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What is everybody's opinion on Electronic training collars, or e-collars or shock collars, as they're also known? Do you think they're an acceptable training method? In what situation, if any, would you use one on your dog? If you do use one, do you consider it a temporary training tool, or something you will continually use to deal with the problem?

O.K., now for my take. I've never used an electronic collar. I'm really not a fan. I would prefer just about any other training method to deal with a behavioural issue, and would exhaust all other options before ever considering one. Do I think there is ever a time when using one would be acceptable? Yes, in incidences where the behavior of the dog was putting it in potentially life threatening situations, and other training methods had not worked, I could see someone resorting to an e-collar. Personally, I think a lot of times, they are used out of laziness, in order to avoid the time and effort necessary to effectively train the dog with less extreme measures. Me, I'll put my money on consistent NILIF to do the job with just almost any problem almost every time. I think a lot of the problems dogs have aren't because of the dog, but because of either a lack of a responible environnemt or lack of necessary training.

So what do y'all think? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/01_smile.gif
 

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wow first time i'm first in it /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/34_rotflmao.gif

i never used the shoke collar but i know the e-collars
e-collars as long as they coming from a good company and were selected for the dog for spesific use and the dog response good to it i don't see any problem.
the e-collars always sound so horrible, how can me electric our on babeys?
it isn't as bad as people think, isn't hurt nly take attantion as prong collars
anyway i prefer using many other things before the e-collar but i don't clasiffy it as horrible and abusev
 

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I used to believe they were cruel too, but now that I have them and know how they work, it is just like the Prong collar. People just hate them by their looks, but WE (who use them) know they are a GREAT tool if used the right way. I now see the e-collars the same way.
I own a Tritronic 2 dogs e-collars that I use on my 2 males. I only used them for off-leash control while we are hiking. I do not use them for regular obedience.
I was tired of loosing my dogs to deer or other critters and the e-collar has worked miracles in that department. I can now enjoy my hikes without worrying that my dogs are going to take off on me and get hurt. As I mentioned in the other thread, my dogs were properly trained for 2 weeks with the e-collars before I began using them in our hikes. I think the training is EXTREMELY important. You cannot and should not take them off the box and start using them on your dog(s). /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/30_nono.gif Recently my two boys were within feet from a whole herd of deer and they stayed with me, it was the most satisfactory thing ever! I praised the heck out of them for the rest of our hike. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/08_rolleyes.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/05_biggrin.gif Didn't even have to use the e-collars, in fact, I hardly use them on our hikes any more (they do wear them though just in case). As soon as I say HERE, they are with me. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/18_thumb.gif
 

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The e-collar is a tool. In and of itself it is not cruel or abusive or good or bad. Just like all training tools it depends on the person with the transmitter (or at the end of the leash). I have seen them abused, but I have also seen slip collars, pinch collars, leashes, hands, feet, etc abused. I have also seen them be used correctly and be a God-send for some handlers and dogs.

Yes, I use one. I have had dogs that actually responded much better to an e-collar than any type of physical or verbal correction. They are excellent for distance control, crittering, chasing deer, correcting some unwanted behaviors that could be dangerous to the dog. I have also found the collar excellent for some exercises in obedience and can be very helpful when fine tuning in protection.
 

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Do I think they are a good tool?

Yes.

Do I think they sare ometimes over-used by lazy-a**ed people who don't want to take the time to train their dogs?

Yes.

Do I think there are right and wrong reasons to use them?

You betcha. Keep a dog from chasing animals (and potentially getting lost, hit by a car or injurying another animal, not to mention that running deer is illegal in many states) - that's a perfectly good reason. Keeping a dog from chewing your socks, laying on the couch or barking to come in - not good reasons.

I own one and have used it to try to teach a foster dog not to jump fences. Even on it's highest setting - which produced a very pronounced Yelp from the dog - she went over the fence anyway. The reward of being outside the fence was worth the pain she knew she was going to get.
 

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I do NOT like them to cover up for 'lazy' owners/trainers who fail to take the longer/harder road to FIRST properly train their dogs with classes/instructors/time/socialization............................

Bark collars I find, in general, to really tend to piss me off. Because not only is (in my opinion) many owners too LAZY to take the time to be with their dogs when they are barking to teach them to stop. I also feel many of these people join it to the 'too lazy to walk/exercise/train' their dogs and instead expect their dogs to do it on their own in their large fenced in back yard.

These dogs do NOT get socialized and instead just get to fence protective, or bored and bark their heads off. And these dogs do NOT exercise themselves except when they are crazed and misbehaving. And these dogs are NOT learning anything except what they want to do, when they want to do it, and how they want to do it. No guidance or help from the others in their pack.

