Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: GTA, Ontario, Canada
Not a trainer, so keep in mind my answers are conversational only, not a how to.
I use a mini-educator, and that's because I want one with very low levels (levels so low they can be felt at a comfortable range, a tingle, massage, sensation) but will go high (in case of needing to stop a blown recall mid-chase).
Basically, start out under low distraction with the lowest level the dog responds to (google finding working level on an ecollar).
Then, with a long line, use that level, and tap the button and turn (Larry Krohn & others explain better) to 'condition' the dog to the collar. The dog should be comfortable and not stressed by this training, the dog should just be learning that his behaviour controls the collar (he needs to learn he can turn it off by doing something). Call your dog, have a fun party.
Once your dog gets that lesson, you can tap a split second before or at the same time of a command, (remember, if the level is really low, it's a signal, not a punishment), and then move to no e-collar tap unless there is no compliance.
I hear you about long-lines being crap compared to off-leash, I agree (and my slightly mangled left hand is a reminder--fast dog (mine's only 40lbs) + long line + a moments inattention--equalled tendon damage), but you will always be juggling safety with freedom. Part of owning a dog. And you just make your decisions according the environment, your dog, and changing situations.
I still, and will always leash my dog under some circumstances even in places where I mostly run him off-lead.
Also, when you are playing with your dog (ball, frisbee) you can avoid the need to correct your dog by using engagement (playing with, fun training, mutual fun) to keep your dog with you, and making sure you spot 'distractions' before your dog does. When a 'distraction' appears, call, leash, and reward your dog before your dog realizes something is on the horizon. Make sure you have some fun games to play while on lead. I use this in places where I can see long distances (like an empty park) and I'm going to be active with my dog (play & train), but in the woods when I let him do 'dog stuff' things are different and I want the ecollar for back up.
SONIC--Dominican Street Collie aka 100% Unknown Fibers
All of my other dogs were GSD's, sadly missed, moving forward
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