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Rules Dogs Must Live By Michael Ellis Class on Remote Collar Training
9:56
Electric Collar Q&A

Questions and Answers on Electric Collar Training:

I try to answer every question I receive on dog training. I may often come across a little on the blunt side (some may call it brash). That is because I consider myself an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. I am an advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon. Good dog training is not rocket science. It's common sense.

  1. What is a remote collar (electric collar)?

  2. How does the remote collar work?

  3. Does the remote collar (electric collar) hurt my dog?

  4. How do I know what level of stimulation to train with?

  5. What is the difference between continuous and momentary stimulation?

  6. Are there other features available on remote collars?

  7. How old should my dog be when I start to use a remote collar?

  8. Will the collar irritate my dogs neck?

  9. How tight should the remote collar strap be on my dogs neck?

  10. How long will my remote collar hold a charge?

  11. Can my dogs remote collar accidently go off from a radio signal other than my transmitter?

  12. Can I put the reciever for my remote collar on a differant collar?

  13. Can I use electric collar for dog aggression?

  14. After using your Puppy Video and Basic Dog Obedience Video, we are still having trouble with the COME command with our 10 month old GSD. How do I get the recall response not to fail?

  15. Can you tell me what method you use for electric collar training?

  16. My dogs don't wear collars, but I want to start using an electric collar to further training. How do I get them used to the collar and which one would you recommend?

  17. I recently purchased a jumping problem, now I'm wondering if it can also be used to help a barking problem or do I need the No Bark Collar? What do you recommend?

  18. I plan on training my dog in protection work and would like to understand what (if any) are the differences in the way an e-collar is used for pet owners as opposed to owners training their dog for protection work?

  19. I have a question on when it is okay to allow my dog to chase and when it isn't and how to train that.

  20. Why do you recommend a 280 instead of a 190? I have your ecollar DVD but there are "many problems" that can come up, that are not in that DVD. Do you have any advice?

  21. I would like to know if the Dogtra 280 NCP is the right ecollar for my dog.

  22. My dogs fight as soon as I turn my back. Would it help to put shock collars on both of them so they wouldn't fight?

  23. I possess a 280 Platinum Dogtra Collar. Is there any significant advantage in going in for a more advanced model like the 3500, for instance?

  24. Do you feel there are some dogs that shouldn't receive e-collar training based on their attitude or temperament?

  25. We are exploring the dogtra training collars, mainly to help me feel a bit more in control of our dog.  We are looking at the Dogtra 200NCP or the 280NCP.  Out of those two, which do you recommend for our dog; taking into size and behavior?  Or is there another one you prefer?

  26. I have a 7 month old female GSD which I am trying to train by your excellent videos. Most of the problems I am having with her (biting, jumping) are handler problems. I am also having problems with her chasing down our free range chickens. Do you have any suggestions?

  27. Am I sending mixed messages by walking my dog on the leash and expecting him to behave at certain times and not at others when in the trails off leash? Should I train him to the e-collar for walks on trails so he can be off leash?

  28. I have a 5 month old, 15lb, male cockapoo. He has always been very nippy, or as I prefer and believe it is bitey. Is it time to try an ecollar?

  29. I'd really like to start using the ecollar with the dogs.  Is it an appropriate training tool to introduce them to the cats in the house?  What type(s) of e-collars would you recommend?

  30. I have a 27 month old intact male Doberman. I rarely have to use the remote if his collar is on. Without the collar he still minds, but he is a little sloppy. Not as quick to respond, and sometimes I can tell he gives a brief thought to challenging me. He is very smart and he figured out that it was the collar. Any ideas?

  31. I'm attempting to help yet another friend e-collar train her dog. I've got a couple of questions concerning this: Is it a mistake for a dog owner to skip sit, stay, and down using the ecollar, and instead teach the recall first? Is e-collar training a mistake for such a dog?

  32. In your opinion will the Dogtra 175NCP be sufficient for use on a relatively submissive 2 year old adult Doberman?

  33. Will the six inch antenna add to the 1/2 mile range that Dogtrot says is the unit's range and will it fit the unit? Will the original length probes be long enough or should I order a longer size?

  34. My GSD pup is 16 weeks old. and is very "mouthy" on me and on inappropriate objects.  I was thinking of purchasing your "Dogtra 280NCP" collar and your E-collar DVD.  Would this be the right collar for a puppy?

  35. Do you feel a properly applied e-collar program would be the best plan on curbing some of our Brittany’s behavior? Does this sound like a dog vs. wife dominance issue?

  36. I expect that my dogs' fur is interfering with the electrical contact. Should I shave a small patch on the dogs’ necks for the electrodes, or get the longer ones?

  37. My big problem is with recall especially once I start to play with my dog and she isn't focused on training. I tried working her with an e-collar. What do I do now?

  38. I'm not sure if I should buy two separate units (one for each of my dogs) or one two-dog model. What do you suggest?

  39. My dog keeps scratching him self on the neck and is making it raw. I never leave the collar in the same spot I have also tried to keep it looser. I thought you could tell me how to cure this.

  40. My husband is a police officer and we have a female GSD who he has been training. She seems to be fixated on the cats, would you correct her for simply looking at the cat? Or is looking normal? Would you correct her for practically engulfing the cat's head or neck with her mouth?

  41. I have a Maremma sheepdog. I would like to use E collar to stop some of her behaviors - jumping up. What approach would you recommend?

  42. What would be the best e-collar for my one year old great dane?

  43. We adopted a sporting/hunting dog last year. We love to hike and do so with her off lead….. Although, too much of an enticement to do what she was bred to do, run and follow a scent. What kind of e-collar would you recommend if any?  How would you train to have her stay on the trail and not run off?

  44. I started learning remote collar training from a trainer with my pitbull mix. I noticed right away that, while collar conditioned, she was remote-wise. Is this normal, does it matter? Should I continue as planned, do more marking before I start, remote condition her for a couple of weeks, something else?

  45. Sometimes my pit bull becomes aggressive, I think when she has too much energy and is running circles around my apartment. For this aggression would a very high level stim help? Do you think maybe just more exercise will do it?

  46. What is the recommended age to with a puppy to start using the electronic training collar?

  47. Is the 280NCP suitable for a German Shepherd Dog? After successfully training an exercise will I be able to wean the dog off the collar or is this a permanent part of training?

  48. I am deciding between the Dogtra Electric Collar and the Tri-Tronic.  What is the real difference? Do they not accomplish the same thing?

  49. We have done a lot of training, but we have one main problem of prey-drive quirks and his want to "get things. Is there any additional training we can focus on to reduce these high drive tendancies? Will he get any better with age?

  50. Can my "small-dog aggressive" dog be trained not to bother small dogs?

  51. What should I do if my dog does not really respond to a nick at a certain level but will respond to continuous on that same level? Does this mean that my level is too low?

  52. I have a 1 year old Malinois. I want to make him neutral to other dogs and I wanted your advice on how to do this.

  53. I recommended the cinch it collar to my last client as per your video but the collar you sent along with the dogtra collar would not fit into the dogtra collar loops. What gives?

  54. I am wanting to purchase an electric collar for my Saint Bernard. Which model would you recommend for an 105 lb saint. He is 11 months old?

  55. I have a high drive intact GSD that I am training for SAR. I recently purchased your E-collar training video and am looking at purchasing the Dogtra 280NCP. Do you think this would work for my needs and would I need to order the longer contact points for a GSD?

  56. I purchased a collar, charged it and put it on my dog and it didn't seem to work. The dog did not respond at all to it. I don't know how to test it. Any suggestions?

  57. My dog killed one of our chickens today. Is it likely that we will be able to teach him to respect the chickens again? Do you suppose that when the new batch grows to full size he will leave them alone, now that he has learned that they taste good? What do you think we should do?

  58. My dog does fine when he is wearing an electric collar, but when I take it off he does not respond the same way. What did I did wrong or how can I improve the use of the collar?

  59. Do you feel that my training warrants the use of this collar? Am I on the right page?

  60. My dog hid in the bushes after I used the electric collar the first time, did I completely screw this up?

  61. I’ve had good results with the Dogtra 202 NCP with my small dogs, is there any reason I should not use it?

  62. Is there a setting on my Tritronics electric collar that is dangerous for my 35 pound Border Collie?

  63. My dog is showing an interest in chasing shadows, if I correct him for this will it ruin his drive?

  64. Does back yard play biting and chasing between my dog & my son’s dog contribute to more aggressive chasing?

  65. Did I make any mistakes in using the e-collar for too many different issues on day 1?

  66. I am totally blind, are either the Tri-Tronics Sport Junior G3 or the Dogtra 175NCP usable without sight?

  67. Will the electric collar work on a 2 year old GSD that goes ballistic at the front door whenever anyone knocks?

  68. My dog is a miniature American Eskimo that will weigh the most 18-22 pounds. Which e-collar is best? What is the difference working with an e-collar instead of a dominance collar?

  69. Is marker training a "prerequisite" for e-collar training or are they completely different?

  70. My 185 pound dog is perfect on the leash except for when he sees another dog, and then he rips it out of my hand causing considerable pain and injury.  What can I do for this specific situation?

  71. I visited with another trainer who owns a successful training business and she gives a stim when the dog does as she wishes, as well as when it does something that she doesn't want it to do. Have you heard of this? Also, I was surprised to see her start at a 5 with the Dogtra when she worked with my dog. My understanding was to start low to accomplish what you need and work your way up from there. Am I wrong?

  72. How do I incorporate the pager into my electric collar training?

  73. My dog is only a 6 month old GSD but with drive like I never seen. Setting my transmitter at #100, I barely get a reaction... and I mean barely. I made very sure the electrodes make good skin contact. Should I consider returning unit for a slightly more powerful unit?

  74. One of our dogs is dominant aggressive and last year fought with our 10 year old GSD and caused her death.  Would proper use of the electric collar resolve this?

  75. Do you think it is a good idea to use an e-collar to house train a dog?

  76. Our 10 month old dog is aggressive to other dogs and some people. Our vet told us training with an ecollar would be the way to go, but our trainer disagreed. She said it could make the aggression worse. We then contacted a facility that trains police K9s and they said we should use the ecollar. What advice do you have for us?

  77. I live on a farm and my 18 month old GSD is free as a bird. Lately, she has been tracking me when I leave. Yesterday I put the electronic collar on her "zapped" her when she began following the car. Should I continue using the collar or do you have a better solution?

  78. it there a setting on my Tritronics electric collar that is dangerous for my 35 pound Border Collie?

  79. My dog is showing an interest in chasing shadows, if I correct him for this will it ruin his drive?

  80. Both my dogs have passed the testing for therapy dogs and when they are out in public and wearing their vests they are great. When we are home my male jumps on people and turns a deaf ear to anything we tell him. He also jumps on windows and has broken two of them. Our female will bite people who come to our home and if we leave a door open the dogs will run out so fast they will knock people down. Would you recommend an ecollar for these issues?

  81. I think it is time to start training with a remote collar. My only worry is that after a bad experience with the Innotek automatic bark collar. I am worried that a remote collar would lead us down the same dead end road. I am also writing to ask you if the Dogtra 175NCP is the way to go.

  82. Is it possible for a dog who was previously oblivious to the ecollar to become collar wise?

  83. I have some questions about using an electric collar, can you help?

  84. My dog does great with the ecollar outside, but inside she hides and acts strange. Why do you think she might be doing this? Any suggestions?


Question:

What is a remote collar (electric collar)?

Ed's Answer:

A remote collar is wireless collar that a dog wears around his neck that is operated by the dog handler who uses a hand held transmitter. These collars have come light years in their design over the past 25 years.

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Question:

How do Remote Collars (electric collars) work?

Ed's Answer:

The dog wears the remote collar reciever on his neck. It's actually part of his collar. The reciever varies in size according to the model and the manufacturer. The collar has metal probes that can vary in length (longer probes are available for for dogs with longer coats). These probes must make contact with the dog's skin.

The dog owner carries a wireless transmitter which also varies in size, depending on the model and manufacturer.The transmitter sends a radio signal to the reciever on the dog's neck.

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Question:

Does the remote collar hurt my dog?

Ed's Answer:

The correct answer to this question is that remote collars have the potential to inflict pain but when the remote collar is used correctly the training is done with "low level stimulation." These are levels that a lot of people may not even be able to feel, or if they do feel the stimulation it's more of a tickle.

With this said every training tool has the potential to be used incorrectly. That is certainly the case with remote collars. In fact remote collars (electric collars) have a bad reputation because of abusive trainers not using the collars the way they are intended to be used.

The remote collars of today allow the handler to change the level of stimulation at the transmitter. Years ago this was not possible, the stimulation level had to be changed on the collar. This was a serious problem, but those days are behind us.

Some models of remote collars have a vibration button. There is no stimulation associated with this button.

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Question:

How do I know what level of stimulation to train with my remote collar?

Ed's Answer:

The training DVD that I did (Remote Collar Training for the Pet Owner) teaches people how and when to change the levels of stimulation.

With that said almost all training is done at a level that is very, very low. We look for a level that only causes the dog's eyes to blink when the stimulation is applied. If a dog verbalizes (yelps) the collar setting is way too high.

Levels of stimulation will also vary according to the distractions a dog is faced with and the level of drive the dog is working in. Many times during training a dog must be worked at a higher level of stimulation when it is faced with higher levels of distraction. Learning how to do this is one of the goals of the dog trainer. It's covered in detail in my DVD.

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Question:

What is the difference between continuous and momentary stimulation?

Ed's Answer:

The continuous button on a collar provides continuous stimulation for a limited period of time. Every remote collar has an internal cut off at about 8 to 10 seconds. This means you can hold the continuous button down but the collar will only provide stimulation for 10 seconds and then it stops.

Many collars have a "momentary button" often referred to as a "NICK BUTTON" This button only provides a very quick stimulation (less then 1/2 of 1 second) The "Nick" button is a very effective tool. When the training is done correctly the "Nick" is used far more than the continuous button on the collar.

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Question:

Are there other features available on remote collars?

Ed's Answer:

Some manufacturers provide collars that only vibrate. These are excellent collars to use with deaf dogs. These collars offer a number of levels of vibration.

Some collars provide a feature where the collar makes a sound when one of the buttons is pushed. This used to be called the "good dog" button. There is not electrical stimulation with this button.

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Question:

How old should my dog be before I start training with a remote collar?

Ed's Answer:

We start getting our puppies used to wearing the remote collar at 4 moonths. We NEVER us anything but low low levels of stimulation on our puppies.

Remote collars are effective tools to help stop puppies from eating stones and other items that puppies feel the need to pick up and eat.

In my opinion, remote collars should only be used in obedience training as a finishing tool. In other words, the puppy or dog should learn the commands with motivational methods (see my dvd titled THE POWER OF TRAINING DOGS WITH MARKERS).

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Question:

Will the collar irritate my dogs neck?

Ed's Answer:

When a collar is properly fit and not left on too long it will not damage the dog's skin.

If a collar is too loose it can move on the neck and cause a skin irritation.

Remote collars are not meant to be left on the dog for 24 hours at a time. When they are left on too long they can cause skin irritation. There is nothing wrong with leaving a collar on your dog for 8 hours at a time as long as it's on correctly.

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Question:

How tight should the remote collar strap be on my dogs neck?

Ed's Answer:

The remote collar needs to be snug up just under the jaw bone on your dog's neck. The probes need to make contact with the skin. When I put the collar on my dog's neck I will hold the dog's muzzle up and move the collar back and forth, up and down so I know the probes make contact with the skin.

When collars are too loose, where they just hang low on the dog's neck the collar probes will not always make contact. This will result in the dog not getting stimulation when you want and it can cause skin irritation.

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Question:

How long will the remote collar hold a charge?

Ed's Answer:

When a collar is fully charged it will be functional for 48 to 72 hours. The collars we sell can be left on the charger 24/7. The chargers have a built it cut-off that stops the charging when the collar is fully charged. So we keep our collars on the charger when we are not using them.

Collars can be charged overnight.

The battaries on today's remote collars are usually good for 3 to 5 years. There is no extended warranty on collar batteries, which is one of the reasons we leave our collars on the chargers.

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Question:

Can my dog's remote collar accidently go off from a radio signal other than my transmitter?

Ed's Answer:

The computer technology of today all but eliminates the possibility of a remote collar being activated by another collar or radio signal. I cannot say that I have heard of this happening in the past 15 years. These collars all have such a unique code to activate them it's almost impossible to happen.

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Question:

Can I put my remote collar reciever on a differant collar strap?

Ed's Answer:

Some (not all) remote collar recievers can be put on collar straps other than those the manufacturers provide.

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QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

We've enjoyed your Puppy video as well as Basic Obedience 302...and still need a little help with "Come." We live on 5 acres and our 10 month old male GSD is very responsive and obedient while on the leash, whether it's the 6 foot or 20 foot line. But once we take him off the lead and go inside and then outside later to call him in or call him to stop barking, etc., he ignores me. The property is too big to have him drag a line around in case we need to call him, so we let him off once we go inside. How do I get that conditioned recall response to not fail?

Thanks so much,
Evy

ANSWER:

It is time for an electric collar – I use the DOGTRA 1900 collars that we sell on my dogs. They have excellent range and are the best quality on the market. You can read about them on my web site.

The dog should wear the collar for two weeks. The important thing is the collar should be put on and taken off 4 or 5 times a day. The act of putting the collar on MUST MEAN NOTHING TO THE DOG. People think just letting a dog wear a collar for two weeks is all they need do. They are wrong. Dogs associate the collar going on with the shock when it's wrong.

Then the dog needs to be trained in a fenced in area when he is on the long line – the correct shock level is one that just causes his head to move a little (not scream or yelp).

When the dog is good in the yard he needs to have the collar on EVERY TIME YOU LET HIM OUTSIDE. Set up a place by the door for the collar to hang or be charged.

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QUESTION:

Ed,

Please do an e-collar video! Everything out there is crap. That said, I have a couple questions.

About a year ago, with the help of the training director at the local schutzhund club (I am in Chicago), I introduced my three year old dog to the e-collar using "escape training" in the manner consistent with the Dobbs/Tri Tronics Three Action Introduction -- apply continuous stimulation immediately before a command, and then shut off stimulation when dog complies (or for the here command, turns toward me). Then, once he learned how to turn off the stimulation and was working to quickly comply with commands, I switched to "avoidance training" -- he complies quickly and avoids stimulation altogether. Only if he clearly blows off the command or is slow to comply does the stimulation go back on. Depending on his level of distraction, I would then either give a nick (as an attention getter) or if really distracted, turn on the continuous at a level consistent with his distraction level. My understanding is that this training program is based on the theory of negative reinforcement -- the dog learns how to turn off the low level stimulation from the collar, and is not confused because through training he learns that he is in control of the stimulation and can shot it off by complying.

I have heard that escape training using continuous stimulation is no longer being recommended. I think Dobbs now (at least on their Dogtra tape that comes with some of the collars), is just giving a command and if the dog ignores, hitting the nick button. For example, here command given and dog does not comply, nick him, if he still ignores, nick again. I don't know if for a period of time to introduce the collar you would give automatic nicks after the command, and then phase out the automatic nicks and nick only for non-compliance. In such a program do you have to guide the dog showing it what to do when it feels the nick? Anyway, this method seems to me to just be punishment training, but I certainly could be misunderstanding.

Also, I saw in your article on the Down in Motion that you say to NICK, as opposed to turning on the continuous, if there is the slightest question on speed. Is that for a dog that was introduced to the collar using continuous? Or do you just give command and if slow you nick.

What e-collar method do you recommend for obedience work -- and by that I mean (1) for introducing the collar to the dog and making him "collar literate" (so he knows how to respond to the stimulation when he feels it) and (2) then for using it to correct when commands are ignored or followed too slowly?

Thanks so much Ed. Your videos, products, articles, discussion forum, etc... are unmatched resources.

Adam

ANSWER:

In 2005, after using an electric collar for 20 years I produced a DVD titled Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner. It's a 2 3/4 hour DVD that explains a humane method of using low level stimulation to train dogs with a electric collar. At no time in my DVD do I use high level stimulation on the dogs being trained. In fact I never go higher than the mid-range stimulation on some dogs that "need to learn a little more respect for the handler's commands".

I don't believe in escape training and this is not what I teach in my training DVD. The method I use is to focus my training on teaching the dog to respect a voice command of NO - if the dog refuses a command that it knows I always tell it NO before I stimulate the dog. I am very consistent in this. This method is black and white to the dog.

My method takes a little longer to train but in the end the dog and handler have a much better bond and the work is very clear to the dog.

I was never a fan of escape training. Bottom line is that it's punishment training and in my opinion the worst form of it. Don't get me wrong, escape training works. It is a QUICK way to train a dog but in my opinion it is unfair to the dog. The trainer stimulates the dog before it's given a chance to respond to a command. Escape training does not build the bond between the dog and handler - in my opinion it breaks down the bond.

Professional dog trainers use escape training because its fast and to them TIME IS MONEY.

The collar is nothing more than an invisible leash. It needs to be used exactly like a leash correction is used. I don’t know what people want to call this - but I call it the proper way to train a dog.

The most important thing about electric collar training is how the collar is introduced to the dog. The physical act of putting the collar on cannot mean anything to the dog. People make the mistake and think that wearing the collar accustoms the dog to the collar. These people are wrong.

It’s the act of putting the collar on that means something. So new trainers need to take a couple of weeks and put the collar on and take it off several times a day. They need to rotate the prong collar and the electric collar and the leather collar during this period of time. By doing this the collar going on and off means nothing to the dog.

When the buttons are pushed is no different than when a person gives a leash correction. There is an art to using the leash and there is an art to using the electric collar. Thanks for writing.

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Question:

Mr. Frawley,

After ordering a dominant dog collar and video your staff suggested I email you for your thoughts on my situation. I have an 11 mos old intact male german shepherd that is showing aggression to me, other dogs and to my livestock. He always barked at the horses,cows, chickens, etc. as a pup. I just continued to expose him and correct him as he grew. The barking and recall got better but recently he tried to attack another dog and has begun to chase/bite the livestock and has bitten me in the thigh.
He has been e collar trained since 7 mos by a canine police officer/trainer. He was doing well at first. I began to question the training as the dog was becoming more aggressive with the stim. He has always been a very verbal and "mouthy" dog. I was told he would grow out of it. But the e collar seemed to make matters worse. I ordered your video and realized he was training the " learn how to shut off the stim" way. I quit the trainer and began the Leerburg way and the dog was much better. He still would snap at me with or without the collar but never bit. This back talk was always corrected with a NO and a leash pop. In your video you talked about aggression towards other dogs and using the collar at the high setting. I tried this and I got bit in the thigh. I have a dogtra 200ncp gold. I know there is something I am doing wrong....
I have also tried to hold him up and lift his front feet off the ground but he just stands up on his hind and goes for my hands. Normal training was at the 30 setting and for the aggression I tried it at 80. My trainer had at times used settings anywhere from 20 - 60. I live in a rural area and there aren't too many trainers around let alone good ones. Can you offer any advice? I would be grateful.....

