Potential controls or prohibition of electronic training aids for dogs in Scotland: consultation

This consultation seeks views and evidence on whether some or all electronic training aids for dogs should be subject to tighter controls in Scotland or whether they should be banned outright.

Part I: About this consultation

Topic of this consultation

This consultation is seeking views on whether the Scottish Government should ban or regulate the use of electronic training collars for animals.

There are four options proposed in this consultation:

  1. Status quo - (produce industry guidance for dogs owners and trainers on the proper use of electronic training collars).
  2. Develop guidance or a statutory welfare code - (produce a code of practice or animal welfare code under Sections 37 and 38 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006).
  3. Develop regulations on the use of electronic collars - (introduce regulations or legislative controls under Sections 26 and 27 of the 2006 Act).
  4. Ban the use of electronic collars - (introduce regulations to ban the use of electronic collars in Scotland under Section 26 of the 2006 Act).

Scope of this consultation

The consultation covers the use of electronic training devices for cats and dogs. It includes remote control training collars, anti-bark collars and pet containment fences (also known as electric boundary or freedom fences) using either a static electric pulse, sound, vibration or water or citronella spray.

This consultation does not cover the use of electric fences used for livestock and horses.

Geographical extent

Animal welfare is a devolved matter and this consultation applies to the use of electronic training devices in Scotland only. This matter is considered separately in other parts of the UK and the appropriate administration should be approached for further information on the use of electronic training collars in that country.

Business and regulatory impact assessment

If legislation is introduced to ban or regulate the use of electronic training collars there may be cost implications for those with commercial interests in these devices and possibly for some animal behaviourists and dog trainers. This consultation asks questions in relation to this to help assess potential impact.


Anyone may reply to this consultation. The Scottish Government would particularly like to hear from: dog owners, cat owners, pet behaviourists, collar suppliers, collar manufacturers, dog trainers, animal welfare organisations and members of the general public.

Body responsible for this consultation

The Scottish Government's Animal Welfare Team is responsible for this consultation.


This consultation starts on 6 November 2015.

This consultation closes on 29 January 2016.

This constitutes a full consultation period of 12 weeks.

How to make an enquiry

If you have any queries about this consultation please contact the Scottish Government Animal Welfare Team (0300 244 9382).

The Scottish Government consultation process

Consultation is an essential and important aspect of Scottish Government working methods. Given the wide-ranging areas of work of the Scottish Government, there are many varied types of consultation. However, in general, Scottish Government consultation exercises aim to provide opportunities for all those who wish to express their opinions on a proposed area of work to do so in ways which will inform and enhance that work.

The Scottish Government encourages consultation that is thorough, effective and appropriate to the issue under consideration and the nature of the target audience. Consultation exercises take account of a wide range of factors, and no two exercises are likely to be the same.

Typically Scottish Government consultations involve a written paper inviting answers to specific questions or more general views about the material presented. Written papers are distributed to organisations and individuals with an interest in the issue, and they are also placed on the Scottish Government website enabling a wider audience to access the paper and submit their responses. Consultation exercises may also involve seeking views in a number of different ways, such as through public meetings, focus groups or questionnaire exercises.

All Scottish Government consultation papers and related publications (e.g. analysis of response reports) can be accessed at: Scottish Government consultations

The views and suggestions detailed in consultation responses are analysed and used as part of the decision making process, along with a range of other available information and evidence. Depending on the nature of the consultation exercise the responses received may:

  • indicate the need for policy development or review
  • inform the development of a particular policy
  • help decisions to be made between alternative policy proposals
  • be used to finalise legislation before it is implemented

Final decisions on the issues under consideration will also take account of a range of other factors, including other available information and research evidence.

While details of particular circumstances described in a response to a consultation exercise may usefully inform the policy process, consultation exercises cannot address individual concerns and comments, which should be directed to the relevant public body.

The Scottish Government has an email alert system for consultations. This system allows stakeholder individuals and organisations to register and receive a weekly email containing details of all new consultations (including web links). It complements, but in no way replaces SG distribution lists, and is designed to allow stakeholders to keep up to date with all SG consultation activity, and therefore be alerted at the earliest opportunity to those of most interest. We would encourage you to register.

Responding to this consultation paper

We are inviting responses to this consultation paper by 29 January 2016.

To improve ease of analysis of the consultation responses we would be grateful if, where possible, you could use the online survey facility hosted by Citzenspace.

We recommend that you fully consider this Consultation Document and all the questions before sitting down to complete the on line survey.

Alternatively, you may use the Consultation Questionnaire word document supplied to provide your response electronically by sending it, along with your completed Respondent Information Form (see "Handling your Response" below) to : electronictrainingcollars@gov.scot

Handwritten responses will be accepted, although the previous methods are preferable. Again, you should use the Consultation Questionnaire provided as this will aid our analysis of the responses received. Please send your response, along with your completed Respondent Information Form, to:

Electronic Training Collars Consultation
Scottish Government Animal Welfare Team
P Spur
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
EH11 3XD

Please note that responses not using either the online Citizenspace survey or the Consultation Questionnaire Word document provided might not be considered in the analysis of this consultation.

Handling your response

We need to know how you wish your response to be handled and, in particular, whether you are happy for your response to be made public. If using the Consultation Questionnaire Word document rather than the online facility, please complete and return the Respondent Information Form enclosed with this consultation paper as this will ensure that we treat your response appropriately. Similar questions will be asked by the online facility. If you ask for your response not to be published we will regard it as confidential, and we will treat it accordingly.

All respondents should be aware that the Scottish Government are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and would therefore have to consider any request made to it under the Act for information relating to responses made to this consultation exercise. If appropriate, please explain why you need to keep details confidential. We will take your reasons into account if someone asks for this information under Freedom of Information legislation. However, because of the law, we cannot promise that we will always be able to keep those details confidential.

Next steps in the process

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public. We will make these available to the public on the Scottish Government consultation web pages as soon as possible.

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us reach a decision on whether there will be a prohibition on the use of electronic training aids in Scotland or Regulations put in place to control the use of these devices. We aim to issue a report on this consultation process and, if appropriate, to lay legislation before the Scottish Parliament during 2017.

Comments and complaints

An opportunity to provide comments on your experience of the consultation is provided as part of the consultation questions. Alternatively you may also send any comments that you may have about how this consultation exercise has been conducted to the contact details in the 'Responding to this consultation' section.


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