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Discussion Starter #1
First, I'd have to say that there are many great ideas in this post...for me, I previously thought using an EC would be more antagonistic to a large breed dog like a GSD...as opposed to using it for training hunting dogs not to run off. Two weeks ago, we bought an EC and I have to say, it's absolutely wonderful when used "properly".


Also, it's important to find what motivates your dog the most. In our case, we started with treats, hot dogs, and small bits of real meat. But recently I've found that I get the best results by using his favorite toy as a reward when he follows my commands.

I only use the EC as a reinforcing tool and never a punishment tool. I'll crank it up when he's doing something that may cause him harm....like going to taunt the two pit bulls next door, trying to run into the road, and chasing raccoons and coyotes, etc. Around the house for annoying issues, it's set to a minimal setting at best. Of course, we all have used it on ourselves at different settings to experience first hand what we're doing to the dog.

Lastly, we always use our tone button first which emits a sound, if that doesn't work, then we'll give him a tickle. After two weeks, we're finding that the tone is enough to get him to respond for 90% of most problems.

The point is, read the manuals that come with the EC, test it on yourself and see what your limits would be, and use it as a reinforcing tool only
 

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I agree. I've been thinking about getting one myself.

I HAVE used them on myself and it is no worse than a prong correction. It stung, I didn't like it.. But that is the point.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I agree. I've been thinking about getting one myself.

I HAVE used them on myself and it is no worse than a prong correction. It stung, I didn't like it.. But that is the point.
We found it to be a great tool. We limit our use with it (only put it on him a few hours a day) and find ourselves using it less and less as the week go by.
(Steelers Mom)
 

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Haven't needed one yet, but I am not opposed to them either especially when you are mixing in positive reinforcement and issuing a warning as well before the shock. I have used my mom's dog's EC on me and though it wasn't pleasant it didn't hurt either:)
 

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I don't use one, and don't condemn them. BUT a 6 month old puppy should have other training methods than the use of an e-collar, IMO. Especially one that is food motivated. I think it is a lazy way of training for certain circumstances.
From this statement, it sounds as if your dog is wearing it more than a few hours?
I only use the EC as a reinforcing tool and never a punishment tool. I'll crank it up when he's doing something that may cause him harm....like going to taunt the two pit bulls next door, trying to run into the road, and chasing raccoons and coyotes, etc. Around the house for annoying issues, it's set to a minimal setting at best. Of course, we all have used it on ourselves at different settings to experience first hand what we're doing to the dog.
I don't agree with a dog wearing the collar constantly, it is a training tool and should not be worn if not in a training session.
And this statement shows there are better methods to use with your pup:
But recently I've found that I get the best results by using his favorite toy as a reward when he follows my commands.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, I think we'll have to agree to disagree with the EC, I've seen wonderful results and it seems to work really well when used properly. Yes, Steeler wears his more than half of the day, but that certainly doesn't mean it's being used.....it's no different at all then wearing a regular collar all day, and I'm pretty sure that most owners keep a collar on 24/7.

We use ours as a method of keeping Steeler from doing things that will most definitely cause him harm. He's already been in two skirmishes with the pit bulls next door, and I feel that it's certainly better to use the EC than allow a 140lb pit pull let him know where he went wrong.

I realize that you said that you feel he should be wearing it in training sessions only...I feel that given Steelers age, every minute of every day is a training session...it never stops. We never know when he's going to do something he shouldn't be, but I do know that when he's got a twenty foot head start on me, there's no way I can catch him before he's into it with whatever he wants.

His only real issue is being abundantly playful with other dogs and he's just too darn big for his age. Steeler isn't agressive at all, I think of him exactly like this...think about you or I being out in a store and a very large, mentally handicapped person comes tearing at you with arms flailing around, big ole smile, and knocking stuff over to get to you.....you don't know whether to hug them or reach back and prepare for a problem. I feel that's how other dogs see him, and that's why they get defensive at first. I use the EC to slow him down when the leash isn't holding him, turning him around to avoid the situation, and other things like that have failed.