Ed's Reply:

It is always far more difficult to correct problems brought on by bad training than to do it right the first time. I am not saying this as a jab at you - it's a simple fact.

If I had a concern about this I would probably have the dog start to wear a wire basket muzzle every day. It sounds like you have more than a simple barking and chasing problem going on here - it sounds like it's a pack structure problem - rank problem. In addition to the fact that this is a terrible age for a male dog.

I wrote a free eBook title THE GORUND WORK TO BECOMEINE A PACK LEADER - do this work. Control every second of this dogs life. His free time needs to end for a long time. You need to be using a crate or a dog kennel. Every time he comes out he gets the muzzle on and the remote collar on.

Take the time to learn marker training - I wrote an article on it and have a free podcast on it. Use markers to train the muzzle going on and the collar going on so its not a fight. Your obedience training needs to be done with markers too.

When the dog is outside (for awhile) it needs to be on the remote and a long line (like the 20 foot cotton lines we sell)

Chains animals and being aggressive to other dogs requires the highest stimulation your collar allows. - we start at the highest setting with continuous stimulation until the dog is in complete avoidance.

This is not something that is really a training exercise as much as a learning exercise. I compare it to a horse or cow touching and electric fence. We don't start low and go high with cows, they learn that trying to go through fences is a bad thing. In your case there is a difference between using the collar to mould a behavior and teaching the dog that there are land mines around our livestock. These high level corrections require NO VERBAL correction from you. Just as the electric fence requires no verbal corrections. These are just something in life the dog learns - kind of like not touching a hot stove.

Let me also tell you something about most police K9 officers. They are fare better handlers than they are trainers. In my career I have only met a handful of really good trainers that were K9 officers. If I had to guess I would say less than 5% are trainers.

Kind Regards,
Ed Frawley

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Question:

Hello,

I am sure you are very busy and may be hateful and condescending to me because I haven't devoted my life to dog training, but I feel that I owe it to my dog to contact you. I have a 2 1/2 year old doberman.  I also have a 6 year old toy poodle. They get along very well and I couldn't have asked for better pets.  My husband and I did a lot of research before buying our doberman, Ti, and knew that it was going to take work to make him a happy pet.  We trained him on our own, which proved to be quite the challenge.  He accomplished all the commands presented to him except come. At this point we invested in a electronic collar.  Problem solved!! He was the perfect pet... until our neighbors (that we have connecting fences) got a puppy. He is still pretty great, but I would rather not have to deal with this behavior.  After about 2 weeks of the puppy being around, Ti bit his toe through the fence. I thought that it was unacceptable behavior, but my husband reminded me in all the books that we read about dobermans that they were bred for protection purposes and that it was his instincts. I accepted that and just put up a fence so that our dog could not get to their's. As their puppy got older (about 5 months), both dogs would run up and down the fence aggressively barking at each other. The neighbor approached me about trying to get them together outside the fence.  I told her that I didn't think it was a good idea. She convinced me that she understood if something happened that her dog would be hurt and her vet told her that it could be the fence between them promoting the aggression.  Well I told her that I would be willing to try it.  Big mistake... I know that now. Ti bit her dog and he had to get stitches.  Yes, I know I was STUPID.  Since then, I gave her fencing to put up on her side of the fence also. Of course they didn't put it up on their side. This last week they were fighting at the other end of the fence and Ti tried to pull his leg through the fence.  I ran outside and told him to stop and he let go of the dog.  Our neighbors called animal control and they came out.  Come to find out she called animal control the first time also.  We have fixed our fence now so that their dog can't get through in any place. They have done nothing and every time I open my back door their dog comes running and barking at the fence. I have been working with Ti using the shock collar and on a leash by the fence and correcting him when his attention goes to the fence.  He is fine with the shock collar on and getting better now without any correction, but can we truly hope to solve this problem with the neighbors dog antagonizing him on the other side of the fence? Will we ever get the control that we have on him using the e-collar without using the e-collar? Any techniques that you would suggest that we use?  Your comments and opinions would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Jessica

Answer:

I am not sure why you thought you would get a “hateful and condescending” reply.  That’s rather insulting and not a great way to start and email where you are asking for advice. In spite of your remarks, I will answer you anyway, for the sake of your dog.

If you are getting good results with the ecollar on, why would you want to try taking it off?  Without the collar on, you have no means of communicating with the dog.  Every day your dog should put the collar on, just like you putting on a watch in the morning.  It should be part of his routine.

With issues like this I always recommend that people train their dog with a remote collar.

We produced a training DVD in the fall of 2005 titled ELECTRIC COLLAR TRAINING FOR THE PET OWNER. In this DVD Ed teaches people how to handle the foundation training and then how to use the collar.

Many trainers, especially hunting dog trainers and even some professional dog trainers use “escape training” when they train with remote collars. This is where they stimulate the dog, give it a command and then teach the dog how to turn the stimulation OFF by doing what’s told. 

I don’t agree with “escape training.” I don’t think its fair to the dog. He is being stimulated before he is even asked to do something. In my opinion this is ass end backward.

Rather I believe in using the collar to reinforce a voice correction. In other words, I always tell my dog “NO” before I correct him. I give him the opportunity to change his behavior. My goal is to always teach my dog to follow my voice command. 

If you read the article titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING you will understand how to approach corrections. In the DVD Ed simply applies that philosophy to remote collar training.

The article explains how to determine the level of correction to use on each dog. This varies according to the temperament and drive of the dog along with the level of distraction it’s currently facing at that moment in time.

This DVD shows how to determine what level of stimulation to use on your dog. That’s important.

In this DVD we never used a level higher than a medium and most of the time it was on the low settings for every dog we trained.

We use a Dogtra 1900 on our personal dogs. This is about a $300.00 (plus shipping) collar.

There are other good collars for less money. I recommend staying with DOGTRA, INNOTEK and TRI-TRONICS.  Other companies sell cheaper collars but in the remote collar business you get what you pay for.

I hope this helps.

Apology:

Thank you for your time.  I started the e-mail off like that because I have read your site and most of the replies to those questions were pretty rough.  You were very pleasant and I apologize.

Thanks again,
Jessica

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Question:

I have 3 standard poodles, they are well bred and all conformation Ch, and currently working on obedience titles..  The late neutered male barks a great deal when outside.  Mostly at things on the other side of the fence.  I want to buy a training collar and wondered what you would suggest for barking and training.  Is there one that will do both?  

Jan

Answer:

For training issues, we recommend electric collars.

When people hear ELECTRIC COLLAR they always quiver and shake because there has been such bad publicity on these training collars.

The fact is today’s collars are 1000 times better than those I bought 25 years ago.

We produced a training DVD in the fall of 2005 titled ELECTRIC COLLAR TRAINING FOR THE PET OWNER. In this DVD Ed teaches people how to handle the foundation training and then how to use the collar.

Many trainers, especially hunting dog trainers and even some professional dog trainers use “escape training” when they train with remote collars. This is where they stimulate the dog, give it a command and then teach the dog how to turn the stimulation OFF by doing what’s told. 

I don’t agree with “escape training.” I don’t think its fair to the dog. He is being stimulated before he is even asked to do something. In my opinion this is ass end backward.

Rather I believe in using the collar to reinforce a voice correction. In other words, I always tell my dog “NO” before I correct him. I give him the opportunity to change his behavior. My goal is to always teach my dog to follow my voice command. 

If you read the article titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING, you will understand how to approach corrections. In the DVD Ed simply applies that philosophy to remote collar training.

The article explains how to determine the level of correction to use on each dog. This varies according to the temperament and drive of the dog along with the level of distraction it’s currently facing at that moment in time.

This DVD shows how to determine what level of stimulation to use on your dog. That’s important.

In this DVD we never used a level higher than a medium and most of the time it was on the low settings for every dog we trained.

We use a Dogtra 1900 on our personal dogs. This is about a $300.00 (plus shipping).

There are other good collars for less money. I recommend staying with DOGTRA, INNOTEK and TRI-TRONICS.  Other companies sell cheaper collars but in the remote collar business you get what you pay for.

For barking issues, unless your timing is perfect we recommend the NO bark collar from Tri Tronics.  You can find information on No Bark Collars on my web site.  I use them in my kennel every day. We put them on at night and take them off in the morning. I could not run my kennel without them There are a number of poor quality no bark collars on the market – most are not worth the shipping charges to get them mailed to you. I like the Tri Tronics collars.

I hope this helps.

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Question:

First let me say your website is fantastic!

I have a two year old rott that is a "hard dog" he has a electric fence which he respects greatly, but I got him a petsafe collar electric collar for better control as in obedience etc, when you correct him he tries to bite you. The warning tone sort of works, as it reminds him of the electric fence. But I found out after purchasing this thing the petsafe collar only delivers a mild tickle when applied, which he simply ignores.

I am looking to upgrade to the dogtra collar, but I dont want just a tickle. I want something that will stop him in his tracks. I try and walk him on the bike path and if someone else/dog is on the path, I almost have to tie him to a tree to control him. Be aware that I have had big rotts, dobes all my life, but this is the first dog I have had which such a hard prey drive who simply doesnt want his behavior corrected when he sees a quarry. The rest of the time he is the most loving dog around.

If you could answer this, please let me know thanks,
Richard

Answer:

Richard

I use a Dogtra 1900 on my personal dog. If there was a better collar on the market I would use it.

With this said I strongly recommend that you also get the DVD I did titled Remote Collar Training for the Pet Owner.

There are times that high level stimulation is required but once you learn to train with low level you will find that the number of times that a higher level is needed goes away.

Also if your dog tried to bite you when you train you need to be using a muzzle - we have the wire basket muzzled made for Rots.

When a dog tried to bite the handler (for any reason) there is a pack structure issue. Lower ranking pack members don't try and bite the pack leader. In my life I have trained more seriously dangerous dogs than I can remember - I don't mean dogs that would just bite because they were redirected into aggression I mean dogs that had taken body parts off others. My most recent DVD outlines the pack structure program I run dogs through to establish pack structure. You may want to get this.

Good luck

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Question:

Hi Ed and Cindy:

I have two dogs, a 40 lbs. Chow mix and a 35 lbs. Border Collie mix.  I wish to take their training (obedience even around distractions) to the next level.  I have never used an e-collar before and have a couple of questions:

  1. My dogs are used to wearing a dog harness as their only leash attachment device (not a sled pulling harness or “no pull” harness, just a simple harness like pet stores sell).  They have never worn a simple collar.   I’m concerned that conditioning them to the e-collar will not go as well since they will easily detect the difference between the e-collar and their harness during the “switch the collars out” exercise that takes place several times a day during the e-collar acclimation phase.  Any advice???
  2. I would prefer a 2-dog e-collar system so I can work both dogs simultaneously.  I’m thinking about the Dogtra 1702NCP because I definitely want the LCD feature…Which trainer would you recommend

Thank you for your time and effort in replying to this email!!

Marty

Answer:

Just start putting the ecollar on them every morning, like you or I would put on a wristwatch.  Don’t make any big deal about it, just make it a part of their new routine.

For smaller dogs like yours, the 1900 may be a bit large for them.  The box on the collar is pretty big.  I use a 200 NCP Gold on my Malinois, it’s a nice small size but it doesn’t have a digital read out.  Either one would work; I just would think the smaller collar would be best for your dogs, especially since your dogs aren’t use to collars of any kind.

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Question:

Your videos, toys, vitamins, leashes and collars, Cindy's raw diet instructions - everything! - have helped me over the past 3 years to make my Lab Jake the healthy dog and wonderful buddy he is to me.  I have one area in which I need your help - unnecessary barking. 

He is trained beautifully (by me) with the help of your videos, but I have this one problem; he seems to forget that I am the pack leader when he wants me to himself, and he gets possessive and demanding through barking.  

If I am playing with him at the beach, and I want to rest or talk to people, he stands in front of me and barks.  (I ignore him but it is really annoying to listen to.)  If I am outside talking to a neighbor, he stands there and barks.  When I greet a visitor at my house and talk, he stands there and barks.  When I am preparing his food, he stands there and barks and wakes up the rest of the house.  If I am sitting in a chair and he wants to play, what else?  He stands there and barks.  The barking is only connected to me; he does not stand in the yard alone and bark.

I bought the dogtra e-collar to correct his jumping --- it worked.   My questions now:

1. Most important, can I use my electric collar to train him not to bark, or do I need to buy a barking collar?
2. In your video, your command is Recall: "Come....(no response) NO, STIMULATE (response), good dog.  Jumping: "OFF STIMULATE (dog gets down) good dog."
Do you have a suggestion to use for barking to get him to stop?  I am afraid that if I use only NO, that he will not connect it to the barking since, as you say, we do use NO for other behaviors.
3. When I have the right words, do I follow the instructions on your DVD for excessive barking too, even though it isn't used on the DVD as a bad behavior?

I enjoy the training and will follow whatever suggestions you can give me.  Thank you for everything. 

Best,
Cherie

Answer:

I would definitely use the electric collar on a nick setting to stop the barking.  He’s doing this as a dominant behavior, just like jumping.

I would give him an alternate behavior to do in order to teach him to make different choices.  His barking has obviously been rewarding to him all this time, or he would not keep doing it.  I would say NO (or you could use the word QUIET), use the correction and then tell him to sit or down.  When he does the sit or down, then he gets praise and attention.

I would not let him get away with the demanding barking at all, anymore.  I think since he is already ecollar savvy, this will make sense to him very quickly.

Response:

Hi Cindy, Just wanted to tell you that you were absolutely right about Jake and the collar.  I used the nick only 3 times in 2 days, and he got the message!  Now, when I say "Quiet," he immediately stops barking and sits right in front of me like a gentleman! :) 

He sits and waits patiently (no barking anymore) when I'm getting his food ready (raw diet, of course!) or talking to someone.  Also, when I'm playing with him and then stop, he just stays around me and noses his toys without barking.  I can't believe it; I am shocked.  Thought it would take much longer.  Once again, thank you for your wonderful expertise.    

I just recommended your site, DVDs, toys, vitamins, everything Leerburg!  to someone who recently got a second dog (puppy) that is expected to weigh 150# when full grown.  Told him that I owe everything to you guys.  I hope to meet you sometime.  We'd like to get our next dog from you!   

Best,
Cherie

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Question:

Cindy,

I recently purchased the E-Collar for Pet Owners video. My plan had been to use an e-collar at about the one-year mark, after achieving a firm foundation in basic obedience. However, when reading the Discussion Forums a user alluded to a difference in the way an e-collar is used for a pet and protection work. I plan on training my dog in protection work and would like to understand what (if any) are the differences in the way an e-collar is used for pet owners as opposed to owners training their dog for protection work. Thanks in advance for taking the time.

Regards,
Al

Answer:

I think an ecollar is an exceptionally versatile tool and for some reason people get all confused on whether to use it on working dogs or pets, etc...

I use a prong collar or a leash on my dogs the same way whether I am doing obedience or protection. Same with an ecollar.

You want to dog to understand what it means when you use it and then use it fairly and consistently.

Most people use it as a punisher, instead of as a tool to help guide the dog into the proper behaviors. My leash and collar are there for guidance as well as restraint and correction, same as the ecollar.

I think if you follow the dvd, and always use the lowest level stim possible to get the desired results (no matter what the results are) then you will do fine.

I start my dogs on the ecollar at around 4 or 5 months old, to reinforce basic everyday things. By the time I would ever be using an ecollar to incorporate corrections in protection work my dog would have a very clear understanding of what the collar means and how to follow my voice commands so it should be a very easy and clear way for my dog to learn. It's really nothing more than an invisible leash. My intent is not to inflict pain, but to give the dog information as we work together.

I don't believe in waiting until the dog is already trained or a certain age to start using the collar. I feel that if the dog gets used to wearing the collar from a very early age and you remain consistent in it's use it will accelerate your training tremendously. (at least that's been my experience with my last 3 dogs I have raised from puppies)

My current pup (now 8 months old) wears an ecollar every day and his working level is around 14-16 with low to medium distractions. Most people can't even feel level 14 (on a Dogtra 200 which has 127 levels) if they put the collar on their hand. This is a super high drive puppy with a pronounced lack of body sensitivity, but he understands the collar so I can use a very low level to communicate with him. I've noticed as his understanding has increased, I can use a lower level on him. (working level used to be consistently around 19, which is still pretty low)

I hope this helps, I kind of got off on a tangent. :)

Cindy

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Question:

I searched through your site and didnt find much on chasing. I am awaiting your ecollar intro DVD. I just bought the tritronics G3 sport combo. So far she is just wearing it and on and off, I have not used it yet. i have someone coming over tomorrow to help with finding her level and comparing it to a dogtra 280 with more low level of stims.

The dog is a 10 month old spayed female akita with high prey drive. She has been in training since 4 weeks. (I visited her a few times a week at the shelter before taking her home at 7.5 weeks) She was spayed at 9.5 months. She takes 2-3 classes a week and excells in obedience, rally and agility. She does many tricks, I'm working on shaping piano playing now. She gets an hour walk a day and play with other dogs as much as I can. Her groundwork obedience is very good. She is a smart girl. She is a low to mid level dog for corrections unless the distraction is high.

My questions are how to use the collar for chasing. Keeping in mind my dad's house, my main babysitter in the winter, has 2 dogs, 3 cats, and an african gray parrot, who is loose most of the time. The old cats never ran so their dogs don't chase them. These new cats run from Roxie. So I need to deal with the cats and leaving their bird alone - ok to hang out but no chasing.

She had been chasing squirrels in my yard to the point of running into a tree. She is frenzied and not paying attention to where she is going. For birds it is not so bad, she stalks first then chases but not as bad as squirrels.  I had tried a remote citronella collar. It worked well on interrupting for birds enough for me to get her off and to 'here'. For squirrels it didn't work. She continued the chase. I was having her drag a long line. Going out to the yard was a 5 minute prep of collars, long line, food, clicker etc. basically nuts. I've had a trainer here to help with the yard. The suggestions are helping. Since then I also put fox urine in holders in the trees, since then about 2 weeks ago, I've had no squirrels in the yard. So I've been able to relax, she is playing with me again (she had been even refusing fetch which she loves, while hovering at the trees looking for squirrels).

So the last few weeks have been calm. No squirrels. I've been working on her holding stalk in a whoa, or a sit. She does this pretty well.

Questions are how to handle chasing.

Do I have her not chase at all, complete avoidance of everything, birds/squirrels etc, using no command, just that its not fun to chase. Or with command to 'fooey/leave it'. If done this way will this translate to her out running with my dad's dogs in the yard on visits upstate or their house. If she does get to chase during these times will it undermine the 'complete avoidance training'.

Or is it better to let her chase birds/squirrels, just not the cats and my brother's bird (who talks) but have her come off them when I don't want her to chase. Basically a great distraction recall.

Or do I have her not chase squirrels/cats ever, but ok to chase birds unless I call her off. 

We were at the beach today on a flexi, she was chasing birds, jumping through the water like a gazelle, (but did hold a sit when I needed her to). Seeing her jumping through the water like that was beautiful. When she stalks birds in the yard, it is a beautiful sight to see her natural instincts in motion. 

I guess I'm concerned about having her not chase anything ever, rather than calling her off something, that it will squash such a large part of her. She gets such joy out of it. I do lots of retrieve, scent games, finding toys, treats, I built a digging pit for her where I hide goodies for her to dig, I will be starting tracking soon, so im trying to let her have appropriate outlets for her drive. I wish we werent excluded from hunting and lure cursing clubs due to her breed. An akita is a hunting dog!  My last akita's drive was not as strong. she stalked and stamped without the frenzied chase so i never had an issue with it.

Thanks for helping me choose between:
1. Complete avoidance no chasing anything i havent thrown for her 
2. Letting her chase when its safe, but calling her off when i need to with the remote collar.
3. Letting her chase birds in the fenced back yard, but nothing else.
4. Putting chase on Q, and sending her to 'hunt' when its safe, but never allowing her to chose to do so on her own.

Thanks so much,
Rosanne

Answer:

It’s probably the most fair to the dog to not let her chase when she is with you.  In other words, if she is loose in the fenced yard it’s HER time to sniff around, chase birds and do doggy things.  When she is with you, I would not allow chasing. 

I have some of the most prey driven dogs around and they will not chase cats, squirrels, deer or our poultry when they are out with me.  I don’t allow it and it’s very black/white to them.  If they are in the fenced yard and a bird or squirrel is around, of course I can’t and don’t correct them because I am usually not watching so they get reinforcement from chasing in that setting.

Prey drive typically grows as the dog grows and if you let her chase animals when she is with you, it will just make things more unclear for her.  If she happens to catch one (which one of my dogs has done, a squirrel) the drive goes through the roof and the dog will require HUGE corrections in the future. I’d rather have control of my dog in these situations.  No need to feel sorry for her because you aren’t letting her do this.  It may save her life someday, because dogs chasing other animals can become hurt, lost or hit by cars very easily.

Once you watch the dvd and work with the collar I think you will be very pleased.  I can walk all of my dogs off leash around livestock, poultry and squirrels because I have used the collar as a ‘back up’ to my recall.  It’s the best tool ever.

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Question:

Hello Mr Frawley,

I have two Siberian Huskies that are very good dogs in no small part to the DVDs I got from you.  Now, I’d like to employ electric collar training.  In reviewing the products, a question occurred; my dogs, although sisters, are very different in training temperament.  One is fairly ‘hard’ and the younger one is very ‘soft’. Is there one of your multi-dog electric collar systems that you’d suggest for my girls?

Thank you so much for your advice (and my dogs thank you too).

Kelly

Answer:

I would recommend the Dogtra 282 NCP. I use the 2 dog collar on my Malinois every day.  It’s small, reliable and has a digital read out.  I would make sure you get the Electric Collar training DVD too and watch it before you start.  Right now it’s 50% off if you buy the dvd at the same time as the ecollar. 

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

I am hoping you can provide some advice on this common behavior my 8 month GSD pup is exhibiting, which I would like to correct. I own the following products from your store although I have yet to use the prong or fur-save collars (my pup wears them from time-to-time to be desensitized). I am listing these so you know what "tools" are available to me at the moment:

1. 8 Weeks to 8 Months DVD
2. E-Collar Training DVD
3. Basic Obedience DVD
4. Dogtra 280 NCP with Cinch-It Collar
5. Dominant Dog Collar (as back-up to Prong Collar) 6. Prong Collar 7. Fur Saver Collar

Here is the scenario:

Whenever my pup sees another dog who does not ignore her (i.e., barks, gets excited, etc.), she would lunge toward the dog with hackles raised, ears forward, and barks with some growls. This also happens when rollerbladers pass by on the street and skateboarders. What I have been doing is when I see these approaching problems, I distract her by offering her tug-toy for her to sink her teeth into until the "problem"
passes. I am wondering if this is the correct approach or am I just setting up a scenario where her behavior towards other dogs/rollerbladers/skateboarders is only muted with a tug toy. I have tried using treats as well, but that seems to have worn its course and she will take the treats up to the point the "problem" is very near and her poor behavior will take over.

