Weaning the E-collar; need some input - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-28-2015, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Weaning the E-collar; need some input

Nice progress in no-more-chasing-wild life. She stays with me or returns to me (off leash) as soon as she spots a critter, whether it is a deer, squirrel, bird, cat or snake, even within close range. I have never given her a command during or before the stim or a reward for not chasing afterwards. I just wanted to stay out of the picture, which seems to have worked well.
Now the question I have is how to wean her off the E-collar. Letting her wear it for a while longer and have the remote still ready? Or how to go about it in small steps so she won't get the wrong ideas?
Looking forward to your experiences.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-28-2015, 01:22 PM
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Well, if your dog is collar wise ... i.e. knows that you have "back up" because the collar is on, then you likely won't be able to wean successfully for a long long time!

My experience has taught me this ... Dog does awesome with the e-collar on, so let's try it without the e-collar ... dog does great for a couple of days .. human gets relaxed about the behaviour ... dog does the behaviour, human is too late in correction / interruption / redirection ... dog has just completed the unwanted behaviour you worked so hard to stop by using the e-collar.

What does the human do? Slap the e-collar back on and go back to basics

I'm not saying it can't be done ... I'm saying it probably can ... but with TONS and TONS of work!!!! And that would be on YOUR part! LOL If you can do it, let me know! I love to read about success stories, and that would be an awesome one!

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-28-2015, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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The problem is to know if she is "collar-wise" or not. How do you know without trying without the collar, right?
After thinking more about it I am planning on pairing her ignoring of wild life (still the E collar in use) with a toy so she'll learn to get a toy in the presence of wild life, while I have the back up of the stim. Before the E collar, nothing would motivate her not to chase but after the association with wildlife has changed she should have more focus on toys. And it may make her less prone to get collar wise. Then wean her off the E collar but continue with toys for a long, long time.
Thoughts anyone?
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-28-2015, 10:03 PM
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well.. Dogtra makes a "dummy" e collar.

What does that say?

My dogs are definitely collar wise.

Anne

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 09:38 AM
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It is my understanding that the dog learns the behavior which was taught/reinforced with the ecollar to the degree that the ecollar is of no consequence or use any longer. If the dog fails at any level of proofing via verbal or nonverbal signal than the obedience training is incomplete and needs to be continued. Your situation with chasing animals is most likely a more involved process than simple obedience but it all stems from establishing bullet proof basic obedience....impulse control can be a real challenge as you well know. To create a controlled environment to proof your dog in would be a real luxury.....deer runs by on cue in an area where you can contain the dog if it fails, probably isn't likely. I might start by long lining the dog on a flat collar and go find some wildlife....if the dog doesn't yield to your command ( or stop pursuit/ no command in your situation) before hitting the end of the line....it's back to the drawing board.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 09:43 AM
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I think e-collars need to follow the Smartphone industry. Smaller/Thinner is better. haha.

Wean the collar, not the dog. Any engineers anywhere? There is a demand I believe.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 10:32 AM
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Why wean the dog off the collar? Have it on for insurance purposes. I have naked dogs because I compete with them where I can't have collars. Therefore I show them I can still enforce my will without them. You don't need to score points anywhere. Keep the collar on.

I will drop this hint though. A dog becomes cost wise when the only way you enforce the behavior you want is with the collar and the dog has been shown pictures of being able to get away with what it wants when the collar is not present. So there are two factors at play. You can't make it happen without the collar and the dog has been shown that this is the case.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 01:10 PM
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I believe if you use the collar in a negative way they can most definatly become collar wise. i.e. If a dog misbehaves in some way and you grab the collar and place it on him to punish then begin to stimulate for that specific behavior. Similiar to someone grabbing a newspaper and smacking the dog over the snout everytime a dog does an unwanted behavior. The dog will relate the newspaper, E-collar, or any positive punishment to correct that negative behavior. When you place the collar on the dog or grab the newspaper the dog will become nervous anticipating negative things coming their way.

The collar gives the advantage of not changing your body language or tone to apply the stim to communicate with the animal.The E-collar is just another way to communicate to the dog. You could use the collar the same way as a clicker and the dog would not no anything different.If you conditioned the dog that a treat was coming their way after a low level stim,the same as a clicker, you could use this tool as a "bridge" that could be used silently and at great distances.

If you believe the dog is collar wise then place it on the dog, without turning it on, and go about your business,walk,hike, or training. I am pretty confident if you take the dog around a high enough distractions over time you will find out the dog is not wise to the collar. If the dog was collar wise he would not test the limits anymore and never need another stim.

I do not believe the dog ever needs to be weened off of the collar. You never no when you might run into a new distraction that catches your dogs interest and he tries to blow you off. Training is never ending and will always require conditioning.It does not matter what tool you are using for training clicker,treats,toy drive,choke,prong,E-collar,leash or combination of any. Conditon the dog to a high level so that when the times the tool is not able to be used, such as certification of a sport, the dog will perform with a higher level of competence.

Think of the tool as a manager of any succesfull business or workplace. Now if that same manager was still around during work hours however stopped enforcing punishment for negative behavior from employees. If employees were able to now take off random days or drop production without being disciplined. After time the business would start to fall apart and production would decrease.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WesS View Post
I think e-collars need to follow the Smartphone industry. Smaller/Thinner is better. haha.

Wean the collar, not the dog. Any engineers anywhere? There is a demand I believe.
Yes seriously! Their design seems so unnecessarily clunky to me.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KPK View Post
I believe if you use the collar in a negative way they can most definatly become collar wise. i.e. If a dog misbehaves in some way and you grab the collar and place it on him to punish then begin to stimulate for that specific behavior. Similiar to someone grabbing a newspaper and smacking the dog over the snout everytime a dog does an unwanted behavior. The dog will relate the newspaper, E-collar, or any positive punishment to correct that negative behavior. When you place the collar on the dog or grab the newspaper the dog will become nervous anticipating negative things coming their way.

.
Putting an e collar on after the fact would seem to be counterproductive....I thought most everyone using an e collar would have it on the dog before a session so the correction is instant. By the time you put an e collar on a dog after undesired behavior...one has missed the teachable moment by a huge margin...probably does no good whatsoever.

Don't know if there is any value in what I did but....whenever I have the e collar on the dog, I use a specific flat collar which is only used with the e collar. My hopes were, if the dog does get e collar wise, it might still make a connection to the particular flat collar as well, so all I would need is the flat collar to keep the dog thinking.....haven't crossed that bridge yet, however.


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