Downeast Dog News

Celebrating the 1st Year of the Shock-Free Coalition

+R Rocks
By Don Hanson, ACCBC, BFRAP, CDBC, CPDT-KA | Nov 01, 2018
Photo by: Debra Bell

It was a year ago that I first wrote about the formation of the Shock-Free Coalition, an international initiative that “…believes that pets have an intrinsic right to be treated humanely, to have each of their individual needs met, and to live in a safe, enriched environment free from force, pain and fear. Members of the Shock-Free Coalition consider it to be their responsibility and utmost obligation to be vigilant, to educate, to remain engaged, and work toward eliminating shock as a permissible tool, so it is never considered a viable option in the training, management and care of pets.” ( FMI - ).

Since then, the following has happened:

• Niki Tudge, the founder of The Pet Professional Guild, appeared on The Woof Meow Show to discuss the Shock-Free Coalition ( FMI - )

• Eleven pet care professionals representing thirteen businesses in the state of Maine joined together to run a full-page ad in the November 2017 issue of the Downeast Dog News announcing their support of the Shock-Free Coalition. ( FMI – )

• In January of 2018, electric shock collars were banned in Scotland.

• In February, the Sun reported, “Electric shock pet collars to be banned for being ‘unnecessary and cruel’ forbidding their sale and use in the UK.”

• The Shock-Free Coalition launched an improved website with chapters and regional coordinators in AZ, CA, CO, FL, HI, ME, OR, TX, Australia, Canada, England, Gibraltar, Ireland, Scotland, & Wales( FMI –

• A paper published in Volume 25 of the Journal of Veterinary Behavior by Dr. Sylvia Masson et al. discussed electronic shock collars used to address barking, containment (underground fences), and remote training. The paper's authors concluded “...there is no credible scientific evidence to justify e-collar use and the use of spray collars or electronic fences for dogs. On the contrary, there are many reasons to never use these devices. Better training options exist, with proven efficacy and low risk.” and recommend that the sale, use, and promotion of shock collars be banned.

• The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has designated Saturday, November 17th, 2018 as the first-ever International Day of Advocacy to celebrate its official launch of the Shock-Free Coalition one year ago. The focal point of the celebration will be Let’s Celebrate +R, a photo and video competition where pet professionals and enthusiasts can showcase the best of positive reinforcement-based pet training and education.

Let’s Celebrate +R

Let’s celebrate +R is a competition open to all who wish to advocate for force-free training by demonstrating their skills as a way to promote the educational message of pain-free, force-free, and fear-free training. Most people do not want to harm their dogs and do not understand that shock collars work by causing physical and emotional pain and fear.

To participate in the International Day of Advocacy 2018, all you need to do is take a photo and/or make a short video and submit it to one of the Let’s Celebrate +R competition categories. There are three competition categories in both photos and videos. The contest will run from November 10th through November 24th and is open to all.

Winners and runners-up from each category will have the opportunity to win fabulous prizes! The winners from each of the six categories will then be forwarded to the final judging category, Best Overall Entry.

Each entry will receive 1) One 2018 competitor medal – mailed to you in November, 2018, 2) your supporter certificate, 3) access to purchase a unique event participant T-shirt, and 4) eligibility to win the grand prize, which is The Pet Professional Guild Annual Convention Package (USA: Portland, Oregon – April 26-28, 2019). ( FMI – )

To Learn More

If you want to learn more about shock collars and why the Shock-Free Coalition believes that their use, sale, and promotion should be banned, I encourage you to visit these two sites – or The scientific evidence against the use of shock is overwhelming with no scientific evidence to support its use.

Please Join Us!

If you agree that using electric shock to care for, train, or manage a pet is harmful and counter to having a rewarding relationship with a pet, please take the shock-free pledge at and if possible, donate

Thank you for helping to make the life of pets free of pain, free of force, and free of fear.


Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( in Bangor where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He also produces and co-hosts The Woof Meow Show heard on AM620 -WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at Don also writes about pets at his blog: He is committed to pet care that is free of pain, force, and fear. The opinions in this column are those of Don Hanson.