Not that possibly there aren't some very narrow instances that a bark collar could be resorted to, but the vast majority of times people use them, just spending some time and effort teaching your dog not to bark and not leaving them ALONE to bark would do much better.

As for general training with an OBEDIENCE training e-collar, I also see a use for them and do use them. But, once again, they are NOT a replacement to be used as a quick easy way to train INSTEAD of going to classes/instructor/working with/spending time/training training training/ WITH YOUR DOG. I use the collar in conjunction with a trainer to make sure I do it properly and do NOT mis-use it. It's the very last training tool I go to on my training scale and, frankly, it is for life and death training so my dogs will 'come' to me and NOT continue to chase the deer/cat/racoon across the road. And the point of using the collar properly is, frankly, you rarely if ever have to activate the collar because you DO have such a good base down already for training and the dog ABSOLUTELY 100% understands when and why the collar is activitated and so reacts so fast when you call you don't even get the command out.

Think the problem with the e-collar is the problem with so much training, people want it to be fast, at home, cheap, easy, and take no time. Go to a professional to train my dog? NO WAY, I can do if myself. Learn to use a clicker? Too much to hold and my dog is supposed to be learning new things, not ME!!!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/16_shrug.gif Use treats! Are you kidding? My dog is going to listen to me CAUSE I TOLD HIM TO!!!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/32_poke.gif
/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/10_eek.gif
 

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In saving an otherwise unsavable dog e-collar may be only answer.I know of two cases where eventual outcome was euthanasia,three where dog was surrendered outcome unknown and two where dedicated owners where able to continue with dog.I have VERY mixed feelings about using them and believe it is only a TEMPORARY quick fix of a BAD problem that actually needs aggressive follow-up and dedication and especially devotion to solving a problem that requires extensive time.
 

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I think the underlying topic here that needs to be addressed is Training Ethics and what it means. A lot of tools are short cuts - they miss building the relationship and they can be totally misused - which is what I would characterize some of what I've been seeing on recebt postings regarding e-collars.
I've used many tools (now I'm much more into positive training) - sometimes I've used them responsibly and sometimes I've used them in a way I don't think I should - as a shortcut.
Frankly, I think we are in a bad position to be advising people on compulsion training via the internet. We don't personally know the trainer or the dogs and we could be doing a lot of harm.
Life threatening behavior needs to be extinguished quickly and may justify zapper collars. That your dog behaves like a dog by barking at passers by or barking because you have ignored his reasonable request doesn't.

What should the first rule of training be?
- Do no harm?
- Build a solid relationship?
- For the good of the dog?
? What should our crede of training be ?
 

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I, too had strong negative opinions about e-collars until I used one for crittering - -- -- serious "dog is going to get killed if I don't fix this game chasing type crittering" --- --- by a dog that would take a full hit off a fully charged cattle fence while in pursuit of the game and ignore it.

The technique was low stim and was Lou Castle's which requires attention to detail and technique. TIMING was everything. The stim was EXTREMELY low - not even unpleasant to my own neck - a mere tingle. In these conditions the dog is clear in the head. Can I say this was a dog for whom several months of redirection did not work? A dog for whom running to the end of a line with a prong did not help? 2 sessions with the e-collar and I have a dog who can walk among farm animals, walk right up to them without fear, but quench her own desire to chase them. She still corrects herself and has not worn the collar at the farm for 2 years.

I don't put them in the same class with compulsion - low stim techniques that is. In compulsion you wait for the dog to make a mistake then correct it so they only learn one way and everything else is bad - it creates a dog scared to offer behaviors. I am just not seeing this happen with this technique. I do see that the training sessions need to be much shorter and focused than they do with purely motivational training. But I see a dog who is happy when the collar comes out because she knows we are training, and does not shy from it.

Do I think it is a tool that can be misused - you betcha !!but I have personally seen more abuse with halti's and gentle leaders than with e-collars. The e-collar is simply another tool. You can build a house with a hammer and you can also smash in a skull.


I think most of the advocates are saying that you don't get the how to's from the internet you need to go to someone who really knows what they are doing for help. The articles give insight on how it works (like any other training articles on all sorts of techniques both positive and negative) I would say the SAME thing about diagnosing aggression over the internet or any other training techniques.

The interent is a good place to connect with people and explore ideas. It is not a good place to get the training you can get one on one with a good teacher.
 

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There are times and circumstances to use an Ecollar but more times than not for the ole basic pet training I do not feel there is a need for them. As just about everyone here has stated there ARE times to use them, however, keep in mind how many years the people here have been training.

Most of the people who have replied here have trained dogs to do a little more than come when called and to sit and down. Schutzhund, SAR, Agility, OB and Tracking- these people have been through EXTENSIVE training classes (group and private as well). They have put a lot of time and effort into training their dogs and they use the ecollar for proofing what the dog has ALREADY learned and/or in life threatening situations for the dog (escaping fences, crittering....). All of these are good reasons for using an ecollar. Not only to they have extensive training they have the people around them to teach the HUMAN how to use the equipment PROPERLY.

