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Originally Posted By: mikaK9One is regarding when I reach the stage where my dog understands the recall and the e-collar correction for failing the recall in a backyard type setting. If my dog is highly distracted and fails the recall even with me pushing the constant on the e-collar (which from what I understand means that it might need to be turned up just a little), would I continue keeping the constant correction on as I go to the dog and then let go once I get ahold of the dog (and then turn up the level of stim for the next time)?
Reading ahead I see that you've ready my articles and are using my methods. The answer is "Yes, you'd increase the stim level." Do so a little at a time until you see some response from the dog. It may be that he recalls or just an ear flick. As soon as he turns away from the distraction, take your finger off the button. I'd stay at the same level (his working level, where he first feels the stim when at rest) unless you see that it loses its effect. If that happens go up slightly. If you see the distraction present increase the stim a little in anticipation of him needing a slightly higher level at to catch up to his level of distraction.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9 Then the second question would be similar, but in a police trial bitework setting. If my dog runs after the decoy and fails to recall, should I hold the constant button down, even while my dog is on the sleeve and until I can get to him?
There's no need to "get to him." I suggest that you use the recall command and stay back. With most dogs that have been through conventional training, when you approach, they anticipate the out and bite harder. Some will "get growly." Some will spin around to the other side of the decoy, so you can't get to the leash to correct him. With the Ecollar and the recall command, there's no need to. Stand back, give the command at the same time that you press the button and wait for him to come to you. If he doesn't then increase the stim level a bit until you see that he's feeling it.

If he fights this, let me know and I'll give you another method that I can just about guarantee will work with him.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9 I guess that raises a third question for me. When my dog is doing well on recalls in the backyard setting, even under intense distractions, and I move to using it in a trial bitework setting......should I have him on a long line to start with all over again?
Once he's working well on the recall from the bite you can start giving him other commands off the bite, the down or the sit. You can recall him, let him come back a few feet and send him for another bite or you can down him, or anything else that you want.

Originally Posted By: TracieI was trained never ever to put the stimulation box on the back of the neck.
What reason were you given for this? I do it sometimes. Usually when teaching the down.

Originally Posted By: Tracie I was taught to use the nick button (and verbal command) for every command that I gave the dog, not just the command that the dog failed to perform.
At some point you want to stop giving the stim with the command. If for no other reason than sometimes you may not have the Ecollar on the dog or it might not work. My experience with this has been that if you constantly give the stim with the command, and never vary from this, the stim "becomes part of the command." And if, for any reason, you don't give the stim the dog won't obey. It's not that he's disobeying it's that the stim has become "part of the picture" and the dog thinks it's part of the situation. As we know, if a situation changes, the dog may not obey. The context has changed and dogs are contextual learners.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9 And I've read the articles on Lou Castle's website. It's great info and that's exactly what I'm going off of. Maybe I missed something that would answer these questions, but I didn't think so, since they're kind of specific.
You didn't miss anything there Mika, it's just that the articles were mostly written in a general sort of way so that anyone, a police dog handler, a SAR dog handler or a pet owner, could use them. I didn't get too specific to give the articles broader appeal.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9I'm just anticipating that this specific dog will need to have the level of stim turned up a bit with specific higher distractions.
Most dogs will need higher levels when they're distracted.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9This is mostly based on the levels of correction he takes from me on a pinch collar.
There's no connection between how a dog responds to a pinch collar (or any other correction device for that matter) and how he'll respond to stim; but any dog who's distracted will need a higher level of stim because he won't feel the basic working level.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9but all the corrections in the world on a pinch collar don't seem to be getting me anywhere with higher distractions.

Using higher and higher levels of physical corrections (those that come from a leash and correction collar) will cause all sorts of conflict that will cause problems down the road.

