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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now I know that I am going to get blasted for this but I have to put my comments in.

First let me say that e-collar training is just another tool in your bag and if done incorrectly an e-collar can harm your dog. I also believe that any training that if is not done correctly could harm your dog (physically and emotionally). I always believe if you are going to invest in your dog with training why not invest in your dog with a proper dog trainer. If I told you that you can spend $30 a year and it will keep your dog from running in the street and getting hit by a car....would you say that is a good value? I would hope that you would say yes. We need to understand we are doing this for the love and life of our babies.

Second, when I started looking into training I found pretty much 2 lines of training, positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is praise or treat for good behavior. For example, if your dog sits when you say sit you give them a treat. Now Negative reinforcement would be a choker collar and get a correction for not doing the behavior you want. For example, I tell my dog to sit and if she doesn't I give a tug on the leash and say sit. Now that is followed by positive when they do it right you give them praise.

I know I am generalizing, but follow me here. Given those 2 types of training most people put e-collars with the negative reinforcement. Now I am sure that some people and trainers use it that way, but I have never been taught that. For example, most people think that an e-collar is used like a choker collar but with a shock....I say sit and if they don't sit I shock them and say sit and when they do it the get a good girl.

Let me ask you a question. Does your child do everything you tell them to? Most children will listen to there parent if they are within arms reach of the child, but as soon as the child knows that Mom/Dad is to far or can't see them they might act up again. What if I told you I can give you the ability to tap your child on the shoulder from 100 yards away. The child might actually listen that time.

Now with dogs it is a matter of getting there attention (either by food, or tug). Think of the e-collar as a prompt or a tap on the shoulder. What I can tell you is that my girls are on the lowest level. How do I know? I have put the collar in my hand and tapped it and didn't really feel a thing. On a scale from 1-10, my girls are both on 2....yes I said 2. Most people would be able to even feel it, so do you think it hurts my dogs? Petals and Marble are working great with them and it has only been 3 weeks.

Now I am sure that people are going to read this and tell me that I am doing the wrong thing and that I am killing my dog, but I have used treat, choke collars and everything in between. For me the results speak for themselves!!! I guess what I am saying is I want people to do there homework when it comes to training there puppies and what is good for me is not necessarily good them.....and vice versa. I read all the time on this board about people not excepting e-collars and there use. I just wanted to put my 2 cents in from someone that was on both sides of the fence as early as 6 weeks ago.

If you have any question please let me know and I would love to answer them. Please don't call me a idiot or someone that doesn't know what I am talking about. I don't know as much as some but I do know more then others. I don't want to get into a shouting match, but I do want to start a thread for those of us who find e-collars helpful.

Thanks for your time,
Sean
 

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I just want to add that you have to make sure that the dog is clear on the command first BEFORE using an e-collar. Personally, I think it has some value for long-distance hunt-training, but not for the basics like sit, heel, etc., but that's just MHO. Regardless though, you should not use the e-collar or a prong collar as a correction before the dog understands that command = whatever action. For example, with the sit command (which incidentally I don't think it should be used for), you wouldn't introduce the sit command and say sit a few times and then start using the e-collar. That dog has to have a firm understanding of the sit command and be ignoring you to use the e-collar. It should be something that you worked on without the e-collar every day for a few weeks or so before getting the e-collar out. You don't use an e-collar properly to teach a command in the first place.
 

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When we started incorporating the e-collar into our training, our trainer had us begin from the beginning. We conditioned on sit, stay, here, come...because those are the 4 commands the dogs knew well from normal training.

So for all of our dogs, it was used after we completed several rounds of obedience training and it was used for distance and reinforcing commands when we could not be close enough to correct, or were teaching off leash, and want a quick correction for lagging, being too wide etc.

With the help of a trainer who has alot of experience, the tool can be used to train initially too. I found that some of the upper level commands I taught Maddy for competetive obedience were learned very fast and very permanently with the guidance of my trainer and the e collar.
 

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Stlabs-
"but not for the basics like sit, heel, etc., but that's just MHO. "

BRAVO! ;D That's the way I feel exactly.

