Ecollars : An Intelligent Discussion

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Member Since
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 11:53am PST 
I'm glad to see an intelligent discussion on Ecollars. All the negativity and misinformation surrounding this tool only serves to *increase* the misuse of it. There's hardly anywhere you can go to discuss it without getting shouted down and labeled as an animal abuser, which means many owners are left to figure it out themselves. And THAT is when misuse happens.

I have a beautiful one-year-old Redbone Coonhound/GSP mix. She is a runner, a chaser, and she loves to hunt critters. Her recall was atrocious, and one day she came within inches of being hit by a car because she escaped out the door. That was it for me. I started researching electronic collars. I also started researching the proper way to use one. I did not want to screw this up, and I didn't want to hurt her; I wanted to get her attention. I settled on a collar, and I figured out her working level. She now has a pretty darn good recall on or OFF the collar. My relationship with her is even better than it was, and part of the reason is that I'm not so tense and fearful when out and about with her anymore. I rarely have to tap the button with her anymore (and when I do it's because she's found a squirrel or something), but I consider the collar to be an insurance policy of sorts.

I did not use the collar as punishment; I taught her how to turn it off by doing what was asked of her. I was also careful not to point the remote at her when tapping the button. I did not want her to associate ME with any discomfort or annoyance. I hid the remote behind my back. She was initially a little puzzled, but eventually it "clicked" for her. I read lots of material on Lou Castle's website, and I also talked to Robin MacFarlane of That's My Dog! and ordered her DVD's. I am so thankful for the material put out by both of these excellent trainers.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 12:34pm PST 
Oh ....that last question was a good one, Gus! I'd be curious to know that, too. Even just a send (away)?

Here's mine....again, The Tiller is *not* saying she is an ecollar expert in any way, I am learning just as you are. Fearful dogs. We hear the ecollar won't work because the dog will shut down. I remember in our original debate I told you there is no way you could do that sort of stuff with a sighthound, quite specifically. I remember this and you told me I was wrong, which really pissed me off and I was hell bent to establish to myself that you were wrong. But you weren't. laugh out loud At any rate, I certainly know you have ecollar worked hard German dogs. So let's say, in contrast, a fearful dog...maybe not even aggressive, but skittish or spooky. With that foundation laid, here is my question....

Do the responses from these two individuals differ in the test for level?

I have a really hard time seeing how they wouldn't? You have one dog who has really strong nerves and feels he owns his world. And the other who is a jitterbug, totally insecure, scared of a paper bag crinkling. I would think that stim sensation would be well tolerated by the hard dog, and have the potential to flip the spooky dog out.

Also, same frame....do you find with a hard dog, you have to go past a setting you are pretty sure he is feeling, but he's just too composed to respond to?

@ Guest....that surely was my enlightenment. People will use this tool, and by berating those who use it properly and humanely, one is leaving the newbie on their own. I have been training dogs a LONG time and also am a horseman. I know how animals train. Was raised around zoo life also. And my perception was that ecollars were used as a classic punisher....you do this wrong and you get zapped. I think this is everyone's normal assumption, and thereby would be how they are used without proper education. Almost inevitably. We can't control what people do. Ecollars sell, people get them. That's real, that's life. And within that I see an ethical responsibility to leave room in the training community for it to be more common knowledge how to do it RIGHT. Not everyone is as evolved as you and did the proper research before employing the training strategy. I do applaud such discretion.

Edited by moderator Tue Dec 4, '12 4:55pm PST

Edited by forums moderator

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 12:50pm PST 
Tiller that's what I want to know as well. A few people have suggested an ecollar for Shadow but with a sensitive, fearful, already over stimulated dog will it send her right off the edge and destroy the foundation we have worked so hard to build. Two years of repetition, hours of painstakingly gentle, careful shaping, coaxing and lots of mistakes and missteps. I will jump into nothing without knowing the risks. On the other hand getting stung worked to get a recall and it's the same principle right?laugh out loudBut not that painful I hope.


Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 1:27pm PST 
Not to go off on a tangent, but I'm curious as to whether tone/vibration collars can be used for any problems. My friend has an Irish Wolfhound (who lives with us) with a terrible, very ingrained barking problem. At things outside, at other dogs in the house, when someone leaves, when someone comes home, and for attention. He has taught Rolo, previously silent to bark a little but Rolo responds to redirection. (Thank heavens, because Rolo also has a Toller scream! shock) Would a stim collar work for this nuisance behavior better? He is not reactive, fearful, or overly sensitive. Quite a steady, mellow dog, in all other ways, although spoiled. We have tried extensive PnegRplus techniques so far with no success.

Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 1:57pm PST 
Just to say most of the bans on UK forums have been the direct result of the shock collar promoters themselves. I don't think Lou is involved in this but what tends to happen is they move to a new forum, push them on every single behavioural thread and then resort to personal attacks and gibberish when people don't listen. It's not that the admin/mods won't allow the discussion of shock collars it's that they don't want the arguments that surround some of the people involved.
Maggie NAC- WV-N TN-N- CTL-3 RE

Tunnel Suckin'
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 2:03pm PST 
I figure that everyone can train whatever way they wish, I don't get into training arguments with people as it really isn't my place. I will state my opinion and will help if people ask - but don't expect me to argue that you are doing something I would never do (unless you mention you are beating your puppy).

I figure that people will train how they train as it works with their personality (not so much dog dependent as I can work a friends "correction trained" Rottie with my clicker/marking and she is great with me even though I don't correct anything). I will never use a stim collar for anything other than snake training and even then that isn't very likely as I don't live in that kind of area (nor do I plan to). I can get precision obedience the way I train.

As for precision and distance control in agility - I take it some of you guys haven't seen Amanda Nelson and her dogs (and she is not the only one that has good distance and precision).
Dr. Watson

Not a wiener- dawg!
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 2:14pm PST 
I'd love to hear Trigger's experiences on this thread!
Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 2:37pm PST 
My small support on e-collars greatly increased when I saw a black mouth cur not respond at all to it even in higher settings. Seriously, never seen a dog so intensely driven. And yes, she was from working lines too.

For your average pet dog, I don't see too many uses, but I really don't get my pants in a bundle when I do see it because every dog is an individual and every owner has different agendas.

Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 4:17pm PST 
That was my point though really Sanka, that shouldn't a dog be judged as an individual? I get the impression that it's viewed as a "one size fits all" and that every dog can be trained with an ecollar. There has got to be dogs out there, infact i KNOW there are dogs out there ( my own two for one! ), that won't do well with an ecollar. We all know that not every training method is going to work for every dog and i can totally see how a "harder" dog would be more composed and less freaked out by recieving a "stim", but treating all dogs the same? Whether they're fearful or not, not a sign of a good trainer IMO.

And even mentioning their use on a sighthound is incredibly sad IMO. They're such sensitive souls and like i said i absolutely know for certain Tyler would be cut in two if i used one on him. He's anxious when i've given him a simple leash correction in the past! I'd actually be interested to know why they'd be used on a sighthound? Surely it can't *just* be because of recall issues or prey drive because i know heaps of them that are very reliable off lead with minimum prey drive and it really isn't all that hard to have them off lead.

I was always under the impression ecollars were used in serious situations, such as livestock chasing, life threatening recall issues...whatever. I'd even learnt to understand why Trigger uses the collars in their situation while hunting etc. But quite honestly i'm shocked as to what issues some people are wanting advice on their use for.
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 5:53pm PST 
Maggie, that was an awesome video! way to go I'm also thinking of some of the really really good Freestyle dancing with dogs routines . . .. . like Tina Humphrey at Crufts or this guy Atilla Szkukalek . . . . .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi4qvMmWJWs . . . ..

I'm fairly certain neither of these dogs were trained using e-collars . . . . However, it might be no small coincidence that they are all border collies . . . . .wink
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