a reinforcement to my voice commands and it was for recall ONLY. I was NEVER to use the collar as a punishment for Riley doing something wrong. Instead, if Riley was doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing, I was to recall him to me, and if he didn’t listen, then use the collar, again with the recall command. That was 3 years ago, and my holy terror of a 120 lb dog is now the best partner I could have ever asked for, completely well mannered and off-leash trained. He’s a perfect angel in the house when he’s not wearing the collar, and gets excited when he sees me pull it out because he knows that means we’re going on an off-leash adventure. In fact, one day while we were out walking a trail, a man came along with his ferocious little *thing* on a retractable leash, barking and yapping and trying to attack my dog. The man was screaming at me for having my dog off leash, but Riley did as he was trained and stayed at my knee while this man couldn’t even control his dog or pull the retractable leash back to him and was getting his legs tangled in it. If these collars are used correctly, they make incredibly wonderful training tools and I don’t ever have to worry about my dog doing something he isn’t supposed to do, but I ask, what would this man do with his dog if the leash suddenly broke? I’d much prefer to have an off leash, under control dog than an on a leash, but out of control dog.

    The prong/choke collar ban, however, I do disagree with. It has been proven that choke collars can crack windpipes, and my behaviorist refused to ever let me use a prong collar on Riley, explaining that the prong collar causes pain without training and actually creates dog aggression – so the dog wearing the collar sees another dog, gets excited and pulls on the leash. The dog wearing the collar feels pain. The dog wearing the collar starts to associate other dogs with pain. The dog wearing the collar becomes dog aggressive.

    I say, stop banning silly things like pitbulls and helpful training tools. Instead, require owners to be trained and responsible.

    • Lyzard King

      Nov 11, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Your behaviourist is wrong. The dog reacts to the environment with the correction of a shock collar and can associate that to nearby people or dogs. The dog associates the correction of a prong collar to the handler and reacts to them. Think about this, a zap from an unknown source…..what are you going to react to? A tug from the person physically holding the lead…what are you going to react to there? You’ve got a behaviourist who’s a shock collar trainer who knows and wants to use shock collars. Telling you nonsense about prong collars is just a way of saying “I only want/know how to use shock collars”, which is fine, but since a lot of people who don’t understand shock collars start pointing fingers and yelling “PAIN”, isn’t that exactly what your behaviourist is doing to a tool others who use them clearly state doesn’t cause pain. Also, what’s this choke/prong business? The two collars are completely different in their function and application, why do you associate them together, especially since you’re using the least favoured aversive tool out the 3……glass houses and all.

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