Sunday, September 14, 2014

AKC, Animal Rights and Dog Training

Out of the UK, the cradle of the animal rights terror movement, comes a study that denigrates the use of electronic collars as a tool for dog training:

“The Welfare Consequences and Efficacy of Training Pet Dogs with Remote Electronic Training Collars in Comparison to Reward Based Training” *
If you read the abstract, there doesn’t seem to be any real downside to using electronic training collars. But the take-home message? E-Collars work, but not any better than positive reinforcement, so why subject your dog to unnecessary stess? And now, we have another biased study to point to in order to justify the ban on E-Collars that animal rights nuts are pushing for in the UK. Talk about researcher bias! 

Of course, the group of dogs they studied were PET dogs. And what is the most common use for E collars in pet dogs? It’s for pet containment in areas where fences are not used. I suppose it’s better to have your dog tethered? Maybe these animal rights do-gooders would  prefer that your dog roam and be hit by a car?

E collars are also commonly used to avoid surgical debarking for dogs who are noisy. A noisy dog provokes complaints, and may end up at the dog pound unless the owner has options available such as a bark collar or surgical debarking.

E collars are successfully and humanely used to train dogs for off leash work, such as hunting or obedience.  A well-trained dog is a happy dog under the charge of a responsible and loving owner. 

Now, to add insult to injury we find AKC’s Vice President Gina DiNardo on a TV program discussing use of E Collars. DiNardo states that “we” (presumably the AKC) support only positive reinforcement in dog training.” **

Will corrections with a flat collar and lead soon be out at the AKC? Maybe they should make a rule that dogs can’t be restrained on a lead at a dog show. After all, a snap on the lead! WELL! That is NOT POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT. 

This is what it says about electronic collars in the Board Policy Manual:***

Training Collars (July 2001 Board meeting) Special training devices that are used to control and train dogs, including but not limited to, collars with prongs, electronic collars used with transmitters, muzzles and head collars may not be used on dogs at AKC events, except as allowed in the AKC Rules, Regulations, and policies. 
The American Kennel Club recognizes that special training collars may be an effective and useful management device, when properly used, for controlling dogs that might be extremely active, difficult to control on a neck collar, or dog aggressive. These collars are also recognized as possibly useful for gaining control at the start of basic obedience training, essential education that dogs deserve and need. 
There is a point at which owners should have sufficient control of their dogs to manage them on regular neck collars, without the use of special training collars. This is the point at which dogs are acceptable on the grounds of AKC competitive events and will have the opportunity to participate in those events.

Yes, AKC has the right to ban muzzles, e-collars and prong collars from their shows, but what people do away from the show grounds is none of their business. The AKC does NOT have the right to get on national television and denigrate a very useful, humane and responsible tool for training. Trainers should have the option to choose which training methods work best for them, without the nannies of the world butting in. 

And speaking of the nannies of the world, why here’s one now! 
AKC's Vice President Gina DiNardo

Media Appearances:
• More than 100 TV/Radio appearances
• NBC’s Today Show – multiple appearances
• iVillage Live – multiple appearances
• TV Commentator – Mohegan Sun AKC Events
• Satellite Media Tours for AKC/Eukanuba National Championship and AKC Meet the Breeds
• NPR and Animal Planet Radio

She’s presented as a media pro and is a top level AKC official, and yet, she spouts notions contrary to the interests of dog owners….the very group that AKC supposedly represents. If AKC has ANY integrity, they will fire this ignorant talking head immediately. 

Not only is John Q Public being snowed, but seems as though AKC is being infiltrated by the warm, fuzzy, “they're our fur kids” types. The same type who recoil in horror at the thought of disciplining their child in any meaningful manner. Can you imagine controlling a recalcitrant child using only "positive reinforcement"? It doesn't work for kids and it doesn't work for dogs, either. A stern "NO" would also be banned under the system of positive reinforcement only. Boo Hoo! You might cause STRESS and hurt feelings! 

This kind of evolving intrusive and restrictive "Welfare" philosophy is why we should fear the publishing of the upcoming Purdue study on dog husbandry practices.

Let’s see, Sayre to PIJAC, Prager to APHIS . . . . what’s next, Pacelle to AKC?  



  1. A rather lame response to the outcry from AKC:


    reply to:


    On Saturday morning, AKC agreed to appear on /Fox & Friends/ to discuss
    our thoughts on the use of e-collars for pet training, a buzzed about
    subject triggered from the release of a recent study.

    The AKC has never called for a ban on e-collars. The AKC supports choice
    in training methods, as well as trusting the experts. Our thousands of
    field trial, performance and companion participants are the experts,
    those with the training experience and knowledge to obtain AKC titles on
    their dogs. It is our opinion that when placed in the informed hands of
    professionals, e-collars are an appropriate and effective tool for
    training dogs that are not only well behaved in the home but also
    competitive in the field. In fact, listed under the heading "Training
    Collars," our position in support of e-collars as it pertains to AKC events, dog clubs and professional trainers has not wavered since it was adopted by the Board of Directors in 2001.

    When we accept national media opportunities, we see them as a chance to
    talk to the nearly 57 million dog-owning households across the country
    who may not know about AKC's resources and offerings. For better or
    worse, the vast majority of those owners will face struggles at the most
    basic level of training, not the complexities of handling
    performance-level dogs in the field or advanced companion work. When we
    appeared on /Fox & Friends/, it was our intention to speak to those
    novice owners who are seeking the best methods to create well-trained
    pets. Those methods do not include misuse or overuse of e-collars at the
    hands of amateur owners, an opinion with which I'm sure any dog expert
    can agree. AKC maintains its encouragement of positive reinforcement
    techniques for those beginner owners.

    We continue to support the training techniques used by our experienced,
    responsible, and dedicated performance and companion competitors, and we
    apologize for not making that distinction clear during Saturday's segment.

    James Crowley, Executive Secretary
    American Kennel Club

    Funny, but their spokesperson never mentioned anything about choice in the matter, she flat-out stated that the AKC ONLY supported positive reinforcement training methods.

    And why should there be any excessive caution for a novice owner? Even a novice owner can successfully handle an e-collar for bark control or yard perimeter contaionment, but Ms DiNardo never mentioned any caution being limited to novice owners.

    A rather weak and stupid response, but then, that's what we've come to expect.

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