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    Thread: E collars

    1. #1
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      E collars

      I am sure this will be a post that elicits strong opinions, but I would like to know what people think about e collars? I am starting to train Diggity to be off leash and am taking him to places where we are way off the road and have a low likelihood of meeting up with other people and dogs. He is doing well for about the first 5 - 10 minutes, then seems to recognize he has freedom and gets farther and farther away. Sometimes he just takes off down a side trail and goes out of sight. So far, I have been able to call him back (a few times waiting about 15 seconds, which seemed like an eternity, before he comes back.) I am doing the thing where I hide behind a tree to worry him when he comes back because he can’t find me. However, Diggity is a very bold little man and honestly has no fear. My previous dog Sprocket was a totally different dog and I could let her off leash with no issues of her staying nearby. Diggity's breeder is a very well-known trainer and she uses e collars with her dogs to "set boundaries." Now she has me thinking about doing that as well. I have always been against e collars because I felt they hurt the dog, but maybe it is a good training method. My own trainer said to carry a whistle and get him used to coming back to that, so maybe it it a matter of doing both and then slowly fading away from the e collar.

      I have not made any decisions yet, but wanted to ask you all what you thought.
      Last edited by bmathers; 02-01-2019 at 03:31 PM.

    2. #2
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      If you would have asked me this question 2 years ago I would have given a much different answer. I had never used an e-collar, and I had witnessed several people use them in a manner I would consider pretty severe punishment for the dog. I swore that I'd never use one if I had to use it to basically torture my dog. I had the same opinion regarding force fetch, as there were people I trained with that once again, basically used the process to torture the dog.

      I was having a great deal of issues with Brooks with his field training to the point I just didn't know what to do to correct the issues. Luckily for us, IRISHWHISTLER reached out and invited Brooks and I to come to his hunt club for a weekend of evaluation and training. Let's just say there were a LOT of holes in our training program. I asked Mike to be brutally honest with me, and he was, but he sent us home with a plan which got us on track. Mike was also very helpful with his explanations on how to properly e-collar condition your dog. We got Brooks Junior Hunter title this past summer and are well on our way to competing in Senior tests this year.

      Ok. Now what does all this have to do with e-collars?? I learned that when used properly an e-collar is a great tool for use when training your dog. The key to using an e-collar is in properly conditioning the dog to it. It's only used to make corrections on behaviors the dog has been fully trained on. Once the dog is conditioned it is basically no different than using a leash to make corrections. At no time when using an e-collar should a dog vocalize when you press the button. When used correctly an e-collar allows you to make fair and humane corrections at a distance.

      I can tell you this. When Brooks sees me get his e-collar out, he gets excited because he knows a whole lot of fun is about to happen.

      I will also say that not all e-collars are created equal. The first one I used was a Sportdog brand, and it seemed to be very inconsistent in the level of stimulation that was being applied to the dog. The were times I'd press the button and get no reaction, and there were time he'd vocalize when I pressed it at the same setting. I upgraded to a Dogtra and have had no issues like I had with the Sportdog.

      I would recommend you watch videos of Bill Hillman doing e-collar training. I liked his approach in how he conditions the dogs. If you google search his name you'll find a ton of good stuff.

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    4. #3
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      I have considered this Many times when training off leash years ago. I ended up buying dog whistles instead

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    6. #4
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      it's up to you but even if you get one, remember - it's just a tool, the training steps still need to apply. you still have to get a step by step recall training program to follow. on top of training for the ecollar. for now i'd recommend a long line. if you explore training with an ecollar do find a solid, experienced trainer to guide you step by step.

      personally i'd try other training program first, schools here all offer recall specific classes and there are some online (Susan Garrett but she is pricey, Fenzi Dog Sports Academy has classes, many on recall, for $65 usd

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    8. #5
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      You have received very good advice here. The e-collar is not used to teach it is used to reinforced learned behaviors when the dog deviates. Do try the whistle. When mine get out of sight I use a whistle and they come running. Both are e-collar conditioned but rarely do I have to use any stimulation. When I got my first collar I went to a very good pro trainer who taught me how to use it ethically and humanely. He made us leave the transmitter on a chair behind us so that if we were going to use it we had time to think about why the dog had responded the way she had and to think of what we had done wrong in our handling and how we could correct without the use of the collar. The dog always gets the benefit of the doubt on the first infraction, some simplification of the command and then if they persist then a quick correction. This is particularly true when decheating.
      I would recommend the Dogtra collar. I really liked the Tritronic products when they were made in the States but since they sold to Garmin they are not as good. But do get some training before you start to use your collar.

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    10. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by bmathers View Post
      I am sure this will be a post that elicits strong opinions, but I would like to know what people think about e collars? I am starting to train Diggity to be off leash and am taking him to places where we are way off the road and have a low likelihood of meeting up with other people and dogs. He is doing well for about the first 5 - 10 minutes, then seems to recognize he has freedom and gets farther and farther away. Sometimes he just takes off down a side trail and goes out of sight. So far, I have been able to call him back (a few times waiting about 15 seconds, which seemed like an eternity, before he comes back.) I am doing the thing where I hide behind a tree to worry him when he comes back because he can’t find me. However, Diggity is a very bold little man and honestly has no fear. My previous dog Sprocket was a totally different dog and I could let her off leash with no issues of her staying nearby. Diggity's breeder is a very well-known trainer and she uses e collars with her dogs to "set boundaries." Now she has me thinking about doing that as well. I have always been against e collars because I felt they hurt the dog, but maybe it is a good training method. My own trainer said to carry a whistle and get him used to coming back to that, so maybe it it a matter of doing both and then slowly fading away from the e collar.

