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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello guys,

I have been reading a lot on E collars. Most of the threads here that contain the word, Lou Castle stuff, Larry Krohn and I purchased the E Collar Michael Ellis videos.

I did order a mini Educator and would like to educate myself as much as possible before any use. I understand very well why using it wrongly is bad and I want to make sure that I use it conservatively and only when I feel I am totally ready and Rex is "ready".

My main goals for the collar are:

1. Proof off leash walk with distractions and have him walk next to me even if we are in busy areas etc...

2. Proof recall with distractions.

3. Training "quiet" has not been working. When someone is just passing 30 feet from our door he goes on a super loud barking spree, so this happens 6-7 times in the evening while watching TV while he barks and rushes to the door and continues barking - I can make him quite but it is a process. I like that he has that guard dog posture, but I would like him to quiet when I ask it.

I would appreciate feedback on two matters:

1. Any feedback on how best to address 1,2 and3 above as per your experience. I will be doing all the research but I would like to hear experiences and successful experiences.

2. Any other material you recommend, videos to purchase or watch from a specific trainer

3. Opinion on the following: people correct dogs all the time with leashes, prongs and what have you to different degrees of course. If done properly, wouldn't a lowest level stim correction be same or maybe even less aversive than a leash pop?

Thanks for your feedback

Mozi
 

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I would continue with focusing on setting up situations/distractions while on leash walking and correcting the dog if he breaks heel. Why do you want your dog to be heeling off leash, especially in buy areas? I would do the same with recalls using a long line, a toy or food, and a prong collar for if the dog doesn't come. You said you can get your dog to be quiet, but it is a process. All training is a process and proficiency takes a great deal of repetition and the right approach. If you know about when your dog is going to bark in the evenings, have him drag a leash attached to a prong collar. You could teach him the place command by having a throw rug that is several feet from the door and when you say place, he is to either sit or down on the rug. You would have to work on that first and separately and it takes a lot of repetition and good food drive. You also need to have done a lot of sits and downs reinforced with food. Once you have gotten some very good reliability on the sits, downs and place, go to the leash attached to the collar when you think he is likely to bark at a passerby. Tell him place, which can be taught as a direct sit or down in place, then quiet. Reinforce with food for correct behavior and correct for incorrect behavior. But only start to correct after you have done a ton of the other behaviors so that you know he understands them. Once he gets that, you can release him and even let he charge to the door and bark. Then after a bit of barking, go back to place and quiet until the person is gone. This way, the dogs learns to discriminate while still being able to display protectiveness. It is a lot of work, but that is how training goes. Once he becomes proficient, you can go to an e-collar and add distractions.
 

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I have only used the E collar to break her from chasing wild life. All what you hope to achieve can be done without the E collar. Just find a good trainer. MHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thank you Wolfy and Chip for the valuable feedback.

Chip, that would be my plan. I will be focusing on what you said for the next 4-6 months.

A clarification on the heel in "busy areas". We go to a nice beach where dogs are allowed off leash. There are not many (3-8 I would say) on an open beach. We also go to a park next to my house. Those are the ones I am referring to. They are actually not busy but I meant there are distractions. I would like to have him walk on the beach next to me on a relaxed heel position off leash, the same in the park. We are there, but sometimes he veers off a few maybe 8 feet away, I correct verbally and he redirects to me. I am adding food now with a leash to train this and testing again and we are progressing well. I like to achieve it with high consistency and be able to correct in case he bolts. That would be after polishing the recall too. So a back up.

We also go to the desert. It is empty but sometimes camels appear far away. He ran to them. I recalled. He stopped still looking at them. After a few seconds he came while I ran away. So it worked. But I would like to have a back up in case he runs after them and blows me off.

Just to be clear, I want to train more with the methods you suggested which I am using but ultimately proof them with the collar and have it as a back up.
 

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I have a 1-1/2 yo male. He is a great dog and has never really needed an e-collar, but i bought one and use it just to be safe.. Mine has the vibrate function.. It is great.. Anytime i need to get his attention or reinforce a command, the vibrate will do it immediately.. I see no downside to this.. My pup has learned what is and isnt acceptable very quick with a little vibration every now and then..
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Chip, a question. When you have a prong on a leash and you correct, why would this be more desirable than the lowest stim level or vibrate in your opinion?
 

