eCollar - what age to start & why GSD needed it - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-25-2010, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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eCollar - what age to start & why GSD needed it

I'm considering an ecollar for my 6 mo GSD. I've been reading a lot of the threads about ecollars. I have had my GSD in obedience class for nearly 3 months, yet we have a few issues: 1) severe pulling, even on gentle leader, to the point that the leader cuts into her face 2) lunging at fast moving cars/joggers, bikers and squirrels 3) approaching fighting dogs at the park as if trying to get into the fight 4) biting/holding onto back of smaller dog's neck (just one dog in particular out of many smaller dogs at the dog park).

For those who use ecollars on their GSDs:
1) How old was your GSD when you started? and
2) What behaviors were you using the ecollar to help you stop/curb/shape?

Hailey, GSD 5/22/10-
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-25-2010, 05:03 PM
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Well, I've never used an e-collar, but, in the past I've used a prong collar at 6 months old. So, I think that would be a good age.

Have you been to Lou's website?
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-25-2010, 05:19 PM
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I would not personally use an Ecollar on a dog so young, or be easy about putting a prong on one either. Have you tried clicker training?
You need to be firm and remember that she is just a baby trying to explore her world. Make yourself more interesting than the squirral/poo/whatever has her attention and you should make progress.

As so far as the lunging, when you see one of her triggers bring out a tug/food/whatever to get her attention on you. Redirect so she barely notices the stimuli. She should learn that these things mean attention from you. If this doesn't work for you -ld notice her starting to act up, fur on back of neck goes up, eyes get glazed over, ears perk forward, etc when she is getting ready to react. When you notice the first sign of her starting, startle her. A gentle but firm tap on the neck, a small nudge with your foot, something that says 'hey, thats not right'.

Also, I would get a harness as opposed to the gentle leader. Specifically A sporn or Premier, but I would suggest the Premier more. Premier Easy Walk Dog Harness - Sales - Web Exclusive - PetSmart

The second you notice her acting this way in the dog park leave. She will soon realize that by acting like this all the fun goes away.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-25-2010, 06:15 PM
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1) How old was your GSD when you started?
1.5 years

2) What behaviors were you using the ecollar to help you stop/curb/shape?
Off-leash training. Proofing previously learned commands.

Have you considered trying a prong first? Good e-collars(even bad ones, actually) are a lot of money. Have you spoken to your trainer about those issues? What did he/she say?

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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-25-2010, 06:32 PM
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Personally, before I put an e-collar on what you describe as a reactive puppy. I would find a better trainer to work on these issues. A e-collar is simply a training tool. If you don't know how to fix the problems you are having then I think you are just sticking a band-aid on the problem with a correction collar.

I use an e-collar for long range call back. It's for safety purposes only. Regarding a prong collar, I used that on my reactive dog and all it did was ramp her up. I really don't advise doing that. I do advise learning how to work on the reactivity.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-25-2010, 07:38 PM
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It sounds like a lot of the problems you are having with your dog are the result of too much off leash, group play. Not all dogs are suitable for group play and for many, it is too overstimulating and triggers other undesirable behaviors, such as on leash aggression and predatory behavior towards small dogs. GSDs are generally not the sort of dog who are ideal for group play situations and with any dog, allowing dogs to become too interested in other dogs is going to lead to some training problems.

Before using an ecollar, I would suggest that you stop taking your dog to group play and spend at least 8 weeks focusing on very strict NILIF. Treat your dog like she was a young, untrustworthy puppy again in the house. If she isn't interacting with you confine her to the room your in or crate her for awhile with a food puzzle toy. No free playtime outside. No off leash play without a long line. She has to "ask" for things she wants by sitting and looking at you (Want to go outside? Sit and look. Want dinner? Sit and look. Want me a toy thrown? Sit and look. Want in the house? Sit and look.). Have several short training sessions a day. In at least one of them, work on practical stuff like sit/down, stay and in at least one of them work on fun stuff like tricks. Aim to teach her at least one new behavior a week, using nothing but treat training which will be fun and bonding for both of you. Commit to giving her at least 45 minutes of interactive exercise every day. This means exercise which involves you interacting with her - fetching, hiking, walking, weight pulling (requires a harness and with a young pup, just having her pull some light weight objects around the yard), agility training (can use homemade obstacles but again with a young pup, keep jump heights low), etc. Work on a recall program such as this one, starting at the beginning: Focus on impulse control work in your daily training. "It's Yer Choice" and "Crate Games" are a great way to do this:

Crate Games Part One:

Crate Games Part Two:

Crate Games Part Three:

It's Yer Choice

Eight weeks of this sort of training program should show you a lot of improvement with your dog, providing you stick with it. While e-collars can be effective for some situations, they are also a tool that has the potential to "break" your dog, causing them to be nervous, skittish, phobic, fearful, withdrawn or aggressive. I have known dogs who were changed for the worse when their owners opted to use ecollars for certain behavioral problems. Ecollars are absolutely not a tool you should try buy and attempt to properly use without professionally guidance. And even with professional guidance, make sure you talk to as many clients as possible and see how their dogs behave. If you see a lot of stressed out, "shut down" dogs, consider if that is how you want your dog to behave. Never allow a trainer to continue using any correction (ecollar or otherwise) on your dog that makes you uncomfortable and make sure you are present for all training sessions.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-26-2010, 01:31 AM
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I started using a no bark e-collar at 17 months. He has been on it for 2 weeks, and today I left him in the back yard without the collar, he did not bark at all. Looks he is learning.

I would try other methods before jumping to e-collar
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-27-2010, 07:21 PM
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I agree with Agile GSD, I didnt use an ecollar on my do until she was over a year old and then only as last resort for distance work and with proper training and advice from my trainer. She wears it all of the time when we are out so she does not become collar aware but I rarely have to use it. It is just one tool in the training arsenal, there are lots of other ones to use. I also agree little dogs and GSDs don't always make for a good mixture, the little dogs can look like prey items rather than dogs if your dogs gets too excited. Stay away from the dog parks until you have good off leash control of your dog. If something goes wrong the other party will blame your "mean GSD" even if it was their dog's fault.

Qadira vom Haus Tyson 01/29/08
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-27-2010, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by BlackPuppy View Post
Well, I've never used an e-collar, but, in the past I've used a prong collar at 6 months old. So, I think that would be a good age.

Have you been to Lou's website?
ive been using the gentle leader on my pup for a while and he absolutely hates it... i got a pronged collar and he doesn't like it, but it doesn't seem to bother him as bad, and no more pulling, and he actually seems to enjoy heeling now and staying there

Scout Vom Haus Voeller, DOB 08/19/10
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-27-2010, 08:32 PM
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No e-collar for reactive behavior- thats not what their for and will make your problems worse. Continue training 6 months is still a big old baby with plenty of time to reshape behaviors. Not all dogs play well with small dogs something you may have to consider
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