The tug toy distraction is also problematic when I am at busy intersections where her tugging becomes potentially dangerous. I have been reading your discussion board and the consensus seems to be to correct her the moment she looks at another dog/rollerblader/skateboarder and then redirect. Is she too young to be corrected with a prong collar? And, when redirecting, is my use of the tug toy workable?

Any suggestions you may have on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Jeffrey

Answer:

Hi Jeffrey

You can approach this in a couple of different ways, maybe try each and see which works best for your pup.

Personally, I would try the electric collar first and this is why. I can use a low level on most dogs and "interrupt" the behavior I don't like and it takes almost NO physical effort or physical movement on my part. I think this is important because you use the verbal warning NO and if the dog doesn't stop what she is doing, then I can push the button (increasing the levels only as high as needed) My dog doesn't feel me tense up and doesn't see a big movement as I pop the leash.

Don't get me wrong, I use and advocate prong collars but with a young dog I try to use the minimal approach first. Many people would think the ecollar would be a "heavier" correction than the prong but I don't find that to be true.

As for redirection, I would certainly reward your dog for making the right choice with what she likes best. The problem I have had myself with redirecting is that the young dog started misbehaving and then looked at the re-direction of the tug as a REWARD for being 'naughty'.
There needs to be a balance. I would make her do something, a sit or eye contact or down and then give the tug.

I think you are on the right track with her, but maybe tighten up your control of her a little bit now. Get her used to the ecollar, and find her working level with no distractions. I think that as you become more comfortable and fluent with the collar you will find that you will merely need to 'tap' her with the collar to get her attention back on you. It's such a great tool.

I do like the prong for heeling and other things like that and it may be that for your dog it will work well in the scenarios you are having issue with. Since you already have the collar and the dvd why don't you give it a try and let me know how it goes?

Let me know if you have any other questions!

Cindy

Another Question:

Hi Cindy,

This is just fantastic guidance and delivered so clearly - thank you very much. Your observation of how I was using the tug-toy was ultimately rewarding my pup for naughty behavior was very accurate. I took your advice and used the e-collar in conjunction with treats. I am sure you hear this quite often - but I saw immediate results. I am also amping up the eye-contact game and pleasantly surprised that my pup's focus is better than I had anticipated (since I have been attending to this very much).

Just to make sure I am on the right path, this is what I am doing:

Any time my pup becomes alert at something (ears up, body stiffen, etc.) I give her a nick from the e-collar (usually set at 28), which causes her to take a quick glance away from whatever she was fixated on. At that moment, I stop my walk and take a few steps backwards so she turns around and faces me (instead of the oncoming problem). I give her a sit command, I praise and treat. She continues to sit and stare in my eyes and I praise and treat as the problem object approaches and passes us.
Right at that moment, I start walking forward and she in turn is not given the opportunity to launch toward the approaching problem or chase after it.

At random times I play the eye-contact game with her where she sits in front of me and stare in my eyes. I praise and treat when she holds it for some time (so far 10 seconds), and again at the moment she returns her eyes to me. Hopefully, I can work toward her keeping her eyes on me when a "problem" approaches, but I know that will come with time and practice.

Again, I (as well as my pup I am sure) really appreciate your great sensible advice!

Jeffrey

Answer:

I’m glad I can help, what you are doing sounds great!

You can also reward her at times with the tug toy, for giving you the focus and eye contact you want. If she really loves toys this will accelerate her eye contact training a lot and I think you will be surprised at how her ability to concentrate will increase in the face of distraction.

Cindy

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Question:

I have bought many of your products and have some questions? When a dog is OVERLY excited, I have been told, not to use an ecollar because it can make them aggressive! Do you agree with this? It makes plenty of sense. I have and old dogtra 1200, it goes from low to high and I have never used over 60 and I never did that but once. It goes to 100. The numbers are very small and hard to see and I am thinking of replacing it. Why do you recommend a 280 instead of a 190. I think the 280 is from low to medium and 190 is low to high, and I am sure most people never use the high, except for the exception. I have your ecollar DVD but there are "many problems" that can come up, that are not in that DVD. Do you have any advice? I don't know of a good trainer in the ec in my area. I have a very large jolly ball about the size of a basket ball, when my dog plays with it he be comes hysterical because he can't pick it up or get it. I think he would act the same with your egge toy! What do you make of this? Is it unusual? It is hard to get it away, when he gets in one of these frenzies. He traps it and wants to devour it.

Roz

Answer:

This all depends on the dog, the collar and the dog's understanding of the collar. None of my dogs would show aggression with the collar if used on the lowest possible level. Most people use collars as punishers at a high level and this can trigger aggression in an already over stimulated dog.

I like the small size of the box on the dog's neck with the 280. Since my dogs work on low level stimulation I don't need a big collar with super high levels. As it is the 280 goes from 0 to 127 in tiny increments so I can adjust the collar with fine tuning and this goes a long way to maintaining the relationship I want to have with my dogs. I don't want to hurt them or punish them with the collar, but it's a way to get their attention back on me when I don't have a physical leash on them.

Your dog sounds like me may tend to be obsessive with toys, I don't give dogs like this toys that create anxiety. It's not unusual, most of my Malinois are like this and I don't give them toys like this unless I can say DONE and they walk away from it. If you can't do that you need to have more control over your dog and until then I wouldn't give toys like a jolly ball or Egge.

Cindy

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Question:

Hello,

I receive your monthly email and order things from your company and enjoy your website so much. This months email hit home with one of the questions and answers regarding the Pit Bull. This question and answer also hit home for my best friend who I train with. We each have the opposite problems. Mine is lack of respect from my dog on the "recall" when distracted and hers is "prey drive." I'm taking private lessons regarding my recall issue using a pinch collar and my friend is using an e-collar & pinch collar. To sum this up, I need to know what to order from you and she needs to know if she needs the Aggressive Dog DVD.

I have a 2 year old Yellow Lab that I will be showing in Agility, next year. I'm not showing her until I have "full control" of her. She's obedience trained on lead and works beautifully for me in a class setting, etc. My instructor had me put a pinch on her in Agility because of not having a "total recall." She is food driven, so she ignores me totally when I call her if they are baiting another dog on contacts, etc. She'll come when called at home when no distractions. My lab is so "soft." Using the pinch with (2) tugs and saying "come" while tugging and then saying "good girl" after the tugs are done, she'll cower down. Of course, she'll pop back up to her good old self instantly and then we'll repeat the training. She'll get it finally after about three attempts, but then blow me off another day. I'm feeling the pinch is really not the answer and I read about your E-collar training and am very interested in purchasing an E-collar and the video. I use an invisible fence at home and Sadie was trained with that immediately. All it took was (1) small correction when we showed her at a very low setting and she has never come close to getting corrected ever again and I did that training when she was 5 months old. She has totally respected the invisible fence. My gut tells me the E-collar and your DVD is the answer and one that will work for a soft dog. She works beautifully for a sporting dog doing obedience and agility and loves to work, but the recall has been my main issue. I've tried different training methods and so many different collars. She knows I'm the leader of the pack in all other respects for I have forced that ever since the day I got her. I've been under different trainers in this area since I got her for this is important to me to have her fully trained properly. She's still young, for as you know lab's don't mature until around three, but I still want her to "come" when called and EVERYTIME when called. So can you recommend the right E-collar for me and I want the E-collar training DVD as well. I will use the E-collar during Agility training and at home and on walks. I live in Midland, MI a city of only 40,000 people and my home is in the city on a corner lot (that's why the Invisible Fence) and so it's not a lot of property. Do you think the Dogtra 280NCP is the right one for me?

My friend has an Australian Cattle Dog that has high prey drive. She will "bump" at any chance given. Pat has worked for 4 years on this dog and the dog works beautifully, but if Pat does not have the E-collar on, or a Pinch collar, or a Gentle Leader, the dog will run after a dog and she has no control. The dog is one who knows that when the E-collar is on or the Pinch collar is on, the dog will NOT react and will obey. Pat doesn't have "full" control when the collars are not on. We read this is where Pat has gone wrong in your E-mail today. Her dog has never attacked another dog, but has had fur in it's mouth (never drawn blood) and has bumped. Would you recommend the DVD for her for Aggressive Dogs? I'm anxious to getting the E-collar and DVD and getting started with your training method. I just don't feel my current trainer is on the right path for me. I need your expertise.

Thank you,
Renee

Answer:

Hi Renee,

I will first address your dog. I think the Dogtra 280 NCP will be fine for your dog. It’s what I use on my Malinois. It has lots of levels so you can increase or decrease the stimulation by tiny increments and the collar that the dog wears is not very large. I think that it will help you work through your issues with your lab.

For your friend’s dog, I would recommend she reestablish herself as the leader for this dog. She can read our groundwork article. I would also recommend she does not give this dog any time off leash. If the dog doesn’t respond to her without training collars (a VERY common problem) then she has given the dog too much freedom without having the proper control and training in place. She has trained the dog that the collar controls the dog, not her.

She should watch the Electric collar training DVD also and I would most certainly suggest Dominant and Aggressive Dogs DVD for her. It’s only a matter of time before these “bumps” become real bites. Things like this always escalate unless you extinguish the behavior. Every time this dog goes through this without a consequence the behavior is reinforced.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

I wanted to get your opinion, and Ed's on my two females who hate each other (the mother/daughter). I updated you previously that they get along as long as we are outside and are playing ball. As soon as I ignore them to do something else, they will start circling eachother and then I have to get their attention with the balls again.

In the trailer, they will fight between closed doors; the daughter will now ignore the mother when I call her when her mother is inside the bedroom growling and barking at the door.

My question is: Would it help to put shock collars on both of them in the trailer so they wouldn't door fight?

They also maintain composure if one is in the outdoor kennel and the other is on the outside of the kennel. I can redirect them with food and/or ball if they decide to bark or growl.

Thank you very much!

--Tina

Answer:

Hi Tina,

I would probably try a 2 dog electric collar, but use it in other applications as well as for correcting the behavior of showing aggression at the door. The reason I say that is because when dogs aren't fluent with the ecollar and the first time it's used while the dog is in an aggressive frame of mind, it can escalate the aggression instead of minimize it. I would actually use it to reinforce an obedience command like COME so instead of just zapping them for growling at the door, you can give them a chance to do something positive (like come to you) and then if they do not comply you have a way to reinforce your voice command.

I use the Dogtra 282NCP on my 2 Malinois, I like the small size of the receiver on the collars and it has been quite dependable.
http://leerburg.com/dogtra.htm I like being able to control both dogs with one transmitter also.

If you don't already have the dvd on how to use the collar, I would make sure you get that and watch it first.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

I possess a 280 Platinum Dogtra Collar. Is there any significant advantage in going in for a more advanced model like the 3500, for instance? I need the collar for a Police service / Protection dog. Thanks.

Answer:

The 3500 has a much larger range so you can use it at a greater distance. For most applications, the 280 works just fine but if your dog is going to be ranging a long distance from you then I might recommend the 3500.

Cindy

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Question:

Dear Cindy and Ed,

Just a quick note to let you know Moeshe's e-collar training is going wonderfully. He's a high prey drive dog who now downs at a distance while chasing ravens or even when someone is approaching on a four-wheeler. (We live in rural Alaska where there are no roads or cars). He also has learned to sit quietly in closer proximity to other dogs. The self-control he is mastering has made exercising him a joy and I know that he too must appreciate all of the extra off-leash freedom it has afforded him. An added plus is strangers feel more reassured by his self-control. None of this would've been possible without your training videos and I can't thank you enough!

I would like to teach him to heel however for certain situations like walking in a crowded place. Do you have a training video for that? He has mastered everything in the Obedience video but I'd like to continue training him to do other things. Unfortunately we have no Schutzhund here in the Bush so what else should I teach him at this point?

My other question is this: Do you feel there are some dogs that shouldn't receive e-collar training based on their attitude or temperament? I'm helping a friend e collar train her husky to perform the recall. According to her he understands "come" but after several low level nicks he refuses a treat reward and will only take it after he's praised or "gets over" the stimulation. He is a dog that has high food motivation normally. Keep in mind he's not vocalizing after the stem, but blinking as he should. He requires several nicks. He's a husky and I know they are independent and quite stubborn. Is this probably a pack structure problem, with the dog not regarding his owner as his pack leader? He appears oblivious to her commands. He's not getting nearly enough exercise on a leash so it would be nice to have control of the dog off leash so he can run.

Thank you so much once again for all of your great work and I look forward to hearing from you!
Diana
Goodnews Bay, AK

Answer:

Hi Diana,

Thanks for writing, it’s great to hear about your success!

You can use the ecollar to reinforce staying next to you in crowded places, for things like this I use a word like “walk” or “with me.”
This is not a formal heel command, but a cue for the dog to stay with his shoulder next to my leg. Praise and reward when he’s in position and nick him at a low level and guide with the leash when he gets out of the desired position.

If you want to train a more formal heel, then you could try our Training a Competition Heeling Dog.

Without seeing your friends dog it could be a variety of things but typically I always look at the relationship between dog and handler first. If she hasn’t already done so, I would recommend she does marker training with this dog and build some value into working with her. Have her read the article titled Training With Markers. Some dogs are harder to motivate and I find that backing up the training and using positive methods will make dogs like your friend’s husky more engaged. You can incorporate the ecollar into training after the dog is participating more and showing more interest in training. To continue training when the dog is not actively participating can make dogs reluctant and they tune the handler out and become withdrawn from the whole process. We want dogs that are active and excited about working with us. I realize this isn’t always possible but maybe she can step back a few steps and try to rebuild a foundation with her dog and start fresh.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

We have a 6 month old goldendoodle male dog.  He is a relatively good natured dog, with many puppy characteristics still; i.e. barking at new people, jumping up at new people, nipping.  He has also within the last  month or so been bearing his teeth more, mainly at my 8 year old son, but also at the rest of the family, sometimes my husband and myself included.  Never where I feel like he is just going to necessarily bite, but it is a behavior I don't like. 

So we are exploring the dogtra training collars, mainly to help me feel a bit more in control of him.  We are looking at the Dogtra 200NCP or the 280NCP.  Out of those two, which do you recommend for our dog; taking into size and behavior?  Or is there another one you prefer?

Thank-you in advance for your time, I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Laurie

Answer:

The 200 and the 280 are the same collar, with the difference being the 280 has the digital read out.  I have and use both collars.  If you like seeing the numbers on the read out, then you will like the 280 better. 

As far as the behaviors that your pup is showing, I would be making sure you are not allowing this dog a lot of freedom or privileges.  He’s testing his limits and where he stands in the family pack (which is completely normal) and if you don’t make the point that you and your family are higher in rank that he is now it will become more difficult as he gets older.  Playful puppy biting is a much different thing than baring of teeth.  He’s trying to be in charge and this behavior WILL escalate if you don’t get a handle on him right away.  

These are the resources I would recommend.

Read this article http://leerburg.com/groundwork.htm

If you do not have a crate for him, I would get one today and begin using it.

I would recommend these videos if you do not already have them.

Pack Structure for the family pet

Basic Obedience

Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive dogs

Electric Collar training for the Pet owner

I’m not trying to be an alarmist, but a 6 month old puppy who is showing his teeth at family members needs to be managed correctly or someone will be bitten and most likely it will be your son. Your dog is not trying to be “mean” or bad, but trying to structure your family to his liking.  This tells me that leadership is lacking, but the good news is that you can change that right now.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Dear Cindy

I have a 7 month old female GSD which I am trying to train by your excellent videos. Most of the problems I am having with her (biting, jumping) are handler problems. I can still hold her, but soon she will be stronger than I am!

I have free range chickens, and since this dog was first acquired at 6 wks, she has been fascinated with the chickens... not to watch, but to CHASE! I keep a 20 ft leash on her, but at times she gets away from me. Recently she chased a chicken to ground, and by the time I caught up with her she was just standing over it, holding it down with her chin... not open mouth! As soon as I rescued that one, she pulled out of her collar and took after the rooster, chasing him out into the deep weeds. Again, she just held him trapped there, not trying to bite him. (so why does she keep biting ME?!!) I am grateful she did not try to kill them. Is there any way that I can stop her from the thrill of the chase? I am afraid the chickens will die of fright!

When I want to take her out to exercise and have free play time, this becomes a problem, because the chickens are always somewhere in sight. When we play retrieving the ball, she ignores them, but if she gets bored, she starts eyeing them with malicious intent!

Do you have any suggestions?

Gratefully,
Mary

Answer:

We have free range guinea fowl, horses and 6 cats here, and all of our dogs have to learn to ignore them at a young age. I have found the longer I wait to teach them that these critters are off limits the longer it takes to make them reliable on ignoring them. We keep our young dogs ON LEASH until they are fully trained to follow OFF LEASH commands under distraction. We sell a dvd on TEACHING THE RECALL. I recommend this to you.

The electric collar is the best way to work on this, I actually don&rsquo't know of any other way that works as easily and is so clear to the dog. We start to condition the dog to just wear the collar (not get stimulated) as young as 4 months. We don't start to use the e-collar until the dog is fluent in all of the behaviors we expect them to know on leash.

I use the collar to teach a “come” command AWAY from big distractions and once the dog completely understands the collar (and not before) then I introduce things like cats, chickens, etc…. the dog is always on a long line at first so you can help guide them to the right position.

We produced a training DVD in the fall of 2005 titled ELECTRIC COLLAR TRAINING FOR THE PET OWNER. In this DVD Ed teaches people how to handle the foundation training and then how to use the collar.

Many trainers, especially hunting dog trainers and even some professional dog trainers use “escape training” when they train with remote collars. This is where they stimulate the dog, give it a command and then teach the dog how to turn the stimulation OFF by doing what’s told.

I don’t agree with “escape training.” I don’t think its fair to the dog. He is being stimulated before he is even asked to do something. In my opinion this is ass end backward.

Rather I believe in using the collar to reinforce a voice correction. In other words, I always tell my dog “NO” before I correct him. I give him the opportunity to change his behavior. My goal is to always teach my dog to follow my voice command.

If you read the article titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING you will understand how to approach corrections. In the DVD Ed simply applies that philosophy to remote collar training.

The article explains how to determine the level of correction to use on each dog. This varies according to the temperament and drive of the dog along with the level of distraction it’s currently facing at that moment in time.

This DVD shows how to determine what level of stimulation to use on your dog. That’s important.

In this DVD we never used a level higher than a medium and most of the time it was on the low settings for every dog we trained.

We use a Dogtra 280 on our personal dogs, I recommend staying with DOGTRA and TRI-TRONICS. Other companies sell cheaper collars but in the remote collar business you get what you pay for.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Mr. Frawley,

I have been watching your DVDs and making some good progress with my funloving big labrador (he's 18 months almost). He is now quite good on walks when other dogs are  leashed, he is able to control himself well in stores like Pet Smart, etc. But I also  love letting him run free on the trails.  We have some beautiful trails around here where all the dogs are off leash and the people are friendly, dogloving types. Everyone gets to know each other, and the dogs keep moving so they aren't contained like a dog park. So it's good exercise for me and my two labs.  Am I sending mixed messages by walking him on the leash and expecting him to behave at certain times and not at others when in the trails.  I was thinking an e-collar might be the solution because sometimes he doesn't come to me as quickly as I would like.  And sometimes he does.  I have a Tritronic Sport collar but have not used it yet as I have been concentrating on leash walking and obedience, pack structure, etc. So many things to do, but I really see that it is paying off. So anyway, my question is should I train him to the e-collar for walks on trails so he can be off leash? 

Thank you.
Linda 

Answer:

We would never take our dogs walking with other people who have dogs unless we knew the other dogs. You risk one dog fight and forever have a dog aggressive dog. It’s not worth it.

We also would never take our dogs to Petco. That's a stupid program they run. You have no idea how out of control some people can be about their dogs. Why risk it. It’s like letting kids play with guns.

If you want to go with these people, keep the dog on leash – and Don’t allow their dogs near your dog. Your dog needs to see you acting like a pack leader and moving dogs off away from him. It is also a good way to practice impulse control.

Kind Regards,
Ed Frawley

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Question:

Hi,

I've learned alot from your videos and appreciate all that you to to help poor handlers become better pet owners.
I have a 5 month old, 15lb, male cockapoo. He has always been very nippy, or as I prefer and believe it is bitey. I can go into his mouth to pull something inappropriate out, I can go near his food and play with it and he'll do nothing. But it seems to me that out of the blue he will jump up, grab hold of my clothes, rip them and bite me. We could be on a very pleasant walk or hanging out in the backyard and bam, he's at me or another member of the house. He can be good for a day or 2 but then this behavior returns. The corrections that I have used are the "off" command, confinement, yelling "NO!" and bitter apple on my
clothes and hands. I'm always afraid when he meets new people, that his jump and bite instinct will begin. e-collar time?

Thanks,
Laurie

Answer:

I would make sure you are continuing to control his daily life by keeping him on leash or crated. I would also make sure that you are giving him a calm, firm correction for even thinking about jumping up and biting. If you wait until he’s already all wound up, yelling at him actually will make this worse. Dogs like the reaction they get from doing this, he’s probably enjoying it a lot. It becomes a big game for them.

I would recommend you take his training up a notch and start him on more structured obedience and I feel that the ecollar is a good idea.

Here are the DVDs I would recommend:

Basic Obedience
Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner

For a dog the size of a cockapoo, I would recommend the Dogtra 175 NCP or 200NCP.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Ed & Cindy!

Before my question I'd like to let you both know that we switched the dogs to a raw diet and they are THRIVING on it.  Their tummies actually do worse on a non-raw diet now, who'd have thunk it?  ;-)

Had a question or two on the e-collar:  I'd really like to start using it with the dogs (two huskies).  Is it an appropriate training tool to introduce them to the cats in the house?  We've had to keep them seperated for far too long but they have such HIGH prey drives that I would never in a million years have them alone together or even in the same room without them on a leash. 

Also, what type(s) of e-collars would you recommend? 

Thanks again for all of your wonderful information and great advice!

Barbara

Answer:

I’m glad your dogs are doing well on the raw diet!  That’s great news.

We have an article on introducing dogs to cats, I would follow the guidelines in the article, even if you have owned the dogs and cats for a while now.

We like the Dogtra collar, I use the Dogtra 282 on my 2 Malinois.

Cindy

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Question:

Cindy,

I have a 27 month old intact male Doberman. My problem is probably not breed specific, but I mention it knowing you have a history with them.
He is a very dominant boy. I bought your e-coller DVD and an e-coller when he was 8-months. I can not tell enough people who have stubborn dogs how great a tool this can be. Using Ed's #1 through #10 correction rule, I can tell you that a #10 correction doesn't phase him. But there is somthing about the tingle of a nick that gets his attention. This is where my problem lies. I rarely have to use the remote if his collar is on. Then he is an unbelievable dog. Without the collar he still minds, but he is a little sloppy. Not as quick to respond, and sometimes I can tell he gives a brief thought to challenging me. He knows better, as I never give in, but I can see the wheels turning.

I am pretty sure that initially I got in a hurry and did not have him wear the collar on and off enough before I started the training with it.
He is very smart and he figured out that it was the coller. So! Any ideas? I feel as Ed does, that when out, the collars are are great leash, but with his mischeavios demeener, I would love him to always respond immediately to my commands.