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Opinion on the following: people correct dogs all the time with leashes, prongs and what have you to different degrees of course. If done properly, wouldn't a lowest level stim correction be same or maybe even less aversive than a leash pop?
Maybe it's less aversive. There are usually fewer emotions involved for the owner. Pressing a button generates less emotional stress for most humans than popping a leash. For most people, the action of popping a leash mimics some of the motions you make when you're frustrated (like a yank), which generates a...reflection of that frustration. Makes it exist when there's no reason for it to. But we're probably talking minuscule differences in heart rate and cortisol levels.

The biggest benefit of an e-collar that I've experienced and witnessed with other dog owners is that the e-collar works at a long distance. It is therefore most often employed when folks want to let their dog run off a leash, but correct their dog when they ignore a recall command. Given the amount of prey animals and density of the surrounding trees on trails here, it's critical to reinforce a command at any reasonable distance as quickly as possible.

So, people use it to break their dogs of chasing wildlife. It doesn't take long. Maybe 3-5 mistakes chasing deer before the dog learns it shouldn't be doing that.


I have to say, I'm tickled imagining my dog chasing a camel!
 

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Nothing wrong with using an ecollar to proof known commands. To get started I would work with someone well versed in their use and not rely solely on research. They're effective tools, but can create problems that weren't there before when used incorrectly. Bringing in a trainer can help you with the nuances that you may not pick up on with books or video.
 

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An e-collar is one of my favorite tools. I use them everyday, specifically the mini-educator. They are great tools for proofing behaviors, adding in distractions and working off leash. Timing is key with them. As already mentioned, watching videos is one thing, but having someone right there watching you and helping you is crucial. Introducing it correctly is the key to its success. The trainers you’ve mentioned, all use very different methods. So make sure whatever method you choose, stick to it to keep it clear to the dog.
 

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I use an e-collar and love it. But if you aren't 100% sure on what you are doing or are apprehensive at all, it is WELL WORTH IT to hire a trainer to help show you how to use it properly. (As it is very easy to mess up your dog with it). It a tool, just like a leash & needs to be trained/taught as such!
 

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Chip, a question. When you have a prong on a leash and you correct, why would this be more desirable than the lowest stim level or vibrate in your opinion?
With an e-collar on low stim, you are trying to get the dog to figure out how to turn off the stim by displaying an approximation of the correct behavior and then move to successive approximations as they get closer to the final outcome you are seeking. Because it is low stim, the dog is still able to think and make choices. So it is more useful for teaching new behaviors. With a sharp correction on the prong, you are snapping the dog out of his drive or state of mind and making it clear that his behavior is unacceptable. But he has to have learned the command well before hand. So one is using negative reinforcement to increase a behavior and the other is using positive punishment to decrease a behavior. It can be somewhat of a semantic issue if you think about it. Is a sharp prong correction positive punishment or negative reinforcement. If you say the correction stopped the dog from barking and not being at heel you could say it is punishment. If you say the prong correction led to an increase in holding the heel position, you could say it is negative reinforcement. That is more about being esoteric than practical training approaches.
 

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Chip, a question. When you have a prong on a leash and you correct, why would this be more desirable than the lowest stim level or vibrate in your opinion?
Here is the issue as I see it; you need to teach the proper behavior, then you train the behavior. This is done with praise, reward and motivation long before you go to a prong collar or an E collar. Teaching behaviors by methods that use compulsion, whether it is a choke collar, prong collar or E collar are poor training methods. IMHO, using an e collar and a jerk on a leash to teach a dog to sit is poor training and will not give the desired results in a timely fashion. Teaching a recall with a long line and a yank, or stim from E collar, even low level are simply poor and lazy training methods.

In my experience, it is completely unfair to punish, correct or yank on a dog to perform a task or behavior they have not been taught properly to do. It baffles me to read websites, like Lou Castles or others that say "you teach the dog to turn the stim off"????? Then they tell you that the stim is not a correction, it is only "low level"!!! If it is not unpleasant or aversive to the dog then the dog will not desire to "turn it off" as they recommend. To be clear, corrections whether they are from a leash and choke chain, prong collar or an E collar are used for disobedience. If a dog does not understand a behavior, has not been trained correctly to do a behavior why would anyone punish a dog for not doing the behavior? If I have not taught my dog to sit, which is the simplest of tasks, why would I pop him with a leash or use an E collar to make the dog sit? Think about how unfair that is to a dog.

Teaching a reliable recall is also very simple and very easy, even under distraction. Why would I call my dog to come to me, then correct the dog to make it come to me? Please consider what goes through your dog's mind when you do this. Confusion, distrust and avoidance are a few of the things that can occur.

I use E collars and I use prong collars, I also have dogs that work in a high level of drive and motivations for years. I never teach a behavior with compulsion or corrections, it is simply unfair to the dog.