I saw that Lou had checked this site and was hoping he might answer too......maybe I'll take the advice of emailing him directly and get his thoughts.
If anyone has a question feel free to email me privately. I prefer to answer these questions on the forum though, so that other people can give their advice. I don't have all the answers and can learn, just like everyone else. If I don't jump in to the thread fairly quickly (a few days) just drop me an email and let me know that the discussion is going on. BTW that's how I got here today.

Originally Posted By: TracieIn the mean time, try to stop chasing him. By chasing him, your playing a game on his terms when he should be obeying on your terms. Try letting him drag a long line or long leash at all times. Call him to you using stim and use of the leash to pull him to you until he comes in readily without use of the leash/long line.
Good advice.

Originally Posted By: TracieAs your calling him in, continue use of stim (push the button much like you would as if using a bic lighter) and your recall command (come or whatever) until he is all the way in to you. Once he comes all the way in, stop stimulation and praise heck out of him.
Stimming a dog all the way in is really an advanced technique for me. I prefer to just give a continuous stim until he turns and starts towards me. Then I get off the button. Only when he's doing this very well will I give a stim all the way in. And I only do that once in a while.
 

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Originally Posted By: ZeusGSDWhat type of bitework training did this trainer do with your dogs? I have not heard of that much OB prior to protection work of any kind
This varies form country to country. Here (in the US) it's common to teach OB either before bitework or at least along with it. In Europe it's often done the other way round, with bite work being taught first and OB often not taught for at least a year, sometimes longer.

One reason for this is that in the US we have a "contingency-fee" basis to pay lawyers who sue people (and LE agencies), even if the suit is frivolous. In Europe that's not the case. (This may have changed, I haven't kept up with changes in the law there). There, you have to be able to pay your lawyer up front, before the case is taken. That tends to cut down on the number of lawsuits. And so here we tend to emphasize control to a larger degree. (Of course there are exceptions and some European countries makes us look like the old west as far as political correctness goes).

Part of the reason for this is that conventional methods of teaching OB, those that have a lot of conflict inherent in them, often weaken the dog's bitework. If you do this before the dog really understands what's expected of him during the bite, it makes it difficult to build him back up and some may never make it. Many handlers walk a teeter-totter with control and quality of the bite all the time. If they emphasize control, as they should, the quality of the bite suffers and vice versa.

But the Ecollar can be used to eliminate almost all of this conflict and so the bite work does not suffer. In fact, since the dog thinks he's always on the handler's "good side" it may even improve.
 

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Originally Posted By: ZeusGSDThe few PSD trainers/handlers I have been around also trained for SchH, so the methodology and development of the dogs seems to be done differently. So I gather the protection work is mostly all done in defense?
I'm not David but this is another topic that I'm interested in. This might make a better discussion in a separate thread. If you decide to go there, please let me know.

I do little work in defense. I think that there are three combat drives, those that have the dog biting someone to support himself or the pack.

One is prey drive. This is mostly visually stimulated, absent an association that has been made, and consists of the chasing, catching, killing and eating of prey. It's part of survival, because dogs must eat to live.

Another is defense drive. Here the dog is defending himself or the pack from a perceived threat. Note that it does not have to be an actual threat. As long as the dog thinks there's a threat, defense drive can be involved.

The one that I look for and use for the most part is fight drive. It's fairly rare these days and many people have never seen it, so they question its existence. It has the dog detaining or driving off an opponent. It gives a calm, confident dog, the type I prefer for LE work as well as personal protection.

It's hard to find a dog that has a pronounced level of fight drive these days. Fifty years ago, I'm told they were more common. But trainers of sport dogs (the source for most police dogs in the US these days) discovered that prey drive gave a dog that looked more intense than a dog that worked out of fight drive. And since the sports are based on how a dog looks, rather than what he's thinking and how he got there, they bred more for prey drive than for fight drive and so it's much less common now.

This is not to slight sport work, but while it looks the same, it's not.
 

