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I have actually pondered an e collar for training off leash at the park. You see, Payton knows the come command, but when he's playing with the other dogs and sees a dog in the distance being walked by their owner, he will bolt after the other dog to say hi! Many people don't like this and I don't blame them, but I thought it might be a way to correct him if he starts running off! Anyone try that for this matter? Payton is 9 months old and we practiced "come" first with a 6 foot lead and then up to 50 feet. He has had it down pat for about two months, but can't seem to get it when off leash!!
 

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Only use an e-collar for correcting a behavior if you have put a solid foundation in first and have a mentor that is qualified to show you the ropes.

And by solid foundation with recall, I mean this: http://www.justlabradors.com/forum/index.php/topic,16182.0.html

To have a solid foundation with recall, you seriously have to have done that many practice recalls. If not, it's not really fair to him because he doesn't have a solid foundation (though you think he does).
 

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I would not use an e-collar (or anything but a plain nylon/leather buckle collar) when my dog is playing with other dogs.

Where's the first spot a dog will mouth/chew when wrestling with another dog?
 

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Folks --

I wanted to give my 2 cents worth here...

I borrowed an e-collar from my neighbor, but HAVEN'T put it on her yet...just haven't been able to bring myself to it. But, today's experience might be the kicker.

I will admit, I have NOT been persistent enough with the recall training as many would suggest, or as I would like to in an ideal situation. Frankly, I simply don't have the time to work enough -- using positive-only methods -- to develop a 100% recall. Can it be done? CERTAINLY. I have heard many folks here that can attest to it. But, I think it has to be the most time-consuming way of doing things that there is. And I think the reality is that many of us have enough time to bond with/work with/walk/exercise our dogs, but maybe NOT QUITE enough time to teach 100% recall using positive-only techniques. For example, I work rotating shifts, so tiredness/fatigue are big issues at times; we own a large acreage -- great for the pup, but grass mowing/upkeep are very time-consuming; all this combined with other commitments and being a husband/father mean that I don't have as much time as I might like to dedicate 100% attention to training the pup.

I am NOT trying to sound like I'm making excuses; I do work with Misty as much as time permits -- I accepted that it would be a large time commitment before we decided we were willing to take on the responsibility of getting her. I try daily to work with her on retreives with training dummies; I will normally take a 45-minute or so walk with her off-leash each day, and at least 1, sometimes two, on leash walks of 15-30 minutes. I work at every opportunity with obedience training, etc. etc. BUT...it seems that my choices are ONE: to find a way to devote hours and hours, training recall in a "positive-only" fashion, or, take what time I have, and work to strengthen her recall using some "electronic" help to hasten the process.

I can understand how these things could be mis-used. I could see someone who thinks it's fine to "fry" the pup at every opportunity, when the pup doesn't even know what in the world the correction was for. However, I think I can understand how they can be used, properly, as well.

Here is what happened today...

I took Misty on her off-leash walk. An hour, and she behaved GREAT (as usual)!! I can keep her within whatever range I want from me just using voice commands; she knows "leave it" when she wants to pick up a forbidden item; every time a car approaches (we walk on country/very very low traffic roads), I tell her to COME, which she will, and then put her in a sit-stay, which she obeys, until the car has passed. This all works well.

However -- there are 3 occasions where she loses her "recall" -- ONE, we see a dog not on a leash that wants to play with her; TWO, we see a person close-by (which of course, Misty thinks MUST be standing there for the sole purpose of being her playmate ::) ), and THREE, we get back to our house and it's time for the walk to end (when she proceeds to go into a hyper-insane round of butt-tucking!!)

We have had heavy rain yesterday, and this morning my new neighbor's still relatively grass-less yard has a HUGE muddy swamp in the front -- which, when this "swamp" exists (after any heavy rain), is Misty's FAVORITE thing to play in. I know this, so today, I decided I'd be smart, and about 100 feet before we got home, I called Misty to me, with the intent of putting her in a sit-stay while I clipped her leash on -- thus preventing her muddy romp in the swamp.

