Did Electronic Collar Make Your Dog Paranoid At First? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Did Electronic Collar Make Your Dog Paranoid At First?

Hello,

I have a male GSD that is really quite well behaved for his age (just under 2 years). We've had him for about 6 weeks, and really our biggest problem with him is that when he is in the yard, he is constantly barking at us if we are walking around the parts of the yard he can't reach on his cable. (No, he doesn't live out there on it, just goes out for short periods on nice days).

Anyway, it's one of the only times he will not listen to a verbal "no" and obviously I am not close enough to issue a leash correction. So, I decided to try an electronic collar to help attempt to phase out this behavior.

I fitted the collar properly, used it on one of the LOWEST settings possible. The instant he barked, I hit the button. I did not HOLD the continuous button, but used the NICK button, which lasts all of 1 second. He yelped and immediately began looking at the ground for the next two hours, sniffing around and jumping at leaves and the tags on his collar.

I brought him inside later, took the collar off, and all he did was pace around. I then put him in his spot (a blanket in the corner of the room with a leash attached to the couch)because he usually calms down there. He would not even lay down once I attached the leash. He even jumped and yelped one time when it clinked against his tags.

I mean, I hit the button ONCE and had previously tried it on myself (it's not my intent to hurt him).
It's like he is convinced just from the one light zap that it's somehow connected to his normal collar and/or leash.

MY QUESTION (and please no judgement here):
Is this normal while they are trying to figure out what happened and will go away in a day or two? Or are we looking at developing neurotic behavior over one correction?
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 05:55 PM
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First of all, what obedience have you done with your dog prior to introducing the e-collar? I worked with my dog on on-leash obedience for over 2 months and he had on-leash obedience solid before I introduced the e-collar. If you've only had him for just 6 weeks and haven't done any other work with him, I would not even consider an e-collar yet.

It also doesn't sound like he's been correctly introduced to the e-collar. I had to condition my dog to the e-collar a lot first so he understood how to "turn off" the stim. It took a lot of work in the beginning before I could depend on the e-collar as his sole corrective device.

I use the e-collar like leash pressure. So when I introduced it, I walked him around the training center with the e-collar, prong collar, and leash in my hand. When I applied pressure with the leash, I also applied continuous stim until I released the pressure on the leash and immediately let go of the button. I worked on that for probably a week or so, just working on having him associate leash pressure with the e-collar and learning that when the leash releases, the e-collar releases.

He also wears the e-collar continuously around the house, even if he's not misbehaving or in training, so he doesn't associate the e-collar with training or corrections. It's just there and if he misbehaves, he gets the stim and when he does behave, the stim goes away.

I would not use the e-collar as correction again until you have properly conditioned him to the e-collar, which may take several weeks, especially if he has had a negative experience with it. If you have not used the e-collar before, I'd suggest getting a trainer involved, particularly since it sounds like he's developed some bad associations with the collar and you will now have to work through that in addition to obedience training.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 06:34 PM
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It sounds like you created a superstitious behavior that happens when the collar is not introduced properly. The reaction is not normal. I'd advise to not continue it the way you have.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Apparently no matter what I do, I screw up everything I touch relating to the dog.

He was introduced to the collar, but no, not for weeks, just a few days. And he's been wearing it most of the time for days without it being on. Today is the first time I even pressed a button and it was ONCE at the exact moment of the behavior and on the LOWEST setting.

I do not see how hitting the "nick" button once for a low 1/2 second correction was wrong. I'm using it like I would a long distance "no" or leash correction.
I'm trying to extinguish this one particular behavior. I see how you would train like you mentioned for walking on the leash, but I don't see how that relates here.

Every dog's first time IS their first time with the static correction. THERE HAS TO BE A FIRST TIME FOR EVERY DOG, no matter how you intro it. You know what I mean? How does anything prepare them for that first little "nick" other than just doing it?

So, I don't get it. Why am I wrong for hitting the button that is supposed to be the point? Otherwise, why a stim collar at all? He needs a long distance tap on the shoulder when he does this behavior.....

I guess I'm just stupid in the eyes of the GSD forum masters.

Last edited by equinesoul7294; 12-03-2014 at 07:25 PM.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 07:21 PM
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Seek an experienced trainer to help you out. It's much easier for you and easier on the dog. Without seeing the dogs behavior in person and his reactions and inspecting the collar first hand, your better served to get some help. It's not rocket science but can be a little unnerving for the owner if they have never used one.

You can also visit Lou Castle's web site on e-collar training. If you do this, read the whole site.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 07:29 PM
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That's not a normal reaction though, so it makes me think that something in the conditioning or handling of the e-collar went wrong. I was sharing my experience with training my dog on the e-collar only because I didn't have any negative reactions from him when I introduced it in conjunction with obedience (and I am also working with a trainer on it), and I can also use the e-collar as a long-distance correction.

I'd find an experienced trainer who has worked a lot with e-collars to get first-hand advice and assessment of the situation.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 07:32 PM
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Not all E-collars are created equally so the lowest setting on nick may have been far too much for your dog. He doesn't understand the collar, has no idea where the correction came from and probably doesn't understand WHY. I agree with others, find someone to help you introduce the collar correctly.

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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by equinesoul7294 View Post
I do not see how hitting the "nick" button once for a low 1/2 second correction was wrong. I'm using it like I would a long distance "no" or leash correction.
I'm trying to extinguish this one particular behavior. I see how you would train like you mentioned for walking on the leash, but I don't see how that relates here.

Every dog's first time IS their first time with the static correction. THERE HAS TO BE A FIRST TIME FOR EVERY DOG, no matter how you intro it. You know what I mean? How does anything prepare them for that first little "nick" other than just doing it?
This is the key. If this is the first time you nicked the dog, how did you know that was the right level for the dog? By intro, it is about teaching the dog what the nick mean, not just wearing the collar alone.

The way my dog was introduced is in a non-distracted environment (not when the dog is already amped up and you want to correct the dog) starting from a level the dog can't feel till a level the dog first felt it. Then you teach the dog how to turn it off by using commands the dog already knows. It is only after that it should be used to correct the dog for unwanted behavior because by then the dog understands what the nick means and how to turn it off without developing superstitious behavior of what itself think it means (like the leaf on the ground, whatever is nearby).

It doesn't have to take weeks or months for the dog to learn it but it is more than just nicking the dog and hope he knows what it means.

You can learn the details from a trainer or doing lots of your own research. What I described is the general idea.

I wish you and your dog much success!
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 08:24 PM
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He probably didn't know WHY it happened and by his erratic behavior he is trying to undrstand what hit him. Very sad. His response sounds completely logic to me.
Try the clicker for his good behavior instead.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 08:27 PM
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I personally don't care for electronic collars. I think they're medieval. I'd rather try more conventional methods of training. More work, but you'll form a better bond with your GSD that way and it'll pay off over the long haul.
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