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Originally Posted By: TracieMy instructor said it was much like having someone slap you in the back of the head with a board. We were taught not to use the e-collar on the back of the neck except on the rare occasions that we were training a dog that was extremely vicious or a true knuckle head. I remember only putting the e-collar on the back of the neck of one dog in the 3 years I have been training with one.
I've never heard this before. I can't figure out why a low level stim would be like "a slap on the back of the head with a board" but it would be any different on the front of the neck. Is your trainer open to you asking him about this? I'd like to hear what he has to say about it.

I've had anti-Ecollar people tell me that it's dangerous to do this because the stim could affect the dog's spinal column but this is just so much nonsense.
 

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Earlier I wrote,
Quote: At some point you want to stop giving the stim with the command. If for no other reason than sometimes you may not have the Ecollar on the dog or it might not work. My experience with this has been that if you constantly give the stim with the command, and never vary from this, the stim "becomes part of the command." And if, for any reason, you don't give the stim the dog won't obey. It's not that he's disobeying it's that the stim has become "part of the picture" and the dog thinks it's part of the situation. As we know, if a situation changes, the dog may not obey. The context has changed and dogs are contextual learners.
Originally Posted By: TracieI should have explained this in more depth. My explanation was for the beginning stages of e-collar training where consistency is of extreme importance
Many times, our clients will stop pushing the button after a week or two of training, well before the dog is ready for that type of inconsistency.
OK. Now it makes more sense and I agree with you 100%. There's something that many people do with their training. I call it the "Let's see how he's doing" phenomenon. At way too early in their training, they'll test their progress.

At the earliest stages of training, as you said, you want the dog to think that the stim is inevitable, that it comes with EVERY command. But if you test this too soon, before the dog owns the behavior, it teaches him that sometimes it comes and sometimes it doesn't. Since dogs have their own agendas, most of them will gamble that "this time" it won't happen, if the payoff, the distraction, is rewarding enough. If that's the time you choose NOT to press the button, you've taught the dog something that he may never forget. And you'll wind up with a dog that's not as reliable as he might have been.

It's very common and it's VERY difficult to get people not to do this. They want to see how their training is going along and they don't understand that it almost certainly will cause problems later on.
 

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Earlier I wrote,
Quote: Stimming a dog all the way in is really an advanced technique for me. I prefer to just give a continuous stim until he turns and starts towards me. Then I get off the button. Only when he's doing this very well will I give a stim all the way in. And I only do that once in a while.
Originally Posted By: TracieOne trainer I worked with did it using the method you explained. Another did it in the manner that I explained and yet another would give a tap and the command, if the dog started toward him with "momentum" he would not tap the button or say a command but if the dog slowed or veered off course he would again tap and say the command. He used this method until the dog was all the way in. (Emphasis added)
I do this too. If the dog slows or veers off I'll hit the button. Remember that I'm using continuous and one of these trainers is using a tap. I hold the button down until the dog speeds up or gets back on track. If the dog shows confusion and doesn't do either, it's a sign that some intermediate steps have been skipped and the trainer needs to back up a bit.
 

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Originally Posted By: TracieOk, I have to ask...do you EVER do seminars on the East Coast?
I've been there quite a few times but have no plans for the near future. But I'll go just about anywhere that people want me for a seminar. Heck I went to Minnesota when it was 11 below!

If you want details as to how I work seminars, let's do it privately as I feel too commercial in public. Email is better than PM's.
 

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Originally Posted By: TracieThe trainer always told his students that the back of the neck was the most sensative area and to avoid using the e-collar there. I will talk to him in detail about it this Saturday.
I've never noticed this and I'm a science kinda guy so I did an experiment with all four of my dogs. I put the Ecollar on them with the box on top of their neck. Then I started from zero to find the level of stim that they first felt.

All four they felt it at the same level as when the box is off to the bottom-left side of their neck, where it usually winds up. Next I moved the box to that position and tried a couple of other positions as well. The response from each dog was the same. They felt the stim at the same level on the front, sides and back of their necks. Three of these dogs are GSD's and one is a Belgian Shep.

