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Was watching some very impressive work recently at a club when I heard somebody from the side grumble "I'd like to see him do that without the e-collar".
So I asked the guy what he meant, he said that e-collars are cheating and a shortcut and a hundred years ago they would get the same behaviors without the use of them. Personally I see them as a technological advancement, like computers and cars and such where we no longer have to count on our hands and ride horse and buggy's.
I told a trainer about this and he said that while he uses e-collars he also kind of sees it as a shortcut because dog training is an art, and some of the best trainers in the world don't need them.
What do you guys think?
 

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No, you don't need them. And, I think training is a journey. And the reward is not a passed trial or a blue ribbon, but a dog that can reliably follow commands after years of not training them. The reward is a bond between the dog and the owner. I don't like taking shortcuts to get from here to there, because the process is its own reward and the cementing of the behavior.

And I personally feel that we are asking a critter to do what the human wants to live with humans in a way appropriate to a human's lifestyle, or to work with humans. This shouldn't be done by a fear of a correction -- dogs do not like being shocked. Neither do I. An electric wire -- electric fence that the dog can see, he learns that it isn't pleasant to touch that and he won't. That at least is fair. The dog learns the boundary, can see it, and can avoid it if he chooses. An e-collar is on their neck and they cannot avoid shocks unless they figure out what you want and what you don't want. And then, they do it to avoid unpleasantness, instead of doing what you do want because you know how to motivate the dog.

Yeah, I really don't like prong collars either. I don't like and won't use either. My choice. I will not support a ban of either. I just see them as unnecessary, and in some cases counter-productive.
 

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I use an ecollar for remote type correction...blind searches and out when a line is not long enough during the protection phase of IPO . Communication instead of verbal. It does not have to be harsh, but just a nick to remind. If you go over the dogs threshold it is just as bad as yelling, yelling when a whisper can do the same and get results.

But, my dog learned early on so the collar was faded quickly. And NO I didn't just put it on him willy nilly and push the button. He was trained to it by teaching place, directional type obedience and it benefitted our whole training program.

I see nothing wrong with using it, it is black and white to the dog, no nagging or emotion is included. But it has to be used fairly and with excellent timing.
 

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No, you don't need them. And, I think training is a journey. And the reward is not a passed trial or a blue ribbon, but a dog that can reliably follow commands after years of not training them. The reward is a bond between the dog and the owner. I don't like taking shortcuts to get from here to there, because the process is its own reward and the cementing of the behavior.

And I personally feel that we are asking a critter to do what the human wants to live with humans in a way appropriate to a human's lifestyle, or to work with humans. This shouldn't be done by a fear of a correction -- dogs do not like being shocked. Neither do I. An electric wire -- electric fence that the dog can see, he learns that it isn't pleasant to touch that and he won't. That at least is fair. The dog learns the boundary, can see it, and can avoid it if he chooses. An e-collar is on their neck and they cannot avoid shocks unless they figure out what you want and what you don't want. And then, they do it to avoid unpleasantness, instead of doing what you do want because you know how to motivate the dog.

Yeah, I really don't like prong collars either. I don't like and won't use either. My choice. I will not support a ban of either. I just see them as unnecessary, and in some cases counter-productive.
I'm not supporting the use of them, but I don't think you really understand how they work. It doesn't really shock them on the lowest setting, it's more of a vibration or a "buzz" to snap them out it. They should be only used as the last resort when the dog already knows the command, and is not responding to traditional corrections. Some trainers don't feed their dogs for 2 days to get them to comply, what's worse?
 

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It is another way of speaking to the dog. Each tool has a purpose but the end goal should be to get the dog off the tools and working with its owner or handler. No tool is perfect and none are as bad as the critics say. A very good handler won't need those tools for obedience, but for off leash and distance work, maybe. Or to undo bad habits which a dog has been taught.
 

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LuvShepherds really took the words out of my mouth. And I do agree with Selzer that training is a journey, too. I don't think everyone can take the same approach, so I don't look at using different tools to get a desired result as cheating when all trainers do have access to them. It's a personal choice to use them, and people are welcome to train without needing one. But I wouldn't condemn someone for having a perfectly trained dog just because I see an e-collar on them in a training session. So long as the dog's overall health and mental well being is the utmost importance, then I'm fine with most training methods. It's when the result of training trumps the health and well being of a dog that I get my knickers in a knot.
 

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I'm not supporting the use of them, but I don't think you really understand how they work. It doesn't really shock them on the lowest setting, it's more of a vibration or a "buzz" to snap them out it. They should be only used as the last resort when the dog already knows the command, and is not responding to traditional corrections. Some trainers don't feed their dogs for 2 days to get them to comply, what's worse?
Actually, that's not true. There are separate functions on many ecollars that offer a vibrate setting. But a low stim is still a stim. Also, I wouldn't say they are a "last resort." They have many uses. They can be used for distance work, proofing, or simply because a dog responds better to that particular tool than others. The important thing is that the dog is properly taught what the ecollar correction means.
 

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I had a trainer teach me how to use the ecollar. We had used it sheep herding on the get outs. The ecollar has as allowed me to have Max who has a high prey drive off leash on certain occasions and places and to keep him safe as I can with giving him some freedom. Presently I don't even need to use it but only serves as back up. He has now ignored cats/ deer all off leash without using the ecollar.
 

