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Loose Leash Heeling vs Controlled Walking

Loose Leash Heeling vs Controlled Walking

Using a harness to fix pulling when taking a dog for a walk is a common mistake from new dog owners. This question and answer is from a customer who is having this exact problem. Ed will explain what the options are to train a dog to walk on a leash and what we consider the 3 different ways of taking a dog for a walk.

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Question: I've been told by some trainers that I can use the remote collar on my new dog the day I get the collar & I only need to leave it on for one hour before using it. Is it necessary to leave the collar on for 2 weeks before using it?


First off, I would like to tell you: You have a great site.I have been utilizing your website and products for over 10 years (when your website was blue).

My question pertains to electronic collars (new dog).  I heard, when first using an electric collar, I should put the collar on and take it off many times a day for two weeks. Recently, I have encounter other established trainers state to me that this is unnecessary. I was told, I could use the collar the day I got it. Just make sure that the dog has the e-collar on for 1 hour before I actually use it and leave it on the dog for a while after I am finished using it (preferably take it off at bed time), and to not let the dog see me using the remote when using stimulation. 

Is it absolutely necessary to keep the collar on for 2 weeks before use?
Additional facts:

Rott/Black lab mix

Young adult dog (female)
Very obedient (doesn't need much correction)
Very smart, relatively soft dog
Collar will be used for focus and recall training in a highly distracting settings (Proofing).


Cindy's Response:

You can use the collar the day you get it but then you run the risk of the dog KNOWING that the collar means something.  A remote collar is unlike anything most dogs have worn on their neck before and they definitely notice it.

I don’t want my dogs to think that when they have on collar X it means they have to respond to me.  I want the collar to be nothing to them. If you just have a companion dog that will never be in a competition & they can wear the collar whenever they go out, it doesn’t really matter as much.

So the answer is NO, it’s not absolutely necessary but in my experience it’s best to get the dog desensitized to wearing the collar long before you ever turn it on for the first time. 

My current dog wore the collar for months before I ever turned it on.  It’s part of how I train, my dogs get collars rotated on and off from the time they are little so the equipment means nothing.

I certainly wouldn’t be putting a remote on a new dog and using it right away.  I’d be doing everything with fun, food and play for a long time before I added any type of aversive experience. 

If you haven’t already done so, I’d recommend this new video Training the Recall.

There is a great section in there on using the ecollar for recalls.

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Recall & our Q&A on Ecollar Training.

We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this week's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

Have a question for Ed & Cindy? Try the Leerburg Q&A Search. If you can't find the answer to your question by using our search engine, you can email Cindy here at Leerburg at If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

On Leerburg's The Power of Training Dogs with Food DVD

My first Michael Ellis video and led directly to ordering more. The organization and timing of material is very, very good. There's a clear direction and progression, with sections long enough to fully cover the material but not belabor it. This is not just a video of one of his classes; it's recorded and organized specifically for a DVD.

Ellis starts off with a direct to camera presentation, outlining the course, why the elements are important, and going over basic terms and then into instruction segments. This impressed me a lot: other DVDs I've bought spend big blocks of time upfront on how important, wonderful and useful the information is before even starting instruction and many skip any course outline or basic introduction.

Ellis has a good layout for instruction chapters; a direct to camera lecture instruction, Ellis or another person demonstrates the section focus, then (if appropriate) a video segment of students in an in person class training. The student videos are great; it includes students mastering the material and shows the student progression. My training echoed their progression and I really appreciated seeing them in the video. The video mechanics are superb: the camera work clearly shows the action, the audio is excellent and you can hear Ellis and the student discuss techniques and improvement. You can even hear the dogs snarf up the treats.

Highly recommend this video; one of the best I've seen.

The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers

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