The biggest difference between an E collar and a prong collar in a novice pet owners hands is what they are willing to do with each tool. Many folks lack the physical strength, technique and mental fortitude to give a dog a good strong correction with a prong collar. If they have the physical ability to deliver a sharp correction with a prong collar, they often lack the mental ability to do it because they think they might end up hurting their dog. But, that little button on the E collar transmitter is so easy to push, takes no skill, no strength and it can be turned up really high when the owner gets frustrated. Presto, the dog gets zapped and suddenly appears to comply. The dog becomes "calm and submissive" like CM says is so good. (sarcasm) Or the dog gets startled and runs away, goes into avoidance or shuts down. Most novice folks will not see the spirit crushing effects of the "low stim method" has and how teaching the dog to turn the stim off really screws dogs up.

I love my dogs, I want my dogs to enjoy working with me, actually love working with me. I use two other training tools that most people will not or fail to use; patience and consistency. I know it takes time and thousands of repetitions to train a dog properly. I set up a plan and go step by step laying a good foundation and not taking shortcuts. I know where I will be in a month, two months and a year. I know that what I teach my dogs will last a lifetime, that is why I do it correctly. I don't look for shortcuts, I do not use the old "yank and crank" methods to teach or train my dogs and I certainly would not use the E collar methods (even low stim) some espouse to teach a sit, recall or anything else.

My point here is even low stim is aversive and using compulsion or aversive methods to train a dog has gone the way of the dodo bird. At least it has for the good, experienced and skilled dog trainers. Corrections, compulsion, etc is for disobedience and a dog that has not been properly trained simply can not be disobedient. Once a dog has been taught a behavior or command, then trained and understands a command or behavior and decides not to do it, that is disobedience and that is when corrections come into the training. Not before.

I hope this makes sense, I'm happy to explain it if my post is as clear as mud.
 

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Chip, a question. When you have a prong on a leash and you correct, why would this be more desirable than the lowest stim level or vibrate in your opinion?
With a leash/prong correction there is no doubt where the correction is coming from, that and there is communication going on up/down the leash. Tyler Muto has a few videos that show different aspects of prong use just to give you some idea. Ecollars are great tools and when they're introduced properly the dog will understand what the stim means, however there is a level of detachment with them.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you for the awesome feedback guys.

Slamdunc, I like what you wrote a lot and I will definitely not be teaching any new behaviours with the E Collar.

I want to use the patience and consistency route with motivation for sure. Hence, I have a few questions:

1. Rex is 14 months old. I got him since he was 8 months. We have been training consistently. Went through few trainers and now I am training by myself. I am happy with the progress I am making. I do not want to introduce the E Collar until a good foundation is laid out. I know that this ranges a lot but how long would foundation work take for obedience assuming a training session each day?

2. Slamdunc what do you use the E Collar for?

3. I am following Michael Ellis now and I have both his DVDs on E Collar. Any other material recommended?

4. I will not be using the Collar until I am very well educated about it. Unfortunately there are no trainers in Dubai who use or know how to use it. I asked on our FB page "Dogs in Dubai" and I was almost shot! So it would have to be self education and be extremely conservative.

Many thanks
 

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With a leash/prong correction there is no doubt where the correction is coming from, that and there is communication going on up/down the leash. Tyler Muto has a few videos that show different aspects of prong use just to give you some idea. Ecollars are great tools and when they're introduced properly the dog will understand what the stim means, however there is a level of detachment with them.
It is very hard to avoid the dog learning that the stim comes from the trainer. Tough to outsmart a GSD. One day he won't wear the collar and the right trigger comes along and you won't be able to do anything if the dog hasn't been trained properly before.

Deja got collar smart for a period (used for chasing wild life only). As soon as I realized that (felt like a huge bummer), I had her wear that collar for many months without having to use it in the presence of wildlife. I gave her the ball instead as soon when she got tense but not in chasing-mode yet. Over these months, evidently her wiring has changed from sensing wildlife and making the association of play and she even gets the ball intermittently. I was surprised that being collar smart could be only temporarily but you got to put the work into it and never lose your vigilance.
 

