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Hello! Does anyone have experience/ advice for using an E Collar to train an eight month old GSD? We’re considering working with a trainer who used this method and up until this point we have been using primarily motivation based methods. If he’s trained with an E Collar, will he/we be dependent on it for good behavior? Are there any personality changes associated with using them for sensitive GSDs? This trainer has been doing this for years and has an excellent reputation, so assuming that it will be used correctly and appropriately. We’d appreciate any help you can give us!
 

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We started using the e collar when Inga was about that age. Used properly, it is a great tool. She knew and was proofed in 30 commands when two years old, some by distant hand signals. Only when a dog KNOWS the command and decides to blow you off is the lowest possible level of a correction given, one that that works for that dog and situation. Mostly it is a long distance signalling device with the tone and vibration function. Its a great tool in the training tool box.
 

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Ask the trainer for some references of training dogs with similar temperament to yours and see what the owners have to say. We've used ecollars with two of ours, but wouldn't consider it with our other two which are both handler sensitive. That's just us though.
 

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How is the motivational method working for you so far? What are your long term training goals?
 

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It depends on your Dog’s temperament. I personally believe that if you’re doing well on rewards based, then there is no need for an e-collar. But if they are somewhat stubborn then yes, it does work. But try not to be dependent on those collars to control your dog. If I had to resort to those, I prefer to still give them rewards and praise if they do things right. That way your dog still associates you with the positives and will tend towards you even without the collar.
 

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I recently got an e-collar for Gypsy. It's used for dealing with more serious issues like running away, chasing cars, and chasing dangerous wildlife. I don't use it for basic training.
 

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It really depends on what your goals are and the reason for using the E-collar in pursuit of those goals. I use an e-collar in my training (started using one in 2001), but it has never been my choice for general use. Fine tuning, control work, distance work, but not for basic obedience or teaching in the early stages.



No, if used correctly your dog will not become dependent on the collar. How a dog reacts to the E-collar depends on how it is used and the temperament of the dog. I would want to watch the trainer using the E-collar in training on another dog, preferably one with a similar temperament to your dog and one whose handler has similar goals.
 

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Overall, he's learned quickly, knows commands and is eager to please but we are encountering defiant/ignoring behavior off leash, when any distractions are present, in public, etc. The motivational method works great until he sees something he wants more (a toy, another dog, new person to meet, gets bored, etc.).

We work with him daily but also both work full-time so feel in need of some professional help to train us (as much as/more than the dog) to correct some negative behaviors and get to a place where we can trust him off-leash, know he won't jump on people out of excitement, solidify his long stay, recall, etc. No plans for formal showing but he is so smart and sweet, we want to give him every opportunity to be a great dog and are committed for the long-haul!
 

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It can be a great tool for recalls and off-leash work. Jumping up on people can be taught using food or toys showing the dog that sit gets us a reward and jumping gets us nothing. I have never liked using the E-collar for the stay (prefer a long line, staying close, and rewarding the correct behavior) and have seen it cause more problems than solve.



Go watch this trainer first. If he does not first introduce the dogs to the collar and teach them how to turn off the stim before using it for training then I would walk away. Then watch the dogs he is working with to see how they respond to training. If used correctly the dogs should be happy and willing in their work.
 
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