I obviously, in hindsight, should have come up with this idea at one hundred and TEN feet away. But, alas, I didn't. :mad: She started to trot away as I called her. She ignored and started to "gallop." I called firmly -- MISTY, COME!! She stopped dead, turned around and looked at me for about 1/2 second, and then turned back around and kept trotting toward the swamp. I tried again, as firmly as I could -- MISTY! COME!! She stopped dead again, turned around, considered my command, and then took off full speed for the swamp. After 5 minutes of butt-tucking through the water/mud and playing "keep away" from me, I finally corraled her, and had to take her home for a thorough bath. ::) :mad:

Anyway, my point is, she OBVIOUSLY KNOWS the come command. She obeys it frequently; she clearly heard the command and chose not to obey it --TWICE -- in this case. At that moment, I SO MUCH wished I had the e-collar clipped on. I am certain that a nick of the 'zap' button, and she would have turned around and come back. THIS is where I see this tool being useful. Yes, I know many folks will say that this is not fair to the dog; that it is MY fault that she did not come back to me -- I haven't trained her around enough "distractions." This is probably true -- she DOES need more repetition. However, I simply cannot agree that for those who are not able to spend quite enough time reinforcing the "come" command to a very headstrong young pup using positive-only techniques, that the e-collar cannot, when used properly, humanely, and intelligently, be a good tool for hastening the training process.

These are just my opinions, of course, but the bottom line is, Bolts21, I think your case sounds like one where use of an e-collar would help. I know others won't agree; just the opinions of a very inexperienced dog owner/trainer, who is struggling with similar issues with my own 5-month old pup!

Steve
 

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I'm going to bite the bullet here and say that while you could use an e-collar for this, you could also do it the "old fashioned" way -- by training and hard work. E-collars should be used as a last resort. Your dog is not doing anything wrong here. He simply hasn't been trained to come back when called which is YOUR problem, not his. He is being a normal socialable Labrador. You can't "correct" him for a command he doesn't know. You will only confuse and upset him.

Read the 'Our Best Advice' thread and build up his recall in steps. First in your house and yard with no discrations, then with distractions, then out in a public place with no distractions, then with distractions, and so on. In the mean time, when you take him to the park, pop him back on his leash as soon as you see another person or dog.
 

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Steve, Misty may well be headstrong, but please don't forget how old she is. No way would I expect anything other then an average recall on a puppy. She is what, 20 weeks old? my dogs didn't have what I consider to be a very reliable recall until they were at least 12-18 months old. That would be about 12 months for Joker, 18 months for Murphy, Maisys recall, at 6 years old can STILL be sketchy and Trick my Collie cross has always had a fantastic recall since he was tiny...that is his loyal Collie genes kicking in though and not training. ;)

Even now my dogs still blow off the recall sometimes. They are not the type of dogs to bolt off into the blue (they wouldn't be off leash otherwise) and not return but if they smell something extra special and trot off in a sniffing frenzy I don't think its the end of the world...they are still dogs after all. Its part of the package. ;)
 

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Trickster --

Points very well taken. Yes, she's very young (though I still argue, HEADSTRONG!! ;) )

And yes, like your dogs, I trust that Misty would truly not "bolt" and not return, or she wouldn't be off-leash!

Steve
 

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Steve, sorry if this sounds rude...it's not meant to be...but Misty is YOUNG, and really has no business being off leash right now.

I will admit, I have NOT been persistent enough with the recall training as many would suggest, or as I would like to in an ideal situation. Frankly, I simply don't have the time to work enough -- using positive-only methods -- to develop a 100% recall. Can it be done? CERTAINLY.
Why would you punish your dog for your inability to follow through with training? Is it hard? HELL YES. The only thing you are accomplishing by issuing multiple commands with no means to enforce is making your dog savvy...she will learn just exactly how long it takes you to react and how many times you hollar at her before she "REALLY" has to come.

That is why a long lead (which can be implemented into a walk) and some distractions are essential for recall training. Let the dog go all the way out on the lead and then issue the command, MISTY, COME. *no response* HAUL HER EVER LOVING BUTT in, and say, NO, MISTY COME! You gave command, you follow through with the consequence of not responding. But coming to you has to be better than anything they have in their sites. Make it a party. Sounds like Misty really feels like she rules the roost. Not a good place to be.

We all work and hold down lives outside of our dogs. You made the committment to her, you need to follow through.

And to the OP, I would not recommend the dog park or take him there to train with a long lead to work on recall...until recall is achieved...or at least a little more reliable. I don't really honestly care if the dogs are running around...at a dog park, that is the sole purpose.

Another resource is when you are training heel, teach "watch me". The more you have your dog associate that being next to you is a great thing, the less apt they are to wonder off or take off.