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Here is my limited experience with an e collar.
I have a dog that is the poster child for ADHD. She is a born hunter and will follow a scent forever. Once upon a time I fantasized about letting her run off leash. After lengthy chats with Lou I decided to give the e collar a shot in hopes that I could use it to "remind" her that she needed to obey a recall even though the track kept going. It was a miserable failure. She has not worn the collar in years and I have no doubt that if I put it on her today I would get the same response. She already knew "Come", and was excellent until she picked up a scent. I used a very low level stim, I could barely feel it on my arm. In two tries she glued herself to my leg and refused to leave me, so I guess it worked if I just want to walk her off leash. I followed Lou's instructions to the letter. Two tries. He suggested we may have over done it. Two tries.
I tried again about six months later and as soon as I put it on her she glued herself to my leg. I had a helper take her away from me and I never touched the button. I said come and before the helper could let her go she had slipped free and was glued to my leg. I tried a year later with the same result.
I may use it at a later date, on a stable dog. But I would suggest that while they are a good tool you need to be very cautious. I had a feeling that it would not work on my highly stressed, fearful dog and I was right.
And let me be very clear that Lou was absolutely fantastic. I paid for none of his time and he went out of his way to help me. Repeatedly.
 

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Hello guys,

I have been reading a lot on E collars. Most of the threads here that contain the word, Lou Castle stuff, Larry Krohn and I purchased the E Collar Michael Ellis videos.

I did order a mini Educator and would like to educate myself as much as possible before any use. I understand very well why using it wrongly is bad and I want to make sure that I use it conservatively and only when I feel I am totally ready and Rex is "ready".

My main goals for the collar are:

1. Proof off leash walk with distractions and have him walk next to me even if we are in busy areas etc...

2. Proof recall with distractions.

3. Training "quiet" has not been working. When someone is just passing 30 feet from our door he goes on a super loud barking spree, so this happens 6-7 times in the evening while watching TV while he barks and rushes to the door and continues barking - I can make him quite but it is a process. I like that he has that guard dog posture, but I would like him to quiet when I ask it.

I would appreciate feedback on two matters:

1. Any feedback on how best to address 1,2 and3 above as per your experience. I will be doing all the research but I would like to hear experiences and successful experiences.

2. Any other material you recommend, videos to purchase or watch from a specific trainer

3. Opinion on the following: people correct dogs all the time with leashes, prongs and what have you to different degrees of course. If done properly, wouldn't a lowest level stim correction be same or maybe even less aversive than a leash pop?

Thanks for your feedback

Mozi
I suggest you look up the books of William Koehler. He was the top Hollywood dog trainer for a long time and trained a lot of the dogs in the Disney movies. Because the dogs were actors, with a lot of expensive people standing around while the dog does its tricks, he had to be sure that they would do the trick as commanded, first time, every time.

The first chapter of one of his books is devoted to your first two items. The basic idea is that the dog has to learn to watch you, and respond to whatever you do instantly, all the time. The process is that you walk with the dog on a leash with a little slack. The dog is supposed to walk directly at your side, a little behind you so it can watch your movements. You walk toward a particular object in the distance. Periodically, you abruptly change direction. If the dog is in the proper spot, everything is smooth. If the dog isn't, it gets jerked into compliance. Sooner or later, the dog learns to watch you without fail and follow in the correct spot and ignore all distractions.

Repeat a few thousand times. That's the hard part.

On correcting the dog. I have found the word "No" to be pretty adequate for all disciplinary needs. These dogs naturally want to cooperate. Personally, I would think a leash jerk would be better than a stim, because they can feel the leash and the tension on it before it hits and thus are more likely to avoid the jerk. I wouldn't get a stim unless I was teaching the dogs at a distance. There are probably dogs out there that really need a prong collar, but I have never had one. They can put a little more muscle on your arm when they are on the leash, but not enough that I thought a prong was necessary. (My GSDs have all been north of 100 pounds, too)

Koehler's book gives a list of required equipment for training a dog and an explanation of why you need each. It includes a choke collar, a six-foot leash, a long leash, and other basics. Not much.
 

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I prefer to teach my dog to pay attention to me through relationship, motivational training, and then proofing. Only after the first two are in place, do I correct the dog- Koehler got it done but often the end result was not a happy, willing dog eager to work. I've read his books. His methods no doubt do work. They are hard for most people to consistently implement, however.

E-collars give lots of dogs lots of freedom. Sometimes I have to remind myself that my dogs have a great life, the best I can give them, but there are certain rules and limitations I must lay down if they are to be part of modern society. For my dogs that does mean e-collar training- after the dog knows the command. Not necessarily low level, either.

There is some good stuff out there on the e-collar. I'd watch a few different trainers: Larry Krohn, Jamie Penrith, Ivan Balabanov, Michael Ellis, Stonnie Dennis. Compare and contrast their methods and what they say and chose what works best for you. You can't go horribly wrong if you follow these trainers.
 
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