For the person whose dog is in the back yard barking and they are too lazy to get off the internet or turn off the TV and go play or even TRAIN their dog properly; for that person to sit there and zap the crap out of the dog- no I do not think they should be used. I personally wish they were a little harder to buy than the old basic flat buckle collar and a leash. Too many people use them as a cop out, if they would take the same amount of money they spent on the collar and go to a class or two and develop a bond and understanding of their family member they would be a lot further ahead and 99.9% of the time- their dog would be sooooo much happier.
 

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*nods my head at middleofnowhere's post*

In my opinion, there is just not much reason to use an e-collar. There should be an extreme need to fix something life threatening before you would resort using electric shock on an animal you supposedly "love". I can't condone using a shock collar for general obedience training or even proofing for competition - the ribbon just doesn't mean that much to me. You really jeopardize your relationship with your dog when you resort to things like shock.

I've trained dogs to utility titles (directed retrieves, scent discrimination, directed jumping, etc.) and have never had to use a shock collar. My dogs know multitudes of tricks and I haven't had to use a shock collar. I can (mostly) trust four of the five dogs off-leash and I haven't used a shock collar. I'm not saying I never would, but I really have to weigh the reasons why before I use one. Teaching my youngest dog to not go after moose might be one use - but until I have the opportunity to do some training around moose I can't justify using it.

I lose all respect for a trainer when they use shock as a shortcut. It's not that I don't believe in corrections, I just don't believe in extremes. And yes, I have a shock collar here - and yes, I've felt the lowest level and used the collar sparingly at one point.

And like the prong collar, if a person is going to use shock then they should acknowledge that the reason it works is that it causes pain. Sugar-coating it by saying "it just causes a little discomfort" is only making the person feel better. I would be much more comfortable with the concept of a shock collar if the person got shocked every time they used it on the dog - then they might use it sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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I've been debating about trying one. I've never liked them either. I've printed out all the information on Lou Castle's website to try to learn about it first. IF I decide to purchase one, it will be only for off-leash control/hikes, not for any OB training. I don't consider myself a lazy trainer. We take lots of walks and go to training 1-3 times/week. BUT there are times that he is off-leash and if he sees a deer/bunny/dog, I am not 100% convinced he will listen to me. IF I use it, it will be for my piece of mind & his safety while off-leash
 

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All I would say about using it for game chasing is get someone to help you with the crittering technique UP FRONT not as a correction for chasing after the dog has gone throught the momentary stare phase (my dog actually stared, froze and pointed like a pointer, then chased)

My dogs do NOT wear the collar in he woods - or very much at all to be honest, (yes, many folks advocate/have them on the dogs all the time). However, I was still able to recall her after she stumbled on a group a 4 deer that took off right in front of her.

If you don't do the preliminary training, once the prey drive is engaged you might have to give a terribly harsh correction - one that could either shut down the dog, or the dog will power through it, or displace aggression due to pain. I have seen this done and it is NOT something I EVER want to see again.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
I do NOT like them to cover up for 'lazy' owners/trainers who fail to take the longer/harder road to FIRST properly train their dogs with classes/instructors/time/socialization............................

[/ QUOTE ]

i would need to disagre with you on this
owners to use this and prongs or any other thing they can think of to make it easy for them and make it fast
BUT not all the dogs like that and not all the trainers and owners.
when a Lotar dog, maybe a serius PP dog or any other protection dog sport or heavy duty work with such things it's for sure NOT to make it easy it's to make it safe
the toll is what he is depending in which hands, for what and on which dog, you can make it really bad or really good
 

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This is the only time I wished I had one...when the dog split to chase deer. Once they're hunting and off to the races, and can't hear you for all the prey drive coursing thru their brains- THAT's when a remote with a red button would be indespensible. It takes only a few seconds to be a distant crash in the woods, and until we can fly, this might be the best option, especially if the dog can't find his way back to you once the chase is over.
Never have used one though.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
This is the only time I wished I had one...when the dog split to chase deer. Once they're hunting and off to the races, and can't hear you for all the prey drive coursing thru their brains- THAT's when a remote with a red button would be indespensible. It takes only a few seconds to be a distant crash in the woods, and until we can fly, this might be the best option, especially if the dog can't find his way back to you once the chase is over.
Never have used one though.

[/ QUOTE ]

......And THAT is how most people try to use the things and it does not always work like you think it may. A high shock to a dog not TRAINED using the ecollar may have unintended consequences!.

Having seen plenty of dogs not PRETRAINED against crittering run deer, you may as well lay your coat on the ground and come back the next day to get the dog.
 

