Colorado Trainer Hopes to Ban Shock, Choke, and Prong Collars for Boulder Dogs

A Colorado woman hopes to make Boulder the first city in the nation to ban the use of shock, choke, and prong collars on dogs within the city.


Dog trainer, Mary Angilly has started a citywide campaign to ban the use of controversial training collars and hopes to reach the ballot in 2018.

Her proposal would ban the use of shock collars (also known as e-collars, electric collars, zap collars), prong collars (sometimes called pinch collars), and choke collars (chain or rope collars that are looped around the dog’s neck and do not have a fixed size, meaning they can be a strangulation risk) within the city of Boulder, although the sale of these training collars would still be legal.

“I don’t want residents in Boulder to feel alienated or badly if they’re using them,” Angilly told the Daily Camera. “This is about educating people and showing them there are other ways.”

Angilly’s proposed ban would not include invisible fences, which use vibration or shock to prevent a dog from leaving a specified perimeter.

A ban of this type would be the first of its kind within the United States, although similar bans have been enacted in several countries and provinces around the world including New Zealand, Wales, Switzerland, parts of Australia, Quebec, and are being considered for a ban in Germany.

Positive and science-based trainers agree that these “tools” cause dogs to do things because they want to avoid the pain or stimuli associated with them – not because they’ve learned the behaviors the collars prevent are not allowed. Science has shown us that there are better ways to teach dogs and modify their behavior. Yes, even in severe cases. In other words, when properly trained using science-based training methods, your dog can reliably do what you ask of him because he wants to do it, not because he is afraid not to.

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Even still, Angilly understands these tools work, and that many trainers and dog owners have had success with them.

“My argument, and most trainers who are against the use of this equipment, is not that it doesn’t work. Punishment and using force and fear to train dogs can totally work. The main issue is the many potential fallouts.”

Among the side effects observed in some dogs when owners use fear- or pain-based training equipment, she told the Daily Caller, are added stress; suppressed or unusually high aggression; and emotional shut-down and stunting.

To get her proposal on the ballot, Angilly has a long road ahead of her, starting with collecting thousands of signatures in support of the ban. Since no such ban exists anywhere in the country, she’ll need to start from the ground-up, determining what exactly the ban would entail, how it would be enforced, and, of course, win the support of enough voters for it to pass.

Would you support a similar ban in your own city or state? Why or why not?

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