Teach with Kindness

Teach with Kindness

SPCA Singapore’s new initiative, ‘Teach with Kindness’, is a movement that aims to spark community conversations on better regulation in the animal training industry.

This initiative seeks to promote humane, force-free, and evidence-based training methods among pet owners, for example, the use of rewards such as food, toys or praise to promote desired behaviours.

The SPCA is also continuing in its 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 the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and parts of the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia.

For several decades, SPCA has seen cases reporting the use of forceful and aversive animal training methods in Singapore, predominantly in dog training. These include beating, kicking, choking and hanging, all known to cause pain, injury, fear, distress, and anxiety. While most reports have involved pet owners, a few have included dog trainers.

In a 2017 case, a trainer hung a pet dog using its leash and strangled the animal till the dog sputtered blood.

“The animal training industry is in urgent need of change. A comprehensive review and the introduction of enhanced regulations are necessary, to achieve improved animal welfare outcomes. It is truly concerning that there are still trainers out there who are promoting the use of physical punishments such as choking and hanging of dogs and teaching these unacceptable methods to their clients. Our key objectives are to stamp out these archaic practices, provide support to pet guardians, and equip them with the knowledge and skills to humanely train their pets”, shares Dr Jaipal Singh Gill, SPCA Executive Director (2015 – 2021).

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.

Signed by 14 animal-related organisations

SPCA’s position statement on animal training 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).

An SVA spokesperson adds, “Animal training needs to be based on up-to-date scientific research and force-free approaches to uphold animal welfare. This will bring us one step closer to a kinder Singapore.”