To get some thinking started, let me tell how it was explained to me by someone I consider a very good dog person.

When I was anti-zap, the guy asked if I had any idea why it was placed on the front of the dog's neck in the first place? (I had some thoughts, but was wrong)
Anyways, if it was put on the butt, the dog would move forward or spin in circles, and that would serve no useful purpose.
If placed on the back, the dog would most likely go down (belly-jump up)
But, on the front of the neck the dog would naturally turn and go the other way. (Hmmm, simple, I could understand that)
Dog runs off, zap, dog turns, and heads back. Seeing you, considers command and is more likely to obey.

Of course that is a very fundamental concept that most all e-collar training seems to be based on. Working with this concept I see how it would be more punishment than reinforcement(?) for sit, lay, up, etc. and since we would be within reach I honestly see no worthwhile purpose of a zapper's use for me personally (for others? to each their own).
However, in the garbage, running off, reaching on counters, chasing cars / bikes, jumping up, etc. It's easy to understand why it would make the dog stop and move away (and hopefully understand that your original command was a warning to be worthy of listening to the next time (IE; positive motivational reinforcement).

They are a valued tool, an aid. They are not instant trainers. They are not designed to be used as a short cut or to replace traditional methods. They are aids for reinforcement only.

I feel it's very sad that e-collars are plagued with old wives tales spread by the unknowing. A lot of people are missing out on a very safe, efficient and effective training tool.

Side note, I've noticed that some of the less expensive ones have too long a time delay to be effective in a timely way. If one is selected it needs to be checked out for speed, intensity, duration, and water proofing. Along with range, life expectancy of charge and additional attributes.

Great post, but I suspect we'll be roasted sooner or later. ;)

For interesting investigating;
http://www.uwsp.edu/psych/dog/obed.htm#elec
 

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stlabs said:
I just want to add that you have to make sure that the dog is clear on the command first BEFORE using an e-collar. Personally, I think it has some value for long-distance hunt-training, but not for the basics like sit, heel, etc., but that's just MHO. Regardless though, you should not use the e-collar or a prong collar as a correction before the dog understands that command = whatever action. For example, with the sit command (which incidentally I don't think it should be used for), you wouldn't introduce the sit command and say sit a few times and then start using the e-collar. That dog has to have a firm understanding of the sit command and be ignoring you to use the e-collar. It should be something that you worked on without the e-collar every day for a few weeks or so before getting the e-collar out. You don't use an e-collar properly to teach a command in the first place.
I couldn't agree with this more. This is exactly how ecollars should be used. And as I said in the other threads....often times people are too lazy or too impatient to work with a dog to get them to understand commands before resorting to an ecollar.

I am not against the ecollar...I just don't think they should be the first tool in the bag to be used.
 

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I'm going to have to disagree w/stlabs and Dani. First, I certainly don't consider myself a "lazy" trainer and resent that being insinuated. I work my dogs every day. We work very hard for our accomplishments. I train as much or more than my friends that use more traditional training methods (they use excuses like they are too busy or too tired to train today while I'm out training whether it's raining or 100 degree temps) and I think our results speak for themselves. If I were lazy, we sure as hell wouldn't have those accomplishments. My dogs are always learning something new and yes, I use the ecollar to teach them new things so it irritates me to no end when people insist that you can't teach new commands using an ecollar or that an ecollar is the last tool in a trainer's bag of tricks. It demonstrates a true lack of knowledge on the part of the speaker. Please educate yourself about ecollars before speaking about them. I know ecollars are controversial and probably always will be. I really don't care if people don't want to use them for whatever reason (to each his own) but I do care when people publish inaccurate info about them.
 

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I don't think there's anything that can be taught with an e-collar that can't be taught using positive reinforcement with the proper techniques and timing.

I have two main objections to people using e-collars.

One is when they use the e-stim as punishment. It's not that punishment canNOT be used in training -- it's just that it's extremely capricious, generates emotional reactions, and for those reasons, is not used by most animal trainers.

Second is that many of the people using e-collars don't know enough about learning principles to know how to train properly without an e-collar.