Thanks,
Michael

Answer:

Simple solution -- he wears the collar every day.

Unless you are planning on competing in some type of dog competitions where the collar is not allowed, there is no reason that you should not put the collar on every day, just like people put on a wrist watch or their glasses. It just becomes a part of his daily routine.

I don’t believe in testing dogs by asking them to do things without collars on a regular basis, my own dogs wear their ecollars every single day. By asking dogs to obey when you have no means to back up your request, you are actually teaching your dog that it is the collar that has the control of them, not you.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

I'm attempting to help yet another friend e-collar train her dog to perform the recall. I've got a couple of questions concerning this: Is it a mistake for a dog owner to skip sit, stay, and down using the ecollar, and instead teach the recall first? I suggested to her she first do all of the obedience/e collar/dominant dog videos by watching your videos I loaned her, but I'm afraid some shortcuts were taken by her thus far. This dog knows the sit, but when the recall with a stem correction was attempted, the dog bit one of the dogs in his pack.

Raising the stem put him in even higher drive. This is one of those dogs that thinks the correction is coming from another dog. Is e-collar training a mistake for such a dog? Or should this person instead do more foundational training with the e-collar which she has not done yet (ie mastery of sit, stay, down with low level corrections and low level distractions at first), so that the dog will realize the correction is coming from her rather than another dog? This is at least what I suggested to her but I don't want to steer her wrong, I remember Ed touches upon this problem in one of the videos but I don't recall which one. Thanks so much for your insight!

Diana
Goodnews Bay, AK

Answer:

Skipping foundation training steps is NEVER recommended and neither is trying to train a dog with other dogs present. Until the dog will perform all the exercises correctly with no distractions, putting the dog in a situation where there are other dogs running around is asking for problems.

Maybe your friend should watch all the videos and then spend some time reading the website.

The way the collar is being used with this dog is wrong, and is one of the reasons that people have a bad perception of ecollar training. The dog needs to understand the concept first before it’s used in a high excitement situation.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Ed,

In your opinion will the Dogtra 175NCP be sufficient for use on a relatively submissive 2 year old adult Doberman?

Regards,
Josh

Answer:

I have used a 175 on my high drive Malinois, and it’s worked fine.  A lot of it depends on how far away the dog gets, the 175 doesn’t have a real long range, only about 400 yards.

I might suggest a 200, it has a half mile range.

Cindy

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Question:

I Bought a Dogtrot 1900NCP Field Star Electric Collar & some DVDs from you about 10-15 days ago. We love it and it was a real blessing for our 2.3 year old trained German Shepard "MAX."  He was trained earlier for the older couple who owned him before us, then shoved outside when their other small breed dog objected to him being in the house.

When we got him home we brought him inside and he's been great except for the fact that the trainer let him jump up on people. That was one of the reasons that we bought the collar, and for refresher training.

Two questions: Will the six inch antenna add to the 1/2 mile range that Dogtrot says is the unit's range and will it fit the unit? Will the original length probes be long enough or should I order a longer size?

Oh, by the way two short training periods today with the collar and the "off" command has improved his jumping up behavior all ready.

Thanks,
Cecil

Answer:

I just got off the phone with Dogtra. Putting a longer antenna on the collar will not give you more range. You would have to buy a different unit that has a bigger range if you need more than ½ mile.

As for the probes, if they are making contact then they should be fine.  People with very thick or long coated dogs usually go for the longer ones.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

Your advice worked out very well. My GSD pup is now 16 weeks old and I have come back to you to ask for your gracious help with another problem.

 The pup is very "mouthy" on me and on inappropriate objects, i.e. he trys to eat sticks, rocks, grass, and even dirt! I judge him to be of extremely high prey drive.

I have been studying your DVDs ("Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months," "Basic Obedience," "Establishing Pack Structure For the Family DOG") and learned that you often condition a dog to wear a remote collar at 4 months of age.

Concerning the "mouthiness," I have only used verbal corrections and diversion to toys up until this point as per your puppy dvd to help. This techinique has resulted in improvement but I think I need to go further to stop this "teeth on skin" fun my pup is having. Your obedience dvd says that I should wait till 5-6 months of age to use corrections (so as not to damage my bond with him) so I think the time is coming very quickly for me to become firmer.

Since I would like to use the collar to train the puppy to stop his nipping me and to stop eating "garbage" I was thinking of purchasing your "Dogtra 280NCP" collar and your E-collar DVD.  Would this be the right collar for a puppy?  Would it still be OK to use when he is older for other training?  Will the DVD tell me everything I need to know to start off right now at 4 months of age?

Thanks in advance for your great advice!

Dennis

Answer:

I’m glad the advice I gave is working out. Thanks for letting me know.

I do start my own dogs learning to wear the e-collar around 4 months. We do not train with the remote collar until the dog is trained to follow all the behaviors we expect while ON LEASH.

I would recommend the ecollar video . 

For the eating of stuff and biting you, I train the word YUCK. I say YUCK, and trade the dog for a toy or high value food reward. Once the dog fully understands that YUCK means spit out what is in his mouth I will only randomly reward the behavior. At that point I will reinforce disobedience to YUCK with a low level stimulation. This works very well.

I like to use this word instead of NO, because I use NO in my marker training.  

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

We have a 6 month old spayed female Brittany that we selected (at 10 weeks) from a litter of proven hunters. Bea is a house dog first and will get ample opportunity to bird hunt. Bea has done well in our basic training but is very stubborn at times, occasionally sitting and looking at you when you say “come” (most of the time she runs to you at full speed) and an insistent desire to nibble or gnaw our hands despite our “NO BITE” response. Our biggest concern is her apparent fight for dominance over my wife who is with the dog all day. My wife takes Bea outside in our fenced yard several times a day and plays fetch and works with her on her basic commands (sit, down, stay, go get it etc.) and attempts leash work. Most of the time Bea is very responsive and obedient. However, at times every day Bea will suddenly jump up on my wife and grab her arm or leg and tear her clothes or pinch or bruise her arm or leg. My wife’s response is a very loud “NO - OFF” but the “attack” is repeated several times before my wife can remove herself from the pup. The dog has been crate trained and most often after an “attack” my wife will put Bea in the crate resulting in 30 minute dog-nap for both parties. This pattern happens about 3 – 4 times a day.

I witness it often when my wife is doing the dishes and for no apparent reason Bea will jump up on my wife and take a playful nip. I’ve witnessed a similar attack when my wife is in her chair watching TV and the dog may be playing fetch with one or both of us and suddenly jump up and nip her arm. My wife is recovering from cancer chemotherapy and doesn’t need additional bruising. In our opinion, these “attacks” are really heavy duty play by the pup. The dog will usually stop and get down from my wife when I shout “NO – OFF!!!” but is slow to respond when my wife shouts the same command.

Another issue is my wife loves to walk our dog on the leash. Ever since Bea has discovered birds, rabbits and squirrels, she is a terror to walk, even with a prong collar. She tries to pull our arms out of socket on every walk. I’ve adjusted the prong collar like your video and have it snug behind her ears. I see an improvement with the prong but if the pup sees “game,” she pulls like there is no prong collar.

I feel the nipping is a dominance issue. Bea looks for all opportunities to nibble my hand but is much more obedient with me and rarely is rough with me. I do notice that sometimes when we play fetch, Bea gets excited and will nip my chair or footstool (occasionally my leg or pants) waiting for me to toss her toy, sort of an uncontrollable urge to bite something. I feel she has accepted me as the Alpha but is still trying to find her role with my wife.

Bea is our 3rd house-bird dog (previous male Brittany & female Vizsla) so we have some experience in training and co-existing peacefully with active dogs. We keep thinking that Bea will outgrow this phase but it still persists. We are considering a training collar and have recently purchased your DVD on Collar Training. I feel the E-collar could be useful in curbing the jumping up, “attacking” and tugging on the leash.
I am in favor but even after watching the video my wife feels that the collar may be cruel. She is very close to letting me get an E-collar and I agreed that we both had to agree using the e collar training.

The behavior we wish to curb with the E-Collar are:

* Stop jumping up on people
* Stop jumping up on the table or counter to explore food opportunities
* Stop “attacking” my wife
* Stop the constant nibbling or biting of hands when you try to pet the dog
* Stop tugging on the leash
* Come consistently when called

Do you feel a properly applied e-collar program would be the best plan on curbing some of our Brittany’s behavior? Does this sound like a dog vs. wife dominance issue?

Incidentally, Bea is showing signs of being a great bird hunter. I took her out this past weekend for her second hunt for pen raised quail. She found all 10 planted birds and pointed each one. She held her point on the birds when I approached the bird to flush it (see attached). She hasn’t figured out the retrieval part yet but she is doing great in the field for a 6 month old pup.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Don

Answer:

I think you are right on with your assessment of Bea. She’s a young dog that is trying to establish herself in the family pack, and she perceives weakness in your wife’s leadership so she is pushing the envelope.

I do feel that the ecollar is a great tool for managing high energy physical dogs, because it takes all the physical contact out of the correction. Many times dogs like Bea enjoy the whole process of being corrected even though we think it’s a negative thing we are doing. E-collars take all the physical movement and emotion out of managing a dog like this.

I’d start with our Groundwork program first though.
I do believe that Bea has too much freedom, and by putting her through the groundwork training first, it will help your wife tremendously. Pack Structure for the Family Pet is the DVD that picks up where the article leaves off.

Obedience training is good and necessary, but the handling of the dog in day to day life is more important with issues like you are having with Bea.

She sounds like a very promising pup, and I am always glad to hear that people are working with their dogs in the venue that the dog was bred for. Adolescent dogs can be very challenging, but the good ones always seem to be a bit more difficult to handle at first :-) Once you get the leadership issues ironed out and Bea is working with the ecollar I think you will be very pleased.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi,

I recently got a two-dog Dogtra electric collar set from you with the e-collar training DVD.  My dogs are Siberian Huskys, and following your instructions on setting the stimulation level, neither dog reacted with  any setting up to the maximum.  I expect that their fur (especially now that it’s getting cold) is interfering with the electrical contact.

Should I shave a small patch on the dogs’ necks for the electrodes, or get the longer ones? My concern about cutting into their coat is the coming cold season – Denver can get into negative temps regularly in January & February.  It seems like it wouldn’t be a good idea even if it was just a small area.

Thanks in advance for your opinion, and especially thanks for your great work!

- k -

Answer:

I’d recommend the longer probes AND you may want to thin the hair a bit (not shave it). Thinning shears work well for this.

Cindy

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Question:

Cindy,

I have a 2y F GSD. I sent her to basic obedience training at around 10months. She has done well and follows her commands on and off leash. My big problem is with recall especially once I start to play with her and she isn't focused on training. Once I stop working her and just play, she will often see another dog and run across the park. I will yell here (I know she hears me but decides to ignore). As you can imagine the other owner isn't to pleased and I know it can become a safety issue with my dog Scout. Again, she does well in work mode but loses it at other times. I tried working her with an e-collar. Once again she did well during work mode then..booooom, there she goes (that e-collar didn't stop her). What do I do now?

Thanks so much,
Eric

Answer:

Eric

I think you need to back up your training.  If your dog isn’t responding to you, there isn’t one thing wrong with going back to basics and reworking an exercise.

Do you have our Electric Collar video? I’d highly recommend it.   With issues like this I recommend that people train their dog with a remote collar (or in your case, retrain).

We produced a training DVD titled ELECTRIC COLLAR TRAINING FOR THE PET OWNER. In this DVD Ed teaches people how to handle the foundation training and then how to use the collar.

Many trainers, especially hunting dog trainers and even some professional dog trainers use “escape training” when they train with remote collars. This is where they stimulate the dog, give it a command and then teach the dog how to turn the stimulation OFF by doing what’s told. 

I don’t agree with “escape training.” I don’t think its fair to the dog. He is being stimulated before he is even asked to do something. In my opinion this is ass end backward.

Rather I believe in using the collar to reinforce a voice correction. In other words, I always tell my dog “NO” before I correct him. I give him the opportunity to change his behavior. My goal is to always teach my dog to follow my voice command. 

If you read the article titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING you will understand how to approach corrections. In the DVD Ed simply applies that philosophy to remote collar training. The article explains how to determine the level of correction to use on each dog. This varies according to the temperament and drive of the dog along with the level of distraction it’s currently facing at that moment in time.

The Remote Collar DVD shows how to determine what level of stimulation to use on your dog. That’s important. In this DVD we never used a level higher than a medium and most of the time it was on the low settings for every dog we trained.

We use a Dogtra 280 NCP or Dogtra 1900 NCP on our personal dogs. Other companies sell cheaper collars but in the remote collar business you get what you pay for.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

I'm just looking for some quick guidance on the electronic dog collars. I will be ordering your training video and the collars from your web site. However, I'm not sure if I should buy two separate units (one for each of my dogs) or one two-dog model.

I have a male 100 lb+ Pit Bull mix and a female Border Collie mix. Both are rescue dogs and both have become very aggressive when they see other dogs. My dogs never fight with each other during rowdy play or over toys or food.  However, when they are together and they see another dog, the male Pit Bull attacks my female Border Collie - especially if she barks at the other dog (which she does about 99% of the time). This scenario is the only time he is anything other than submissive to her.  When she barks at another dog, all bets are off.  He's never broken her skin - but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.  I am committed to getting this under control.  This example also happens in the house if they see another dog walk by through the window. 

They both need an electronic collar. If I'm trying to control them when they are simultaneously being aggressive as in the above example, won't it be difficult to "toggle" back and forth with the two-dog model or am I making it more difficult than it is? Would it be more effective to be holding a separate unit in each hand? At the moment I have to walk them separately to keep them from fighting each other when they see another dog.  Also because the male is so strong I can't yet control more than just him on a walk if we encounter another dog. My goal is to some day be able to walk them together.

Yes, I'm using the prong collars (with the back up dominant dog collar) on our walks.  Using the prong collar has resulted in a huge improvement in my ability to handle my dogs. I had no idea how to properly fit and use the prong collars until I found your excellent website a week ago.

Thank you for your input on my one or two collar question.

Stacy
Long Beach, CA

Answer:

I use the Dogtra 282 on my 2 Malinois every day.  You don’t have to toggle back and forth; this unit has an orange button for one dog and a black button for the other.  It’s much easier to deal with than 2 separate remotes, in my experience. (The only photo on there is the one dog unit, but the two dog has two different color collar straps that correspond with the buttons on the transmitter).

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi,

Thank you for reading my email. I have purchased many of your videos and have great success. My question to you is I have conditioned my dog to the E-collar and he is doing great. The problem I am having is he keeps scratching him self on the neck and is making it raw I never leave it in the same spot I have also tried to keep it looser but then I get intermittent connection sometimes. I thought you could tell me how to cure this problem because I am sure you have run into this before with all the dogs you have worked with.

Thank You,  Mark.

Answer:

Usually when the collar makes a raw spot it’s because it’s actually on too loose, which allows the probes to rub.  Make sure it’s fit snugly, so the probes don’t move around when he runs or scratches at it.

If your dog has a sensitive neck, then I would make sure to move the probes around to different areas around the dog’s neck every few hours when he’s wearing this.  I would also make sure you aren’t leaving it on all the time.

Cindy

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Question:

Hello,

I don't know if you truly get a chance to answer much of this, but I have a question that stems from a husband/wife debate. I've searched on the forums but I don't see this, and I really want an authority figure that he and I will both respect.

My husband is a police officer and we have a female GSD (2 years) who he has been training, in bite work as well as searching, but not in an official capacity. She is a great dog and very obedient. I trust her 100% with us and as well as I would trust any dog with my 3 year old.

My issue is with the cats. We have two. As a pup she was terrible with the cats and would bark and chase as soon as a paw or tail appeared, even (or especially) when kenneled. She was always crated or on a lead in the house and we always corrected her, so that behavior stopped.
She has never attacked a cat. Once she had learned to ignore the cats, and was obedience trained to our satisfaction, she was loose while we are home and now, even when we are not (she is allegedly guarding the house, in my husband's opinion).

My claim is that she stalks the cats and fixates on them. She stares at them every time they enter the room and continues to stare until they settle on a spot to sleep or leave. She will sometimes stretch her neck out and place her open mouth on the cat's head or neck when they walk under her muzzle. They always freeze and she will stay there, without biting until one of us sees her or the cat walks away. I have also noticed wet cow licks where the fur on my cats' heads is standing up sometimes after she is around them (in the kitchen or family room) unattended.

I contend that one day, a cat is going to bolt during this, and she is going to grab it, shake it, kill it and probably tear it up. I think the walking or running cats activate her very high prey drive, and I think she is particularly bored right now because she is not getting training like before due to winter weather and my new infant. I think that this behavior should be corrected every time.

My husband claims that she is "playing" with the cats. He claims she is establishing rank. He feels this because the dog is not chasing the cats (which I claim is only because she's not allowed to run in the house) and because the dog and cats will all sleep within a few feet of each other peacefully, and she leaves sleeping cats alone. In fact, one of the cats is so friendly with her that she will occasionally sleep with her ears, tail or paws stretched right against the dog's muzzle.
She also rubs against the dog's legs. Other times the cats run from her. Might I add he is not really a cat person and has repeatedly stated that the dog probably sees them as "rodents." He also claims it's not a problem because if you tell her "nein" or "watch" she will immediately turn her attention away from the cat and give attention to the human.

I think the cats sense her state of mind, and that explains why they are sometimes friendly and that the dog is a danger to them when they are moving. I have even seen her try to goad them into moving with her nose if she really should have been exercised better or is not mindful of our presence.

Who do you feel is right, and would you correct her for simply looking at the cat? Or is looking normal, and would you correct her for practically engulfing the cat's head or neck with her mouth? I swear she's thinking cheeseburger, but my husband claims she is merely observing something in her environment. I have a huge fear of coming home from work with my daughter and finding her kitty dead on the floor.
I understand she is trained, but she is still a dog and is home bored and unattended with these cats.

She's not really my dog so it is not something I am going to be able to correct without the opinion of a professional who's opinion my husband respects feels I am right (as it won't be a consistent process without him practicing the same thing).

Thanks if you can give an opinion, I would really appreciate it.

Erica

Answer:

In my opinion, this dog needs a correction for even looking at a cat.
Anytime a dog fixates on anything like a cat or small animal, the potential for disaster is there. I got a call recently from someone who had a dog for 4 years (from a young puppy) and the dog was raised with the family cats. Long story short, he killed one of the cats right in front of the owners. I found out after talking with them that he would fixate on the cats and mouth them. They mistakenly thought he “loved”
them and wanted to play.

You may be lucky, but I wouldn’t count on it. Our dogs would not have an issue with chasing and biting any small animal that runs, so they are taught from an early age that this is not allowed. We do not allow them to bark at, chase, or stare at the cats. The best way to deal with it is with a remote. I would not leave a dog that behaves like this loose in a home alone with a cat. Not ever.

Electric collar Training for the Pet Owner is the place to start, if your husband wants to work on this.

Cindy

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Question:

I have a 16 ½ month old spayed Maremma sheepdog which was purchased as a puppy. This breed is used to guard livestock, and is supposed to have a low prey drive, which allows them to bond to the livestock. She is a wonderful animal, very loving and also protective of her animals and of us. She lives in a completely fenced 3 acre yard with her goats. She lives outside and never comes into the house. We purchased a prong collar and E collar as well as your DVDs on Basic Obedience training and E collar training. She knows Sit and Down, and we are moving into the correction phase of the training. I am only using the E collar, because I failed to condition her to the prong collar, and now she will only mind when it is on. I have been very careful to condition her to the E collar before using it. My question concerns eliminating 2 behaviors. One is jumping on us, which is covered thoroughly in the E collar DVD. What I would like some comment on is her mouthing of our hands and feet…Still! I see no signs of aggression in her behavior. No growling, no possessiveness of toys or things. She is always good natured and releases whatever she is playing with. But she will walk along side of me and begin to mouth my hand. It continues and as she gets more playful, she exerts more pressure. She never breaks the skin. Trying to stop her with the traditional methods just seems to ramp her up more, and she may begin to come at me from behind. She will then pull at my pants, and grab my ankles. I don’t think any of this is aggressive, but is it dominance? I would like to use E collar to stop this(she will never mouth when on a prong). What approach would you recommend. Thank you for all your help with our dog!

Pam

Answer:

I would use the ecollar for mouthing just like you would a leash. It sounds like she is trying to initiate play with you, just like she would with another dog. I would say NO, and then use the collar as instructed on the DVD. I don’t believe it’s dominance, per se, just a young dog trying to start a game.

You can even tap the button on the remote a couple of times in quick succession if you need to. I have found that the key to being successful in working with dogs is to have yourself set up each time you know you will be in contact with her. Kind of like a seat belt, you put it on every time you get in a car but hope you don’t need to use it. If there is a reason to use it, you are prepared.

I make sure my dogs don’t pay much attention to the transmitter, I keep it in my vest pocket but have my hand on it most of the time so I can react quickly if need be.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Ed,

I have purchased your dominant dog collar, e-collar, and dominant dog videos and was wanting to know what would be the best e-collar for my great dane of one year.

He has a bad habit of lunging at other dogs on our walk. I have fixed the problem mostly by spraying him with compressed air if he doesn't obey the 'leave it' command', but I think an e-collar might be a better solution with other uses also.

I have attached some pictures of him and my other dog over the past year.

Gavin

Great Dane Great Dane
Great Dane Great Dane
Great Dane

Answer:

Gavin,

Cool photos of your dog.

For a great dane I would recommend the Dogtra 1900ncp.

The way to do this training is to give stimulation when your dog even looks at another dog. Don't wait for him to light up on a dog. Just looking gets a high level stimulation - your goal here is to extinguish this behavior its not to train him an exercise. When you do training you use low level - when you extinguish a behavior you use high level.

When you see that your dog looks away from a new dog you know your training is working - at that point you can lower to level back to a low level stimulation and often times a 'nick"

People screw this up when they start low and go high on dog aggression. This often times teaches the dog to take the hit (s to speak) and fight through it.

When you do this work you should ALWAYS make your dog wear the collar when you walk - don't ever assume he will not revert back. When I was a k handler my dog wore his collar on every call-out. I seldom had to touch the button - maybe once in two times a slight nick.

Good luck with your dog.

Ed Frawley

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Question:

Hello, my name is Cindy, as well…….Anyway, we have a 37 lb., 3 year old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever we adopted last year – a sporting/hunting dog.  She is well behaved, well balanced and a joy.  Our problem:  We love to hike and love to do so with our Nicky off lead…..Although, she is balanced, well behaved and she knows her basic commands, off lead is way too much of an enticement to do what she was bred to do, run and follow a scent.

What kind of e-collar would you recommend if any?  How would you train to have her stay on the trail and not run off into the wild blue yonder?  I do not need her to come to me; I need her to do whatever she likes as long as she on the trail within sight.

CAN YOU HELP?   Thanks A Bunch for your time and advice…..

As always,
Cindy 

Answer:

I would recommend the Dogtra 280 NCP, I use this collar every day in the application that you will be using it.  I take my dogs for an hour snowshoe hike daily off leash and there are always deer, squirrels and other tempting critters to chase.  Once the dog is fluent with the collar, it won’t be a problem to communicate with her what you want. 

