There are various types of dog training leads in use in the UK. Some are humane, some are less so. The U.K has a strong animal welfare infrastructure. The Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, or "RSPCA", is an non-profit organisation that promotes animal welfare, rescues abused animals and helps law enforcers secure convictions against animal abusers. The RSPCA issues recommendations concerning dog training equipment, including leads.
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Pinch Lead and Collar
A pinch collar attaches to a dog lead and fits around the dog's neck. It has sharp spikes that point inward toward the dog's neck. The spikes don't touch the dog unless he pulls on his lead, at which point, the collar tightens and forces the spikes into the dog's skin, as a punishment. Many trainers do not recommend this type of training lead. The RSPCA has publicly condemned the use of pinch collars, saying that they pose a "long-term threat to the animal's health."
Retractable leads offer a balance of freedom and control during dog training. The lead extends from the handle, so the dog can go off an explore with relative freedom. If you want to stop your dog at any point, you can lock the lead to prevent it from extending further. This tightens the lead and restricts the dog. For example, if your dog is in the park and begins to approach another dog, you can stop him from doing so. The lead retracts into the handle when you finish walkies. The RSPCA endorses the use of retractable leads.
This is a simple rope-loop. Slip the big loop over the dog's head and put your hand in the smaller loop. The loop is adjustable, so a slip lead will fit any dog. Slip leads are available in rope, nylon, rubber and chain. The RSPCA recommends using slip leads for training socialised dogs.
The electric shock collar relies on the concept of positive punishment. When the dog fails to respond to a command or does something that the trainer doesn't want, the electric collar provides a stimulus. It is positive only in the fact that a stimulus is added, rather than taken away. The key word is "punishment." The collar delivers an electric shock as a punishment. The RSPCA and all other U.K animal welfare agencies have campaigned against the use of electric shock collars. As of March 2011, Wales has banned the devices. The RSPCA and other groups including the Kennel Club continue to campaign for a ban in all U.K countries.
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