I don't think people need a PhD in learning theory before using an e-collar but they should know the basic principles such those as in Jean Donaldson's "Culture Clash" (or other similar good book on training) and they should know how to collar condition a dog appropriately before starting to use it.

That said, I do use an e-collar on Puff when we go out for an hour off leash walk each morning in a nature preserve. That's because we occasionally suddenly meet skunks, park dept trucks that are moving, other people, other dogs. We used a 50 ft. long line/check cord our first couple years but it was too often out of reach when needed.

So I bought a Dogtra 200NCP Gold which has infinitely variable levels of e-stim (Nick or 5") as well as a vibrating buzz (Pager). [The level of e-stim I use is below my ability to feel it in my finger tips.] I find that 99.99% of the time, the Pager/buzz is sufficient and we go many mornings when I don't use even that and possibly a month or more until using the Nick once or twice.

This morning, for instance, Puff and I suddenly met a man with a leashed JRT type dog on a narrow trail. Puff wanted to go play with the dog but I told her to sit, which she reluctantly did, while I snapped the leash hook to her collar. We squeezed ourselves to the side of the trail to allow the man & dog to pass by. As he did, he thanked me saying his dog is aggressive and thinks all other dogs are going to attack her so she pre-empts. If Puff had not been so obedient, I was prepared to give her a quick Page/buzz followed, if needed, by a Nick/e-stim. But she obeyed -- "GOOD girl!" ;D

"To a man whose main tool is a hammer, the whole world can look like a nail"
-- Bob Pr.
 

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E-collars are a FANTASTIC tool when used the correct way and they are much safer (when used correctly) then choke or pinch collars IMO. You just need to be very careful you don't use it wrong, you get training on them by a professional and you don't accidently jack up the dial.

I use it as a tap on the shoulder as well, a reminder in a way. I used treats and balls along with the collar, but he does get tapped on every single command I give, but he does get rewarded as well. He is no way possible associates it to be a bad thing. He prefers it on his neck that off - they need to be trained the right way, even to wear it. I try to never say the command without the tap. I leave no room for them to second guess.

Sit and the tap come at the same time - then BAM - reward and he is the happeist pup in the world!!!! I also use the lightest possible setting, but you have to gauge and understand your dog to see it.

If you want more information on whom I used to train my dog - check out... sitmeanssit.com

Truley Amazing dog trainers!!!!
 

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To each his own I guess but I disagree with you 100% that an e-collar should be used to teach a command to begin with. What you choose to use to train your dog is up to you, so if you like it and it works for you then it's up to you. However, I can guarantee you that Dani and I are not novices by any stretch of the imagination and I have researched e-collar and prong collar use extensively and I bet Dani has too. Disagreeing with you about proper e-collar use does not equate to a lack of knowledge in this instance and I personally find that comment a little insulting. I have have fostered and trained over 35 foster dogs and my own two dogs (both of whom have AKC Canine Good Citizen certificates). I can also tell you that I've trained dogs using both positive and negative reinforcement and have seen dramatically better results with positive reinforcement than with negative reinforcement. It's also so much more fun to teach with positive reinforcement because labs in particular try so hard to please and are so food motivated. If you've never tried positive reinforcement, I would encourage you to at least try it and see what kind of results you get - you might be surprised - I know I was at first.
 

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I agree, you should not use an e-collar to teach a command. The dog must know the command very very well first, using nothing put positive reinforcment. Then...and only then, should a collar be introduced for the command.

No one should be laying on buttons and ask the dog to do something - that is ridicuolos. That would be like taping someone's shoulder over and over again while asking you to tell a group of people about biophysics. No matter how many time you tap me on the shoulder, I couldn't give you want you want. You MUST teach it first.
 

