Dog training aids guidance: review

In October 2018 we issued guidance on dog training aids, outlining expectations regarding dog training methods and highlighting the risks of using aversive training methods. This report reviews the effectiveness of that guidance.

Annex B – Survey

Review Of Scottish Government Guidance On Dog Training Aids
November 2019


A commitment was made to the Scottish Parliament in January 2018 to issue guidance on electronic training aids under Section 38 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. This commitment was fulfilled in October 2018 when Scottish Government Guidance was issued that outlines the expectations of the Scottish Government as regards dog training methods, and highlights the risks, to dog welfare and of potentially committing an offence, of using aversive training methods.

The guidance makes it clear that causing unnecessary suffering through the use of any type of aversive training aid, including electronic training aids, may be an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, depending on the circumstances of the case.

It provides advice on all dog training aids for both dog owners and enforcement agencies and may be considered relevant by the courts in any prosecution of an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 relating to inappropriate training methods. This will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case and the guidance may not necessarily have any bearing, for example if harm was not inflicted using the training aid in question.

The review

The Scottish Government committed to reviewing the effectiveness of the guidance in helping to prevent the mis-use of aversive training methods after 12 months in light of the practical experience of Scottish enforcement bodies. We would be grateful for your organisation's help in undertaking that review. Please feel free to consult colleagues or members with an interest before responding.

The current Guidance is attached in an Annex for ease of reference. We have a number of questions regarding the use, and usefulness of the Guidance in its current format. To help us better understand the responses we receive, and to help us treat the information that you provide appropriately, it would be helpful if you could complete Section 1, 'about my organisation'. We would welcome input from all organisations on Section 2; Section 3 is aimed specifically at enforcement agencies.

Responses should be sent to by 10th January 2020.

Next Steps

We will collate and analyse the data provided and publish a report of the review results. We will consider whether the guidance needs to be amended in the first instance and the report will be passed to the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission for further consideration.

Section 1 – About Me

To find out how we handle your personal data, please see our privacy policy:

1.. Contact details

Full name

Organisation's name

Phone number



3. Publishing preference - how would you prefer us to refer to information that you provide in the report?

☐ Refer to response with organisation name

☐ Refer to response anonymously

4. Are you content for Scottish Government to contact you again in relation to this review?

☐ Yes

☐ No

5. Sector and Origin - it would be helpful for our analysis if you could indicate which of the sectors your organisation most aligns with for the purpose of this review. (Please tick ONE which is MOST APPLICABLE):

Veterinary Profession ☐

Enforcement agency ☐

Local Authority ☐

Animal Welfare Organisation ☐

Dog training/animal behaviour ☐

Training aid manufacturer/supplier ☐

Other (please describe) ☐

Section 2: General Usefulness Of The Guidance

This section asks for information intended to help us understand how the guidance has been perceived and used generally by and with dog owners, professionals and animal welfare organisations. We would be grateful for input from all types of respondent to these questions.

6. Have you personally found the guidance useful when considering training methods for your dogs?

Yes ☐
No ☐
Not applicable ☐

Please explain

7. Have you or your organisation found the guidance useful when providing general advice on aversive training aids to dog owners?

Yes ☐
Not sure☐
Not applicable ☐

Please explain

8. Roughly how many times have you or others in your organisation referred people to the guidance when providing advice on dog training methods?

9. What proportion of the dog owners that your organisation has dealt with in relation to training aids do you think were already aware of Scottish Government guidance on dog training aids?

All ☐
Most ☐
Some ☐
A few ☐
None ☐
Don't know ☐

Please provide any recommendations you have for increasing awareness in the general dog-owning public.

10. Do you consider that the publication of the Guidance has helped to discourage casual, un-informed use of aversive devices by the general public?

Yes ☐
No ☐
Not sure ☐

Please explain and provide any evidence you have available

11. Is there any change to the Guidance that you think would make it more helpful and/or you more likely to refer to it in future when considering dog training methods or advising others regarding dog training methods?

Yes ☐
No ☐
Not sure ☐

Please explain

Section 3: Use Of The Guidance In Enforcement

This section asks for information from enforcement authorities intended to help us understand the scale of any welfare issues around the use of dog training aids in Scotland and what impact that the publication of the guidance has had on this.

12. Case-load involving dog training aids. Please provide the information requested in the table relating only to cases that involved dog training aids. The phrase 'Guidance' refers to the Scottish Government Guidance on Dog Training Aids, which is the subject of this review.

Jan –Dec 2016 Jan-Dec 2017 Jan-Sept 2018 Oct 2018–Oct 2019
No. welfare complaints made        
No. investigations made        
No. cases resolved with advice        
No. cases requiring verbal warning        
No. cases requiring written warning        
No. cases requiring a Care Notice        
No. reports to procurator fiscal        
No. prosecutions        
No. convictions        
No. times Guidance used in advice        
No. times Guidance used in verbal warnings        
No. times Guidance used in written warnings        
No. times Guidance used in prosecutions        

13. If possible, please provide information on the types of dog training aids involved in the cases above. We would also welcome comment on whether or not you consider that the use of these aids caused actual harm to the dogs in these specific cases, and on whether that harm was caused through malice, ignorance, or accident.

Section 4: Sales Of Dog Training Aids In Scotland

This section asks for information from those supplying or recommending dog training aids. It is intended to help us understand the type and number of dog training aids likely to be in use in Scotland and what impact that the publication of the guidance has had on sales. Respondents may be collar manufacturers or retail suppliers selling the training aids directly, or may be dog trainers or animal behaviourists with clients that have purchased a training aid on their advice as part of a planned training regime

14. Are you reporting sales for your organisation, or number of clients who have bought training aids on your recommendation?

Direct sales ☐

Bought on my advice ☐

14. Please provide the number of individual items sold/bought on your recommendation for each of the dog training aid types in the table

Jan –Dec 2016 Jan-Dec 2017 Jan-Sept 2018 Oct 2018–Oct 2019
E-collar - remote-use        
Static pulse        
E-collar - anti bark collar        
Static pulse        
E-collar - containment system        
Static pulse        
Choke chain        
Prong Collar        



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