As far as obedience training goes, we do not use the EC for that unless a distraction presents itself (such as the chihauhua next door being let out because the owner thinks it's cute to watch Steelers chase him down). He doesn't respond in obedience training with food as much as he does with his toys....so, that's what we use, his toys.

I guess I'm at a loss with your previous statement that it's a lazy way to train for certain things. I'd be very interested in hearing your methods of correcting behavior like antagonizing the pit bulls next door when we're outside training, and the neighbor takes his PB's out on a leash. Keep in mind, those two pit bulls are inside literally 24 hours a day, one's in a kennel for virtually ALL of that time. Also, I'll thicken the plot...both of them are rescue dogs, both were abused and one was a fighter. So needless to say, they're both testy dogs to say the least, and a little "play time with Steeler" would be just the thing to occupy the whole ten minutes a day they get outside.

I can't say that his toy is enough, heck, I can't say that a steak is enough to keep him from antagonizing them. We did the food motivation thing, and it led to an "obese" dog that we've been getting ripped apart about on here. We've been working on cutting his food down, increasing play, and things like that. I'll admit, we've made some mistakes, this is our first dog...and moreso, the first GSD than any of us have ever had.

We love to hear about methods that have worked for other dogs, and we do put things into practice that we read here. I think I'd have received your comments a little better if we heard any suggestions in it rather than criticisms without suggestions.

We're definitely learning, and we appreciate any suggestions that you have that will help has have a healthier, happier dog, and safer dog.

Lastly, the EC we're using has a tone button...which, we use first. Now he's responding to the tone for the most part....and I feel that's almost identical to clicker training, which I've heard wonderful things about.

Not to ramble but, I feel that the EC collar is a wonderful tool....it's always there when we need it, although rarely used. We're not around here shocking our dog because he's barking and wants to play....we recognize that's not fair to him. But I'll also say this, he doesn't run in the road at all anymore....he won't jump our stone wall anymore....and most importantly, he doesn't go in the yard next door to sit at the sliding door to antogonize the pit bulls. For us, it's been a win win situation and we highly recommend it, for what that's worth
 

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Not to ramble but, I feel that the EC collar is a wonderful tool....it's always there when we need it, although rarely used. We're not around here shocking our dog because he's barking and wants to play....we recognize that's not fair to him. But I'll also say this, he doesn't run in the road at all anymore....he won't jump our stone wall anymore....and most importantly, he doesn't go in the yard next door to sit at the sliding door to antogonize the pit bulls. For us, it's been a win win situation and we highly recommend it, for what that's worth
It sounds like you're using the collar to keep the dog in the yard more than anything else, is that right? (setting boundaries)
I wouldn't use one for teaching obedience, but if you have a dog that wants to run out of the yard, the collars, (and underground fences) can be life savers. (Unless they don't mind the pain like our male.:))

My only advice is, if you aren't doing it already, take the collar off when the dog is inside for the night or a long period of time. The prongs can wear away the fur if they're on all the time.
 

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1 > if the best results are with a toy what's
the E-collar used for.

2 > you crank it up for taunting the dogs next door,
chasing raccoons and coyotes. you stated you use the
E-Collar as a reinforcing tool. what are you reinforcing
at these times???

3 > around the house you shock her but minimally. an inside dog
does a lot of things that could be annoying untill they're
trained to do differently. they do things inside and outside
that's annoying. it's shocking to think how often you're
shocking your dog.

how about training your dog not to taunt
the dogs next door? teach your dog not to run
into the street. teach your dog not to chase things
by usuing, "no", "leave it", "stop", "come", etc.
to me it sounds like you're shocking your dog
as opposed to verbal training and socializing.

1 > But recently I've found that I get the best results by using his favorite toy as a reward when he follows my commands.

