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I have come to the conclusion that a shock collar is the only way to train a dog to listen all the time. Am I wrong?
 

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I've never trained with an E collar, my dogs have always listen ... BUT they haven't been exposed to every scenario so I can't be 100% sure they would do what I say in all cases. Does it take longer to train without an E collar??? I don't know but am sure others can answer this.
 

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I have come to the conclusion that a shock collar is the only way to train a dog to listen all the time. Am I wrong?
Yes you are wrong. And probably unrealistic about the results you'll get from using an e-collar. Dogs absolutely can (and many do) learn when the collar is on and when it is not. And they know when it's not on, you can't "get them".
 

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I think it depends on the dog. I can only speak for mine, and I have come to the conclusion that only with a shock collar will she pay attention half the time. Without it, she won't do anything at all, and even with it on, sometimes whatever reward she sees out there (chasing a cat, running to the neighbors' house to see what's going on, etc.) is totally worth getting shocked over.
 

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Yes you are wrong. And probably unrealistic about the results you'll get from using an e-collar. Dogs absolutely can (and many do) learn when the collar is on and when it is not. And they know when it's not on, you can't "get them".
Think it depends on your training goals and what the collar is for.

I don't have an e-collar on my dogs doing agility and it's all off leash and dog not even that close to me...

But for an 100% reliable 'come' when I'm our hiking and the deer run past.... that's what I use the e-collar for.

So not sure what the OP is really talking about when they want their dog to 'listen all the time'.

Listen to what?????

:eek:
 

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I think it depends on the dog. I can only speak for mine, and I have come to the conclusion that only with a shock collar will she pay attention half the time. Without it, she won't do anything at all, and even with it on, sometimes whatever reward she sees out there (chasing a cat, running to the neighbors' house to see what's going on, etc.) is totally worth getting shocked over.
I think in this case it also depends on consistency in training...

E-collars are a great tool for some dogs, but they are not a crutch. Nor are they the only answer.
 

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Any time someone says Tool X is "the only way to train a dog," that person is wrong.
 

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Just started using an e collar a little while ago. It seems to be working for me
 

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I think it depends on the dog and the handler. It is a good tool to have in the toolbox

With Grim, we jumped fawns and you could tell he wanted to chase but he was easy enough to stop (they stay in the bushes until you get right on top of them and spring up in the air and run off-very exhilarating) and worked past plenty of deer and he never had an e-collar (actually he never had a harsh correction)...and Beau also seems reliable around game. Cyra OTOH absolutely needed one and had to have ocassional refreshers.
 

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Think it depends on your training goals and what the collar is for.

I don't have an e-collar on my dogs doing agility and it's all off leash and dog not even that close to me...

But for an 100% reliable 'come' when I'm our hiking and the deer run past.... that's what I use the e-collar for.

So not sure what the OP is really talking about when they want their dog to 'listen all the time'.

Listen to what?????
Do you find you always have to have the collar on in the woods? How do you use the collar (in the traditional way as a correction or with a low stim method)?

The people I have known to use them all use them as positive punishment - a correction for when the dog doesn't "listen". They all seem to get stuck relying on them for offleash work, the dog absolutely knows when the collar is on and when it isn't. And even when it is, they "test it" now and then, usually involving the dog running off and requiring a fairly high level correction to stop them. Some over time seem to learn to run throw it, even at the highest setting.

FWIW they don't necessarily need to have them on in a controlled (and quickly over with) setting like agility. I think if your dog "needs" an e-collar to stay in the agility ring...well it might not be the right sport for them ;)

IMO a person just going out and getting an e-collar with the "zap my dog when he's bad"/"ecollars will instantly make my dog behave perfectly" mentality is asking for trouble. I hope that the posters on this thread who have started using them have gotten proper guidance and did their research prior to putting the collar on the dog and pushing the button. Lou Castle (who is a member here) has a very detailed protocol on his low stim methods available for free on his website and also runs a forum dedicated to the use of his method. You can find that here: LouCastle.com Lou and I have certainly had our differences but his site is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about modern e-collar training.

