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Categories: Electric Collar Training

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

A. 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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The remote collar is the most effective dog training tool that has been developed in the past 100 years. Our low level stimulation training is 100 times more humane and more effective than using "CHOKE COLLAR or PRONG COLLAR." In fact our remote collar training program eliminates the need for these other training tools. In our home we start our 16 to 20 week old puppies on our remote collar program. The levels of stimulation used in our training program are often times not even felt by many humans.

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