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Aversive Training

The Animal Justice Party (AJP) opposes any actions or intentions that may cause psychological and physical harm to animals. Therefore, we seek to ban the use of aversive techniques and tools in animal training. We also seek to transform laws and encourage effective non-aversive training methods instead.

Key Objectives

  1. Ban the sale, purchase and use of aversive training devices which include but are not limited to, choke chains, shock, prong, citronella collars and spray, anti-bark and ‘containment collars’ and shaker cans.
  2. Ban the intentional use of aversive training methods that include but are not limited to physical or verbal correction, such as shouting, hitting, alpha rolls, holding an animal’s mouth closed, intimidation, flooding and jerking on the lead.
  3. Establish accredited mandatory animal training frameworks and courses with a key focus on effective non-aversive training methods, such as reward-based positive reinforcement and social learning.
  4. Require mandatory accreditation and licensing in effective non-aversive training methods.
  5. Establish penalties for breaching aversive training laws, including the cancellation of training accreditation and licences, prohibition from providing advice in the field and banning from owning or caring for an animal.
  6. Educate the public about the potential physical and psychological consequences of aversive methods of training and on the benefits of force-free methods.
  7. In establishing frameworks, codes of practice, accreditation, requirements and licensing, co-design with relevant organisations, animal advocates, researchers and professionals who specialise in effective non-aversive training methods.


There are several groups of animals that humans train, including companion animals, working animals, and in some cases animals used for agriculture, research and the military. 

Animals, such as companion animals, live amongst people. Therefore, teaching animals to fit into the human world is vital for their wellbeing, safety and ability to lead a fulfilling life. Training is generally less aversive than it was in the past, however, there are still advocates and trainers who favour techniques and tools that may cause animals physical and psychological damage.

The AJP does not deny that these training methods may modify behaviour. However, these techniques are physically and psychologically damaging to animals. These training methods are sometimes referred to as compulsion-based or aversive training. 

While aversive training is most commonly seen in dogs it is also used against other animals like horses, and animals in agricultural and entertainment settings.

Aversive training of dogs

Dogs are especially popular as companion animals. Due to our desire to control their behaviours, dogs are the most likely recipients of aversive training methods. Specific training methods of concern include devices or aversive behaviours. Devices include choke chains, electronic and electric shock devices, prong collars, slip leads, spray bottles and others. Behaviours include leash ‘jerks’, striking the animal and intimidating voice or body movement.

The effectiveness of aversive techniques and tools is often up for debate. Some professionals and researchers argue that several of these methods do not address the underlying issues involved with the behaviours, and can negatively affect the bond between the animal and the human or can trigger aggressive behaviour.

At the time of writing, aversive-based tools such as shock collars are banned in NSW, SA and the ACT. They are also banned in some countries including Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Wales.

Some trainers use a mixture of reward-based and aversive techniques and refer to this as ‘balanced training’. However, regardless of whether there are rewards involved, the aversive components of such a program are inherently harmful and are linked to psychological and physical harm. It is in the best interest of the animal that the application of these methods is avoided.

Training methods should use techniques which concentrate on positive reinforcement.

The AJP supports non-aversive training methods such as rewarding desirable behaviour. Prioritising the wellbeing of animals means ensuring a safe environment for training and banning the use of aversive techniques, devices and behaviours.

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