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Actually, that's not true. There are separate functions on many ecollars that offer a vibrate setting. But a low stim is still a stim. Also, I wouldn't say they are a "last resort." They have many uses. They can be used for distance work, proofing, or simply because a dog responds better to that particular tool than others. The important thing is that the dog is properly taught what the ecollar correction means.
I think of the lowest setting as the vibrate function, not the lowest shock setting. The question is, is it cheating because back in the day trainers would get the same behavior through other means? I think it's more humane in a lot of ways than popping the prong collar, lord knows what they did a hundred years ago to get their dogs to comply but I'm sure it wasn't pretty.
 

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I think of the lowest setting as the vibrate function, not the lowest shock setting. The question is, is it cheating because back in the day trainers would get the same behavior through other means? I think it's more humane in a lot of ways than popping the prong collar, lord knows what they did a hundred years ago to get their dogs to comply but I'm sure it wasn't pretty.
The vibrate fuction should definitely not be seen as a lower correction than a stim. Some dogs cannot grasp what a vibration means. I've seen it completely shut a dog down. An actual low stim on the same dog gets the point across in a clear, very black and white way.

And to answer your original question, no I don't think it's cheating to use an ecollar. If it's cheating to use an ecollar, then it's cheating to use a prong, or a slip lead or any other tools you have. Doesn't matter that it's a newer tool than some of the others.
 

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My dogs get freaked out by the vibrate mode. Low stim they do fine with. Bit they have been taught how to shut the stim off.
Definitely more humane than hanging a dog or kicking the crap out of the dog to get it to comply or because it messed up. So if it is cheating I'll just have to be OK with that.
 

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I personally think E Collars are indispensable for doing the specific things that an E Collar can do that no human or other tool can do.

Such as:
making it possible to reach out and touch your dog at a distance larger than you can physically do so. Dogs know when they are on a long line, some more than others. So for being able to give your dog physical communication, maybe a correction, at a distance or when they know they are not on a leash or long line

Getting the attention of a deaf dog

Leveling the playing field if the owner is not physically able to handle their own dog because it is too powerful and owner has a disability or is a senior, the e collar can potentially make it possible for them to get control of their dog without having to have the physical ability (sure maybe they shouldn't own that dog but assume they already do)

Dogs that have trachea damage from pulling or from being tied out and choke/hack constantly/easily to the very slightest pressure on a collar of any type. These dogs can be taught proper leash manners with no further pressure and choking.

Dogtra is the only brand I have ever used so I will only say this about Dogtras but my feeling is that there are so many levels and the low levels are so low, that you really can consider it to be a "touch" like the touch of your hand or leash and you can use it as gently or as not gently as you need to to suit the dog.
 

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Guy sounds like an idiot. It's like watching someone clear rubble with a bulldozer and calling it cheating because back in the day you used to have to clear it by hand. If you have the tools why not use them?

Best answer in this thread!!!!
 

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Guy sounds like an idiot. It's like watching someone clear rubble with a bulldozer and calling it cheating because back in the day you used to have to clear it by hand. If you have the tools why not use them?

But if someone can achieve the task without one, do you consider him a better trainer?
 

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But if someone can achieve the task without one, do you consider him a better trainer?
The better trainer is the one who can use the tools he has available to get the result he/she wants in the shortest amount of time that causes the least amount of stress and conflict in the dog.
 

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A more well rounded one perhaps. IMO the tools used are a fairly minor consideration when evaluating the skill of a trainer.

The ability to communicate clearly, to teach clearly, to establish and maintain criteria clearly and consistently, good mechanics and timing.

All of that is more important than whether or not you are using a tool and perhaps it's use has become a crutch.

Either way it is some catty crap sport trainers get into. You see someone with a nice dog and it's blasting a routine? Props! Good to see! Be happy for them and be happy for the dog. Don't be sniping them with snide comments.

If you catch me talking trash about someone training on a field it will be because the trainer is being super unfair to the dog, inconsistent, or abusive. I won't be crap talking someone getting it done.
 

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But if someone can achieve the task without one, do you consider him a better trainer?
Personally I don't consider them a better trainer. Everybody has their own methods they like to use. And can the trainer get the same result with every single dog or just some dogs without using devices? If using an e-collar is cheating so is using a collar, leash, prong, harness, whistle, fence, ect. I can keep my dog in my yard without the use of a fence, does that make me a better trainer than somebody who uses a fence to keep their dogs in their yard? Short answer is no it does not.
 

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I'm not supporting the use of them, but I don't think you really understand how they work. It doesn't really shock them on the lowest setting, it's more of a vibration or a "buzz" to snap them out it. They should be only used as the last resort when the dog already knows the command, and is not responding to traditional corrections. Some trainers don't feed their dogs for 2 days to get them to comply, what's worse?


I understand how they work.

Bolded: This is not a good argument. It is counter-productive. Saying, "well, it's better than starving the dog to get it to work for food" when most people who wouldn't use an e-collar wouldn't starve their dog either. It's like saying shop-lifting what you want is better than clobbering a little old lady and stealing her purse to get the money. If there is nothing wrong with using an e-collar to get the results you want, than why would you compare it with starving a dog for two days?
 
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