what is the best GSD "working level" for an e-collar? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-21-2015, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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what is the best GSD "working level" for an e-collar?

We decided to buy a dogtra 1900 1900NCP field star series to help us train our stubborn 11 month old GSD

I was trying to find the "working level" for my GSD.

In the training videos I've seen it is about level 20

But I tried up to 25 with no reaction.

Does anyone know if there is a common GSD working level range for an ecollar?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-21-2015, 06:04 PM
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Make sure its making firm contact. You should see some mild reaction at 25 as long as the distractions aren't too strong. There's no set level though.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-21-2015, 06:41 PM
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We had to change out the probes and use the 3/4 inch because the shorter ones weren't making contact with his thick neck fur. Brando's working level with the larger probes is 16.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-21-2015, 07:33 PM
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Working level is totally dependent on the dog. My dog started at 7-8 most of the time, but he became more sensitive over time and now his working level under mild distraction is 1-2 (no idea how he can feel this!) and 5-6 for moderate distraction. Level 25 for my dog is what I would use when he is pretty ramped up about something, it would absolutely freak him out and make him yelp if used under low distraction. But for other dogs, level 25 may feel mild.

Working level is pretty dynamic and varies depending on the situation and the individual dog. The working level is the lowest level your dog responds to in a given situation. So pay attention to your dog, not the number. You'll eventually get a feel for his average working level in different types of situations, but it can change from day to day even.

Also, make SURE you have good contact. Often GSDs need the 3/4" prongs rather than the 1/2" it comes with to get reliable contact. And be sure you have the collar tight enough. I struggled with contact issues in the beginning which makes it hard to find the right level for your dog because sometimes he will feel the stem and sometimes he won't just because of contact issues. Getting the longer contact points and keeping the collar tighter solved those issues for us.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-21-2015, 09:58 PM
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The vast majority of dogs I encounter have a working level of 15-25. I have seen some that hit 40 or more but it is very very rare. I have also seen dogs go as low as 5-8 out of 100. (All of these numbers based on a Dogtra IQ btw)

You just have to find it. It will be different for every dog and collar system.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-21-2015, 10:10 PM
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Good collar.

One of mine works on about 10 and the other no more than 4.

When you see the ear twitch, you know it's 'nicking.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2015, 08:30 AM
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I was getting no reaction from Newlie at first, no matter what level it was on. Part of it was that I didn't have the collar snug enough and also his trainer felt that Newlie's fur was so thick that he needed the longer probes. Shortly after that, I was walking him and had it on 13 and Newlie cried out when I corrected him for something, maybe pulling, and I have been reluctant to use it since then. When Newlie goes back into training, I know it will be used again, I still believe it is a good tool, but I will have it set lower.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2015, 10:11 AM
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Find an experienced trainer to help you understand how to properly use it. Every dog is different as far as "working level" goes. You need to make sure the collar is tight. You need to make sure the probes are making contact. Most important, you need to make sure your dog understands what the stim means and why it's happening.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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We are learning to use the collar. The key seems to be to keep it tight. I think ours came with the 3/4" prongs.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 10:48 PM
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The operative word for how tight the strap should be is "snug." If the "box" freely rotates, it's too loose. If the dog wheezes, it's too tight. If you can put a finger on the side of the "box" (next to the strap) and easily spin the collar around the dog's neck, it's too loose.

The working level will change with training and as various distractions appear and disappear. I know dogs who work at a 2 and one that didn't feel the stim until it hit 67.

I have to say that it's quite gratifying to see how these kinds of posts go these days. Not too long ago, there'd be a couple of posts telling you how lazy you were to be using an Ecollar. At least one saying that you were being abusive and another telling you that if you needed an Ecollar to train a dog that you shouldn't be allowed to own him. Times sure have changed for the better!
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