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for clarity sake, i think the issue at hand is not that ecollars CAN be used for new training goals but rather SHOULD it be used in this manner or perhaps used at all. it's a personal decision. some people are comfortable with it and some are not. some are very skilled with it and others, not so much.

those who choose to use ecollars or any training tool designed to stop or decrease the occurrence of specific behaviors should do so with some understanding of basic learning theory and application (as bob pointed out).

even at the lowest level of stim, an electric current is effective in modifying behavior by decreasing the occurrence of the unwanted behavior, because the subject wants to avoid or halt the delivery of the stim, because the stim is unpleasant. it does not have to be painful, but the stim must be sufficiently unpleasant for the subject to react; otherwise, behavior modification will not occur.

i agree that it is unfair to label all ecollar users as dog abusers when in fact, many dogs that are trained properly with an ecollar are happy, well adjusted companion pets and titled champions. ecollar users are not purely negative and punishment oriented. often, they utilize positive reinforcement methods in their dog training regiment as well.

the other concern is over easy access of the ecollars for uneducated dog owners, along with the propensity to abuse the tool and abuse the dog. sure, ANY training tool can be misused, but the misuse of the ecollar is all too easy and convenient. i could abuse my dog with a flat collar or even via verbal assault, but it takes more energy, effort, and physical strength on my part to misuse the flat collar or my voice than it would be for me to hold a remote devise and push a button to deliver the corrections whenever the mood may strike me. with a regular, non electric collar, i would have to clip it on the dog, and yank, pop, pull, etc. and tire out my arm. i like to hope that these powerful, effective training tools are in the right hands, but the reality is that there is at least one dog out there being shocked unjustly.

i respect the professionals and other ecollar savy trainers who use this tool with restraint, fairness, and an understanding of behavior modification in dog training. i understand that many people use ecollars, not so much for regular training, but rather as a safety net for off leash behavior enforcement for the safety of the dog and others. i am also aware of cases of dogs lives being saved from euthanasia when severe behavioral issues can be managed with ecollars.

i think it is pointless to argue the effectiveness of ecollars, whether in enforcing/correcting for noncompliance or its effectiveness in obtaining new behaviors the dog has not yet learn to avoid. (i say avoid, because the stim is used to tell the dog, no, that behavior is undesirable. do something else.) bottom line, ecollars are effective. they most certainly work to drive behaviors. the use of electricity in order to modify another individual's behavior is a controversial subject, because often times, morality comes into play. the question is most defintely, SHOULD electricty be used in dog training. it's a personal decision.

for the record, i have used ecollars in the past. i do not anymore. i didn't use it for very long, so i'm no expert, but at some point, i made a decision that this training tool was NOT right for me nor for my dogs. i came to a personal realization, for myself, that corrections via electricity is not in the same league as any other type of correction. what does a dog understand about shock or electricity? i know what it is, and even when a nick is barely felt, i'd rather be physically slapped than be shocked by another individual, no matter the level of stim. i am aware that i am humanizing the dog in this manner. i KNOW that ecollars are effective, and i could be taught, and i could learn to use ecollars properly, and my dogs could become ecollar conditioned and gain a certain level of desensitation to the electricity as to develope a kind of comfort with it, and yet, i have made my choice.

i have pages of additional reasons why i choose to train my dogs in other ways, but that would be terribly off topic and come out sounding arguementative. in any case, there is a very emotional, irrational component to why i decide not to use ecollars in dog training, and i don't judge others who do use ecollars. it is a personal decision. in fact, i have a lot respect for handlers who know how-to and are skilled in use ecollars properly.
 

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the guy asked if I had any idea why it was placed on the front of the dog's neck in the first place? (I had some thoughts, but was wrong)
Anyways, if it was put on the butt, the dog would move forward or spin in circles, and that would serve no useful purpose.
If placed on the back, the dog would most likely go down (belly-jump up)
But, on the front of the neck the dog would naturally turn and go the other way. (Hmmm, simple, I could understand that)
This does not make sense to me. The e-collar is put on the front of the neck because it is the most sensitive area on the dog's body that is also the most convenient for placement of the e-collar. You want your dog to feel the pressure at the lowest level possible, so you go for the most sensitive area.

Dog runs off, zap, dog turns, and heads back. Seeing you, considers command and is more likely to obey.
Sorry, this is BS. If the dog is not collar-conditioned, it will most likely bolt on a zap.
 

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"Of course that is a very fundamental concept ,,,"

I refuse to get into a peeing contest over this.
I use them from time to time.
Right time / right condition they are excellent aids.
 

