Petco announced Tuesday it will no longer sell remote-controlled, electronic shock collars for dogs.
The pet retailer intends to act as an industry leader in pet health and wellness by encouraging positive reinforcement training methods and creating "real change.”
“Electricity may be critical to powering your microwave, but it has no role for the average pet parent training their dog,” Petco CEO Ron Coughlin said in a news release. “Shock collars have been shown to increase fear, anxiety and stress in dogs, and we believe there’s a better way – Positive Reinforcement Training. As a health and wellness company, our mission is focused on improving pet lives and we think selling shock collars does the opposite. It’s our responsibility to ensure that we, and others, aren’t putting potentially harmful products in the wrong hands.”
In addition to removing the collars from store shelves and its online store, the company is calling on supporters to sign an online petition aimed at creating “responsible regulation” for the sale of shock collars by other retailers.
The campaign, called #StopTheShock, suggests that some training collars may still be sold, though all human- and bark-activated shock-inducing electronic pet collars were said to be removed from Petco stores Tuesday.
“We’re ... calling on the rest of the pet industry, pet parents and anyone who loves pets to help us create new guidelines, engage in responsible self-regulation and consider legislative change for the retail sale of certain shock collars to general consumers,” the petition reads.
Further details explain that Petco “would like to see other retailers and manufacturers join ... in either not selling or applying responsible guidelines and restrictions to the retail sale of specific shock collars to general consumers — except in a professional capacity or in partnership with and/or under the guidance of a certified dog trainer.”
“Today, we stop the pain for Buddy because he barks at the doorbell. We stop the stress for Sadie because she jumps for joy all over the neighbors when they walk in the door. And we stop the fear for Cooper because he prefers a good pair of sneakers over all the chew toys on the market,” Petco wrote on its social media accounts. “We say goodbye to remote controls that cause pain, and hello to expert trainers who mentor pets and pet parents.”
The same message pops up for shoppers who search “shock collar” on the company’s website. Bark collars that don’t deliver shocks are still available on the company’s website.
Citing a recent study from market research firm Edelman Intelligence, Petco said 70% of dog parents feel shock collars have a negative impact on their pet’s emotional or mental well-being, and 69% of dog owners consider shock collars a cruel training method.
On its website, The Humane Society wrote "the least humane and most controversial use of the shock collar is as a training device.”
“There is a greater chance for abuse or misuse. Your dog also may associate the painful shock with people or other experiences, leading to fearful or aggressive behavior,” the organization stated.
With the new removal of specific shock collars from the Petco product offerings, the company is offering a free introductory online training class for pet owners interested in learning more about positive reinforcement training methods.
Read more from Petco here.
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