American animal pet store chain Petco has recently announced that it will no longer sell particular “shock” collars. The decision builds on the company’s commitment to training methods that employ positive reinforcements. Moreover, it also seeks the entire pet supply industry to follow suit.
“Stop the Shock”
This week, Petco said it will ban selling human- and bark- activated electronic collars in both of its physical and digital stores since the announcement. Moreover, it also initiated an online petition called “Stop the Shock,” with a goal to create responsible regulation of selling shock collars.
It ends today. https://t.co/ws1d89jDBM
— Ron Coughlin (@RCoughlinPetco) October 6, 2020
CNN Business reports that for 2019, the collars accounted for $10 million of Petco’s sales last year. Pet parents use the collars to remove unwanted behaviors from pets, like too much barking or straying away. However, it can be prone to abuse.
The decision builds on the company’s plan to position its brand as a health and wellness firm. By 2021, it will move to a new name: “Petco, The Health + Wellness Co.”
Instead of resorting to shock collars, Petco will encourage its customers to try professionally-approved training products and services that uphold positive reinforcement. With this, Petco said it launched an online training program with their certified dog trainers. Moreover, the company also said it would offer free introductory online class regarding positive reinforcement training methods to interested pet owners.
According to the company chief executive, electricity should not play a role for average pet training dogs. CEO Ron Coughlin mentioned that shock collars cause dogs with increased fear, anxiety, and stress. “We believe there’s a better way: Positive Reinforcement Training.”
The electronic collars, or “shock collars,” has received opposition from animal rights groups. Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, MS, Ph.D., said that using shock collars is misguided. Dr. Horowitz serves as a member of the Petco Pet Wellness Council and a research fellow. She also acts as the head of the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College. Moreover, she also acknowledged the efforts of PetCo on “taking the lead in removing this merchandise from their stores.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Whitney Miller, head of Petco’s Veterinary Medicine, said that punishment only results in less success. She noted that science shows that animals learn a new behavior much quickly if they voluntarily participate and then are rewarded. She added that shock collars “actually reinforce negative behaviors and create anxiety within pets.”