2 > I only use the EC as a reinforcing tool and never a punishment tool. I'll crank it up when he's doing something that may cause him harm....like going to taunt the two pit bulls next door, trying to run into the road, and chasing raccoons and coyotes, etc.

3 > Around the house for annoying issues, it's set to a minimal setting at best. Of course, we all have used it on ourselves at different settings to experience first hand what we're doing to the dog.

Lastly, we always use our tone button first which emits a sound, if that doesn't work, then we'll give him a tickle. After two weeks, we're finding that the tone is enough to get him to respond for 90% of most problems.
 

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i got my dog at 9 weeks old. my dog is now 3 yrs old.
my dog never had or has a collar on when he's home.

Well, I think we'll have to agree to disagree with the EC, I've seen wonderful results and it seems to work really well when used properly. Yes, Steeler wears his more than half of the day, but that certainly doesn't mean it's being used.....

it's no different at all then wearing a regular collar all day, and I'm pretty sure that most owners keep a collar on 24/7.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Now that you mention it, yes, that's more or less what we use it for, almost like an invisable leash when he's off leash....or to control excessive barking when he's outside and other dogs walk by on the road. And to keep him in our yard where he learns his boundaries.

I guess it would be beneficial to explain our property situation first....we live in a converted set of farm and stable type buildings that are completely surrounded by a 3 foot high stone wall. The individual buildings on this property are not seperated by much, with the occasional landscaping to try to create some seperation.

When we're outside working with Steeler, often our neighbors don't realize it when we are. The guy with the pit bulls, always has them on a leash when they're out...with the extremely rare time that one may get out. One has a hunting dog that they use an EC with, and he's fairly under control. They play fetch often to get him running in a large field we have within the stone wall. We have another GSD in this property that pretty much runs free whenever the owners let him out (Steeler and he get along pretty well as long as we monitor Steeler's constant trying to play too rough).....and then there's the last neighbor with dogs who has two small dogs, which they feel they can let out any ole time without monitoring them what so ever. One of those dogs is a chihauhua, which consistently comes down to our yard to antogonize Steeler whenever he's tied up outside (which him tied up is not too often unless I'm out there too). Whenever I'm working with Steeler, they let the chihuahua out to play with him because they think its cute to watch him run from Steeler. The dang thing always ends up cowering between my legs, shaking like heck, in fear.

I'll use the EC whenever Steeler is getting to aggressive with the chihuahua, or when the guy with the pit bulls takes him out and I'm working with Steeler, as he sometimes will get the idea to take off after them.

I think I was misinterpreted with my "crank it up comment", I see how that could be misconstrued. Ours has ten settings, I use 2 or 3 in the house, with 5-6 outside...both of which I've tested on myself. I use voice commands with hand signals first of course, and if that doesn't work....I'll use the tone....which works 90% of the time.....and then I'll go to the shock button if all else fails.

Barking in the yard while tied up, I address that with a simple quiet command....and that works more often than not. But there's the occasional time while I'm outside doing my thing and he goes off with that non stop, aggressive bark which I interpret as dear god would I love to not have this leash on. Then, if voice commands/hand signals, and then the tone don't work, then I use the EC....which, he promptly lays down and becomes quiet.
I do recogize the difference in his barks, and know that GSD's often bark to alert you of people's presence and nothing more than that. Or as herding small children as they often do.

Regarding use in the house, well that's really a simple thing. There are small children and infants that come over....but not every day. Steeler is eye to eye with 2 of them, and the third is a newborn. When he becomes too aggressively playful and refuses to leave them alone, then we'll use it. This is also on days where the weather is too bad for him to be outside and we're forced to find a way to deal with the situation at hand.

If I had to estimate how often I have to use the EC after the tone is probably once every other day at most. He's really good dog and I don't find the need to reinforce everything with uncomfortableness/pain. But at times, yes, it works well for the situation at hand.