Just my experience. Rider was pretty reliable off leash at about 12 months. He's 100% reliable all of the time now...and I never used an ecollar.
 

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Steveanging-
I agree with you on this all the way.
E collars are not trainers, they are training aids.
In the situation as you mentioned above your dog knew full well what was expected,,, thought about it (twice anyways) and made the definative choice to disobey. IMHO,, definately ZAP time.
At that point in time your dog learned a lesson, you don't have full control. The dog knows it does have a choice when a "command" is made. The ZAP would of made a world of difference right then and there in reguards of that will go through the dog's rationalizing process for a long time.
By not being able to enforce a command I feel you've missed one of them "golden" moments.
I was against e collars for a long, long time through ignorance. Then a guy explained & showed me the proper use.
In field training (hunting) they are worth their weight in gold.
Very important, they are not trainers. They shouldbe used exceedingly sparingly, and only when it is obvious that the dog is willfully disobeying the handler.
I'm also convinced they are not for everyone.
But in your situation, YES, it would of been a perfect justification for use.
My $0.02
 

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Steve,

Please don't be offended, but you're not the only one with jobs, family, property, commitments other than the dog.

My parents "skimped" on training recall with Maverick 7 years ago. We (well- I, since he now lives with me) now have a dog that can only be off leash in fenced areas now because he not only won't come- he thinks it's a delightful game to take off. And they, like you, had lots of property, family- two dogs, two sixteen year olds, and a very stressful job for my dad. This is the one thing not to skimp on. It is a command that will at some point save Misty's life. It has already saved gabby's.

If you don't trust her to come to you 100% when she's off leash, either don't call her when she's off leash or don't let her off leash. Very simple. If you set her up to fail- which you are in the situation you described- the command eventually becomes worthless. If there is a situation when she is off leash and you must call her and she ignores you, do what Dani said. Go get her. Then snap her leash on very calmly and practice ten recalls.

Gabby and I still practice between 10-15 recalls a day- we incorporate it into meal time (Gabby, dinner, here!), we incorporate it into our off leash walks, (she comes back to me for a cheerio and then gets to wander off) and then we practice it more as part of our formal obedience training. It takes very little time.

Also, if you decide to use the e-collar, you should work with a certified qualified individual that knows what they're doing. It's unfair to the dog to have someone new to a collar and/or new to training with this- collars can be complicated, the timing MUST be impeccable or the dog gets zapped for staring at a butterfly, etc.

ETA: I'm not trying to start an e-collar debate. But e-collars should be used on 1) older dogs than Misty. 2) dogs with solid foundations on their commands and 3) by people with a solid knowledge of the e-collar or under the constant supervision of a person with a solid knowledge of an e-collar.
 

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riarcher said:
Steveanging-
I agree with you on this all the way.
E collars are not trainers, they are training aids.
In the situation as you mentioned above your dog knew full well what was expected,,, thought about it (twice anyways) and made the definative choice to disobey. IMHO,, definately ZAP time.
At that point in time your dog learned a lesson, you don't have full control. The dog knows it does have a choice when a "command" is made. The ZAP would of made a world of difference right then and there in reguards of that will go through the dog's rationalizing process for a long time.
By not being able to enforce a command I feel you've missed one of them "golden" moments.
I was against e collars for a long, long time through ignorance. Then a guy explained & showed me the proper use.
In field training (hunting) they are worth their weight in gold.
Very important, they are not trainers. They shouldbe used exceedingly sparingly, and only when it is obvious that the dog is willfully disobeying the handler.
I'm also convinced they are not for everyone.
But in your situation, YES, it would of been a perfect justification for use.
My $0.02
You've got to be kidding. You're talking about a 5 month old puppy that clearly doesn't know what is expected.
 

