First session with an E-collar Trainer Today (3 HOURS) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up First session with an E-collar Trainer Today (3 HOURS)

So today was Zelda and my first session with the e-collar trainer.

I thought about e-collar for probably over half a year now? I looked it up, Lou Castle's method is what changed my mind on the e-collar debate. I bought the dogtra 1900ncp, but when it came down to it i didnt feel like i should slap it on and do it myself. I slapped it on myself, and my human family companions to find their working levels, but i didn't feel comfortable doing it to Zelda. So i wen't on a search AGAIN for e-collar trainer. Came back around to one, and talked to her on phone, e-mail, checked out her training style, asked other people about it (from here and people i know in person) and i decided to go for it.

How it wen't:
Upon arriving, we entered her house with Zelda's muzzle on, Zelda first saw her and barked, i got her to calm down as we approached the couch, and she laid down next to me, the trainer came in, ignored her, gave her space, gave her the shoulder. And we talked, and wen't over her extensive information packet/history packet of Zelda with me. We also discussed training, and any questions. After going through that she sent us across her grassy lawn into a big parking lot across from her house. Where we walked slowly. Zelda was on my left, she came up to my right (without Zelda realizing) And she took over the leash, and began walking with Zelda.
The trainer wanted to find her working level, and to be sure that Zelda "got it" before she totally gave it over to me. They wen't about 150 feet away from me, and she took Zelda's muzzle off and adjusted her e-collar a bit. And began again. She called me over so that i could do the leash heel part, while she did the remote, she told me when to turn, when to not and to tighten the leash. Communicating with her and giving her direction.

Basically letting her know that she can turn the pressure off. Eventually i took over everything, and once my timing was good we moved on to the commands. OFF and COME.

Off meant to not do whatever it is she is doing, can be used for treats, cats, jumping, etc.

And Come is obvious, but again, guiding her into me, and luring with a treat, as well as a nick or cont. if she was not coming into me, also being an exciting target to reach. At this point she was really tired. So she kept blowing me off, so we ended on a good note for that.

She brought out her dog as distraction. And Zelda at first was paying attention and wanting to go to her dog, but at decently low levels i was able to guide her to heel with me and ignore the dog.

It makes sense now, its all clear cut. I'm telling her what not to do and what to do. And she is in control of it. Any command i say comes with a nick, a low level nick at first, and she turns it off, as soon as she starts to get on the path to listening to it, if she goes off again i guide her back and stim her. And for good behavior, especially if not even guided or asked for, such as; ignoring a distraction or doing ab beautiful turn with our heeling, she gets rewarded with treats and praise.

My biggest worry with e-collar training, is that i am going to do it wrong, and that she is going to become a neurotic mess or distrust me.
If this goes right, she should have a lot more confidence and actually have a better more trustworthy relationship with me.

I told the trainer my fears, my thoughts, and what some of my friends from work or a dog trainer friend (who uses on positive methods) thought of e-collar, and how that kind of sticks in your head. For the most part what she said reassured me, and i feel okay doing her method- it seems pretty close to Lou Castle. I know she wen't to UK to meet with trainers not too long ago, i know that Tyler Muto came here to meet with her for shared training and to learn from each other. I know she knows lots of different trainers, she did hear of Lou Castle methods before.

So basically this first week is a constant micromanaging of Zelda. So, to be honest, not looking forward to it, but if it means great results in the long run, than totally worth it!

I consented her taking a picture and putting it up on her facebook, this is what she said of Zelda, "Zelda came in to start her Perfect Pet Package today. Such a beautiful Shepherd who came in on muzzle and left a tired, relaxed friendly dog. We had a great time playing and training today. Zelda's a very fearful reactive dog but seeing her true colors today after lots of training goes to show that she needs a lot of information, guidance, patience and confidence boosting. Zelda reminds me of my board and train, Sadie. Both are great dogs once you earn their trust with so much love to offer the world. With the right training they'll be well on their way to sharing that love!"

Wish us luck!

Any thoughts, ideas or comments?
(i'm sure i left out plenty of info.)

Mom of: "Zelda"
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 05:34 PM
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I looked at one today at menards...I'm just still too gun-shy of it and it probably would work great for Roxy -- but I don't think I have anybody around here that would teach me to use it correctly -- we start classes again tomorrow night...maybe I will ask the trainers.
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 05:52 PM
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oh awesome! so glad you've found a trainer!




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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 06:17 PM
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When I trained Karlo to the ecollar it was for directional type training, not behavioral. It took about 6 weeks to work him on the collar ending in the proofing stage.
I haven't been following Zelda's 'issues' so don't know the reason for your ecollar training, but want to say go slow, make sure the dog is understanding of the exercises as well as you. If you aren't clear on the timing of the correction or reasoning behind certain methods used, be sure to ask your trainer.

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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyssa62 View Post
I looked at one today at menards...I'm just still too gun-shy of it and it probably would work great for Roxy -- but I don't think I have anybody around here that would teach me to use it correctly -- we start classes again tomorrow night...maybe I will ask the trainers.
Hey it could work well for her! Always worth a try to ask the trainers, or maybe they can direct you to someone they know to use it correctly.

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oh awesome! so glad you've found a trainer!
Thanks Jax! I am very glad i did too.