One poster had asked if I kept it on all night, and no, we definitely don't....nor do we keep it on him at times when we're not home. We turn it off to conserve battery life, so we take it off when we do that.

I'd also like to say that we definitely put a great deal of thought into this....I discussed it with my father who uses one on his German Shorthaired Pointer (Extremely high energy dog), as well as many others. I've personally read every square inch of the manuals that came with the two that I bought, and have learned through this process of how and when it's to be used. I've never once heard as much as a yelp or whimper from him, he usually ends up scratching his neck afterwards...which from I'm told, is exactly what you want him to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm sorry, guess I was more irritated with the "lazy way of training" comment and I was responding to that. I know I personally put a ton of time in working with Steeler, much more than many other people I know that have GSDs. He gets as much of my time if not more of my time than my teenage daughter, and I probably take it too personal at times.

We started this post because we posted in another thread about it and then got many emails about which one we have, where we got it, and the details....so we thought it was helpful to people
 

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I'll use the EC whenever Steeler is getting to aggressive with the chihuahua, or when the guy with the pit bulls takes him out and I'm working with Steeler, as he sometimes will get the idea to take off after them.
I am a HUGE fan of the electric collar. I used them lots when training Labradors for field trials. And was not hesitant to start using one on my GSD. He has responded great to it, has kept his enthusiasm up great. He amazes most people at what levels of distractions he can focus through and remain on command. When used in an appropriate manner and with the right structure there is IMO no tool more valuable than the EC.

With that said, the reason I am quoting your post is that using an EC for aggression is a COMPLETELY wrong approach to take. A dog that is in a fight mode, or starting to become aggressive is not a good time to use a collar, even if the collar is normally used in training. It is a well known and believed that using an EC while in an aggressive situation may cause the situation to get worse. If already in a fight it very well can intensify the fight. You should look towards other tools to handle aggressive situations.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I agree with you 100% in your statement, the two instances he's been into with the pit bulls weren't because of his agression. He's not aggressive with other dogs at all, and I didn't use it with him during either time.....I wouldn't have anyway, but he wasn't wearing one either time.

The first instance was when he was about 3 1/2 months old and he wandered into the yard next door...and he was on the patio, which I could see him...but I thought the owner wasn't home. Well, one of the pit bulls figured out how to open their sliding glass door and they both ran out....which me yelling and grabbing Steels woke their owner up. That's kind of a no brainer there...not really anyone's fault. I assumed they couldn't get out, and those things happen.

The second instance was around five thirty am...I'd just gotten up, came down and made coffee....and while I did this, I generally let him out to do his business. It was dark, and he was about four and a half months old...and I underestimated his wandering capacity. I'd never had a problem before, and I thought...heck, it's dark, it's five thirty...he'll go and that'll be that....like always. Well, the PB owner had just gotten home with his new gf after a night out, and she let the dogs out not realizing he never does without a leash. So, that's also somewhat of a simple accident in my point of view.

Since the second time, he's never been outside off leash unless I'm specifically playing with him and he has his EC on. We didn't own the EC at the time of these two instances, but I do agree and I would have never used it in those instances. It's good that you point that out though, not everyone fully understands that it's a reinforcing tool, not a punishment tool.
 

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onyx'girl said:
I don't agree with a dog wearing the collar constantly, it is a training tool and should not be worn if not in a training session.
Some dogs get "collar wise," and figure out quickly that when the collar isn't on, they can get away with things (like failing to release the sleeve after the long bite, while the handler is still 80 yards away). The collar companies also make dummy collars that weigh the same as the live ones. They should be taken off when the dog isn't supervised.

A lot of people seem to think E-collars are "cruel," (they always call them SHOCK collars, and always capitalize the word "shock"), but my dogs know that putting on the E-collar means that they're going to do protection training,as that is the only time I use one. They start whining and scratching at the crate doors when they hear me unsnap the collar's carrying case.
 