This blog posts goes into a detailed outline of the training protocol one person used for teaching her dog not to chase livestock. She is a primarily positive trainer who found modern e-collar training fit in nicely with her training philosophy for this issue. An important thing to notice is that the e-collar was not used as a "quick fix" - she didn't just slap the collar on the dog, put her in with livestock and start correcting her when she chased.

The Vanya Project

No matter what tools you choose to use in training, it is important to have a clear understanding of foundation work and a plan. There's almost endless ways to teach any given behavior and people have certainly had success training reliability using all different methods.
 

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This blog posts goes into a detailed outline of the training protocol one person used for teaching her dog not to chase livestock. She is a primarily positive trainer who found modern e-collar training fit in nicely with her training philosophy for this issue. An important thing to notice is that the e-collar was not used as a "quick fix" - she didn't just slap the collar on the dog, put her in with livestock and start correcting her when she chased.

The Vanya Project

No matter what tools you choose to use in training, it is important to have a clear understanding of foundation work and a plan. There's almost endless ways to teach any given behavior and people have certainly had success training reliability using all different methods.
Thanks for this, and for the link. It was a very interesting read.

I have a pretty strong bias against e-collars because I've seen way too many dogs get permanently damaged by what I consider to be excessive use of the shocks. You know, the zombie robot dogs with the thousand-yard stares. The memory of those horrifying Stepford dogs, and the people who consider them "well trained" and want similar results for their own dogs, won't leave me anytime soon.

But that post about Vanya does deserve a lot of respect and thoughtful consideration.
 

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I use an ecollar only (1) as a long leash and (2) to create an unpleasant association with a bad behavior to break the bad behavior.

(1) As a long leash, the collar will NOT make the dog "obey". It will remove the dog's attention from a distraction so that the dog will then listen to you and obey a command that the dog already knows from positive training. You must train the dog to "leave it" with no distractions so the dog understands--then, when you're out with the dog, if you issue a "leave it" command that he does not obey because he is already zoning in on the distraction or object, the shock will remind him to listen to you, and he will then obey if he is well-enough trained.

(2) If the dog is barking at night for no reason, digging holes, etc., the ecollar can be used to break this habit by shocking him only when he begins such activity. You must be hidden so he doesn't associate the shock with you, and you must consistently do it for several consecutive instances of his behavior so he learns that every time he does that thing he gets an unpleasant experience. This requires LOTS of time and patience; you may have to watch your dog wander around the back yard while you are hidden for hours until he does the bad behavior. We successfully broke Liesl of digging holes this way, and it lasted for about a year, but she backslid a bit and now we will probably have to re-train it a little (but she is still much improved over when she first started digging).

Finally, to avoid him becoming collar-savvy, you must put the collar on him almost daily for short periods and NOT use it to shock him, so he accepts it just like his water bowl or favorite toy. We put the collar on Liesl for every walk, whether we are going to use it or not, and she gets excited and licks it when she sees it. She also obeys us about 95% of the time on "leave it" and "come" commands on unleashed walks even without the collar. But we do use it from time to time for these commands because of that 5% when she decides to test us. It is just their nature.
 

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I think it's a great tool for training however, it's not the end all be all. I trained my bulldog with an e collar but my gsd will be trained using positive reinforcement. For my clints I take the dogs learning style into account before I decide on my method of training.
 

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Thanks for this, and for the link. It was a very interesting read.

I have a pretty strong bias against e-collars because I've seen way too many dogs get permanently damaged by what I consider to be excessive use of the shocks. You know, the zombie robot dogs with the thousand-yard stares. The memory of those horrifying Stepford dogs, and the people who consider them "well trained" and want similar results for their own dogs, won't leave me anytime soon.