I would make sure you get the video as well; it’s 50% off if you buy the collar at the same time.  Electric collar Training for the Pet Owner.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

A while back I started learning remote collar training from a trainer with my pitbull mix Jesse. I noticed right away that, while collar conditioned, she was remote-wise. Is this normal, does it matter?

I decided to stop and finish the obedience training I was doing. Since then I learned marker and remote collar training from your videos, and now we're ready to start the remote collar part of your training.

When I took out the remote and put it around my neck, she scooted away from me, ears back, head low. I was marking my having the remote giving her high value treats. She's a hard dog with regard to corrections but acting nervous about the remote.

Should I continue as planned, do more marking before I start, remote condition her for a couple of weeks, something else?

Thanks for your response.

Kathy

Answer:

I think you’ve created too much attention to the remote.  I want my dogs to ignore the remote, or at the very least be neutral to it.  It should mean nothing to the dog.

First thing is I never wear the remote around my neck (or VERY rarely).  In order for me to be effective with it, I need to have it in my hand or in my pocket.  It’s very awkward to use it when it’s hanging around my neck.  I usually only put the lanyard around my neck when my dogs are not with me, so I don’t lose the transmitter.

I’d start carrying the transmitter around with you all the time, and I would ignore any weird behavior from the dog.  I wouldn’t show it to her or try to hide it, but would just hold it discreetly in my hand or keep it in my pocket.

I’d do this for a while (maybe a week or two) and if you don’t see any difference in her behavior then just go ahead and start training.  Be aware of what you are doing with the remote, I’ve seen some people holding it and pointing it at the dog like a tv remote control and this is really intimidating to the dog.   You can keep it in your pocket (get used to the feel of it, so you can find the button you want without looking).

I hope this makes sense.

Cindy

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Question:

Mr. Frawley,

Let me first commend you on such an informative and well thought out website. This website keeps me occupied for hours, I just flat out love it.

I am new to dog training but have been around dogs for a while. I am a 20 year college student and I own a pit bull, but let's get back to that in a minute. I recently bought your e-collar DVD and I have purchased the Dogtra 1900 ncp collar (I got it because I saw it was one of your favorites on your web site. I have not received my collar yet, but I watched your DVD the other day. I found it very informative, but I have some other questions. With the dogtra 1900, could you tell me the stim levels that correspond with the ones in your DVD, because I believe that the Dogtra 1900 has 1-120 and something like that. That would be a great help. Also I was wondering if the e-collar can be used to train more then what was shown in the DVD, such as getting into the garbage, inappropriate chewing, and so on... I have some more, but let me tell you a little about my dog. I have a 7 month old pit bull, she is about 45-55 lbs and is very athletic. I know that you are a shepherd and malinois guy, but I was wondering what you thought about pit bulls? I have done a lot of research and have seen that they have one of the best "never quit attitudes," and a constant want to please their owner. I was wondering what you think of this. Now I am having a couple problems with her.

Sometimes out of nowhere she will show signs of aggression, I think it may be built up energy and its how she gets it out of her because usually when this happens it will start by her running circles throughout my apt, and when you really try to stop her is when she gets aggressive. I should tell you that she is not really territorial at all, no food aggression, no toy aggression, but when playing tug she does start to growl and gets very hyped up. But for the tug part I have started to teach her out, and she is really starting to pick it up. She is very smart especially for a pit. I was hoping you could give me some of your expert advice. For this aggression would a very high level stim help? I mean from your DVD you say you have to use it (in animal aggression) before it escalates. Usually before she goes off she will back up with her hind legs upright and her front legs laying down. Do you think maybe just more exercise will do it? I cannot lie sometimes I am so busy I forget to get her exercised. Please any and all advice would be great. Also if you could tell me of any toys or dvds or tugs that you recommend on your site that would be great, thank you for your time and for all you do for dog owners.

Michael

Answer:

No one can tell you what stimulation levels to use on your dog. I would have hoped you would have gotten that from the dvd. The level you use will depend on the hardness or softness of your dog.

I like Pitts. They are often driven dogs and overall as a breed have nice temperament. With that said they need to have their pack structure established because of the underlying tendency towards dog aggression. To ignore training and pack structure work is a huge mistake with these dogs. I didn't get the feel that you are using a dog crate in your home. Another huge mistake.

In your case you are making a huge mistake to not provide this dog with more exercise. If you are limited in what you can offer then get a weighted vest and have the dog wear it on your walks. Bottom line is you need to make time for exercise with this breed. To put a remote collar on it and try and correct it for running around the house is not a productive solution.

As far as the breed goes, they can go out and do club level dog sport work.
They can't do high level dog sport competition. They can't handle the stress of training. Once would think they can but the facts don't prove this out.

If you want to learn how to get control of this dog get my DVD Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet and become a master of "Marker Training." The resources for marker training are:

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers DVD

Your challenge will be to master every detail of the system. In my opinion 8 out of 10 people who attempt this work don't understand the details. When that happens they cannot apply the training correctly which only ends up confusing the dog.

You would be better advised to use marker training to teach your dog obedience. You can use a remote collar to extinguish behaviors you don't like (I.e. getting into the garbage) but with this said if you're doing your pack structure work properly your dog will not have the possibility to get into the garbage. A remote collar is better used to tighten off leash control at the end of the marker training work.

Good luck with your dog.

Kind Regards,
Ed Frawley

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Question:

What is the recommended age to with a puppy to start using the electronic training collar.  I have a 4 month old female german shepherd. I was hoping to start using the collar around 6 months old, if that is a safe age. My main purpose is to train the recall.

Thank you.
Debbie

Answer:

We start letting our puppies wear a remote collar at 4 months. We do not train gthe dog with the collar until later. When we start depends on the dog and where it is in training. We do not use a collar until the dog knows the commands we expect it to follow on leash. In other words it 100R% knows what we are asking it to do and will do it all the time while on leash. Thats the point we would start using the remote collar.

We have an extensive q & a section on the website, I would suggest you spend some time reading there

http://leerburg.com/qaelectric.htm  You’ll learn quite a bit, even though not all the questions are geared towards 6 month old puppies.

I’d also recommend Electric collar Training for the Pet Owner.

Let me know if you need help selecting the right ecollar (if you haven’t already purchased one).  

Cindy

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Question:

Hi,

I would like to clarify a couple of points.

1. Is the 280NCP suitable for a German Shepherd Dog?

2. After successfully training an exercise will I be able to wean the dog off the collar or is this a permanent part of training?

I look forward to hearing from you,

Regards,
Matt
'All the way from the UK'

Answer:

The 280 NCP is suitable for any breed of dog, it’s the collar I use on my own dogs every day.

If your training is done correctly, you can wean the dog off the collar but unless you are planning on a competition career with your dog I see no reason to ever stop using it.  I use it every day with my dogs. 

Cindy

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Question:

I am deciding between the Dogtra Electric Collar and the Tri-Tronic.  What is the real difference.  Do they not accomplish the same thing?  I have a single female 5 year old German shepherd that I would like to stop chasing squirrels small dogs in the park.  I also would like the dog not to take off when there are other dogs around.  Which is my best choice the Dogtra or the Tri-Tronics.

Answer:

Personally, I like the Dogtra better for one reason. That is that the stimulation levels are more consistent and go up in tiny increments so I can fine tune what my dog is feeling. 

The Tritronics has 20 levels, the Dogtra has 127. I don’t ever want to overcorrect my dog or make a huge jump in stimulation levels, so for me, the Dogtra is the best.

I use my collar every day for a variety of applications. Many people like the Tri Tronics collars and they work just great for their needs.  Both are quality collars, and if you are only looking to correct unwanted behavior either one is fine. I prefer fine tuning, and the ability to communicate with my dog on a very subtle level so I choose Dogtra for my dogs.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy:

We have a 2.5 year old male Belgian Malinois (neutered), who comes from a line of fairly high drive dogs (several of his siblings were sold for police work).

Our dog has had very extensive training. We've purchased many of the Leerburg videos dealing with drive, focus & motivation, conflict, to name a few; we have put him through all the obeidence classes from Basic through Advanced, worked privately with a very good trainer, and also with another trainer, a retired K-9 handler who has 30 years of experience with these dogs. 

Overall, he's a great dog, but requires a tremendous amount of activity (which is fine, as my husband is retired, so they do high activity everyday - walks two times a day, hiking, frizbee, playing "ball" and a number of other activities).  We always make him "work" for everything also, so as we play ball, hike, whatever, he has to work for it. Generally, he performs well and is obedient, except for the following quirk --the one "problem" we have been unable to break is his prey-drive quirks.  He wants to "get things," both moving and stationery objects such as the sliding door at it's opened and closed, the vaccum, his dog bed (he'll rip to shreds, so needless to say he gets no more beds; but other than that, he is not distructive with other things at all). 

Also, anytime my husband is doing work around the yard that involves any use of equipment (mower, blower, trimmers, etc.), this dog loses his mind. During this time, the dog is confined to his kennel and he will jump up and down five feet in the air, growl, bark (unless his bark collar is on), and just go nuts. We have every tool available from a pinch collar, a bark collar, to an e-collar, but no amount of correction will dissuade his drive to go after certain items. I have suggested my husband just put him in his plastic crate away from the activity, so he does not wear himself out or hurt himself in the kennel (he has cut his leg on the chain link more than once).

Is there any additional training we can focus on to reduce these high drive tendancies and curtail his drive behavior, or is this just a fact of life with these types of dogs? Will he get any better with age?

We appreciate any advice you can give us!

Annette

Answer:

The behavior you are seeing with your dog will not get better with age. If you don’t do something about it, it will actually become more pronounced.

A lot of high drive dogs do this; if the ecollar is used correctly you can control the dog in these situations and teach him that this behavior is not allowed. I don’t believe that these types of dogs can ever be trusted unattended without an ecollar on around these stimulus. 

What I do for my dogs like this, I crate them out of sight of the lawn mower, 4 wheeler, etc…. I don’t leave them in a kennel run in sight of these things. It tends to make them worse. The rule for any problems like this is to never have the dog get reinforcement for this ever again. This means if you aren’t out with him AND prepared to interrupt the behavior, then he should be in a crate out of sight and hearing. I may also use a bark collar in the crate too.

I will also have them out with me, and use the ecollar with a Leave It or No when they even glance in the direction of the item that I know is going to set them off. You’ll need to do training steps. You’ll start with the dog around the item when it’s not turned on, then with your husband touching the item, then with him acting like he’s going to turn on the engine, etc...  If you wait until the dog is already leaping and going crazy, it’s too late for meaningful training. You need to catch the dog BEFORE he starts barking and carrying on. By allowing the dog to behave like he has been you are actually creating instability and he’s getting reinforcement for acting like this. 

I’m not sure what kind of ecollar you have, but if it’s not working for your dog then I might advise a different model.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

I just re-watched (for the third time) Ed's video on electric dog collar training, and I have a question: Can my "small-dog aggressive" dog be trained not to bother small dogs? He's a two year old Lab, and recently started "attacking" small dogs on leads (which doesn't sit well with their owners--to say the least). Up to this point he's been responsive to my commands and friendly towards other dogs, but "loses it" when he sees a small dog.  We live in an area where most of the larger dogs walk without leashes; we do likewise and he enjoys meeting and playing with those larger dogs. However, when a small dog approaches--the problems start. 

I do not wish to constantly use a lead when we're out, nor do I want to discourage him from socializing with ALL dogs. Are these realistic goals? Would you recommend an "extreme" correction when he approaches small dogs only? (He was trained by me using an electric collar, but I've never hit him with anything higher that a low-medium nick, on the Dogtra scale.)

Any insight you can provide would be appreciated.

Thanks!

John

Answer:

If you have watched the electric collar video, you know the goal is to get your dog to follow a voice command.  As the pack leader, you pick and choose what you allow your dog to do. BUT I don’t agree with allowing dogs to play with strange dogs, period. If your dog is showing aggression to small dogs, it’s only a matter of time before he meets a large dog that there is going to be an altercation with. The fact that your dog has recently started aggressive behavior (2 years old is when many dogs begin pushing the envelope with other dogs) is a big red flag to me.

I suggest you read this article on Dog Parks.

But to get back to your question, if your dog is truly trained he can be told who and when he can approach. If he “loses it” and wont’ listen to you then he is not ready for off leash.  With that said,   I certainly wouldn’t recommend an extreme correction for this.  If your dog is already showing aggression and you use an ecollar correction you can actually cause a dog fight.

I’d spend some time reading this section of Questions & Answers on Dog Fights.

I believe that this DVD could really help you. It’s titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS and was a 5 year project.  You can read on the webpage what is covered in the video.

I want my dogs to get their exercise and fun from me, not from other dogs.  We never allow any of our dogs to sniff, socialize or interact with dogs from outside our family pack.  It’s just not necessary and in a huge number of instances, dangerous.  Even if your dog is social and under control, you have no way of knowing that the other dogs are.  It’s just not worth it, in our experience.  I actually chase dogs away if I’m out with my dogs and I am approached.  I don’t care if the other dogs are friendly or not, I don’t want them around us.   This is a huge part of being a pack leader.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

I had a question about remote collar training. I have already conditioned my 7 month old female pitbull for the collar. My biggest question is, what should I do if my dog does not really respond to a nick at a certain level but will respond to continuous on that same level. Does this mean that my level is too low? Also when you use your dotra 1900ncp, generally for a 7 month old dog what level do you use. I know that stem level does not have correlation with age, but I was just wondering about what level you use for this age. Please get back to me asap, thank you.

Michael

Answer:

If the dog isn't responding to a nick then I would check that the collar is making a connection. If it's making adequate contact with her neck then I would think that you need to play around with the level.

There is no such thing as a standard level for any dog or any age of dog. Dogs are all different and the stimulation level can vary from one moment to the next with the same dog, depending on the level of distraction.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

I love the newsletter I get. It's very informative. I have a question. I have a 1 year old Malinois. I want to make him neutral to other dogs and I wanted your advice on how to do this. I have several of the training videos already. His reacall is good with teh ecollar on and off but when there are dogs around he wants to go and play. Do you think this is because of his age? Some times I have to give him a little extra stim because he wants to play instead of returning right back. Thanks for your help. Once again, the newsletter is great.

Mark

Answer:

I’ll give you the short answer, marker training. 

Instead of thinking about giving him corrections to make him not wanting to play with other dogs, how about thinking of ways you can become more interesting to him?  Think about what you can do to make him WANT to play with you and pay attention to you over anything else that may be going on.  His behavior is telling you that other dogs are more fun that you are.  This is where you need to think about what you can do to make him want to stick around.  What does he like the most?  Use it to your advantage.

The foundation to this whole concept is in this article and video, The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

You can see a short trailer of the video on the link above.

If you’ve watched any of our online videos or in the newsletter, you have probably seen my young Malinois show very good focus on me even when there are cats running around.  Cats are REALLY interesting but I am more so because of the relationship and games I play with my dog.  He knows that I’m consistently more fun and that if he pays attention to me, great things come his way.  With a 1 year old dog, I’d be focusing on this and not on ecollar corrections. 

I use the ecollar too, but not in the way you are using it with such a young dog.  I can always add corrections later, when I’m sure that I’ve done my foundation properly and then only if he chooses to not listen to me.  With the marker training, I’ve found that I rarely use the collar and usually only for emergency situations like a deer popping out of the grass when we are walking or something like that. Other dogs are not reinforcing to my dogs, so they tend to pay little attention to them.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

I am recommending to other pet owners in our area they buy the dogtra collar and the Ed's video. I spend a couple of hours reinforcing what Ed is teaching - sort of hold their hand. I recommended the cinch it collar to my last client as per your video but the collar you sent along with the dogtra collar would not fit into the dogtra collar loops.
What gives?

Frank

Answer:

Did you watch the video on this page? They are not easy to get on the collar, Ed shows the process on the video clip (starts around 4 minutes into the video).

We've also had reports that some people have trimmed the cinch it width just a bit with an exacto knife or used a grinder to make it a bit thinner so it fits through the Dogtra loops easier.

The Cinch It isn't made for the electric collar use, and it's a bit of work to do. Once you have it on, you don't want to take it off, that's for sure.

Cindy

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Question:

I am wanting to purchase an electric collar for my saint bernard. He gave me a huge scare last night when he refused to come when called after he slipped out the front door. I have conditioned him to wearing a long line, but he can still tell when it's off, and will completely disregard me and act like it's some kind of game when I call him. I'd like him to know that no matter where he is, I can reach him. It is frustrating, scary, and infuriating when he runs from me, and he won't respond to me running the other way or trying to play with him anymore.

Which model would you recommend for an 105 lb saint. He is 11 months old. I would prefer a dogtra collar if possible.

Answer:

I’d recommend the Dogtra 1900 NCP.

If you don’t already have the electric collar video, I’d recommend that you watch that before you use the collar - Electric collar Training for the Pet Owner.

Cindy

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Question:

I have a high drive intact GSD that I am training for SAR. I have been working with him since he was 10 weeks old and I have most of your DVDs and I have followed them while raising my working pup. I recently purchased your E-collar training video and I wanted to purchase one. I was looking at the Dogtra 280NCP Platinum Electric Collar. Do you think this would work for my needs and would I need to order the longer contact points for a GSD? My dogs hair length looks exactly the same as your dogs in the video. My dog is 9 months old and I am going to buy the cinch-it collar for whatever e-collar I purchase. My dog will be searching in both rural and wilderness environments. People have looked at me in horror if I even mention getting him an E-collar. I just smile and tell them I want him to be safe, he could bolt away from me and run into traffic. I am looking at this as a safety item, all of our local and state law enforcement dog trainers swear by e-collars. I was also thinking of purchasing a fur saver collar but I do not understand how a fur saver differs from a choke collar. I have a nice leather flat collar and I use a nice prong collar with it most of the time. Would I need a fur saver or are they for a very very high drive dog only? I have bought numerous products from you and I have always been very happy with the quality and speed of shipping.

Thanks for your help and time,
Dale

Answer:

Hi Dale,

I use the Dogtra on my own dogs every day (high drive Malinois) I think it will be just fine for your dog. I use the regular contact points on my dog but some of our GSDs need the longer ones. Our shepherds have a thicker undercoat than the Mals. You may want to get a set of the contact points

A fur saver is not a correction collar, it has elongated links so it “ saves the fur” we use fur savers for our everyday collars on our dogs, we do not use them for training. A regular choke will wear and break the hair around the collar if it’s left on for extended periods of time. A lot of trainers who compete with their dogs use the fur savers as their show collar. Your leather collar and prong will be completely suitable for your use.

Cool photos of the volcano, thanks for sharing!

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi,

I purchased a collar a couple months back and it has been so cold and snowy here I had not had a chance to use it. I charged it and put it on my dog and went out with horses and it didn't seem to work. The dog did not respond at all to it. I don't know how to test it. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Karen

Answer:

Use the pager button to see if the collar vibrates. If it does, then the collar is getting the signal.

We also recommend you put the collar on the palm of your hand on a very low level to test it.

You need to also make sure the collar is tight enough to make contact through the coat of the dog.

Did you do the collar conditioning and training as outlined in the video? If not, then many dogs simply don't react to the collar at first and then the owners turn it way up thinking it "doesn't work" and then the dog gets a really bad experience.

If you had not used it before and then tried to use it around your horses the very first time, you may have just skipped training steps. The collar should not be used in a highly distracting environment at first, when you are determining your dog's working level.

Of course, there is always a chance that the collar is malfunctioning but the most common issues are those I listed above.

Let me know how it goes after you try the things I listed. I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

We have a lot of chickens that are allowed to roam freely on our acreage. We got a dog last fall, and he is now about 8 months old. He is neutered, 1/4 miniature pinscher 3/4 jack russel. We had the original batch of chickens before we had the dog, and he treats them with respect, especially because the rooster chases him.

We have a newer batch of half grown chickens that are more skittish. Unfortunately, he killed one of the small chickens today. We scolded him sharply, but I'm not sure we made any impression on him because he is very determined. When we let him off the tether, he went right back to the area where the dead chicken had been. Incidentally, we have not kept the dog tethered, but my wife told the kids to tie him because she was mad.

Here's the question. Is it likely that we will be able to teach him to respect the chickens again? Do you suppose that when the new batch grows to full size he will leave them alone, now that he has learned that they taste good? My wife says we should keep him on a tether when we are not there to keep him in line, but I don't see any point in keeping a dog that we can't trust. I say either he learns not to kill the livestock or he goes.

What do you think we should do?

Robert

Answer:

Dogs don't understand our rules, we need to teach them. I agree with your wife. When you can't supervise your dog he should be in a secure kennel or on a tether. This doesn't mean your dog will always need to be kenneled or tethered but you need to teach him the rules and then make sure he isn't "helping himself" to chicken when you aren't around to watch.

Dogs have prey drive, they chase and sometimes kill small animals. You have a terrier, and that is what they were designed to do. I know many people with terriers who can NEVER trust them unsupervised with any small animal, cat or bird. A lot of it will depend on the dog and how consistent you can be with the training.

We have free range poultry here, and my dogs learn at a very young age to ignore them by use of a leash, long line and eventually an electric collar. I am not so naive to think that if I was not outside with them and the guineas went scooting by they may not be tempted. My dogs (like yours) have a very strong prey instinct. You can teach the dog that chickens are a big NO, and that if he even looks at them he's going to get a correction. I hate to do that to dogs but sometimes it needs to be done for everyone's safety.

I'd recommend Basic Dog Obedience and Electric collar Training for the Pet Owner.

Here is a question & answer section on the electric collar.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

My question regarding the electric collar is that I used on my dog (18 Months Pit bull) and he does fine when he is wearing it. He responds to commands but when I take it off he does not respond the same way. I got the video and collar from you can you advice what did I did wrong or how can I improve the use of the collar?

Thank you. I love your news letters and web site.

Adalberto

Answer:

If your dog is not responding with the collar off, then you have taught the dog that the collar is what controls him and he’s not really trained to YOU. He’s what we call collar wise. 

I would say a large number of people get in a hurry to take the collar off and then they set the dog up to make a decision that the owner can’t control and the dog learns….collar on, I must listen.  Collar off, don’t have to!

The key to this is to put the collar on the dog every single day, whether you are going to use it or not. Think of it like your car seatbelt. You put it on every day and hope you don’t need it. You don’t wait until after you’ve had an accident to then put the seatbelt on, right?

My dogs wear the collar every day, even if we aren’t training. If I need it for reinforcement it’s on the dog and they know the collar going on is part of their day. I will also add that I RARELY need to push the button, because I’ve been so consistent with my dogs from the very first day they wore the collar.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hello,
 
Thank you for your time, I have meant to thank prior for your website & information, but did not wish to take your valuable time.

My question pertains to the e-collar I received yesterday, a dogtra 280ncp, & the video for training with such. In the video Ed speaks of minimums with alphabetic symbols, and as you know, this collar has numerical read-out. So, what # is a low stem to start testing with? Would it be 1? I also have two weeks before the answer will apply to my training as we follow the collar protocol.

