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The most misunderstood training tool – Electric collar

There is a lot of mixed emotions and controversy when using this tool for dog training. Not just with dog owners, but with fellow dog trainers as well. Which, is not surprising, after all many people refer to this device as a “shock collar”.  However, most dog trainers or dog owner with an understanding of the the electric collar refer to this device as an “e-collar or “training collar”.  Although, the electric collar has been around for nearly 45 years, its popularity for training has become more prominent over the last decade. Originally the electric collar was used to train hunting dogs, the collar was large and the remote resembled something like a late 80’s mobile phone. Hunters were very pleased with the results. It allowed them to have much more control of their dogs from grater distance. It was mainly used as a correction when training and out hunting. Other variations of the electric collar came from this when dog owners became more aware of the this product and the results. Many of the other variations we are familiar with today are; bark collars, electric fence collars, and pet training collars.

 

This is where the electric collar has become misconstrued. Many people hear “electric collar” and think of  its counter part(fence and bark collars) that are used for correction. Over the years there has been a lot of change with the electric collar. Ranging from collar functions to training techniques. Most electric collars today do not “shock” the dog. A “shock” is caused by an electrical current passing through the body. It can cause burns and injury.  What is found on an electric collar is a technology used to treat pain in the muscle or nerves(TENS or TNS). It uses a low to high frequency to omit a stimulation. What results is a collar that gives the trainer the ability to use high or low stimulation for attention rather then correction. We can use the collar to gain off leash control of dogs and it allows better timing with behavioral issues. Overall it will give more control to a dog owner and cause much less stress then what is associated with bark or fence collars.

 

The electric collar can be a pronominal training tool in the right  hands with proper education. The main issue today is that this device can be found just about anywhere and no education is required. It can create unwanted behavior, stress, and poorly trained dogs when misused. I highly recommend getting properly educated before even purchasing an electric collar. Most professional dog trainers will have a list of “e-collars” suited for pet obedience. Understand not all dogs will need to be “e-collar” training, however many dogs can benefit from this training tool.

Posted: September 2, 2016
Updated: March 21, 2017

Don’t teach your dog to stay.

Stay is a command many dog owners use regularly; however most professional dog trainers don’t use “stay” as one of our commands. It may sound strange, but there is good reason why. Let us explain: Most stay comes after a “sit” or “down.” At that moment, the dog has to think about doing two separate commands, which is more difficult for the dog to retain. Ultimately the dog will break one of those commands. Maybe you use “stay” to keep your dog in one area. This may work for a short period, however what pictures does the dog have of what stay really is? Most dogs will lose focus or get bored of being in one area so they will lay from side to side or get up and turn. There is no focal point for the dog of what “stay” is, and will become misconstrued. Over a period of time “stay” will become a much larger area. This is not what we intended when we set out to teach this command.

 

What is the solution? Teaching the dog that stay is implied with commands like sit, down, and place. For example, down means to stay laying down until released or called. It is much easier for a dog to learn implied stay then “stay” itself. This is because once the dog knows commands like down, sit, and place we can see if they break a command and so can the dog. This makes the dog more successful as opposed to teaching a secondary command with it.  Now, if you use “stay” already as one of your commands don’t worry. It is not too difficult or too late to teach an implied stay.

Posted: May 6, 2015
Updated: March 21, 2017
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