But that post about Vanya does deserve a lot of respect and thoughtful consideration.
Without a doubt, e-collars are misused especially by the general pet owning population who have the "strap a collar on and zap them when they do wrong" mentality. That isn't the fault of the tool but user. Still it does tend to leave people with a very poor opinion of the tool. I was always nervous about their use and they are not a tool I'd suggest someone go out and buy without instruction on proper use. But then, I also have offered to meet friends of friends at the petstore to show them how to fit and properly use a prong collar for walking. And I always am quick to provide info on conditioning dogs to headcollars whenever they are brought up. Getting a headcollar and just putting it on your dog then attempting to walk them on it with no previous training has a high risk of being extremely aversive. So I'm pretty adamant about proper use of training tools, regardless of what tool it is. In learning about modern, low stim training I can see how it can be "minimally aversive". Much less aversive than most dogs immediate reaction to having a headcollar put on.

Here's a dog's first session with low stim training:
Can shock collar dog training be something other than awful? - YouTube

I have not used e-collars other than bark collars (which are the more traditional use of e-collars - positive punishment) but it's interesting to see the use and how some people have even incorporated it into positive based methods.
Can shock collar dog training be something other than awful? - YouTube
 

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Shocking yourself with an e-collar is definitely an eye opener for several reasons.

1) You get an understanding in the range and flexibility of stimulation from lowest to highest.

2) You can really feel a significant difference between a “nick” and “continuous” with the same stimulation level. Continuous definitely has MORE feel to it even at the same stim level as a nick.

3) You can definitely feel how uncomfortable the e-collar is with the contact prongs. These prongs need to make contact with the skin and be snug enough not to move. If the collar shifts it also affects the sensitivity on the dog as some parts of the neck ARE more sensitive than others. This also helps you understand how pro-longed wearing of the collar can irritate the dog’s skin.

I have shocked myself with multiple e-collars. From low to the HIGHEST setting (on both “nick” and “constant”). The last collar I shocked myself with for testing was the new Einstein K9 400 TS. Interesting enough my GF also shocked herself from lowest to highest settings and she is a brave woman. People just like dogs have different sensitivity levels. I have seen many You-tube videos of people shocking themselves with e-collars. In my opinion many of these people over-react for show and make these collars look more painful than they really are. In addition I have also seen people stop shocking themselves at 50% unit power because of fear. I believe being shocked at high power is just as much as an eye opener as being shocked at low levels. And yes I have shocked myself at high power with collars made for stubborn dogs. Keep in mind the level for obedience training for a dog is much lower than what most people realize.
 

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In learning about modern, low stim training I can see how it can be "minimally aversive".
Yes, but those collars don't stop at "low stim." They still go all the way up to 100, or 127. The potential is still there to deliver a very hard positive punishment.

And for me personally, the risk is way too high that I'd hit the button for a hard shock in a moment of anger, or panic, or inability to recognize that my dog wasn't responding due to stress or inadequate proofing or confusion instead of being "stubborn" or "trying to test me." I know my own failings. If the ability is there, at some point in a moment of frustration, there's a good chance I'd be tempted to use it wrongly.

I don't want to do that. That's not the relationship I want to have with my dog. But I'm a pretty flawed person and I can't say with 100% certainty that I'd be able to resist the temptation... so for me, personally, it's not a door that I want to open, and it's not a tool that I'm going to use. I'm not training field retrievers; my dogs are personal companions and sport competitors, and they've always been receptive to learning positively trained recalls. So I don't need the tool, and the drawbacks aren't worth it for me and the dogs I have now.

But certainly I have more respect and awareness now that it is a tool other people can use responsibly, and that's a good thing for me to know, and I'm grateful to you for showing me that.
 

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I am pro e-collar. I think it is a great tool for off leash activities. You must of course make sure your dog knows the command 100% before putting the collar on or it can create fear. I RARLEY have to use it on Jackson, he listens pretty well. It's more of a piece of mind for me- that he will be able to be called off of something if he becomes very fixated. Like I said, its VERY rare that i actually have to use it, but it's something I always like to have when I have a dog.

I used to have a husky, and he would have the e-collar on and he would be allowed to run off leash with me in the woods. It was great. A breed like that usually takes off- it opened a lot of doors for his freedoms and enhanced his life by allowing him to run free within my supervision and still stay safe. As long as the dog is not fearful of the collar and is trained properly prior to use, I see absolutley nothing wrong with e-Collars.
 
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