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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
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 7:34pm PST 
Sabi wrote, "Shadow was found unconcious at about 18 days old. The behaviorists and vets I have consulted with have likened her to an autistic toddler. She is constantly over stimulated and has issues with focus and concentration. She gets 'swamped' by daily life which on leash translates to a fight reaction and off leash makes her run and hide.
Her eyes don't relay messages properly and things that are fast moving, flashing lights and reflections cause an intense fear reaction.
Her hearing may be normal as she seems to hear when she is calm. With all her other problems this is the least of my worries and has not been investigated."


A little more info please. What have you done with the dog so far and how has it worked?

Regards, Lou
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Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 7:36pm PST 
Tyler wrote, "Sadly you advocating their use on even fearful dogs is enough to confirm my suspicions that actually the dog is not properly assessed before such a tool being used. A good trainer IMO is one that assesses a dog's temperament and compatibility with ANY tools."

I assess each dog that I work with. The fact that I've put Ecollars on well over 3,000 dogs and not found one that the Ecollar was not suited for is a great testimony to both the Ecollar and my methods of using them. Each "dog's temperament and compatibility" is assessed while finding the dog's working level of stim. Some are low some are high on the scale but never has any dog had an "over the top reaction" to the tool, no matter what their temperament is. I wonder about such comments from some folks. Do they even read the posts that I've written. TWO highly fearful dogs have been mentioned, Roma and Simon. BOTH were highly fearful. BOTH were highly reactive. Yet BOTH were rehabilitated with the Ecollar. One done by me, and the other by someone who had never before used an Ecollar in this manner.

You tell us that the tool is not suitable for use on fearful dogs. Yet I've shown two cases where highly fearful dogs had it used on them and THEIR LIVES WERE SAVED! I'll have to say that you're wrong. As with at least one other poster, we have a situation where it's my experience with thousands of dogs v. your imagination.

Tyler wrote, "Stick an ecollar on my sensitive Lurcher or my DA terrier and it's not going to do either of them any favours. I can say that because i KNOW my dogs and their abilities and limitations. I think it's totally inappropriate to use them on fearful dogs."

While I'm sure that you know your dog's "abilities and limitations," you DO NOT KNOW how they'll react to a low level stim of an Ecollar. You can only imagine it, and since you don't like Ecollars, you imagine the worst. My experience has taught me that neither of your dogs would have a problem. I'm sure that the dogs that I've put Ecollars on have "abilities and limitations" that encompass both ends of the scale of the characteristics of your dogs. That is, some of the dogs that I've trained have more ability than your dogs and some have less. Ditto for their limitations. NEVER has a dog had the slightest problem when my methods are in use.

Regards, Lou
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Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 7:37pm PST 
Lupi wrote, "She was very pleased with the results the e-collar had given her, except for the fact that she could only get the dog to listen reliably when the collar was on.

But with avoidance-based training (the dog is avoiding the stim) it seems that some dogs learn to listen only when the collar is on."


Yep this is a problem, but please don't think that it's limited to the Ecollar. ANY tool will have this effect. EVERY tool, if the owner wants the dog to work without it, will need to be weaned away.

Many Ecollar users don't see the need to wean their dog off the Ecollar. They have to have their dog on a leash, and so it's little extra effort to put the dog's Ecollar on. They can cut their dog off leash where appropriate, and still have complete control. The Ecollar is the only tool that allows this. Dogs can make bad decisions. If they make one that takes them into danger, such as chasing a cat towards a busy street, the Ecollar is the only tool that lets them correct the dog if he decides not to obey. Many users keep the Ecollar on their dog all the time for situations like this. But there's a vast difference between NEEDING to keep the collar on to get performance and WANTING to keep it on in case the dog makes a bad decision. But if someone wants to use the tool for management, as many do with a leash and collar, that's up to them. I prefer to train the dog so that he performs whether the Ecollar is on or not, but some don't.

But for those who want to wean the dog off the Ecollar, or who must for competition or certification, or just because ... it's not a big deal. It's just another (of many) myths that are told about the Ecollar, that the dog MUST wear it or he isn’t reliable.

Regards, Lou

Edited by moderator Mon Dec 3, '12 3:49pm PST

Edited by forums moderator



Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 7:38pm PST 
Rusty wrote,
"I am assuming Guest is here to share experience on it's usage, and have not seen any sales pitches, just links to examples of it's use. After all, our very own Asher tells us she is a trainer, and recommends her Mentor & her videos quite often."

You got it right Rusty. Tiller asked me here to participate in this discussion, in the hopes that, as the title says, it would be an "intelligent" one.

Rusty wrote, "I have a Cocker Spaniel and they are known for being sensitive souls; harsh training does not work well with them. However, I am considering being trained in use of an ecollar to stop poop eating at the local dog park. My boy will be too far for a correction and bolts off with his "prize" as I approach him. I KNOW that shocking him is not the answer, but I think vibration will break his concentration on this foul habit? As a friend once told me "You want your dog to think it's the Hand of God telling him no". What are your thoughts on this?"

I don't recommend doing just this work. This is what is known as aversion training and it's done at fairly high levels. The idea is to make the dog think that the pain that he feels is caused by the poop eating.