I have a 1 year old gsd (f) and she was perfect on her commands (marker training), on or off leash in a fenced in enclosure: my backyard or at a baseball field, even responding when other dogs or people were around; she has learned not to rush the fence, chase cars along fence, ect. with the help of ball on string (mainly), treats & prong. Until recently when my 16 yr old son has been around.  I have only allowed this minimally until recently and at the age of 1 year (he loves Lacey & she Loves him!) & I looked at this as the ultimate distraction training. 

Now when off leash, Lacey completely just blows me off -- like she will not come when I call -- but goes to him!  When I put 20 ft long line on -- she sees it coming and does not want to be caught to put it on -- but when it is on -- she is Perfect!  All commands, and pays perfect attention to me -- until I take it off again -- then back to blowing me off.  I have tried putting her away afterward; correcting (prong) to the place where I first called, using her beloved ball, ect.  No avail, as my son is too distracting for her compliance.

As, this seems to me now to be becoming learned behavior -- when leash not on she knows she does not need to listen or come to me; it terrifies me & so I ordered & received the collar.  I do not believe I will need to use this a lot but like the idea of the added backup at all times; and I do think I need to use it to train to come at all times.  I consider the above to have been part of her distraction training, and as I failed miserablely & felt I needed the e-collar for back-up & help.  I also think my son has, maybe unwittingly, undermined me some with pets, ect. but:

Do you feel the above explanation of where my training is at warrants the use of this collar?  Am I on the right page?  My dog is so very grateful to you for this site and my training!

Thank you in advance,
Respectfully,
Theresa

Answer:

The numbers on the ecollar and the letters are interchangeable. Start as low as possible and work up from there.

You’ve trained your dog to ignore you off leash, by giving commands to her when you had no way of enforcing them. She thinks the leash or long line controls her, not you. This is one of the most common mistakes trainers make, they take the leash off before the dog is fully trained.

The ecollar is a great tool, just don’t fall into the same trap as you did with the long line and think you need to take it off to test your dog. Put the collar on EVERY single day whether you plan on using it on the dog or not. I tell people to think of it like a seatbelt, you don’t wait until you are getting into an accident to buckle it on (or your shouldn’t).  You put it on every time you get in the car so it’s ready if you need it. The ecollar should be the same, put it on EVERY DAY and then it becomes part of your dog’s routine.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. 

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi:

I talked poor Donna’s ear off, and she suggested I contact you for assistance. I am sorry this is so long, but I encountered a totally unexpected problem with the e-collar and am wondering if I can fix this or if I should just return it.

Background:

· Raja is a male Doberman. He’ll be two next month. He’s a great, great dog. I’d done all the groundwork with him but I clearly messed up somewhere because we have two big problems: high prey drive and some self-control issues. He gets very excited around other dogs (wants to play, play, play) and he goes into a “zone” when he sees a rabbit, squirrel, bird, etc. before I do. I can’t always get his attention when that happens.

· I use your small prong collar on our walks (when he was still growing, I had to take out too many links from the medium size to make it fit). Maybe I should use a medium or large now that he’s full-grown?

· The prong helps on our walks, but I still don’t feel I have enough control. He is very strong. I’m not weak, but I’m small. With the prong, he has still almost pulled me off my feet. And my arms hurt!

· Our training facility (agility and formal obedience) doesn’t allow prongs. The recommended Gentle Leaders and harnesses are ridiculous. The Gentle Leader just depressed him (and me!) and didn’t work anyway. He pulled more with the harness than he did with his flat collar, so I just stayed with the flat collar.  And “goosing” him to get his attention (suggested) doesn’t work when I need both hands on the leash to control him when he goes in his zone. I just need to get him in the door and controlled. He’s much better these days, but he’s still way too bouncy/pushy/vocal for my taste. And when he sees the cat? There goes my arm. He’s out of control barking and lunging. He’s fine with other dogs once class starts.

· The e-collar was my last resort. I was worried about hurting him, but your e-collar training is humane (thank you!). And I loved what Ed says on the DVD – that it’s more humane to nick a few times than keep yanking on the prong.

· I just want (and need) Raja to listen to me no matter what is going on around us.  Just like he does at home.

Problem:

I ordered your Dogtra 1900NCP e-collar, Cinch-It Collar (what an easy thing to attach!) and Remote Collar Training DVD. When they arrived, I immediately watched the DVD and started collar-conditioning my dog. Throughout the collar conditioning period, I re-watched portions of the DVD several times (especially the sections on setting the level and walking with a leash).

Yesterday was the big day. About an hour after I put his collar on, I started testing to see what level we should use. Nicking only (of course), I started out on 0. Moved to 1. Nothing.  Eye blink at 2, but not the reaction needed (my understanding from the DVD?!). Level 3, he looked at the ground. I thought we had it. I pressed Nick one more time, same reaction. Easy!

Or so I thought. I praised and treated, but he reached out very hesitantly. Odd because he’s always ready for food. He acts like he’s never been fed in his life. Not this time.

I ran into the house to get my car keys, anxious to start working on his impulse control around a friend’s dog he’d never met.  I was gone for maybe 10 seconds and came back to an empty, fenced in yard. No sign of Raja. I called him, and nothing. He always comes when I call. My heart started pounding because I thought somehow he’d gotten out of the gate. I kept calling, looking everywhere, but he was nowhere to be found.

Finally (finally!), I found him in the back corner of the yard, hidden under my giant sea green junipers. Flat on the ground, lying on the landscape rocks. I’d had to push the prickly things aside to find him, but I found him.  It was the only place he could possibly be because I could see under all the other trees and shrubs.

But he wouldn’t come out. Wouldn’t move. I tried to lure him with treats. Nothing. I was terrified, thinking I’d “broken” my beautiful dog. Went back in the house to get his favorite: string cheese (which I use for high distractions). NOTHING. I added Plato Farmer’s Market Salmon treats (my choices are limited because he’s allergic to turkey and chicken). His nose poked out. But the rest of him didn’t move. I was flat on the rocks, holding up the branches, treating and luring for ages before I finally got him back on the grass. This all took about half an hour.

I wanted to take the collar off and quit, but I knew our problems (impulse control, high prey drive) wouldn’t go away. So I left the collar on but turned everything off. I tried to act as normal as possible, and we went back to our normal Sunday.

About an hour or so later I tried again, this time on PAGER only. He looked around and skulked off behind the lilac bush. He stayed for a minute and then headed for the junipers again and stayed there. Pulling back the branches did nothing this time. He was too far back. And he was having nothing to do with the treats.

It finally took me opening the garage door, starting the car and backing out of the driveway.  I sat in the street watching and finally saw his feet under the back door.  I went and got him, praising and treating, and we went for a ride.  Usually one of his favorite things, but this time he just sat on the floor right behind my seat and stayed there.

That was it for me the rest of the day.  He wasn’t quite himself until much later, but I was done.  I just don’t know what to do.  I never expected this reaction at all.  It was only a level 3 and a pager!  I even double checked to make sure the knob hadn’t moved.  It was a 3.  As always, I put this equipment on me before I used it on him.  It took me until 15 before I really felt anything.  So why would a 3 cause this?  This is a confident dog!  He runs across all kinds of moving, vibrating agility equipment without hesitation.  He runs on the treadmill on rainy or sub-zero days.  He can also handle pain.  He’d ripped his leg open once and didn’t even make a peep.  And now my brave boy is cowering from this?  I’m just sick.

Did I completely screw this up?  Any help you can give me would be most appreciated.

THANK YOU for a wonderful site, products and all the help you provide 24/7!

Jane

Answer:

OK, upon reading this a couple things jump out at me. 

#1. The very first time you use the collar you decide you are going to go to a friend’s house to ‘test’ it before you have even given the dog a chance to understand the collar and become fluent. This is a big mistake in the line of thinking. The dog needs to be fluent with the collar at home with no to low distractions. By fluent, I mean the dog is clear in understanding. Tapping the button 3 times is not enough for the dog to understand anything. You’re getting WAY ahead of yourself.

#2 You left the dog OFF LEASH so he could go into avoidance. This is huge! You’ve set the dog up to be in a horrible state of mind. You also kept trying different things to get the dog “back” to a good attitude. The dog should not have been given an opportunity to rehearse leaving when he’s unsure. Coaxing a dog with different kinds of treats just reinforces that there is something REALLY wrong. You said in your email you were TERRIFIED you’d ruined your dog. Confident pack leaders don’t display this kind of thinking. The toughest dogs in the world many times aren’t sure about the remote collar at first. It’ doesn’t hurt them and I highly doubt that at level 3 on a Dogtra he even felt anything. I have an EXTREMELY sensitive dog and he doesn’t show anything until 11-13 with no distractions.  This same dog may require 80 in the woods with wildlife present. I would advise you start over, and do not let the dog off leash at all right now.

From your email I sense a bit of anxiety on your part about all this, and I will bet your dog really picked up on this as well. Your attitude may have been a bigger factor than the collar. Dobermans are extremely sensitive dogs, I owned them for 35 years up until a few years ago… if you have the least bit of mental hesitation or anxiety about something they will mirror this.

Cindy

Thank You:

I can't believe you responded so quickly, especially with the seminar coming up.  Thanks so much!

Yeah, I messed up big time. I was talked into #1 by a well-meaning friend.  We were going to a neutral place to work on impulse control. #2 is probably just guilt over the Gentle Leader/harness hoo ha (if prongs are evil, what do they think about e-collars?). But I have to think about my dog and our issues and work to fix them the way I know I have to: by using the e-collar.  These people aren't with me when we're outside and a rabbit races by. Of course my sensitive Dobie would read me like a book. I should have known that. Just like he knows I tense up every time I walk into our training facility.  arghh!

Okay, time to start over.  Just the two of us, with him on leash.

THANK YOU again.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate your help. 

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

I'd like to get some basic information on remote collars if you can spare a little time in your hectic schedule! I am interested in trying the remote collars for my two huskies for obedience & I think it would be nice to change the collars up once in a while between their buckle & prong for walks. In all honesty, I'd love to order two of the brands that you sell but they are just more money than I have right now. Any suggestions on a good brand but not so expensive? I would be more than happy to spend up to $120 per collar but just can't spend more at this time.

Thank you again for taking the time,
Barbara

Answer:

If there were a cheaper collar that worked consistently we would sell it.
We don't recommend any other collars besides the models we sell.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi,

I have 2 dogs and will be getting another one soon.  I purchased your video for e-collar and found it very interesting.

Thing is I have a 20 pounds schnauzer and a 5 pounds poodle.  I use the 202NCP GOLD on them and absolutely love it because it gives me a peace of mind to have them off leash on the trail I got to with them.  I use the collar occasionally if they go after a dog even though I told them to come. I will soon be getting a 7-8 pounds yorkshire and am wondering if I should buy a collar for him too since they work so well.

My question is am I endangering my poodle and yorkshire by having them wear that collar? I am not wondering about the electric shock but the weight and the prongs.  If you think those are too heavy would you recommend another e-collar I could use on them?

Thank you much,
Johanne

Answer:

I am like you, and enjoy the freedom I can give my dogs with the ecollar.  I think once you get the new dog and he settles in to your household, you can decide whether you need the ecollar for him too.  We do offer a small collar for tiny dogs, but if the Dogtra is working well for you I’d stick with that. Dogtra is a better product, in my experience.  Here’s the link to the Lap Dog trainer.

You may want to read this article before you bring him home.

Cindy

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Question:

I am a dwm 47 on SSA Disability low income and was hoping you may be able to help give me some advice about training a 4 yr old female golden retriever/mix but strongly favors the golden retriever breed in many ways. Her name is Princess, I purchased a Petsafe Remote Trainer Deluxe PDBDT-305. I have had her four about 3 yrs now, she is a very well behaved dog with the exception of getting excited and jumping on people and over the fenced in backyard. I was told by a local pro dog trainer in Kentucky that when you first get the remote collar place it on her for about 5 days for her to get use to it and then activate it. My main concern is she will jump the fence going astray after rabbits especially. I live in a suburb of Louisville. She has tunnel vision when it comes to rabbits. How can I start training her to not jump the fence, UNATTENDED, with the remote? If there is not a rabbit in sight while training her, what do I do? Do I put her on a leash and walk her around the back yard keeping her 3-4 ft away from the fence and when she strays closer to the fence, give her a zap? My settings on the remote are 1-10, it has an LED light, has a sound button, and a shock button. Princess  weighs about 45 pounds.

If you would give me the specifics on training and/or one of your dvd's that specifically address fence jumping and remote controls. I would appreciate it.

Thanks,
Mike
Louisville, KY

Answer:

Several points here.

1- Your trainer gave you bad information on how to get your dog used to the collar. That's really OLD SCHOOL advice. The correct way to do it is to put the collar on the dog and take it off the dog – 5 to 10 times a day. It’s not the act of wearing the collar that triggers a reaction to the dog. It’s the actual fact of putting it on the dog. So by putting in on and off many times a day desensitizes the dog to this.

2- The collar you have is a crappy collar. Poor quality to say the least. I recommend taking it back if its new and getting your money back. If its old – sell it on eBay. Then get a Dogtra 280ncp http://leerburg.com/280ncp.htm That’s what we use here. It has an LED that goes from 1 to 125 – you can really fine tune your work with it.

3- The DVD to learn how to do low level stimulation training is Remote Collar Training for the Pet Owner. It’s half price when you buy a collar from us.

4- What you are trying to do is not going to work. Someone had blown smoke up your ass. A remote collar is not the tool to use to stop a dog from jumping when you are not in the yard with your hand on the transmitter. Sorry but that's the simple fact. It will work fine if you are there but forget it when you’re in the house and not paying attention. Remote collars and low level stimulation training are the best tools in dog training – but they care not miracle makers.

5- Get an Innotech in-ground fence and attach the wire to the top of the fence. When the dog goes close to the fence it will get stimulation to stay back. That will solve the climbing problem when you’re not there.

Regards,
Ed Frawley

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Question:

Hello Cindy,

I bought your DVD on e-collar training and loved it. Now comes the training, and I have a question. I am using the Tri-Tronics Sport Combo G3 collar for Becky, my 3 year old border collie, who weighs 35 pounds. I have set the collar intensity the way you suggested, and got her "look at the leg or ground" response at a very low setting, less than the number 1 on the dial, when she was relaxed in the house.

Outdoors it was a different story when she was "focused" on a task, which was staring at a stick, waiting for me to throw it. There was no response at all even when I went up to 4-5 on the dial. Before raising it any higher, I thought I'd check with you to see what you recommend as far as a high intensity setting for a focused border collie, who I feel would run around without noticing her leg had been cut off if it meant getting to her stick.

So, shall I just keep upping the setting until I get a reaction under these circumstances, and how high should I trigger it if there was an "emergency attention" circumstance such as a squirrel falling out of a tree twenty feet in front of her, in order to get a response to my command. So, in effect, for a 35 pound border collie, which setting would be too dangerous?

Thanks for your help.
Bob

Answer:

No matter what kind of ecollar you have, you use the level that you need for each different scenario. There isn’t a setting for Dobermans, Border Collies or German Shepherds. You use the collar to effect. In a highly distracting environment you may need to go way above your dog’s regular working level, just don’t forget to adjust the level as needed and don’t get stuck on one specific setting. On one 45 minute walk with my dogs I may change the setting 10-15 times depending on what we encounter along the way. I also may never have to push the button for weeks at a time, if I’ve been consistent and fair with my training. My dogs learn to follow my voice and the collar just becomes a back up to my voice. There isn’t going to be a level that is “dangerous” to your dog physically.

I hope this helps.

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Question:

Dear Ed/Cindy

First I would like to say that I love your website. I have bought several of your DVDs and products and have always been very satisfied. More important than just a supply store is that I have come to have a deep respect for your thoughts on dog training methods/philosophy (I read many of your eBooks, even the ones that don't really pertain to my situation). I even feed completely raw, and it has been great fun.

So on with the problem. I have always grown up with gsd's and have a deep love for the breed. This is the first dog that I can truly call my own (finally out of college and on my own) and he is currently 6 months. Within the last month or so he has begun noticing his surrounds much more than before (birds, squirrels, deer, flying insects, etc.) and taking interest in their investigation. I think this is great as long as I can always regain his attention, but for around a week now he has become increasingly more interested in shadows (which are virtually always around). He is not concerned with all shadows (at least not yet) but primarily small faster moving ones like the looped up 30' lease or fingers from a hand etc. Currently I can always gain his attention and get prompt responses to my commands (at least what I expect from a 6 month puppy) but he is spending more and more time watching shadows and responding to the ones that move. Again this behavior is relatively new but from what I have been reading lately has potential for more serious OCD type problems. When he was 4 months I showed him a laser pointer, once and only once, for maybe 30 seconds (honest, only once and very brief). I mention this because I have now read countless threads discussing this very problem (many in your forum as well as several others). I believe I am too new to post in your forum so I am going right to the source, sorry.

Currently, I am conflicted on how to deal with this problem. First I don't want to destroy any of his drive that I have been working very hard to continually build, or cause him to think he will be corrected for noticing/investigating his environment. On the other hand if I can prevent a problem I most definitely will. As I see it, I either do nothing or begin consistently correcting. I have no problem with either way but I don't want to correct a dog that does not need/deserve it, but I also don't want to bolster any OCD type behavior. He is a very large financial commitment (in addition to all of the time and love) so I am somewhat nervous about an obsessed dog for which there is no cure. Any thoughts would be well appreciated as my goal is to begin formal schutzhund training in next month (the clubs are very expensive).

My Most Sincere Thanks,
Dan

PS - I neglected to socialize the dog with flashlights until tonight (I like the dark and both of us got around fine so I never used them) and he responded well. He definitely paid close attention to the light and its direction but I could still keep him heeling as well and transfer his attention opposite to the light onto me. Hope this might help.

Answer:

Interrupting obsessive behavior will have no affect on drive. Notice I didn't say CORRECT.

Interruption can be done in a variety of ways, with a tug on the leash, making a noise to distract him or redirection with a high value food reward.Fact is simply keeping the dog on leash is the best way of solving the problem.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy -

I have just ordered the DVD on training with an E-collar and hopefully I'll be able to use that to answer part of my question. I have a well-trained yellow lab/husky mix (the dominant dog), and introduced my son's 1-1/2 year old stray (very little training) into my home. Both dogs are 60 pounds, get along well, but engage in chasing and play-biting behavior, running around and nipping at each other's necks and legs and mouthing each other. No one is getting hurt. Is this normal for adult dogs or should I be nipping this in the bud? I found a fenced soccer field to let them run but the new dog evidently picked up a bad habit from my son's other dog of hard-run chasing and lunging at the neck. It looked just like a National Geographic special where a predator is bringing down game. I'm not going to let them run together again until I get the DVD and learn how to stop that with the E-collar. My question is, does the back yard play biting and chasing contribute to the more aggressive chasing? Do I need to stop that in order to effectively stop the more aggressive chasing and lunging or is play-biting normal for adult dogs? Thanks for your help! 

Lorna

Answer:

This is something that I’m not sure I can answer with 100% certainty. A lot of people have dogs that play and wrestle without it ever escalating into an injury or fight. 

I know that I do not allow my own dogs to engage in the chasing and play fighting because with my dogs is WILL turn into something more serious. I use the ecollar to reinforce the word NO if they get out of hand. I don’t mind if they run together when we are walking, but my young male dog will start to become very intense and will try to body slam, roll or drag the other dogs down. My other dogs don’t deserve to be treated this way and it serves no purpose so I don’t allow it. 

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Ed and Cindy.

I have a question I haven't seen addressed on your website (even though it may very well be there) concerning what to expect from my dog after beginning e-collar corrections.

I have a 9 mo old yellow labrador that we purchased at 8 wks of age. He is a really great dog and very smart. I started training basic commands as soon as we got him and he really likes training sessions. He took one obedience class for distractions. (I wish I had spent that $200.00 on my first order from Leerburg.com instead) He was crate trained from day 1 and loves his crate. He is not food, toy, animal or people aggressive in any way.
However, I do have a few behavioral issues with him:

1) Pulls on leash somewhat
2) Does not always come when called if distracted
3) Plays keep away with items such as socks and tries to chew them. Can be kind of bratty at times.
4) Biggest Problem IMO he will not allow my husband and me to relax in a sitting position such as on the couch or patio. He bugs us with hard nipping, barking, front feet up on sofa or constantly rubs his wet slimy toys on us. At no other time does he do any of these thing unless we are relaxed in a sitting position. Wants all attention on him. It is exhausting.

I purchased most of your DVDs and the rest of the proper training equipment such as prong collar, e-collar Dogtra 1900, leashes, long lines, toys, treats etc. I have watched the DVDs on Training with the Electric Collar twice and the obedience and pack structure DVDs once so far. I have conditioned my dog for 2 weeks to wear the e-collar. I began using the prong collar a week ago and he walks very well on the leash now. If he pulls a little I say SLOW and he obeys. Can't believe I lived this long without the prong collar. I also tried to break his other habits with the prong and a drag leash in the house but he is a hard dog so it took a lot of effort for me to get his attention but he was beginning to get the message especially with the sofa behavior. He is 70 lbs and I am very short.

Ok so yesterday the 2 weeks were up so I reluctantly decided to try the e-collar. I say reluctantly because I am so afraid of making a mistake and ruining his (most of the time) great temperament. First thing I used it for was when he jumped up on sofa and started barking and nipping. His training level was 30. I gave him the OFF command then nicked him. At first seemed a little surprised but decided to go for it again and again I corrected him. He hasn't done it since.

He didn't seem traumatized or stressed but kind of standoffish afterwards. But he would come to me and play with toys. Then a few hours later I tried the e-collar again when he got a mouthful of napkins I dropped and ran with them. I gave him the command OUT and he ignored me then I corrected him with a nick. He dropped the napkins and allowed me to pick them up without trying to grab them again. He seemed fine but just a little confused as to what just happened. Then probably 20 minutes later I was filling my dishwasher and he began licking the inside panel (soap residue) like he has done since forever no matter how many times I say NO he does it again. This time I nicked him when he didn't listen and he just simply walked away and didn't do it again. Of course I am LOVING this e-collar. It all seems like a miracle to me.

But my concern is this. My dog played with his toys this morning like normal and of course eats like a horse but he just seems too calm and well behaved. He is usually pretty calm during the day while I am doing things around the house. He follows me around and generally wants to be with me. But today I made him lay next to the sofa while I am working on the computer and he has stayed all morning. Very unlike him to stay that long in a down. He seems really tired. Is this normal?

My question is this. Did I make any mistakes in using the e-collar for too many different issues on day 1 or has he just realized for the very first time that HE is not in charge anymore and it has upset or confused him a little. I remember from one of Ed's videos that he said it is normal for the dog to become kind of clingy after having the e-collar used on him. Since he seems too calm today should I wait to begin using it for recall or just dive right in. I am feeling kind of guilty (I know I shouldn't) so I am taking him swimming today. That is his most favorite thing in this world.

All in all he seems to have learned very quickly with the e-collar and I must say it is way way easier on my and my dog than a prong collar. His immediate reaction to the e-collar was less stressful than the prong.

