Isn’t it about time we started enforcing the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare on people that help us care for our dogs?
These rules have been in place since 2006 and yet some “pet care professionals” continue to ignore them. They are breaking the law, and yet they are happy to promote their practises publicly.
The Five Freedoms aren’t exactly “fully-inclusive”. Rule one says we must provide food and water! And rule two insists on a bed and shelter. So given how basic these requirements are, I find it staggering that some pet care professionals can even call themselves dog lovers while advising their clients to disregard them.
Only last week I was approached for advice after a lady was told to ignore her puppies vaccination schedule and attend a trainers classes anyway. That same “trainer” later went on to on her social media to imply that people should seek therapy if they are concerned about vaccinations and disease, and that proactive puppy owners will ignore vaccination schedules and socialise their pups before they are fully protected. But this would violate Rule 3: Health, which states that an animal should be free from disease, and mentions preventative care and vaccinations.
The use of prong and eCollars is certainly a violation of the same rule, which goes on to state that an animal should live free from pain and harm. These devices are freely available in Scotland, by the way! But you don’t need a collar to physically punish a dog, of course. I get asked regularly to help dogs that are suffering the after effects of these, or similar, punishments, and it’s heart-breaking. Living in fear of pain or punishment inhibits a dogs ability to communicate their needs and can massively impact their mental health. So, even their “proper” use may also prevent an animal from behaving naturally. So in these cases, it could be argued that rule four has also been broken.
No prong, no shock, no fear!
Withholding food is a common practice too. Yet, despite dominance theory being debunked decades ago, this alpha dog practice continues – but surely this contravenes rule 1?
These are very basic standards, and have been carefully set out to protect an animal’s most basic of needs. I doubt most of us set out to do the barest minimum for our doggos. We choose the cosiest of beds and research the heck out of dog food options. So why do so called professionals get away with promoting techniques and practises that directly violate our pups most basic of rights?
Pet Professionals have a responsibility
People trust the professionals they employ to help them, help their pups. As long as this continues, these ideas will become normalised and people will continue to subject their dogs to these practises.
We don’t need new legislation, or bans (although that would be nice). We could just enforce rules that are already in place to protect our pets!
Do you need dog behaviour help that supports the five freedoms of animal welfare?
Private Dog Behaviour Consultations are currently available in the Dundee area and beyond, or via zoom. If you are looking for help solving your dogs behaviour and training problems, then please get in touch!