For most problems of this nature, all I do is to teach the recall and the sit with the Ecollar. This is done as if the dog knew nothing, as if he'd never had a lick of training. Doing this makes most dogs "collar literate." In this context it means that they think that the stim comes from the environment, that when the stim starts they are wrong, that when it stops they're right, and that they are in charge of both. By then most dogs have become adept at reading fine points of the owner's body language and much of what we consider to be "bad behavior" stops. If the dog persists in the bad habit, then when the button is pressed when he moves towards the poop with eating in mind, he knows that it's because he's doing something wrong. Veering away from the poop makes the stim stop and he knows that he's gotten it right. This is done without any apparent input from the handler so that the dog will tend not to eat poops all the time, NOT just when the handler is present. This is an advantage of the dog thinking that the correction came from the environment and his actions, and not from the handler.

Regards, Lou
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Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 7:39pm PST 
Augusta,- CGC, RN wrote, "The description of the training recall . . .. dog is stimmed until he moves toward the handler, i.e. the right direction . . .. sounds very much like the kind of "pressure" John Lyons talks about in what he calls conditioned response training for horses."

While I know nothing about training horses, I've heard this sort of thing before. Just as this "pressure" work with horses is "kinder and gentler" when compared to older methods, so is my use of the Ecollar.

Augusta,- CGC, RN wrote, "I did use that with my horse and never had to carry a crop as a reinforcing threat again . . .. it was gentle and effective and it was very interesting to see how little pressure the horse was happy to seek relief from. The key was there HAS to be a clear relief (as opposed to the rider who never leaves the horse alone with cues, heavy holding hands, niggling legs) . . .."

Many people don't understand how this low level discomfort can work with a dog. Some even have the audacity to claim that it won't, as if what I and others have been doing for decades, really hasn't happened. You've explained it very clearly in your work with horses. It's "annoying" and so the animal wants to make it stop. It's not painful, just "annoying." When the animal is clearly shown how to make it stop, they go in that direction.

Augusta,- CGC, RN wrote, "I can relate to that concept . . . and further it's easy to find the lightest touch with a horse because you are on him . ..it's pure bio feedback, your quiver of a muscle matched by his response. The horse can therefore teach his rider about how light the touch can be because it's so direct."

It's almost as easy to find the level of stim that a dog can first feel, but it requires the right tool. Not every Ecollar will work with my methods. You need one that has at least 15 levels and more is better. I highly recommend one brand that has 100 levels and another that has 1127 levels.

One starts from the 0 setting and turns it up one number at a time. Pausing at each number and pressing the button while watching the dog. Tiller has already posted a video of what it looks like when the dog first feels the stim, but I'll do so again for those who missed it. CLICK HERE TO SEE IT.

Augusta,- CGC, RN wrote, "Another question I have, if at some point in recall training, you are aiming for a dog with this protocol, a velcro response--where "out there" is some hot zone and right next to the handler is the place to be . . ..

Does this confuse the dog when he needs to work out away from the handler as in herding, SAR, drug detection, tracking?"


What a GREAT question. This is covered in a short article on my site. Here's the first part of that article. "Search dogs need to be in balance. That means that there's a balance between their work and their commands. The recall is often the biggest problem, because a poor recall is one of the most common reasons that people come to the Ecollar. Because they're afraid of "losing their dog," they work only the recall or work it for too long. This throws the dog out of balance and he may stop ranging. Some dogs may not even want to leave their handler's side! If you work the sit-next-to-the-handler too much, the dog may run to the handler to sit, even though the sit command may have been given with him at a distance.

"This is obviously a problem for most types of search dogs. It's usually a problem that's been created by the handler who's put his dog out of balance by working on the recall too much, or not working other movements with the Ecollar at all.

"Fortunately it's easily overcome. If your dog stops ranging, or isn't ranging as far as he used to, it's a sign that he's out of balance. (It could also be a sign that your level of stim is just a little too high). But if you've been following these articles, this will be apparent."



The full article can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Regards, Lou
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Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 7:41pm PST 
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M wrote,
"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?"


More than likely it will but it has nothing to do with their fearfulness. It seems to have only to do with conductivity of the dog's skin and his distraction level. The more distractions in the environment, the higher the level.

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M wrote, "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."

This is one place where common sense doesn't help. The most common response to a dog who feels his first stim at the level he first perceives is to scratch his neck, where the "box" sits, with a hind leg, just as if he was bitten by a flea. This is why I sometimes refer to this as "the flea bite level of discomfort." Next most common is the looking at the ground, as shown in the video that you posted earlier. Then comes, in no particular order, a head shake, rearing up, a startle reaction and some others. There's no difference between what a fearful dog does and what a confident dog does.

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M wrote, "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?"

It sometimes happens but it has nothing to do with the hardness or softness of the dog. Some dogs just don't show an overt reaction. I've come across quite a few dogs who only blink when they feel the stim. This is all covered in my article on how to fit the Ecollar to the dog and find his working level. CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Regards, Lou
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Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 7:47pm PST 
Rolo wrote, "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! ) 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."