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riarcher said:
Steveanging-
I agree with you on this all the way.
E collars are not trainers, they are training aids.
In the situation as you mentioned above your dog knew full well what was expected,,, thought about it (twice anyways) and made the definative choice to disobey. IMHO,, definately ZAP time.
At that point in time your dog learned a lesson, you don't have full control. The dog knows it does have a choice when a "command" is made. The ZAP would of made a world of difference right then and there in reguards of that will go through the dog's rationalizing process for a long time.
By not being able to enforce a command I feel you've missed one of them "golden" moments.
I was against e collars for a long, long time through ignorance. Then a guy explained & showed me the proper use.
In field training (hunting) they are worth their weight in gold.
Very important, they are not trainers. They shouldbe used exceedingly sparingly, and only when it is obvious that the dog is willfully disobeying the handler.
I'm also convinced they are not for everyone.
But in your situation, YES, it would of been a perfect justification for use.
My $0.02
Thanks for illustrating the WRONG use of an ecollar. A 5 month old doesn't know better. They are still a puppy. Dog's don't rationalize between what is right and wrong...they live for the moment. If at that moment, it's better to be away from you, they are going to do it. You've given them no reason to WANT to be with you. I don't want to turn this into an ecollar debate; however, I just think that using them should be for the purpose of ADVANCED training of stuff they RELIABLY ALREADY KNOW. Neither of the two dogs mentioned in this thread are at that point.

I'd recommend both to go to obedience classes immediately.
 

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In the situation as you mentioned above your dog knew full well what was expected,,, thought about it (twice anyways) and made the definative choice to disobey. IMHO,, definately ZAP time.
"ZAP time"? good grief. ::) I hope your new rescue dog doesn't find itself on the receiving end of "ZAP time". :-\

The puppy in question did not make a definitive choice to disobey. For a start, she is 20 weeks old. A baby. Be realistic -- you can't expect anything close to perfect from such a young dog or any dog for that matter. As Dani rightly said, dogs live for moment and they don't think about consequences.

In Steve and Misty's case (no offence Steve) he set the dog up for failure. If Steve knew Misty would run towards the 'swamp' he should have leashed her long before it got into her sight. Some things are simply irresistible to a dog. Misty couldn't resist the swamp -- she is a cheeky puppy after all, doing what puppies do. Two of my own dogs, for example, cannot be trust near ANY food. So lets say if we went to the park on a summers day I would assume there would be people having picnics. Picnic = food. Because my two dogs cannot be trusted near food, they would remain leashed. No amount of recall training in the world would get them to drop a sandwhich snatched from someones picnic. That is just the way it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Dani,
It's not a dog park per se, but a regular park a few of us meet at for daily romps! We are currently finishing up our training with Payton and he's great! He has had the come command for two months and definitely knows right from wrong. He ALWAYS heels on our walks and will down stay for up to an hour with distractions. My point is that Payton knows right from wrong, but off leash he tends to think otherwise. He's still only nine months, but I know he looks forward to playing with the other dogs, and I would hate to take that away. So, you are saying to basically not let him in those situations until he's 100% on a recall? How will he learn in those situations without putting him in them? I don't want to leave a 50ft lead on him while he plays as other dogs could get tangles up!
 

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Oh boy... my humble opinion...

from what I have seen living on the outskirts of a busy metropolis, working in rescue and owning my own dogs.. here it comes..

PERSONALLY... I will never ever ever ever have my dogs off leash in a non-fenced area. I don't care how reliable their recall is, what equipment they are wearing, who/what is around, etcetera. I have seen WAY TOO many dogs picked up for being hit by cars due to owner negligence ("he always comes when I call him!!" "why didn't he listen to me, I told him there was a car!" and so on and so on..) or carelessness, ("he likes it better when we let him roam..")

Folks, when dog meets car, car wins. EVERY TIME.

Having said that, (*steps down off of soapbox* ;)) I think that ecollars get a bad rap. I have used them on myself (upper arm, lower arm), to see how bad they were. On an average setting, it doesn't hurt, so if you want to use them, I'd say it's about the same feeling as someone yanking a long leash. (If you don't believe me, try it!)

When folks think about ecollars, they think "zapping with electricity, ahhh! (mental image of scene from one flew over the cuckoos nest)" which is a normal human reaction. That was my reaction, until I actually FELT it!!

So IMHO, I think they are no better/worse than any other training aids. Would I use them? No, for reasons listed above (only off-leash fenced in), and they are expensive. That's all. :)
 

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I'll agree with a lot of what has already been said to both steveandginger and bolts21.

Misty is too young to use an ecollar on right now. It sounds like you have a good START in the basics however. If the swampy area is a known problem then spend A LOT of time training on a long lead there where you can control her. When you call her, and even if you have to reel her in, praise like she just did the best thing in the whole world when she reaches you! Train in a lot of different places and distractions before you think about using an ecollar. Now though would be a good time to put a dummy collar on her. That's an inactive collar, so that she gets used to the feel and weight of an ecollar. This will help later so that she does not become collar-wise, and think that she only needs to behave when THAT collar is on her.

