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When teaching pets, it need not be a dog's life

Two women who work in the canine industry are making a call for stronger legislation on animal welfare, in particular relating to dog trainers and walkers.

In addition, they are calling for a ban in Gibraltar on the sale and use of electric, prong and choke collars for dogs.

Behind this call are dog lovers and trainers Nicole Corby and Yvette Potter, who have set up an online petition asking the Gibraltar Government to place a ban on the sale and use of these
types of collars.

In a joint statement they said: “We feel that using implements that cause fear, pain and stress are not conducive to good learning, in fact they can cause the opposite effect.”

“There is a lot of scientific data against their use and their effects are not restricted to humans,” the statement added.

“We have many people in Gib who are misinformed and because we have a lot of misinformation that leads to bad practices usually,” said Ms Corby.

“That is where our concerns lie.”

“If we have some sort of regulations or legislation to follow, we would have more rules and shops would not sell them, they would not be so freely available,” she added.

Ms Potter explains that the idea behind the petition is if someone buys one in Spain, even if the sale of these collars are banned in Gibraltar, they could still be used on the Rock as they
are not banned in their entirety.

“If it was made law, any police man could say ‘your dog is wearing a banned collar’ and something could be done,” said Ms Potter.

The dog trainers believe there are different ways to show a dog how you want them to behave.

“The legislation would also open the debate on what are acceptable teaching methods. We are trying to move on from using the word training because of the connotation it has of making a
dog do tricks,” said Ms Corby.

“We don’t want to associate it with doing tricks but more to teaching a dog life skills.”

“We have all moved on and we are living in a modern city and it is very difficult for dogs to cope. This will exasperate behaviours. What happens is that people don’t have time to teach and dogs develop behaviours and people can’t cope because they do not have the resources to do it,” she added.

The core message is that punishment is not a good way to teach a dog.

“People do not want to take the time when training their dog, they want it now. But nothing happens ‘now’,” she added.

The two trainers want the wellbeing of dogs to be at the forefront of legislation for animal welfare.

For not just a ban on “abusive and cruel” collars, but also education on how to teach a dog how to live happily in today’s built-up, hectic society.

Pic of Halle Durante