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Old 12-17-2012, 01:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default For those who use E-Collars - please chime in.

I'm considering the use of one. And absolutely not without learning how to properly use it.

My main problem is recall. If he is focused on something else he will choose to ignore me once in a while, he's a pretty intense dog when he is onto something. He responds very well to the use of a prong collar. As much as I'd rather use love and butterflies to teach him, he doesn't respond so well to those methods

If he is on lead, a long lead, whatever, he's fine. If he knows he's not it's another story. He stays with my mom at her house during the day while I work so he doesn't have to be alone in the house all day. He ignores her and the others there so I would like to train with them as well so he understands he must listen to them too. Believe me, I've done all of the positive reward recall training, he lives under the NILIF rules with everyone, and it works as long as he doesn't find something more stimulating. He's pretty hard when it comes to corrections, verbal corrections don't phase him for a second. lol I wish he was like the lab, if you tell that boy "No!" you'd think his world was going to end.

I also will be wanted to wean him off the collar eventually if I choose to use it. And it will not be 100% negative training. He'll get goodies and loved on when he listens - he's very treat motivated if there isn't anything overstimulating around.

And I am NOT set on getting an e-collar. However I do plan on moving in the near future to some land and I'd like to have the use of one to assure recall in unfenced country.

I'd also like suggestions for models to look into.

I just want to hear from people who have first-hand experience with recall training and e-collars as the tool.
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Old 12-17-2012, 01:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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OP says.... He stays with my mom at her house during the day while I work so he doesn't have to be alone in the house all day. He ignores her and the others there

Could you tell us what he is actually doing?
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Old 12-17-2012, 01:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If they have him out in the yard, and a car goes by he totally tunes them out to chase it down along the fence - which has caused minor injuries to his feet and destroyed her garden, so now he cannot go in the yard to just hang out with them unless he's leashed.

Same if a dog goes by. I can get his attention unless it's a certain person/dog (there are a few who totally ignore me and taunt him every time they go by), and also let their dog at him through the fence - and he usually will back up and just bark at them because he's really not into physical altercations with other dogs. If I already have his attention before they come into his sight he will generally stay seated right next to me - definitely not the story for my family. He's destroyed her flowerbeds and hurt himself by hitting the small little garden fences with his feet. He has much less freedom now for his own safety and for the damage he causes. He gets plenty of time out walking and exercising/training, but he loves to be out in the yard with my niece and play with the flirtpole and such, and he can't now.

I've tried keeping a really light long lead on him for corrections and it works, if he's on the leash. I just want him to know he can still be corrected even if he is off leash.

For me, it's a safety thing. It scares the crap out of me that he might SOMEHOW be out of the fence off lead and ignore me. Recall can mean life or death for him.
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A friend of mine only uses an e-collar when he takes his dog to the woods. When the dog gets too far away, he gets a reminder buzz. He told me his dog gets very excited when the e-collar comes out because he knows he is going to the woods. And it sounds like the guy uses it correctly.
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think some clarifications would help folks and I *have* used an ecollar on recall and chasing issues with one of the 6 GSDs I have owned. She was the only one I felt needed it and I truly think we would not have had to use it had we started off on a better foot. ..but we didn't..... So I don't consider myself to be an expert on the "how to" part.

Some questions I think will help others chime in.

How OLD is the dog?

Perhaps it would be better if he was alone at your home during the day? He is getting mixed messages no matter what you do and consistency is so important.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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No I don't think it would be better for him. He gets to exercise and have his mind worked all day and hang out with Sparkles VS staying in a bare room up to 12 hours. And I do know that, which is why I'm getting everyone who will handle him involved and on board with the program. I already printed out NILIF and walked them through it a while back.

He'll be four in May.

He's not a big problem or burden on anyone, it's this one thing but to me it's a very important thing.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I helped a few of our club members introduce the collar who wanted a reliable off lead recall for various reasons. I like running my dogs through the whole program, but they were very pleased with just teaching the dogs the recall part. Contact Lou Castle on this board for help.

I have a 2300 NCP. I am pretty sure this is also what my club members have. The other collar I have is almost 12 years old and is not made anymore. I have not used any other models myself.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I use an ecollar. However, I am not an expert, so take this for what it's worth.

Your description of what you want to use it for does not sound like a good use for one. Essentially, you want to prevent him from being reactive to cars and dogs (running the fence line in his excitement, stepping on garden areas, etc.) He is being reactive to these stimuli, and most people on this board recommend redirection training to prevent reactivity.

In my experience, the ecollar is useful for two things: long distance leash-type control, and training out a very specific undesired behavior. I say very specific because it needs to be a behavior that is not wanted under any circumstance and cannot be confused by the dog with a desirable behavior.

Digging holes is a perfect example. If you shock him every time he digs a hole, he will have to associate the shock with the act of digging. He is doing nothing else of potential value or utility then, and is not focused on anything other than digging. However, as he runs along the fence, shocking him can be misinterpreted by him as "don't run", "stay away from the fence" or possibly other confusing things, and he probably won't make the mental connection that it is ok to run, and it is ok to be at the fence, but is it not ok to run along the fence because I see a car out there. Dogs just don't think like that. It seems that using it for this purpose is one of the prime examples of use of a collar that will probably just confuse and frustrate the dog.

The other use for it is as a super-long lead. ONLY AFTER your dog has a solid positively taught return can the collar be used to give him the signal or stimulus to come when he is too far away to wear a leash. Also, it can be used to break his attention if he is distracted by chasing squirrels or such, but then you must have a solid command ready for him once you have his attention focused back on you.
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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For the out in the woods thing and obedience with you it would probably be fine if you invested the time into getting good one on one training and I agree with Lou's methods being the ones I would use. I like that the dog is really able to think because the stim is so low but it requires more of you in terms of learning to read the dog and time the stim.

For the rest of the family - I would make them as consistent as possible but I am not sure I would hand them the remote. Also you don't want the dog running around playing with another dog while wearing the collar. So for them........give them their own commands that may not be perfectly reinforced and build your commands for your time with your dog. that must be reliable all the time.

I would also beef up the fence. Fixing that with a dog who has it as an established behavior is going to be a lot of work requiring a lot of participation from everyone. Would everyone be on board that much? It would definitely be worth going to Lou for this one and seeing what he has to say!
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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No, I don't mind his reacting, I like that he lets me know loudly that there are people outside - cars too, generally cars come down here to park and trespass. I'm completely okay with him barking and alerting me to people. But I want him to come back as soon as I call him. He's allowed to walk through the garden area around the fence too, but him tearing it up as he runs is a problem, and he only does that when he ignores the "come" command.

I don't know if it would make a difference, but I planned on working the recall before trying it with the over-threshold stimulation like dogs by his fence. Like taking him to a field on a very long lead - where he will undoubtedly be distracted by the smell of other animals and a new place and such and working on the recall and shock before trying it at home where he is most likely to ignore someone. I did assume he would misinterpret it if I just gave him a shock while he was after the 'intruder' before making him understand it only happens if he ignores the 'come' command.

I plan on taking a class of some kind to learn how to properly use it even if I never DO use it, but I thought I'd ask anyway. When training for better recall for whatever reason with a shock collar, do you simply call to them, and if ignored give a correction and call again? Or do you keep a steady shock going until the dog displays the correct behavior - I.E. returning to you?

But this is why I asked you guys before I purchased one. I don't know any of this as I've never really considered one.
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