Some dogs respond well to the tone or vibration modes of operation. But I've also seen dogs panic. I've also seen dogs that ignore both. The problem is that it's not adjustable, except on one collar unit. Unfortunately that system was purchased by one of the big box stores so now they'll probably be made in China with a resulting decrease in quality. (Not to offend anyone from China).

My solution to unwanted barking of this type is to teach the dog to bark on command. When he's reliable, teach a "quiet" command. When he barks and it's not desired, give the quiet command. If the dog has been taught the recall and the sit with an Ecollar, it can be used to reinforce the quiet command.

Regards, Lou
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Sabi

When the night- closes in I will- be there
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 8:28pm PST 
Shadow mastered house training quickly, and was reliable by 5 weeks of age simply by never giving the chance for an accident. No corrections, punishment or aversion methods used. Same as a normal pup. Sit was taught at the same time using the head goes up, butt goes down method. No force, no corrections. She learned in less then a day. Leash familiarization started around the same time and recall. She adapted to the collar a bit slower then most, and would actively fight to collapse if I had let her against any restraint. The ONLY pup I have ever raised to refuse any attempt at recall. Nothing worked. By 12 weeks I was seeing some odd behavior ie: den building, 'killing' her food, avoiding people. She got progressively worse on a leash and continued to ignore any attempt at a recall. I tried using my hallway, I tried running backwards, I tried rewards, I tried a long line, I tried using another dog. She flat out refused to come when called. So I taught her to fetch. She learned fetch in 20 minutes. She learned to spin in five minutes. She learned to weave in about 20 minutes. I shape everything she does. Force, corrections, any tension at all sends her into a frenzy that can take hours to coax her out of. I use an easy walk harness to walk her because her collar was adding to her stress and fear. Up to 5 months old she came to work with me. She met hundreds of people. And played with all the other K9's, the bosses dog and a couple dozen other dogs. I currently use a calming hood on her when we are out which seems to modify her fits but not stop them. And she got stung by wasps a few months ago and now has a decent recall. She attacks other dogs and people if they get close enough. Left on her own she just avoids. In the house she is sweet as pie laugh out loud
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Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 8:33pm PST 
Maggie WV-N- TN-N CTL-3- RE CGC wrote, "
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)."


You're correct, I haven't seen that trainer work her dog. It's obvious that she's not controlling the dog with her hand signals, often the dog is headed directly away from the handler and can't see what she's doing. That dog has an excellent memory and due to numerous run−throughs on that course, remembers it. Change one obstacle at the last minute and the dog would still run the old pattern.

I can see that some of you folks are operating off part of a statement that's I've made. Taken out of context, it's easy to twist it around. Here's the full statement. "... around the world, it's extremely rare to find a dog in any sort of competition where precision, reliability and control−at−a−distance are rewarded, at the top of the podiums in any national level competition who has NOT been trained, at least in part, with an Ecollar." Note that I said that "it's extremely rare" NOT that it's never happened. And it's interesting how people keep leaving off one of the requirements or another to make themselves right!

Regards, Lou
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Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 8:33pm PST 
Tyler wrote, "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."

I guess you missed it when I wrote this, "I'm sure that somewhere out there is a dog for whom the tool is not suited, but I've yet to come across him." or this, "The fact that I've put Ecollars on well over 3,000 dogs and not found one that the Ecollar was not suited for is a great testimony to both the Ecollar and my methods of using them."

Tyler wrote, "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."

I've heard this hundreds of times. Yet each time I've heard it the dog worked will with the Ecollar, just the same as every other dog that I've worked with. The ONLY way to know if a dog won't work with an Ecollar is to put one on him and give it a try. it has nothing to do with hardness, softness, temperament of any kind, or fearfulness for any reason.

Tyler wrote, "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."

Really? How many times have we heard that the softer methods WILL work on every dog?

Again, over 3,000 dogs and NEVER has one "freaked out" That includes dogs more fearful, more confident, or more aggressive than most here have ever seen. Remember that most of my clients have had their dog develop problems that they've NOT been able to solve with any other method. You keep telling us your opinion based on your imagination having NEVER having used an Ecollar and I'll keep replying with my base of hands-on experience.

Tyler wrote, "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."

Good grief. Can we get more of an emotional appeal? ... "such sensitive souls." LOL I've worked with several different types of sighthounds. NOT ONE OF THEM had the slightest problem. And again, you have no idea what your dog would do with an Ecollar an my methods. Based on my experience he'd do fine, just as every other dog has.

I wonder why some of you can't get past the fact that the tool is NOT used to give corrections, in my system, until the dog understands the system. I think it's just the blindness that sets in when the antis read the term "Ecollar." It's fairly common among those who have never used one and never even seen one used with my methods. Let me ask you directly Tyler, have you ever seen a dog trained with an Ecollar with my methods?

Tyler wrote, "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."

I think that ALL recall issues are "life threatening?" if the dog doesn’t have the habit of recalling reliably he probably shouldn't be allowed off leash. If he's headed towards danger, and THAT'S the time he decides not to obey, a tragedy can occur.

Regards, Lou

Edited by author Mon Dec 3, '12 3:45pm PST

Approved by forums moderator
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