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the trainer i use explained the e-collar to me as the equivalent of a tap on the shoulder. it is to get the dog's attention. it is NOT to hurt the dog. and the buzz is not a 'punishment' - not like a leash correction, but something that accompanies both commands and corrections. i use one with my dog when we are doing off-leash jogs or hikes, and we used it some on-lead in training exercises where she is some distance away from me. on its scale of 1 to 8 (8 being the highest shock), she's usually on a 2 or 3, the most she has ever been up to is a 5, and that involved critter chasing.

i would Never, never, never ever suggest anybody use one without first receiving some serious supervision by a professional trainer. like anything else, it can be abused. now, for those folks who do abuse it because they're lazy, stupid, or just plain mean, /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/09_mad.gif i'm not opposed to cranking up the collar on their...well, nevermind.
 

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My ethics for using the e-collar is; does it benefit the dog? Dog off lead AND under control is much better off than on lead all the time. Off-leash exercise can't be beat and many dogs only have that opportunity in public or wild places. A missed recall can have dire consequences, so if you can't be sure with other training methods, then I'd use an e-collar rather than keeping the dog on lead forever.
From the previous thread on this, it sounds like all or most who use it on this board are using it for the same reason.
As for professionals, it was a professional who blasted my dog. The guy had certificates all over his wall (legitimate) of one of the top e-collar training schools in America. He used an e-collar to train the dog to do everything, and his dog looked skittish (he told me it was a rescue) but in hindsight, the dog showed hallmarks of intensive e-collar training.
Needless to say, I researched on the web, and trained on my own, backing off and taking things very slowly. Professionals come in all flavours. Just a warning
 

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kaslkaos has a good point about not all trainers being 'good'. Why it's important we have to do OUR research on the front end to make sure what we want, and the method we want to use to TRAIN our dog, is the same as what the trainer is doing.

The way I see the e-collar is there are 2 methods it can be used for. As a slamming correction AFTER the dog is doing something wrong (like the bark collar will do, and the way we CAN use a training collar). So say dog gets into trash again, we activate the collar to punish them so they will now avoid the trash can (hopefully). You don't need to read up on how to do this, you don't have to train your dog, this takes no time. Dog does something you don't like, you come down on the e-collar like the Wrath of God. Can end up with a fearful, timid and confused dog who is not sure when/where/how the next time God will again strike them down.

Or the way I prefer, and it seems most of us prefer, to use the collar. To have the dogs as an active participant in the LEARNING process, and the collar is just a tool we can use because there is no leash. THIS METHOD TAKES TIME TIME TIME TIME. And that's why owners mess it up because they instead try to have it be a quick fix, they scan the first page of directions and then immediately start it with their dog. You must already have the MONTHS of previous training in place so your dog absolutely knows the commands (for me it's the 'come' ) and is good in most all situation and when on leash does perfectly! You start at the LOWEST level (the point is not to PUNISH, but to remind them you still have a connection to them) and ONLY raise the level IF THEY CONTINUE TO CHOOSE TO IGNORE YOU. You start with the leash on (and the e-collar) so you can still guide them when they are learning the e-collar thing.

What the e-collar is supposed to do, is remind the dogs to ALWAYS keep one ear on us and still obey us, EVEN WITHOUT THE LEASH. And, when you do this properly, eventually the dogs listen and obey us, off leash, EVEN WITHOUT the e-collar. You may have it on them still, but it's a 'just in case' thing. I rarely if EVER have to activate the collar. And that's the point. NOW my dogs listen to me, keep an eye on me, and obey. It's not about me having to constantly have to remind them by using it. It's that I don't have to use it BECAUSE THEY ARE NOW TRAINED AND PAY ATTENTION TO ME OFF LEASH. And not because they are fearful, or confused. But because, with the help of me reading up, watching the videos, purchasing a good collar (over $200) AND WORKING WITH A GOOD TRAINER, and being consistant consistant consistant, with the training.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
kaslkaos has a good point about not all trainers being 'good'. Why it's important we have to do OUR research on the front end to make sure what we want, and the method we want to use to TRAIN our dog, is the same as what the trainer is doing.

[/ QUOTE ]

ABSOLUTELY AGREED!!!! And with your post as well. This is not an easier quicker route - just a different one. It is easier to make mistakes with ecollars than other methods.

I think you should become very familiar with dogs who have been trained under the method being proposed. Do you like what you see? Do you have doubts? Do the dogs seem to enjoy their commands or are they doing them only because they have to?

While I worked with Lou a lot on the phone it was only after working with teammates who had attended some of his seminars and seeing their dogs.

Even they, however backed off using the collar for everything, particularly the detection and search work itself and none of our dogs actually works with a collar on.
 
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