      I have not made any decisions yet, but wanted to ask you all what you thought.
      I don't use them. If someone wants to use one correctly that's up to them. But, your reasons for using one are not how they are to be used. I also don't understand how someone uses an e-collar to set a boundary. When properly used, they are used to reinforce and cue or command that the dog already knows but is not responding to. Sometimes words get in the way, so it would be good to hear how you plan on using one and what you have tried already to get the behavior you want.

      A dog has to be trained to the collar just like the dog has to be trained to a recall or a whistle. It's not the whistle or the e-collar that makes the dog come back. It's the training. That's where people get confused. There is no magic bullet here. Actually, if you watch some of the Sit Means Sit videos, dogs too scared to move much ("watch this dog go from wild to obedient in five minutes!"), then you could call that a magic bullet. The general public often doesn't know the difference between scared/intimidated and obedient. But this is not the correct way to use an e-collar or to train a dog.

      No knowing what you have done with him, I can't give advice on your recall. My adult dogs are excellent without corrections or e-collars and I can call them off wildlife, even stray cats. They even do field work without them. My puppy has an excellent recall as well, though I know that we'll have to go back to training wheels when he is in the throes of adolescence, and that's OK because it's totally normal. I don't plan to use an e-collar on him either.

      You also shouldn't go directly to an e-collar because your other dog was good at staying close. That is completely irrelevant to this situation.

      Here is a good class you can take for $65. It's sold out at Gold level ($260) because it's so popular and effective. Even reading the syllabus and the sample lecture is super informative.

      Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - FE240: Calling All Dogs

    11. #7
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      I just wanted to add that I know someone that used an E-Collar for training his dog, and the poor dog is pretty much ruined. (I'm sure he used it incorrectly). But the dog is afraid of everything and everyone, cowards down if you try to pet him...and has pretty much lost his "spirit". It's a beautiful Boxer.

      I don't know anything about E-Collars...but I would be hesitant to use one. But I'm sure they can be a great training tool if used correctly...but that's the key..to use it correctly. I'm sure in cases like this..it's the owner that failed his dog.

      But the outcome is just heartbreaking.

    12. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by lovemylabby View Post
      I just wanted to add that I know someone that used an E-Collar for training his dog, and the poor dog is pretty much ruined. (I'm sure he used it incorrectly). But the dog is afraid of everything and everyone, cowards down if you try to pet him...and has pretty much lost his "spirit". It's a beautiful Boxer.

      I don't know anything about E-Collars...but I would be hesitant to use one. But I'm sure they can be a great training tool if used correctly...but that's the key..to use it correctly. I'm sure in cases like this..it's the owner that failed his dog.

      But the outcome is just heartbreaking.
      My field trainer, who uses e-collars and forced fetch on most dogs, has many, many instances of ruined dogs, and he is known in our area for helping to fix these issues. Something as simple as timing can affect the dog very drastically and negatively. It takes years, maybe decades, to develop excellent timing in dog training. Even clicking at the right time is hard. The difference between the clicker and the collar when it comes to timing, is you can punish the wrong thing, and the result can be extremely difficult to correct and in some cases, impossible. With a clicker, you inadvertently teach the dog the wrong thing, but it's easy to undo because there were not drastic negative effects. For example, I taught Presto to toss the dumb bell at me because I clicked a little too late on the hold! I fixed it in the same session and there are no long-term negative effects associated with my poor timing. If I were a trainer that used an e-collar, I'd ensure that all of my students had perfect timing with a clicker before I ever let them touch the button on an e-collar transmitter. I'd also ensure there were no holes in their training. Once they had great timing and patched all the holes, chances are they wouldn't even need the collar.

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    14. #9
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      Lots of great stuff in these replies. Thank you for sharing your thoughts everyone!

      A point of clarification. I would never go forward with an e collar without training on how to properly use it.



      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    15. #10
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      E collars

      Quote Originally Posted by Tanya View Post
      it's up to you but even if you get one, remember - it's just a tool, the training steps still need to apply. you still have to get a step by step recall training program to follow. on top of training for the ecollar. for now i'd recommend a long line. if you explore training with an ecollar do find a solid, experienced trainer to guide you step by step.

      personally i'd try other training program first, schools here all offer recall specific classes and there are some online (Susan Garrett but she is pricey, Fenzi Dog Sports Academy has classes, many on recall, for $65 usd
      Susan Garrett recall class looks fantastic! Looking into that. Ironically, I dug up some notes I took when I was getting Diggity from the breeder and this is the exact class she recommended if I decided to do online classes. Thanks!


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      Last edited by bmathers; 02-02-2019 at 12:25 PM.

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