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"Of course that is a very fundamental concept ,,,"

I refuse to get into a peeing contest over this.
I use them from time to time.
Right time / right condition they are excellent aids.
I am not sure if this is addressed to me or someone else. I was very cautious before I ever decided to use e-collar. I talked to our trainer and her husband (who put multiple OTCH and MH titles of their dogs), I read Evan Graham's books on collar-conditioning, I read some other literature on e-collars. I have never seen/heard what "the guy" told you about e-collars. I have never read/heard/seen good trainers use e-collar in a way you described.

Of course that is a very fundamental concept that most all e-collar training seems to be based on. Working with this concept I see how it would be more punishment than reinforcement(?) for sit, lay, up, etc. and since we would be within reach I honestly see no worthwhile purpose of a zapper's use for me personally (for others? to each their own).
However, in the garbage, running off, reaching on counters, chasing cars / bikes, jumping up, etc. It's easy to understand why it would make the dog stop and move away (and hopefully understand that your original command was a warning to be worthy of listening to the next time (IE; positive motivational reinforcement).
This is a complete opposite of how e-collar should be used. Yes, you use e-collar for sit, for example. You have to condition your dog first at close range how to react to the pressure when sit command is given and the pressure is applied. You need to condition your dog at a close range that a proper response to the pressure is to sit. Once your dog mastered it at close range, you will know that at a distance, the dog will give you the right response to the pressure instead of bolting.

Using e-collar to nick the dog for getting into trash, running off, counter-surfing as a punishment is in my opinion lazy. Get your trash out of dog's reach, don't leave enticing items on your counters, collar condition your dog to "here" (the proper way). Yes, it's easy to sit on your couch watching TV and zapping your dog when it tries to counter-surf in the kitchen. Get off your butt and clean up your counters or teach your dog to settle next to your while you're watching TV or whatever else you're doing while the dog is counter-surfing.

I would recommend that you pick up some books/DVD's by Mike Lardy or Evan Graham on proper collar conditioning. Until then, if I were you, I would not be giving advice to other people on how to use e-collar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
gerst001 said:
E-collars are a FANTASTIC tool when used the correct way and they are much safer (when used correctly) then choke or pinch collars IMO. You just need to be very careful you don't use it wrong, you get training on them by a professional and you don't accidently jack up the dial.

I use it as a tap on the shoulder as well, a reminder in a way. I used treats and balls along with the collar, but he does get tapped on every single command I give, but he does get rewarded as well. He is no way possible associates it to be a bad thing. He prefers it on his neck that off - they need to be trained the right way, even to wear it. I try to never say the command without the tap. I leave no room for them to second guess.

Sit and the tap come at the same time - then BAM - reward and he is the happeist pup in the world!!!! I also use the lightest possible setting, but you have to gauge and understand your dog to see it.

If you want more information on whom I used to train my dog - check out... sitmeanssit.com

Truley Amazing dog trainers!!!!


Just for the record I am using SitMeansSit.com too. I have seen nothing but positive from this
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
riarcher,

Here are my thoughts on both of those. I heard that the bark collars are good, but I heard some really bad things about invisible fences:

1)It doesn't keep other dogs out.
2)If for some reason your dog goes out of bounds, you are basically keeping them out of your yard.

Those are 2 great reasons that I don't know if I would use them.
 

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Tatyana-
Just wondering,,,
what your thoughts are on "invisible fences",,, and "anti-bark collars"?
I've never spent the time thinking about invisible fences. I have a nice size yard, which is not fenced. While Scotty's recall was unreliable, he was always on-leash in the yard, so no need for invisible fence. Now that his recall is reliable, he can be off-leash in the yard and again, no need for an invisible fence. From what little I know about invisible fences, you still have to condition the dog to a proper response to turn off the pressure, ie, stay in the yard instead of bolting. I don't know how it's done, but my guess is that the dog is on-leash during conditioning and is reeled into the yard once it encounters the shock from the invisible fence to learn how to turn off the pressure.

As far as anti-bark collars, nicking the dog usually makes a dog make a noise. I think anti-bark collars are counter productive this way. I think other corrections work better for teaching the dog not to bark/whine.
 
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