We love our dogs, yet we continue to do things that harm them, usually to make our lives easier. While many of these are already banned in some parts of the world, we need to work on getting them banned everywhere.
#1 – Debarking
Debarking (often called “bark softening”) is the act of cutting a dog’s vocal cords so that it has more of a whisper than a true bark. Many people feel this is acceptable to do to their dogs instead of taking the time to train them to not bark. However, it is a painful and bloody surgery and should be banned.
#2 – Choke Chains
They have been around for as long as any of us can remember. They are thought of as the “norm” for many people competing in conformation, obedience, or for families with dogs that pull. However, they cause trachea damage, are abusive (when used for correction), and can be deadly. Prong collars should also be banned.
#3 – Electronic Collars
Another unfortunate norm for competition dogs, e-collars deliver a shock when a dog does something wrong. An abusive tool, many dogs end up with psychological damage due to the adverse training methods. Several countries have banned them already, more need to follow suit.
#4 – Invisible Fences
When these first came out, many thought they were a godsend. For those who did not already have a fence, they were a cheap solution that didn’t ruin the look of a well groomed yard with an “ugly fence.” Aside from the obvious abuse of shocking your dog, the fences are not as effective as a solid fence for several reasons: many dogs will just run through the shock, which stops after a certain distance; it does not keep your dog from seeing the outside world, or reacting to it; it does not keep other animals out of your yard that may attack your dog; and it does not stop someone from stealing your dog.
#5 – Puppy Mills
It’s no secret what goes on at a puppy mill or why they are bad. Hundreds of dogs in horrid conditions, being bred as much as possible with no concern for genetic health issues or temperament, which are then turned around and sold purely for profit. It needs to stop.
#6 – Selling Dogs in Pet Stores
Puppy mills will only go away if we stop buying their “product.” A lot of these puppies are bought at pet stores. We need to ban the sales of pets from stores which will put an end to puppy mills.
#7 – Tethering
Chaining or tethering is already restricted in many places, but we need to continue to restrict it everywhere. While there are times (training exercises, for example) where it is necessary to tether a dog, they should be supervised and not left outside for hours on a tether. They can be injured, even killed, if they get tangled in the line or if another animal encounters them. In addition, many abuse cases involve people who have left their dog tethered outside 24/7.
#8 – Cargo Transport
It seems there is a story every week about a dog that ends up ill, injured, or dead because of handling at airports. We should be able to take our pets with us when we travel, without worry about their safety. Airlines need to allow people to have their pets travel with them in the cabin, or we need more pet-only airlines that have pets in the cabin.
#9 – Punishment-based Training
Many people who practice this type truly believe it works best. Others like it because the results seem to happen a lot quicker than with positive training. However, punishment (which often is borderline abusive) has been scientifically proven over and over to cause more harm than good. It’s time to ban harsh training.
#10 – Retractable Leashes
This one may actually cause the most controversy, but they really are dangerous. They can cause injury to pets who get clothes-lined by them or entangled. The owner has almost no control over their dog, has no way to get the dog back quickly should something occur, and they break most leash laws that maintain dogs must be on a lead no longer than 6’ in length.