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Then when you get into a trial and the dog is looking back at the handler or flinching because they expect to be nicked. It is obvious who uses them and who doesn't while training. I don't have a problem with them, but they should not be used on a 6 month old pup, there are so many other methods of training and the e-collar is one I would wait on(prong as well). If other methods aren't working at least you have something else in the tool box, but I would first question my methods before resorting to the last resort. JMO
 

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I don't have a problem with them, but they should not be used on a 6 month old pup, there are so many other methods of training and the e-collar is one I would wait on(prong as well). If other methods aren't working at least you have something else in the tool box, but I would first question my methods before resorting to the last resort. JMO
I don't think a statement like this can be true for everyone. I started using the collar on my dog at 6 months. The reason was, just because he was at that level in his training. We had been training twice a day for 4 months at that point, and he was ready to handle more. I rather not set my dog up to fail, and instead have him succeed from the start. So for us to increase distractions and make his training more precise, I felt the collar was needed. Here is how our program looked for my 6 month old:
* at 6 months he would start wearing the collar during training sessions, just to get him used to it for a couple weeks
* After a couple weeks of training with the collar on him, but not used, we then started to work to make sure he understood how to turn off the shock. In order to do this we went back on to the lead. Then I would give him a command, with a very high level of distraction. When he did not respond I would correct him with both the lead and the collar. As he corrected himself (which he did quickly after being so used to lead training), the shock would stop. After a month of that he understood very clearly what the collar ment in his life, and how he could avoid or stop the shock.

Now he is 8 months old, and has an incredible level of obedience, drive to train/work, and pleasure in training. My point is just that, some dogs progress faster than others. And I believe that when you train regularly (twice a day every day for me), it goes even faster.
 

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I came across this thread at the right time. I understand that using the EC for aggression will make it worse. My problem is my female goes over the top with Quaid my IS male. She runs at him, barks in his face. Less aggression than herding instinct on steroids. I can give her a verbal warning and she will stop for a time. Quaid is dog aggressive and his forbearance at times amazes me. But eventually she tries his patience and there is a fight. More sound and fury than damage, but I don't like them practicing that behavior. Also, anyone use it for nuisance barking in a crate?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Your situation reminds me of an episode of the dog whisperer I saw a few months ago. Is your female newer or older to the house than the male?

The reason I bring this up is that in the case of the show, the female was being aggressive and barking constantly at the male dog. The owner would correct the female constantly, and have to seperate them during similar altercations to the ones you're going through...more bark than bite, but still aggressive none the less.

Anyway, as it turns out, the female was actually trying to help the owner with problems the male was having....that weren't noticeable to the owner. The male was calm for the most part, but there was some sort of emotional issue with the male that the female was trying to protect the owner from.

I can't say that I would use our EC on Steeler if we were in the same situation you are, especially not knowing what's actually causing the issue. If it were a similar case to what I just mentioned, then it could be more detrimental than beneficial.

We don't use our EC on Steeler for much of anything other than creating boundaries. If he's doing things that dogs do, barking, getting hyper, etc...we just work with it to figure out why and go from there.

I'll try to find that episode to forward you the details...it may help in your case
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ahhh, I had a chance to look for that episode, and here's the link to his page where there's a short description about the situation.

Daycare Dueling German Shepherds and a Child-Aggressive Miniature Schnauzer | www.cesarsway.com

and here's a clip from the show

Dog Whisperer | Bear & Angel and Lorelei | National Geographic Channel

This may not describe your situation, and I haven't watched the clip all the way through, but if you can find this episode online...it may help you figure out what's happening in your situation.

I would definitely try to figure it out before you go to the EC....I do agree with earlier posts that it's a tool that can work quite well....BUT, it's like any other tool, if not used properly, it can cause far more damage if used improperly.
 

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Thanks for the suggestion. I will check out those links.
 
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