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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
When I trained Karlo to the ecollar it was for directional type training, not behavioral. It took about 6 weeks to work him on the collar ending in the proofing stage.
I haven't been following Zelda's 'issues' so don't know the reason for your ecollar training, but want to say go slow, make sure the dog is understanding of the exercises as well as you. If you aren't clear on the timing of the correction or reasoning behind certain methods used, be sure to ask your trainer.
Ya.. I always thought it should be slower than what we are doing. My trainer seems to believe that they get it really quickly. And i would agree. I only have to tap the nick once when i say come, ands he comes jogging along and sits right in front of me-without blowing me off, and she did this many times in row even during distraction at low such as sniffing ground or watching a car go by- when i did it just a hour ago.
I kind of wish we could go slower. With OFF and quiet i want to go slower than what she was doing. I'm going to start with treats for off, so it can be a nice low level, and then work my way up to with the beagle, when she tries to boss her around, and then weeks from now cats. With the quiet, when she barking at people outside, i will use it. But she is to have her leash on her still this week, so i can guide her to what needs to be done. Basically setting them up for success.
If it were me, i would go slower. But my trainer goes at a faster pace then what i would do, should i keep up with her or let her know i want to go slower with her? I dont know.. I want to make this work, and not keep butting what i always think into her training- and let this slide. Maybe she is right, and i am wrong. Or maybe i am right- and she is wrong. Or maybe both work, but each have different consequence? (good or bad)

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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 06:56 PM
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It isn't so much as going slower, but making sure the training is fair and the dog understands. You are doing behavioral training, which often throws different scenarios into the mix.

I'm helping someone right now with a reactive dog and we're doing more engagement obedience type methods to get the dogs confidence in the handler. We are using corrections if the dog is not doing what the handler asks obedience-wise, but not correcting for the reactivity. It is going well.
Week three and we're now adding in distractions(we've had unexpected ones, which were fine) to proof her skills in the redirection and handling of situations. We worked with my male (neutral to other dogs)for a few sessions of heeling/obedience slowly closing the gap and handler is showing greater confidence in management.

Proofing will be the random dogs or people we come upon at a local park. We'll stay on the fringe first, see how the dog reacts or whatever and definitely keep it short and sweet, end it on a positive. I like setting a strong foundation and not rush, just my opinion on working with any method. Fairness to the dog is always on my mind.

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Last edited by onyx'girl; 08-03-2014 at 06:58 PM.
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
It isn't so much as going slower, but making sure the training is fair and the dog understands. You are doing behavioral training, which often throws different scenarios into the mix.

I'm helping someone right now with a reactive dog and we're doing more engagement obedience type methods to get the dogs confidence in the handler. We are using corrections if the dog is not doing what the handler asks obedience-wise, but not correcting for the reactivity. It is going well.
Week three and we're now adding in distractions(we've had unexpected ones, which were fine) to proof her skills in the redirection and handling of situations. We worked with my male (neutral to other dogs)for a few sessions of heeling/obedience slowly closing the gap and handler is showing greater confidence in management.

Proofing will be the random dogs or people we come upon at a local park. We'll stay on the fringe first, see how the dog reacts or whatever and definitely keep it short and sweet, end it on a positive. I like setting a strong foundation and not rush, just my opinion on working with any method. Fairness to the dog is always on my mind.
Right, true. I think the people and her dog today probably was us asking too much of Zelda. But what were doing sound very similar to what you're doing, Zelda is fear aggressive to strangers and she gets uncontrollable and crazy with cats, and bosses other smaller dogs around. Were basically trying to get her to understand both that she can turn the pressure off when she listens, and that she can trust me and when we do obedience she is thinking, not reacting. Because a lot of the time when they are reacting, they aren't thinking. When they do obedience it makes them have think, and gets them into a different state of mind than reacting. Basically she is supposed to do a loose walking behind or next to me, and focus on me or walking with me not with anything else. Not on the ground, not the person, the car, the dog, the birds.
I really hope i am being fair to Zelda. I told her i was worried about that, and she said if i were doing anything that she thought was not or was wrong, she would have told me. She also said she will be able to tell if i was doing it wrong when we go back next week. I am also doing fun things with her like hand targeting and go find them. Bringing games into the obedience with flirt pole and what not. I just want to be a good dog mom to her! I love her so!

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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 07:10 PM
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Once the dog has understanding, you can safely increase criteria or distraction. Some dogs move very quickly through training once they understand the concept. With that said, going slower isn't going to hurt anything as long as the dog is engaged with you and not bored.

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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Once the dog has understanding, you can safely increase criteria or distraction. Some dogs move very quickly through training once they understand the concept. With that said, going slower isn't going to hurt anything as long as the dog is engaged with you and not bored.

David Winners
She is a very smart dog, so maybe she is getting it. It seemed like it to me when i wen't and did a session by ourselves.

That is probably when she starts blowing me off, and also when she gets tired. Thats when i did one more easy one that she can succeed and end there, but i will try to end before any of that happens. lol

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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 07:18 PM
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The book Control Unleashed has quite a few exercise that help with reactive behaviors. Redirecting before the dog goes into the 'non-thinking' zone is mostly what we focus on. Handler needs to be aware of the body language. Also handler needs to be relaxed and not tense when a situation may arise so the dog feels that energy/emotion.
We use a tug as the dog I'm working with leaks drive with whining, put the energy in the tug first...and use it as a reward for obedience. Restrained recalls are always done, every session. High valuefood(smelly cheese) is used for that, and other things we are teaching. Tug is to cap the drive and engagement. She had been using an ecollar before she started working with me, results weren't what she wants.

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