What Do Shock Collar Bans Mean for Retailers?



With England’s ban on shock collars making headlines, pet retailers should be on the lookout for declining interest in these products. They should be ready with alternative recommendations for containment solutions and training accessories that customers need to keep their pets safe and well-behaved.


The ban passed in England after continuous lobbying by animal rights groups. These welfare advocates have claimed shock collars to be unnecessarily cruel to dogs and cats since they can deliver an electronic pulse of up to 6,000 volts for up to 11 seconds at a time. The Kennel Club of the U.K. has also argued that the collars work based on the fear and pain animals experience from the shocks.


England has followed the lead of other places that have banned the collars. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany, Wales, Quebec and parts of Australia have all outlawed the use of these products. The United States may soon follow suit.


American organizations like the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB), the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the American Animal Hospital Association have issued statements against the use of shock collars. There have been movements in cities like Boulder, Colo., to institute bans as well as petitions that call for a nationwide law that ends the use of these devices.


So, what can retailers do to direct concerned customers to shock collar substitutes? The first step is becoming knowledgeable about what alternatives are available on the market. The August issue of Pet Business covered modern containment solutions that seamlessly integrate into a pet owner’s home. Many of these pet gates, pens and crates can be used both outdoors and indoors. The article also included pet tech options that allow owners to track their pets through apps in a convenient and cruelty-free manner.


In addition to containing animals, shock collars are also used in stopping unwanted behaviors like barking. Retailers can recommend other training products that can achieve the same results as these collars. Our August issue features dog calming aids and training tools such as clickers, treat dispensers, natural stress relievers like CBD products, noisemakers and ThunderShirts that can be used to modify a pet’s behavior without causing pain.


This shifting attitude towards shock collars shows that part of being in the pet industry is anticipating changing trends. By keeping pace with news updates, retailers can use current events to their business’ advantage.


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