I'm not saying that you're trainer is wrong, only that my experience is different.
 

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Originally Posted By: mikaK9 When you talk about turning up the stim level, I'm curious how much you're thinking. I've got the Dogtra1700 NCP. I had a tough time finding his working level, as he is easily distracted and just seemed difficult with this...very subtle.
You have to do one of two things. Either work in a distraction-free environment (as much as that's possible) or simply hang out for 10-20 minutes until he's explored every new thing in the environment and gets bored. THEN you try to find his working level.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9 At one point, it seemed like I had found the level, but then I wasn't sure. It was almost as if it was an involuntary muscle response...with a neck muscle shifting just slightly and I could barely see the tip of his ear shift with it. (This was at about 21).
I think if you get muscle movement, he's feeling it. Have you ever had a muscle twitch near your eye or on a forearm or something like that? You notice it and you don't like it. I think it's the same with the dog.

The real test to see if he feels it is to start the training. If you do 20 reps and his behavior isn't changing, if he's not moving towards you and staying there, he's not feeling it. The number on the dial or the LCD means nothing except that a 20 is lower than a 21 and higher than a 19.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9 I tried it again and nothing. So I went up from there and nothing. I didn't get anything more until 36, but I did get a slight reaction there where I know he felt it. I'm not sure about the 21 part or what was going on there.
I'd try working him at the 21 level and see if he feels it.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9 So....if his working level is 36, how much is in range to turn it up? Just wondering how high I should go if he doesn't respond at that.
Here's what I do. I slowly turn up the dial a little at a time while keeping the situation constant. In bitework when I'm teaching the out I'll have the decoy stand as still as he can. That keeps the distraction level constant while I turn up the stim. At some point you'll see a difference in the dog's body carriage, an ear flick. Some noise that he starts making or he may just drop off. SLOWLY is the operative word because a little movement of the dial makes a lot of difference at the other end.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9 I'm hoping he would respond if it were turned up very slightly, but I'm wondering what my end range should be just in case he doesn't and I need to contact you for that other method.
When do this for the release I have the handler do some OB near the decoys. As he turns near them I have him give a light leash correction with some sort of training collar on the dog, usually a pinch or a choke chain. I'll pair the Ecollar stim with the leash correction and soon the dog thinks that they're the same thing. That lets me find his working level (remember that it will change as the distraction level changes) for this situation, with the decoy present. I can tell when he feels the stim in this situation because he'll raise his head a bit and sort of "try to walk on air" for a few steps.
 

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Originally Posted By: Tracie When I am working a dog, I don’t even look at where the dial is. You need to pay attention to the dog and it's responses to the level of stim.
This is what most people do after some experience with the collar. But beginners like to look and make sure that they're not too high. At seminars I'm always asked "What level are you on?" I usually answer, "The level the dog needs." But that never satisfies people, they want THE NUMBER.

Originally Posted By: Tracie If you have a dog that almost always works at a low level and suddenly the dog does not pay any attention and you have turned the collar up and turned it up (will go into proper stim level adjustments next) the first step I would take would be to make sure the collar is turned on (put your hand over the box on the dogs neck and tap the page button, this vibrates the collar) If the collar is on, next make sure the collar is not too loose.
Sounds like you've discovered that one problem with Ecollars is that you need to remember to turn them on. Glad I'm not the only one to have forgotten. Lol. I do the same thing, test it with the vibration mode.

Originally Posted By: Tracie When finding the dogs working level, I tap the button as I give the dog the command, if the dog ignores the command I turn the dial up ONE click
Not sure what you mean by "one click." On the Dogtras that I use, there aren't any "clicks." The dial goes smoothly from the lowest to the highest setting without any "clicks." Do you mean "one level?"

If so, that's what I used to do. But now, as you say it's more important to watch the dog than the numbers on the dial, and see how he's responding to the change in the stim.

Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on working the Ecollar.
 
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