#ChooseForceFree

SPCA’s new initiative, ‘Teach with Kindness’, aims to promote humane training methods among pet guardians, as well as raise the standards within the animal training industry in Singapore.

The Issue

For several decades, SPCA has seen cases reporting the use of forceful and aversive animal training methods, predominantly in dog training. These include beating, kicking, choking and hanging, all known to cause pain, injury, fear, distress and anxiety. In a 2017 case, a trainer hung a pet dog using its leash and strangled the animal till the dog sputtered blood. It is very concerning that trainers are promoting the use of physical punishments and teaching these methods to their clients.

Our Stand

We advocate humane, force-free, rewards-focused and evidence-based approaches to animal training.

We feel that the animal training industry is in urgent need of change and that a comprehensive review and the introduction of enhanced regulations are necessary.

We renew our call for a ban on the use of the electric shock collar, as the device has no place in animal training. Its use is already banned or significantly restricted in numerous countries and jurisdictions such as Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and parts of the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia.

Build not fear

How We Will Help You

From now until 17 Oct 2020, fill in the form to trade in your *aversive tools for a complimentary no-pull harness. *T&Cs apply. For information and guidance on training methods, free webinars, and online deals, click here. For further assistance, email enquiries@spca.org.sg. The SPCA will continue to provide learning opportunities for existing and prospective pet guardians.

How You Can Help Us

Sign the pledge below to show your support and share this initiative to spread the word.

The pledge is adapted from SPCA’s animal training position statement, which has been supported and co-signed by 14 animal-related organisations, including 12 animal welfare groups, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), and the Singapore Veterinary Association (SVA).

You can also submit your training stories and lessons learnt here. Submissions may be featured on our social media to encourage pet guardians to #chooseforcefree. Should you encounter cases of abuse, make a report here.

Sign The Pledge

I support and will only use humane, force-free, rewards-focused, and evidence-based approaches to animal training. This approach is kinder and more effective with long-lasting results. It makes training more enjoyable for the animal and the human while encouraging the development of a strong, positive human-animal bond.

I oppose and will never use aversive and forceful methods that can cause pain, injury, fear, distress, or anxiety. This approach does not address the underlying causes of behaviour, and can negatively impact the animal’s welfare in the short and long term. It may also lead to increased aggression and can result in the development or worsening of behaviour problems. 

I encourage all pet guardians and animal trainers to adopt a humane approach to animal training.

0
Pledges Signed

Animal Training Position Statement​

We advocate humane, force-free, rewards-focused and evidence-based approaches to animal training.

Examples of this are the use of rewards such as food, toys or praise to promote desired behaviours, as well as to encourage the learning of alternative behaviours in place of unwanted behaviours. We believe this approach is kinder and more effective with long-lasting results. It makes training more enjoyable for the animal and the human while encouraging the development of a strong, positive human-animal bond.

We oppose the use of aversive and forceful methods that can cause pain, injury, fear, distress or anxiety.

Examples of this are beating, kicking, choking and hanging, and the use of equipment such as electric shock collars, choke collars and prong collars. We believe this approach does not address the underlying causes of behaviour, and can negatively impact the animal’s welfare in the short and long term. It may also lead to increased aggression and can result in the development or worsening of behaviour problems.

Signed By 15 Organisations​

"At Wildlife Reserves Singapore, we strive to provide positive welfare for our animals and to allow them to thrive in our care. Training and conditioning of the animals in our care are part of their enrichment and health care programme. We use positive reinforcement training (PRT) methods to condition our animals for various medical care procedures which allows them to be examined and treated safely and with minimal stress. We also use PRT to condition our animals for meaningful engagement and education sessions to connect our guests with wildlife. PRT is reward-based and voluntary, which means the animals have a choice if they want to take part in the interactive session or not."
Dr Cheng Wen-Haur
Deputy CEO and Chief Life Sciences Officer
SVA
"Animal training needs to be based on updated scientific research and positive reinforcement approaches to uphold animal welfare. This will bring us one step closer to a kinder Singapore."​
COMMITTEE
Singapore Veterinary Association
ACRES Logo Landscape onWHITE-min
“ACRES supports SPCA's new initiative on humane animal training methods. Humane handling not only improves the mental state and overall welfare for these animals, but also allows the human caregiver to build a strong bond with their animal companion. Electric shock collars should never be used and we support the call to ban the device. We are confident that this initiative will have a greater long term impact in reducing abandonment and relinquishment of pet dogs due to behavioural issues.”
Anbarasi Boopal
Deputy Chief Executive, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES)
CAS Logo
"CAS believes strongly in using only positive training methods on all dogs. No dog can learn when it is in fear or pain. Let's go force-free!"
Christine Bernadette
Co-Founder, CAS
BW transparent logo
"Only when treated with love, love will be returned. Let's encourage positive reinforcement, not forceful training!"
Lynne Tan
Co-Founder, Bunny Wonderland
NAC logo
"Humane training methods, including the use of positive reinforcement, is directly related to the dog's well-being, as intuitively the dog understands what is expected of it. Conversely, using harsh methods brings unintended consequences of fear, aggression, and one that is steeped in total submission from the dog's perspective."
Veronica Yu
Volunteer, NAC
sosd-sg-300x300-min
"SOSD is a humane organization advocating canine welfare and promoting positive human-canine relations. We recognise animals as sentient and emotional beings worthy of respect. We believe in making the choice to be compassionate always. In alignment with our ethos, SOSD advocates training methodologies that are science-based, and kind to both animals and humans as their guardians. We discourage the use of handling methods that inflict physical or emotional harm upon our beloved companions."
SOSD Management Committee
SOSD
OSCAS logo
"Only humane trainers should be accredited. A bonus if training is beyond obedience and includes behaviour modification techniques."​
MARY SOO​
Chairman, OSCAS

FAQs

These are methods that can cause pain, injury, fear, distress, or anxiety. This is usually carried out to suppress unwanted behaviour, by causing the animal to experience significant negative states. It includes techniques such as beating, kicking, and choking, and the use of equipment such as choke chains, prong collars, and electric shock collars. In fact, any tool can be used aversively. A standard flat collar and leash in the wrong hands can be used to choke or hang an animal. A martingale collar used incorrectly can also choke a dog,

Read our full list of materials, click here.

Read our full list of materials, click here.

Read our full list of materials, click here.