I love your web site and so wished I had found it when we first brought our puppy home. Very disappointed that I missed out on the DVD Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 months.

I would like any advise you can give me.

Thank you
Lita

Answer:

I would continue forward with the training as you planned. The dog becoming calm is a positive thing, not a negative. A lot of dogs are "hectic" with scattered unfocused energy and the ecollar is a calming influence on them.

Don't be worried or apprehensive, because the dog will pick up on this. As he becomes more collar savvy, you'll see that he is the same dog you always have had but with a clearer respect and understanding that YOU are calling the shots.

Cindy

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Question:

Dear Cindy

You had helped me a lot with the videos you recommended to me with my Belgian malinois puppy. But now I have another dog problem, I rescued a male border collie, he is awesome!! he was already trained to herding cows, so he is really a lot of help at the ranch, but he is showing  aggression to other 2 male dogs, both are neutered already, I took this one to the vet office today for castration and he told  me he will lost his herding ability or interest, so I didn´t. What do you think? Does the electronic collar could help me with this problem? he is very fast, so I just can´t be there when he is attacking the other dogs, and he was showing aggression to me ifI try to do something about this. I can´t put him on a kennel, he is a BC !!!and he is very sweet with people and with the other dogs. I am desperate.

What should I do???

Any suggestions about material and videos??

Thank you so much for your ALWAYS wise advice,
Gloria

Answer:

Neutering has no bearing on aggression or working ability, (assuming this dog is already mature) neutering won’t solve the aggression problem, but it also won’t change his desire to herd.  Completely WRONG information.

If you spend some time reading this section on dog fights, you’ll see that your problems are very common. I’ve received 6 or 7 emails just today from dog owners with very similar problems.

Why can’t you put him in a kennel? I don’t understand what being a border collie has to do with this. He is a dog, a dog that needs some leadership and rules. Breed and how nice he is with people doesn’t change the fact that he is showing inappropriate aggression to the other dogs.

Start with our groundwork program.

Pack Structure for the Family Pet

Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs

The electric collar does have a place in this training but not until you’ve established leadership and rules.  We have an excellent video on how to use the collar, Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner.

We also have a number of free ebooks that may interest you. 

I hope this helps.

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Question:

Hello Cindy:

I enjoy reading information on your site.  Lots of great stuff.

I am considering purchasing one of your E-collars. I have a 14 month old GSd who thinks "come" is an optional command when he is distracted. I am totally blind and am training him as a guide dog. Are either the Tri-Tronics Sport Junior G3 or the Dogtra 175NCP usable without sight?

I bet you have never been asked this before. 

Thanks,
Mary

Answer:

I have the Dogtra 280 and it has raised bumps on the NICK button and a very easy to feel ridge between the nick and continuous button, the 175 NCP is very similar. The rheostat on top is fairly easy to gauge by feel as well.  I actually keep the remote in my pocket and I don’t look at it, I go by feel. You are right; I’ve never been asked this before.

The Tritronics collar is not as user friendly, even if you have sight.

Let me know if you have any other questions, I hope this helps.

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

I got your catalog which shows your DVD about training with the e collar. My question is do you think this training would work for a 2 year old GSD who goes balistic whenever anyone comes to the door? He is pretty much out of control with ferocious barking, jumping on the door, ignores me. He is not vicious, though he acts like he is, as he acts like a kitten when I open the door. This is embarrasing and I know it scares anyone who doesn't know him. I have an e collar but have not had to use it as he has been very easy to train, he has his Good Citizen Certificate but this one horror is the only thing I cannot train him out of. 

Thanks for your help,
Nancy

Answer:

The ecollar is a great tool but it’s not a magic wand. J  The behaviors your dog is showing need to be addressed as a lack of respect for your leadership, along with incorporating obedience into the scenario.  The collar will certainly help you , but there is foundational work that need to be done first.

I’d recommend changing the way he is set up in your house, so that you have control of him.  If he’s on a leash with you, how can he jump on the door and ignore you?  You’ve given this dog freedom in your home that he doesn’t deserve as demonstrated by his behavior.

Start with our groundwork program.

Pack Structure for the Family Pet

Then, once you see changes in the problem areas you can start introducing the electric collar to allow him off leash access to the house.  This is a process, that has steps to follow.  You don’t just buckle and electric collar on a dog and start pushing the button to change behaviors. 

Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner is the video we produced that show the steps for using the collar.

I’ll ask our staff that handles the web board about your issue.

Cindy

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Question:

Hi,

My puppy dog is a miniature American Eskimo now 12 lbs (will weigh the most 18-22 lbs). Which e-collar is best? What is the difference working with an e-collar instead of a dominance collar?

Thanks,
LuAnn

Answer:

I like the Dogtra collars, with the 280 NCP being the best size for an American Eskimo. The ecollar is used for off leash control, the dd collar is used for specific situations where you need to take drive out of your dog (like aggressive situations, or when he’s overly excited).

Dogtra Collars are suitable for dogs over 10 pounds and over 6 months of age.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps. Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

Do you advise that pet owners go through the Marker Training DVD before E-Collar training? Is marker training a "prerequisite" for e-collar training or are they completely different? I have one of the dogtra models that a trainer advised me to purchase, but after reading Ed's article on e-collars, I realized she was teaching me to use the "escape training" method... so I quit going to her and want to follow the Leerburg DVDs. I purchased the e-collar training dvd yesterday, and I have read the Marker Training eBook several times.  Am I good to start with the e-collar training DVD or do I need to go back to square one?

Thanks again,
Jennifer

Answer:

I always feel it’s best to teach with marker training and then go to the ecollar after the dog completely understands what is expected of them.  It’s certainly not necessary, lots of people train dogs with electric collars and don’t use marker training but my recommendation is to use marker training as a prerequisite to everything.  Basically marker training teaches a dog how to learn, which accelerates the process and typically (if done correctly) makes the dog a more interactive and engaged partner in the whole training process.

I’d recommend The Power of Training Dogs with Markers and The Power of Training Dogs with Food.

Personally, I want a specific kind of relationship with my dogs as well as an obedient dog and I have found that marker training is the best way to achieve that. 

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps. Cindy

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Question:

My dog, Max walks perfectly on a leash. I can walk him for miles with one finger holding the leash, so he really is not a "puller." BUT... when he see's another dog, he goes crazy and rips the leash out of my hand, causing considerable pain and injury. The other dog and it's owner see this giant thing running towards them and they panick.

I really need help with this problem. The last time I walked him was the day after Christmas. I didn't see the dog  and Max took off after him and the other dog attacked Max and he fought back. It was terrible. No injuries, but there were 200 people there watching a Christmas light display.

He is a male, neutered English Mastiff that weighs 185 pounds. He is sweet in disposition... I can take food from him, he loves all people and other dogs.

What can I do for this specific situation?

Thank You,
Sandra

Answer:

A dog that rips the leash out of your hand when he sees another dog isn’t really “perfect” on the leash. I would teach him to heel under distraction. The distractions have to start low and move up to more difficult, eventually around other dogs. 

I would use the prong collar and eventually pair it with the electric collar.  I’d make sure he has a rock solid obedience foundation in all the basics on leash.  Basic Obedience

 I think it’s always best to give the dog an alternative behavior to do when we are training them.  By this I mean if we don’t want them to fixate on another dog, and then teach him to give you eye contact instead and find something that motivates him. I’m all about positive methods but there comes a point where safety is at hand and a 185 pound dog (friendly or not) needs to be under absolute control in public.

Without seeing your dog, it’s hard to say what his intentions toward other dogs is but I wouldn’t rule out aggression. Many people mistakenly think their dog loves other dogs, when in reality it’s excitement that quickly turns into aggression. I think with a dog this size; I would be proactive and teach him that under no circumstances is he EVER to pull on the leash. The amount of damage that could be done to him or by him is considerable. In this day and age of lawsuits, you could find yourself in serious legal trouble.

I’d recommend this DVD as well, Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

Cindy

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Question:

Ed,

Thank you so much for the information you put out there on training dogs. I have some of your dvds and I think they are very good.

I have a question and hope you can answer this. I use a Tritronic e-collar for my dogs (all pitbulls or pit mixes). I visited with another trainer who owns a successful training business, is involved with schutzhund with her Malinois and she told me that she gives a stim when the dog does as she wishes, as well as when it does something that she doesn't want it to do. I have never heard of this...have you?

Secondly, I was rather surprised to see her start at a 5 with the Dogtra when she met my dog that I had taken over for an assessment. This is a high energy pit boxer mix, not a human aggressive bone in her body, dog-selective. I was there because I wanted to have a potential adopter have someone other than me, to reach out to if she ran into issues. This same trainer started at a 5 when she wanted to teach avoidance to taking food inappropriately. The dog went into shut-down mode immediately and she then adjusted to a 2. But it was too late. The dog avoided her for the rest of the hour. My understanding has always been to start low to accomplish what you need and work your way up from there. Am I wrong?

Thanks so much for being there. In this world of increasing anthropomorphizing of dogs and the insistence on using a Gentle Leader all the time (esp in the city areas where there are lots of young yuppies), I could just about tear my hair out! There's never just one way to train any dog.

Dina

Answer:

Avoidance training works, and what your dog experienced with this trainer is why I NEVER give my leash or remote to someone I don’t know. I have to have complete confidence in a person’s ability to do what my dog needs before I hand over my training tools. It’s my job to protect my dog, even from "professionals."

Stimulating with the collar when the dog is right as well as when it does something wrong makes no sense to me at all.

I hope your dog came through it without any lasting issues! Thanks for the kind words. 

Cindy

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Question:

Hi Cindy,
I just recently purchased Dogtra 282NCP Platinum e collar from Leerburg along with Cinch It Collars and Ed's DVD training for e collar. After watching the video I do not recall him mentioning the "pager button," maybe I missed it.  How do I incorporate the "pager" into training, on the disuccusion board some users apply to recall. I have 2 soft GSDs that I am beginning to train for e collar, mostly to go on walks thru woods and open fields so I can control them not to chase deer. Only problem I am having with them! They do very well with obedience until they see or smell a deer in their path. Can I start with pager as recall and say COME, or is there a way you recommend for training?

Thanks for your time,
Susan

Answer:

We don’t cover the pager button in the video because we don’t use it for training. Personally the only thing I use it for is to make sure my collar is working.

Some people use it as an attention getter, by pairing it with a treat or something positive. Some people use it as a warning, that punishment is coming. I would probably not rely on the pager for a recall, unless you had a solid recall to begin with.  The pager can’t be changed in intensity, it only has one level.  

Really the use of the pager is limited only by your imagination, as the dogs will associate it with whatever you choose to show them.

Cindy

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Question:

Dear Cindy,

My dog is only a 6 months old GSD but with drive like I never seen. Her parents were both German imports from working lines. Setting my transmitter at #100, I barely get a reaction... and I mean barely. I made very sure the electrodes make good skin contact. The transmitter only goes up to #128, although I haven’t gone higher yet. Should I consider returning unit for a slightly more powerful unit?

Aloha,
Capt. Howie

Answer:

In my experience, there are 4 possible reasons that the dog isn’t responding to the collar.

  1. The collar is not on tight enough to make contact-if she has a thick coat you may need to thin a small area and/or get the longer probes for the collar
  2. The collar is positioned incorrectly on the dog’s neck
  3. You haven’t conditioned the dog to the collar properly, or are trying to test it when the dog is in a high state of drive or arousal before she understands what the stim is
  4. The collar is not functioning properly

I use the 280 NCP for my extremely driven working dogs, and I rarely EVER turn the collar up past 40 even during bitework or something that has my dog extremely excited. If my collar was working properly and making contact and I turned it up to 100 my dogs would be screaming.  My gut feeling is that your our dog isn’t feeling the collar because it’s not really making proper contact or it’s a defective unit.
Many people new to the collar think they have it on tight enough and in the correct place on the neck but most people tend to make it too loose and put it low on the neck.

Have you tested the levels on yourself? Put the receiver on your palm and start at zero and go up through the numbers.  That will tell you if it’s working.

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Question:

We have two Smooth Fox Terriers - female of  2 and a half years, male of 1 and 1/2 years.  The spayed female is of typical size, around 18 lbs. The neutered male is a bit large for the breed and is 23 lbs. Both are good natured and in the house, the female is dominant (also the higher spirited of the two). Outdoors, they like to run fast in a fenced acre of grass.  In the beginning, the male (from rescue) couldn't keep up with the female and trailed her on the fast runs. Now that he's stronger, he's able to catch her when running and he tries to overpower her at every opportunity. When he does, he does his best to take her down, usually by grabbing her neck or collar and tackling her. While it appears to be play on his part, he's extremely persistent at it and while he responds to us when we interrupt with a firm NO, he's back at it again immediately. The usually dominant female tries to hide behind us to escape his physical power. Back in the house, everything returns to normal and they often tussle with neither getting too carried away. The male never shows any signs of aggression to people or other dogs and wants to play with them all.

Any ideas on how we can control the male outdoors and keep him from trying to bring the female down? The behavior does not occur when they're on leash - only when running free.

Floyd

Answer:

I'd recommend using a remote collar for this, actually since you have 2 dogs I'd recommend training both of them with it.  My two dogs behave in a very similar manner when they are outside together, my male (usually lower in rank in the house) will bully, body slam and torment the older female horribly when we are out on a walk or in the yard.

I put the collars on both my dogs, because there are times that the female may need a reminder about how to behave as well.

We have an excellent video on how to use the collar, Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner.

I'd recommend Dogtra collars. For your dogs the 2 dog unit, 282 NCP, would be suitable.

I hope this helps.

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Question:

Dear Mr. Frawley:

Spoke with Ashley to order E-collar and she recommended I consult with you regard the proper equipment for the problem.

The pack consist of 2 female GSD, 1 male GSD and 1 male Golden Retriever.

The male GSD is Alpha and the 3 year old female is dominant and aggressive to the other 3 year old female.  She is in a constant state of challenging and threatening but only to the other female.  They have fought on numerous occasions.

Her companion type training was from beginning to advance.  She is fine with adults and children.

Last year she fought with our 10 year old female GSD and caused her death.

Would the proper use of an E-collar resolve this issue?

Thank you for your interest.

Sincerely,
Robert

Answer:

The ecollar may be implemented into your training but I would not recommend it as a starting point for this particular dog. Any dog that is aggressive enough to cause fatal injury to another may only be stimulated to more aggression when the electric collar is used without proper preparation.

I’d recommend starting off with increasing the pack structure for all your dogs.  I’d start with our Groundwork program and the video that picks up where the article leaves off; Pack Structure for the Family Pet

I also believe that this DVD could really help you. It’s titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS and was a 5 year project.

I would use a muzzle and a dominant dog collar.

once you have more leadership and control THEN you can start to implement the ecollar.  We produced a training DVD titled ELECTRIC COLLAR TRAINING FOR THE PET OWNER. In this DVD Ed teaches people how to handle the foundation training and then how to use the collar.

Many trainers, especially hunting dog trainers and even some professional dog trainers use “escape training” when they train with remote collars. This is where they stimulate the dog, give it a command and then teach the dog how to turn the stimulation OFF by doing what’s told. 

I don’t agree with "escape training." I don’t think its fair to the dog. He is being stimulated before he is even asked to do something. In my opinion this is ass end backward.

Rather I believe in using the collar to reinforce a voice correction. In other words, I always tell my dog “NO” before I correct him. I give him the opportunity to change his behavior. My goal is to always teach my dog to follow my voice command. 

If you read the article titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING you will understand how to approach corrections. In the DVD Ed simply applies that philosophy to remote collar training.

The article explains how to determine the level of correction to use on each dog. This varies according to the temperament and drive of the dog along with the level of distraction it’s currently facing at that moment in time.

This DVD shows how to determine what level of stimulation to use on your dog. That’s important.

In this DVD we never used a level higher than a medium and most of the time it was on the low settings for every dog we trained.

We use a Dogtra 280 NCP or Dogtra 1900 NCP on our personal dogs.

Other companies sell cheaper collars but in the remote collar business you get what you pay for.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Quesiton:

Hello Ed,

I had a few questions about e-collar training. Do you think it is a good idea to use an e-collar to house train a dog? Would you simply correct the dog with the collar when they are actually in the act of using the house to potty with a stern NO! command and then place them outside in the area they need to go potty (then reward when they do go in the right place)? I am figuring that this would teach the dog, if you go potty in the house, you will get a shock.

Answer:

I think it’s a bad idea to use an ecollar in association with housebreaking. Housetraining is about creating good habits, not about punishing a dog when they make a mistake. If you want to use an ecollar for housetraining, then I’d recommend the human wear it and press the button & shock themselves every time the dog makes a mistake because housetraining problems are almost always human error. For sound advice on housetraining, we have a section on the website.

Cindy

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Question:

Cindy,

I wanted to get your opinion about our 10 month old female German Shepherd, Indi. She has begun to be aggressive towards people and some dogs. When she is aggressive towards people she is on leash and when they get close enough, that I guess she perceives as too close, she will lunge and snap towards them. She is not quite as bad with other dogs but does show some of the same behavior.

We were attending training classes at the local pet store to learn the basic commands, which she has learned quickly but it has not helped with any socialization or with being around people. The aggression has seemed to get worse with people.

We have contacted a local training facility that trains a lot of the local law enforcement K-9's. They have been certified dog trainers for over 25 years and are recognized as qualified instructors by the AKC. They recommend that we come to training, using an e-collar. My husband is a former K-9 handler for an agency here and he is familiar with e-collar use and it worked well with his German Shepherd. This particular dog was not aggressive to people.  He was a dual purpose drug/bite dog.

The local pet store trainer, that knows Indi, has called me and wants us to come back to her. She is saying that using an e-collar on an aggressive dog will make the aggression worse. Her example was, if we use an e-collar when she is aggressive towards a person the dog will then associate the e-collar correction with that person and will continue to be aggressive towards that particular person. 

I also called our vet and he did not suggest that the e-collar would have this effect. He actually said that this may be the way to go for this situation.

I have done some research on the internet and talked with other people and have gotten a mix of opinions. After reading your website and many others I think that we are headed in the right direction but I am trying to be cautious as I don't want to make a mistake that could be detrimental to Indi. I feel like she can be a great dog if we take the right steps, I just want to be sure that we are taking the right ones.

I have read that it is important to identify the type of aggression that your dog has but that has been difficult for me. Indi is a great dog at home and with myself and my husband.  She is fine with our other dogs (one 7 yrs old and one 3 yrs old, both about 35lb mix breeds). Our daughter and her husband visit and bring their two dogs and she is fine with them and their dogs. She shows no aggression towards any of us in any way. Our daughter does visit fairly frequently. Our son on the other hand does not visit as much and she will bark at him but not show any of the other aggression signs. It seems to be only people that she doesn't know, and I have not been able to pinpoint what it is they do that makes her be aggressive. 

I also realize that we, as her owners, owe it to her to be trained in the correct way to handle her and that the problem, most likely, is with us not her. 

We are scheduled to begin training on Saturday. This training is on and off leash obedience using an e-collar.

We really appreciate you taking the time to read our email and any advice or information that you may be able to provide us with.

Thanks,
Mark and Pam

Answer:

I wouldn’t go straight to the ecollar for aggression, your trainer is right. (vets RARELY give good training advice, fyi) Many dogs redirect the ecollar correction into the other dog or person (or whatever they are reacting to in the first place) The ecollar may be used once you have done some initial restructuring of your dogs life and have done the correct type of training with a dominant dog collar but I never recommend starting off with the ecollar for aggression unless you have a LOT of ecollar experience and superb control of your dog in every other scenario. For a pet owner with a 10 month old dog with aggression problems, it is not the place to start.

My recommendations would be as follows:

Start your dog today with our groundwork program.

I’d then follow up with these 2 videos:

Pack Structure for the Family Pet
Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs

You will need a dominant dog collar and possibly a muzzle.

I would only use the ecollar for corrections LATER, after you’ve done the process I outlined above.  Even then, I would recommend this video be watched first; Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner.

I would recommend learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website.  If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum.

Cindy

Another Note:

P.S. I missed the part about the law enforcement trainers.  No offense to your husband, I still would not recommend going to a facility that advocates an ecollar as step one for aggression.  Many training facilities that we’ve seen using Police K9 training as a selling point are using old school training.  I don’t know what an “AKC qualified instructor” means but the AKC is no assurance of quality.  They are nothing but a business that makes money from registering vast numbers of dogs, AKC does NOT equal quality.  (contrary to most people’s belief).

If a dog facility I had contacted threw that out there to influence me to believe they knew what they were doing, I’d run the other way J  They may be great, I don’t know since I haven’t seen them train but typically people or organizations that use AKC to promote their business as something special are not.  That’s our experience.

Good luck to you.

Cindy

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Question:

I have a 18 month GSD. I live on a farm and Lili is free as a bird. She is very devoted to me and quite obedient, very loving and likes everyone. However, due to illness in the family, I have not been home as much as usual. She tracked me into town (about seven miles) one day so I lock up her up. Last week, I had to stay over night and could not lock her up--so she had tracked me again and visited a neighboring farm. They identified her from her collar and brought her home so she was here when I got home the following day. She has been running after the car when I go to the mail box so yesterday I put the electronic collar on her (never have used it on her before) "zapped" her when she began following the car. Today, she remained in the yard (thank goodness) and didn't follow the car.  Should I continue using the collar or do you have a better solution? She is a "hard head"--not sensitive at all  but is a great dog--I am a gardener with many shrubs, roses and perennials with dozens of deer waiting to destroy all --she is great at keeping them away besides being a great loving companion. Any advice will be appreciated. 

Corine

Answer:

This is not a dog problem, it’s an owner problem. The problem exists because of the way you have chosen to live with your dog, which is not very responsibly. The end of this story is not going to be pretty because it’s going to result in a dead dog. This is not a question of IF IT WILL HAPPEN but only a matter of time UNTIL IT HAPPENS.

Remote collars are used for proof off leash obedience. They are not designed to be used for the purpose your using it. It will not work for any period of time.

Get a dog kennel and keep your dog in it when you leave or get an In-Ground fence and use it to keep your dog in your yard.

Regards,
Ed Frawley

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Question:

Hello Cindy,

I bought your DVD on e-collar training and loved it. Now comes the training, and I have a question.

I am using the Tri-Tronics Sport Combo G3 collar for Becky, my 3 year old border collie, who weighs 35 pounds. I have set the collar intensity the way you suggested, and got her "look at the leg or ground" response at a very low setting, less than the number 1 on the dial, when she was relaxed in the house.

Outdoors it was a different story when she was "focused" on a task, which was staring at a stick, waiting for me to throw it. There was no response at all even when I went up to 4-5 on the dial. Before raising it any higher, I thought I'd check with you to see what you recommend as far as a high intensity setting for a focused border collie, who I feel would run around without noticing her leg had been cut off if it meant getting to her stick.

So, shall I just keep upping the setting until I get a reaction under these circumstances, and how high should I trigger it if there was an "emergency attention" circumstance such as a squirrel falling out of a tree twenty feet in front of her, in order to get a response to my command. So, in effect, for a 35 pound border collie, which setting would be too dangerous?