Steve, in your scenerio, there is a GAPING step missing in ecollar training for the recall. You will need to pair the ecollar 'nick' with the leash pop for a recall. Practice the "COME"--nick /leash pop(simultaneously)--"COME" sequence for at least a week if not longer before ever trying to correct using just the ecollar. Praise like ther ewas no tomorrow when she reaches you. This way, the dog learns that the ecollar 'nick' means "COME to me!" Otherwise, even though she 'knows' what "COME!" means she will have no idea that the 'nick' means that. As far as she is concerned, it will have come from the ground she just passed over, and you have likely ruined the fantastic potential the ecollar has when used properly in training. Use the lowest possible setting to start.

I personally wait until the dog is about 1 year old before ecollar training. And being a competitive obedience person, am in obedience classes 3-4 nights a week, even when they are pups. So, I feel they have a good solid basis in basic obedience before we ever start withteh ecollar

There are a lot of books and videos out there on using ecollars (mostly for hunt/field trial folks). Finding a person that knows what they are doing is even better. Ecollar are fantastic tools when used properly, and would not trade mine for anything.
 

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sidneygirl said:
My Mom brought her E collar over and I put it on him, he saw the neighbors dog out and took off, I said come, no response, so I shocked him and said Ruger no, boy her turned right around and came back....
This is another example of the incorrect use of an ecollar. Yes you can use it to teach the recall but you can't just slap it on the dog and start nicking away. The dog has no clue what it means until you teach him. The dog needs to understand how to turn it off first. A nick with an ecollar means "look at me for direction". You are very lucky the dog did not bolt for the hills.

I have been using an ecollar with Murray for about 4 yrs now. I train with someone who knows the proper use of ecollars. It is a myth that you can't train new behaviors using an ecollar, only reinforce known commands. I've trained Murray from beginning leash manners all the way thru Utility and Agility using an ecollar. I guarantee he didn't know this stuff when I adopted him.

Ecollars are not bad but like with any other training tool/technique, they can be abused. If you don't know what you are doing you can cause more issues than you help. Again this is true for ANY training tool/technique. If you choose to use an ecollar, please find someone experienced and knowledgeable in their use to instruct you in their proper use.
 

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The only FAIR way to introduce an e-collar is the correct way. Buy a copy of Evan Graham's SmartFetch and do it right. It is no replacement for basic obedience. Used correctly they are a great tool, but I've seen dogs ruined by them as well when put in the wrong hands. -Anne
 

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Ooops, I missed the 20 week old part, but still, my opinion has not changed. :-\
And of course by ZAP I wasn't meaning FRY (high setting)!
And expected it would of been understood that the dog had been worked with it before and the handler knew what he was doing.
I was concentrating on the particulars of the situation as being the right place and circumsances, and no more.

Quote;
"Anyway, my point is, she OBVIOUSLY KNOWS the come command. She obeys it frequently; she clearly heard the command and chose not to obey it --TWICE -- in this case. At that moment, I SO MUCH wished I had the e-collar clipped on. I am certain that a nick of the 'zap' button, and she would have turned around and come back. "

E-colars have gotten a lot of bad rap, and justifyably so. The older ones were borderline cruel (to put it modestly).
The newer models are entirely different and do make an effective tool.
5 mos, is a pup, granted. But NOT a baby. The new Zap boxes (as I've heard them called) are not electrocution devices.
My opinion stands. The particular instance as described (understanding proper training and familiarization) is a perfect example of when and why.

Trickster-
In time, my dog will wear a Zap Box at all times when off leash in the woods, on the beach, or when I feel the need to "possibly" exert definative control.
Again, they are not Electrocution devices, they are training devices. Very useful and (if properly utilized) not all that different than a long check chord. Problem with check cords is they get hung up, can strangle a lost dog, add to the furry if a dog / coyote battle erupts, can ruin a dog's leg if wrapped and snapped, etc.
I've had many dogs, trained for many people through my 57 years. and until a couple of years ago I was anti-Zapper myself. Then I got smart.
Zappers are in the same boat as feeding dogs raw meat to some people. I think it's the "PETA Boat".
A lot of wrong information supported by people that "think" they know.
As mentioned before, not everyone should use a zapper. Then again, I don't feel everyone is worthy as a pet owner either.
 
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