Kennel Club announces ban on guard dog ‘hobby training’ after horrific videos reveal abuse

The hidden camera footage shows dogs being hit, kicked, beaten with sticks, whipped with chains; some are electrocuted, and others are throttled until they learn to comply with instructions.

Still image from video showing guard dogs being abused in training / Credit: Oikeuttaelaimille

The Finnish Kennel Club Kennelliitto has announced a ban on training of guard dogs as a hobby after video last week showed animals being abused by trainers.

The video, taken secretly at training events and released by Finnish animal rights group Oikeuttaelaimille shows dogs being beaten, kicked, dragged around by the neck, whipped with leashes and beaten with sticks as part of the training process. The animals are also throttled around the neck if they don’t bite on pads firmly enough, and only released when they learn to bite harder.

Other compliance methods include the use of electric shock collars on German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Dobermans as part of a hobby where enthusiasts try to train their pets in the same way that guard dogs might be trained for official duties by police.

However these abusive training methods are illegal in Finland.

“The Board of the Kennel Club decided to suspend for the time being all activities related to the training and testing of protection dogs” says Kennelliitto in a statement.

“Activities can be resumed once the deficiencies in operations have been identified and corrected, and all operating models have been developed in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act, supporting animal welfare” they add.

The video was compiled with hidden camera footage from training events Paimio and Loviisa and now 15 people and three training associations are under investigation in connection with animal welfare issues.

“The extent of the material shows that this is not the practice of a few dog owners, but that a culture of violent training has spread widely” says Oikeuttaelaimille.

“The activities have been organized and the associations that organized them have known about the tools and methods used in the training.”

Dogs are protected by the Animal Welfare Act in Finland which says they must be treated well and not subjected to unnecessary suffering.

“The production of unnecessary pain and suffering to animals is prohibited” the law states.

It is prohibited to kick or strike an animals as punishment under the terms of the law.