Thanks for your help.
Bob

Answer:

No matter what kind of ecollar you have, you use the level that you need for each different scenario. There isn’t a setting for Dobermans, Border Collies or German Shepherds. You use the collar to effect. In a highly distracting environment you may need to go way above your dog’s regular working level, just don’t forget to adjust the level as needed and don’t get stuck on one specific setting. On one 45 minute walk with my dogs I may change the setting 10-15 times depending on what we encounter along the way. I also may never have to push the button for weeks at a time, if I’ve been consistent and fair with my training. My dogs learn to follow my voice and the collar just becomes a back up to my voice.  There isn’t going to be a level that is "dangerous" to your dog physically.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

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Question:

Dear Ed/Cindy

First I would like to say that I love your website. I have bought several of your DVDs and products and have always been very satisfied. More important than just a supply store is that I have come to have a deep respect for your thoughts on dog training methods/philosophy (I read many of your eBooks, even the ones that don't really pertain to my situation). I even feed completely raw, and it has been great fun.

So on with the problem. I have always grown up with GSDs and have a deep love for the breed. This is the first dog that I can truly call my own (finally out of college and on my own) and he is currently 6 months. Within the last month or so he has begun noticing his surrounds much more than before (birds, squirrels, deer, flying insects, etc.) and taking interest in their investigation. I think this is great as long as I can always regain his attention, but for around a week now he has become increasingly more interested in shadows (which are virtually always around). He is not concerned with all shadows (at least not yet) but primarily small faster moving ones like the looped up 30' leash or fingers from a hand etc.

Currently I can always gain his attention and get prompt responses to my commands (at least what I expect from a 6 month puppy) but he is spending more and more time watching shadows and responding to the ones that move.

Again this behavior is relatively new but from what I have been reading lately has potential for more serious OCD type problems. When he was 4 months I showed him a laser pointer, once and only once, for maybe 30 seconds (honest, only once and very brief). I mention this because I have now read countless threads discussing this very problem (many in your forum as well as several others). I believe I am too new to post in your forum so I am going right to the source, sorry.

Currently, I am conflicted on how to deal with this problem. First I don't want to destroy any of his drive that I have been working very hard to continually build, or cause him to think he will be corrected for
noticing/investigating his environment. On the other hand if I can prevent a problem I most definitely will. As I see it, I either do nothing or begin consistently correcting. I have no problem with either way but I don't want to correct a dog that does not need/deserve it, but I also don't want to bolster any OCD type behavior. He is a very large financial commitment (in addition to all of the time and love) so I am somewhat nervous about an obsessed dog for which there is no cure. Any thoughts would be well appreciated as my goal is to begin formal schutzhund training in next month (the clubs are very expensive).

My Most Sincere Thanks,
Dan

Answer:

Interrupting obsessive behavior will have no affect on drive. Notice I didn't say CORRECT.

Interruption can be done in a variety of ways, with a tug on the leash, making a noise to distract him or a low level nick with the ecollar.

You basically want to stop the forward movement of the dog in relation to chasing shadows in any way you can. Dogs with high prey drive can learn that this is a really fun game and it can become an OC behavior very quickly.

It is best to keep these dogs on leash and not allow that behavior. Control the behavior by teaching the YUCK command. When you see the dog start - give the YUCK command followed by a high value food reward or a tug. Play with him. Teach him that YUCK means stop what your doing (I.E. chasing a shadow; eating poop etc) Once the dog knows that command and you are 100% sure he knows it - then you can reinforce non-compliance with low level stimulation from a remote collar.

Cindy Rhodes

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

I spoke with someone today from the company and they told me to email you.

I have 2 dogs and the one that is 3 years old just started, since he was recently neutered, jumping at doors and windows and has broken 2. I do not leave the front door open so that he doesn't do this. He is also a jumper on people when he is overly excited to see them. I have tried the gadget that goes around the legs and it did nothing for him. He is well behaved when out wearing his service vest. It is when he is home that he doesn't listen deaf ear so to say. My female who is 17 months was also great and is being trained for service has been great up until she was left home with my younger son 16 while we were away for 10 days. Since this she has changed and will bite someone that comes in my house if my son or I am near them. She also doesn't like someone on the other side of our house when we are not over there. When out and wearing her vest she is very good. Again the issue is in the house. Both dogs have passed training for therapy dogs and have no problem as long as we are not in the home. Recall as tested was extremely good  again as long as they were not home. At the house if our garage is open they will fly out of the door so fast they would knock some one over.

Now I have been reading about e- collars and would like to know what you would recommend

Thanks

Answer:

A lot of dogs have this very problem, they are fine when out and about and in “obedience” mode but they’ve never been taught how to behave in and around the house.

Owners of dogs like yours underestimate the genetic power of  "PACK DRIVE." Pack structure is not something new and it is not optional, and if you don’t provide the structure and leadership a dog NEEDS then he or she will behave as canines have for thousands of years and will structure your family and household their own way.  Your dogs need some guidance and rules and you need to change the way you live with them in the house.

If you want to fix a problem like this you can but it takes some work. I would make sure to have crates and/or kennels for each of them.

I would start by running your dogs through our groundwork program and the video that picks up where the article leaves off; Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

Here is a DVD that I would recommend titled Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs. If you go to the link on this DVD you can read about what it covers. You will also see a detailed outline of what’s in the video.

The ecollar is something that I would recommend AFTER you put these dogs through groundwork and on leash training at home.  I would recommend Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner.

We like the Dogtra ecollars. For Leonbergers, I would recommend the 1900 NCP.

Cindy

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Question:

Dear Mr. Leerburg,

This email is in two parts... sorry for the long winded nature. I put my questions at the top (cause I am sure you don't have time to read everything) and our story at the bottom.

Questions...

I am writing to ask you about what I feel is our last option. I think it is time to start training with a remote collar. My only worry is that after a bad experience with the Innotek automatic bark collar (see below) I am worried that a remote collar would lead us down the same dead end road. I believe that Runka's aggression is fear based and after seeing the bark collar only seem to make things worse I just don't know.

I am also writing to ask you if the Dogtra 175NCP is the way to go. Runka is only about 30 pounds but I am worried that the 175 wouldn't pack enough power to work effectively on him.  Even the strongest of leash corrections using your dominant dog collar doesn't phase him when he is barking at a dog.

Our story...

About eight months ago my wife and I adopted Runka a mutt from a rescue shelter in Nashville, TN where we live. About four or five months ago he started showing signs of aggression towards other dogs.

We used to take him to one of the dog park here in town every day to play with the other regulars.  After perusing your site I see that you  are very against dog parks. I can see where you are coming from now.  

Somewhere along the line Runka decided that he didn't like certain dogs. After a couple of (at the time) out of the ordinary incidents where he would start aggressively barking at a dog I decided for our sake and for the sake of the other dogs and  owners that we wouldn't take him to the park anymore.

I started taking Runka on 45 minute walks when I got of work to burn his energy. However soon after he started aggressively barking in the car and at everything and everyone we came across on our walks.

When it became too much to handle we called in a very experienced and very expensive behaviorist. In hindsight we should have done it long before it got that far. The behaviorist said that we needed to work on basic obedience before we could really get anywhere.  Even though Runka knew the basic commands we decided that if we were going to spend that much money we need to listen to our trainer. Towards the end of the training I mentioned that we haven't done anything to help with the aggression. He sold me an Innotek bark collar and had me put it on Runka for a week before turning it on. Then once it was turned on he said that he would learn that you can't bark at things and his problem would be solved.

First off I was very disappointed in the Innotek bark collar.  It would zap him if he yawned sometimes and not zap him when he barked other times.  When I first came across your site I was very impressed with your articles and free videos and felt that I should not buy anything that you wouldn't sell. Well, when our trainer sold me the Innotek (for way over retail I might add) I thought that I had seen it on your site and later realized that you only sell the Tri-Tronics bark collar, probably for good reason.

The aggression towards dogs hasn't gotten any better with the bark collar. He seems to have just gotten used to it and would rather take the burn than not bark.

At first the barking in the car did get better but now it has turned  far worse and has gotten to the point that he is barking non stop. Today I tried a different approach and put ear plugs in and drove around for half an hour to see if I ignoring his barking would make any difference. It didn't.

We live in an apartment and it is inevitable that we will see other dogs when we take him out to do his business. We can't take him to a friends house to play with his canine best friend and run around outside without putting him in the car. We can't take him on walks in our neighborhood without him lounging and barking at other dogs.

He is an incredibly sweet and good dog in our house. If we could keep him inside we would have a perfect dog. But that is just a silly notion.

I am writing to ask you about what I feel is our last option. I think it is time to start training with a remote collar. My only worry is that after a bad experience with the Innotek automatic bark collar I am worried that a remote collar would lead us down the same dead end road.  I believe that Runka's aggression is fear based and after seeing the bark collar only seem to make things worse I just don't know.

I am also writing to ask you if the Dogtra 175NCP is the way to go. Runka is only about 30 pounds but I am worried that the 175 wouldn't pack enough power to work effectively.

Thank you for everything you do for the dog loving community,
Ben (and Runka)

Answer:

First of all, the behaviorist you hired has it backwards. You need to work on pack structure and leadership, obedience training rarely makes much of an impact on aggression unless you have your dog under formal obedience commands 24/7 (which is entirely unrealistic).

I'd recommend starting with the basics of pack structure today. Start with our groundwork program.

I'd then recommend Pack Structure for the Family Pet and Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs.

I think you must not be using the dominant dog collar properly, because it really isn't used for a strong correction. The dominant dog video will show you the proper way to use it.

If you do all of that and you still want to use electric, that's great but to use it right off the bat for aggression may backfire on you and only build the aggression.  As you found out Innotek collars are inconsistent at best.

I'd recommend Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner and a Dogtra 280 NCP.  This is the best collar for your dog, in my opinion.

Cindy Rhodes

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Question:

Hi Mr. Frawley,

I have just found your site recently and love it. I have had German Shephard dogs in my family since a child. There is NO other dog. LOL joking on that but they're my favorite breed. I am writing to you today becuase of my 4 year old female GS, we got a swimming pool last summer and she was great with it, actually always wanted to be in it when we were. This year she is petrified of it every time my husband dives into the water she starts shaking and tries to jump up in all the chairs on the deck and I am not sure why. We thought at first she would get used to it but that doesn't seem to be the case. We have tried playing ball with her when he goes in I will play as ball is her favorite game or give her a command to take her mind off of him being in the water, or simply not pay attention to her and NONE of that is working. I am  wondering if we're going to have to put her in her crate everytime we swim or if you would recommend the electirc/shock collar so she will get over her fear. I really hate to have to put her in her crate everytime we swim because she is a part of the family and I love having her outside with me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 

Thanking you in advance,
Fern

Answer:

Your dog sounds like she is unconfident about the pool (for whatever reason)  putting her in a situation where there is high level excitement and activity and it’s understandable that she becomes more unsure. A lot of dogs get overly worked up around people splashing and diving in. We have a pool and I put my dogs in crates when this stuff is going on. You can try to desensitize her to it, but in the meantime when there is a lot of activity going on around your pool it is probably kinder to her to give her a place away from all the action so she can relax. Maybe bring her out to the pool when there is only one person and they could go down the steps and take one of her toys in and just let her hang out on the steps for a while. No jumping in or high excitement at first. Take is slow and easy.

I don’t understand how an electric collar would help her get over her fear? Are you suggesting giving her a correction with the ecollar? In my opinion, this may make her even more anxious unless she’s really fluent with the ecollar. I wouldn’t recommend this route for her at this point.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

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Comment:

Dear Cindy and Ed, 

As I have written several (million) times and received excellent advice every time, you may know my story. I had a young GSD that at ten months became a monster. We were asked to leave training at our local kennel club and I spent months trying to find help for me and the dog. She was dog aggressive,  people aggressive,  impossible to walk, except on deserted streets and if I had to take her to the vet she had to have a muzzle or given a sedative depending on how much hands on were needed. She was hurt, needed stitches and had to be put under. I tried Caesar's  way, rolls and all, I got bit. I found that I was yelling at the dog constantly and things just got worse. I hired an expensive trainer who never even got the dog to sit, but he wanted me to leave her there for a month.  He said more dogs were ruined from shock collars than he could count. I was advised to have the dog euthanize by more than one "professional." I felt like a complete failure and cried but then I accidentally found your website. I started with pack leadership, went on to dealing with dominant aggressive dogs and moved right through E collars and beyond. My dogs (I got another) are complimented all the time on their good behavior. They are off leash where ever they can be. I have the Dogtra gold with two collars. When I get the collars out my dogs get so excited it is a mad house here. I put them on but never have to use the shock and only occasionally the vibrate. We go to a local playground with access to a large creek, the dogs swim, play and explore. One day it was just us,  then adults and children came till there were about 25 bodies running around screaming and sliding swinging and climbing. The dogs acted like there was not one other person there, the focus was always on me and/or the toy. One gentleman walker in our small town watched me walk back and forth in front of the same house over and over and inquired "What are we training today?" We were ignoring a barking dog and my girl also ignored the walker. My dogs and I now have a really great reputation in town and people have started asking me for advise and I ALWAYS give you guys the credit and refer them to your website. My vet can now examine and even take blood from my dog. As a matter of fact she asked me about the collars and intended to get some for her dogs. I was really proud when she told another vet we needed to see for surgery, that the dog might act up, but don't worry I was an excellent handler and it wouldn't be a problem. Thank you so much for all you have taught me. Those that call your methods cruel should have been there when I was told to have the dog put down. 

Beverly

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Question:

Hi,

First, I want to express my extreme gratitude for all the effort you and Ed have put into this site and the products you offer. I love everything I've purchased. I luckily stumbled across it months ago and have since recommended it to more people than I can count.

Second, I guess I have to admit that I am somewhat intimidated contacting you, but one of your sweet staff suggested getting your opinion, so, here goes...

I seem to have a habit of collecting deaf dogs. (I currently have two). I was curious about a vibrating collar, which would you recommend? I am not doing anything 'important' with them, just would like to get their attention at times. They are usually very good, about 90% of the time. The only issue I have is my female gets distracted even on leash (training/engagement issue - my fault, working on it). My little male can not go anywhere off lead since he is also partially blind. If I get too far away, he gets lost.

The two dog models, do they wear them at the same time and if I stimulate one, do they both get paged? I hope that sentence makes sense.

I would greatly appreciate your opinion as it would be a high value treat for me. I have so much respect for you both (and am a little jealous, but maybe someday I can accomplish something even half as amazing as what you have done and are doing.)

Thank you so much for your time.

Sincerely,
Lisa

Answer:

We no longer carry the vibrating collors but some of our regular ecollars do have a vibrate/page feature.

I like the Dogtra ecollars

When using the two dog models, each dog is controlled by a different button on the remote so they are not given the stim at the same time.  We have an excellent video on how to train a dog with the electric collar Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner.

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website.  If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum.  Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for.  I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

Thanks again for all your wonderful support in the past. I have a wonderful, well behaved dog that I truly enjoy and I can honestly say it is due to the information I have gotten from you and your website. I do have a question about e-collars. I have a 2 year old boxer mix that is wonderful.

I have trained him in the past with a Dogtra e-collar to solidify his recall and added security when we visit the mountains of Vermont and he is off leash. He was always oblivious to the collar (I had put it on and off for several weeks before beginning training) and he has always done very well while training with it on. I still put it on occasionally in the house (without training) to keep him oblivious to the collar. In the last couple of months, he walks around with his head low and stays very quiet if he is wearing the e-collar. Maybe I have gotten sloppy with training and he has realized exactly what the collar means. Is it possible for a dog (who was unaware of the collar in the past) to develop a recognition for the e-collar and what it does and is it possible to retrain him to ignore the collar? I keep the collar on at all times when he is off leash and have no intention of changing that policy but I am convinced he is becoming too smart for me and will eventually take the collar off and put it on me in my sleep.
Thanks again,
Beverly

Answer:

It's possible for dogs to become aware of equipment, for sure.

The way to get around it is to put the collar on every single day, whether you plan on using it or not. Also be aware of how you are handling the remote. I keep it discreetly tucked in my hand or in my pocket with my hand on the button so I don't need to make a big production out of getting it out of my pocket, looking at it, etc.. this draws the dog's attention to it. Don't use it like a tv remote control (which a lot of people do).

If you only are handling the remote when the dog is getting a stimulation from the collar they pick up on that very fast.

I have a young dog right now, she gets the ecollar on every morning before she goes outside the first time around 6 AM and it comes off at bedtime. EVERY DAY. The collar means nothing to her other than "it's time to start the day" :)

Cindy Rhodes

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Question:

Dear Ed,

I have a five-year-old German Shepherd female, and I have had her for about a year and a half.  I bought her from a place that trains Shepherds, and they use electric collars.  They told me to put her collar on first thing in the morning, and to leave it on all day. Within a few weeks, she had terrible hot spots under her neck, and after having that happen to her a couple of times, I got away from using an electric collar. She has long hair, and I wasn't sure what was going on, but it was so bad, she needed antibiotics for them to heal. I became aware as time wore on that she was aggressive with anything with four legs.  I had to move my cat into my bedroom permanently.  She has tangled with a couple of yellow labs in the neighborhood, but I always thought she felt like they were a threat - always barking and charging up to the edge of their invisible fences when we walked past.  Last October, I was visiting my sister's house, and she snapped a leather collar and got a King Charles Spaniel who was just walking past the house with her owner. There was no aggression on the part of the spaniel, and that incident really shook me up. Thankfully, the dog survived, but after researching your website and contacting the place where I bought her from, the advice seemed to be to go back to the electric collar, which I did.  That worked well for about a month, and then, bam, she broke out in the worst infected mess under her chin that she had had yet.  She was pretty sick, but was treated with antibiotics along with a steroid this time, and she healed.  It was hundreds of dollars in vet bills, plus not a happy episode for my dog, and I don't want to go through this again.

The place where I bought her from just keeps telling me to switch the electric collar from one side to another. I don't think that works. I could try just putting the collar on when we go out.  The winter here is not a big problem, because I live in suburban Chicago, and most dogs are not hanging out in their yards. Of the three incidents she has been involved in, the first time she was off leash in my backyard and saw my next door neighbor's lab in the yard, the other time I did not have the leash attached correctly to her collar on our walk, and the third time mentioned above, she broke a collar. I am paranoid, and now she is always leashed properly to a prong collar for her walks, sometimes with, sometimes without one of your dominant dog collars.  After the attack of the spaniel, I debated giving her up, but I hate giving up. She is wonderful with people - I have had many strangers in and around the house, and I have never had a problem with humans. She is so much company for my husband and me. I am also paranoid with her around children, but having had little ones here for Thanksgiving and Christmas, she seems fine. She loves how they drop food!  However, my husband and I are always supervising closely - but again, I feel better when she has an electric collar on around children as well.

I am wondering if you have had any problems similar to mine with the electric collar.  I don't know if there are any electric collars mounted on more breathable materials? I sense that these collars (and I have a Dogtra 1900NCP) with their waterproof collars create moisture under the collar, and that causes a problem with her long coat?  I have read about your Cinch-It collars, but I think those might have the same problem.  Any ideas?  Perhaps I do not have her collar on properly - too tight or too loose?  I am curious if you have ever heard of this issue before, as it seems like you have trained hundreds of dogs.

I have bought three of your videos, and appreciate the wealth of information on your website.  I could spend hours reading your articles!  Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,
Leslie

Answer:

Usually dogs get irritation under the collar if it’s not quite snug enough.  I would also agree that you should move the collar from one side to the other each day so it’s not spending a lot of time re-irritating the same area. If you need to take the collar off at periods of time during the day to give the sore area a break, I would recommend it.

For the dog aggression, you may want to watch the video Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs.

Cindy Rhodes

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Question:

Hello Cindy,

First, thank you for the quality products and great DVDs you offer; we have purchased several items and have enjoyed everything we have bought. I have two questions pertaining to whining and digging. My GSD is not a big backyard digger, but he has seemed to find a few select locations where he likes to dig. We have not been able to catch him digging. Is this solvable with corrections or an E Collar? Can you recommend a solution?

Lastly, both of our dogs are compliant in their basic obedience, however, they both like to whine a little when they are put in Place or Down positions. Can you also recommend a solution? And again, thanks for your website, your products, and the service and advice you provide!

Thanks,
Michael

Answer:

If you can't catch the dog digging without an ecollar on, the collar won't help solve this. Also, digging is a self rewarding behavior for dogs so you may be able to stop it when you are present but even getting a correction for it won't likely stop him from digging whenever he's not supervised and in the mood to dig. I actually put a sand pile in my backyard and encouraged the dogs to dig there, since I knew they were going to do it anyway. :)

Whining is a sign of anxiety, make sure you are never rewarding or releasing the dog when they are making any type of noise or you will have actually rewarded the whining as well. You can also search our website for ideas on curbing whining.

Cindy Rhodes

Another Question:

Hi Cindy,

We purchased 2 Dogtra E Collars from you and also bought and watched the DVD, which is very informative. The DVD does not explain the use and the timing of using the vibration feature on the Dogtra collar. Just so we get it right, would you might outlining exactly how to use/time the vibration and nick buttons for obedience commands?

Thank You.
Mike

Cindy's Reponse:

I only use the pager function to test that my collar is receiving a signal from the transmitter, we don't use it in actual training. Some people do, but we do not so we did not include it in the video.

Cindy Rhodes

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Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have begun my ecollar training after viewing the DVD several times.  I have a 10 month old standard poodle. I am using a 20 ft long line during the training and feel comfortable with the stim level I am using on on her.  During the outside training she responds appropriately, takes treats and toys during our 5/6 minute sessions. When we come in the house and I leave the collar on her she retreats to her bed, goes to sleep or hides in the shower – this goes on for hours she will not eat or go outside. When I take the collar off she is her old self again.

The other problem is using the ecollar in the house for training at the door, letting me out first, place, etc. She pays no attention to the command. Just runs as far as the drag line will take her. The only thing I can think of is that maybe she is not as “hard” as I thought she was or either she is going through the beginning stages of understanding that I am the pack leader, not her and avoidance is the way she is showing her fear.

Any suggestions? I did look at the questions and answers on the page for ecollar questions but did not see anything like my issues. I have ordered a prong collar with quick release buckle and the dominant collar. Do you think I might have better response? I would really like to continue with the ecollar but do not want to damage my relationship with her if she continues her avoidance.

I love your website and visit everyday to read.  Thanks for such good information and excellent products.

Diane

Cindy's Response:

I would put the collar on her first thing in the morning and take it off at the end of the day. The collar should be meaningless to the dog, so if she’s behaving as you describe then you have brought her attention to wearing it.

My dogs get the collar on before we go outside in the AM and it comes off after supper. They don’t pay a bit of attention to it, other than to show their happiness when it goes on in the morning. To my dogs it’s merely a sign that our day has started.

Do not take the collar off in response to her going to her bed, etc… she doesn't call the shots, you do! Pack leaders don’t respond to that kind of behavior.  You are in charge, remember that. Be firm and consistent. Don’t try to coax her or get her to eat. Ignore the behavior and act like nothing is different.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes




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