|Barked: Wed Dec 5, '12 6:27am PST |
|Augusta,- CGC, RN wrote, "If you're still around Lou, could you tell us how k9's who wouldn't release a bite were handled before the use of the e-collar . . . .. "
Still here Augusta ... lol. Back in the day, lots of force was used to get the out. The usual collars were used, escalating from a buckle collar > fur saver > choke chain > pinch collar. Some skipped some steps. Some went to collars that made me shudder. Ever seen a nail collar? It's a fursaver with nails, with the heads cut off and both ends sharpened, welded across the links so they sit at right angles to the links. Some went to flanking, grabbing a big handful of skin on the dog's flank and twisting. Lots of people were using reed sticks, (not today's padded sticks) smashing them on the dog's head, feet, and/or across the bridge of his muzzle.
But none of this is necessary if you spend a few more minutes in setting up training so that you're working WITH, rather than against, the dog's drives.
Augusta,- CGC, RN wrote, "It does seem like this has to be more humane than having to wrangle a dog from a person physically . . .. "
Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Many trainers are just using the Ecollar as part of the "progression of pain." They'll crank it up to the highest level and use it almost like dynamite "to blast" the dog off the bite. Usually this results in the dog's bite weakening and other problems occurring, such as the dog REFUSING to bite or to leave the handler's side. I just watched a trainer do this to a dog, at a seminar I was also teaching at, a few months ago. Other problems include, biting but very weakly, "typewriting" (moving around on the sleeve) and releasing prematurely, in anticipation of getting blasted again.
Some trainers who work like this will put two Ecollars on the dog (I've heard of people putting on more). I've also seen some trainers take the next step in electricity, going to a cattle prod, a tool used to get the attention of 1,500 lb animals, whose skin is so thick that we make shoes from it! I've seen that tool applied to a dog's testicles. We're well into abuse when a trainer does that.
Working like this puts the dog on a "teeter totter." At one end of the board is "control." And at the other end is "quality of the bite." When control is high, the bite is weak. Conversely, when the bite is good, control is weak. This is directly related to the verbal out. You'd be surprised at how many LE handlers do not have one. So far this year LEO's have shot/killed about 10 police dogs who bit police officers and either would not release the bite when commanded to do so, or tried to rebite against a command.
I required, and still do, that every hander be able to out his dog from 100 yards away with a verbal command.
Augusta,- CGC, RN wrote, "And do military/police handlers use the collar regularly in the field or for training only?"
It varies quite a bit. Some handlers don't use Ecollars at all and some field the dog with them on.
Augusta,- CGC, RN wrote, "Now I'm curious about drug detection dogs . . .. we saw a demo with a narcotics dog in our nosework class and his reward was his tennis ball. The handler said they look for dogs who are ball crazy because food motivated/trained dogs among other problems would give a legal defense an opening . . . 'your honor, the dog must have been alerting to my client's roast beef sandwich . . .' "
At least one national agency that uses detection dogs trains them with food. In fact, that's how those dogs get their regular feeding, by making finds during training. They are not fed otherwise. With that fella's dog (the one in the demo that you saw) the defense can say, "Your honor, the dog must have been alerting to my client's tennis racket and tennis balls." To counter such arguments, EVERY good detection dog handler proofs his dog off such things as food, toys, etc. The "look[ing] for ball crazy" dogs is common in the industry these days, but it's a heavily flawed system from start to finish. Again, another long discussion that's off-topic for this thread.
Augusta,- CGC, RN wrote, "I can't picture how a detection dog would be helped with ecollar training . . ."
I don't advocate the use of the Ecollar in detection work for most handlers. It can be used with dogs trained with handler supplied rewards (the way that the overwhelming majority of detection dogs just about everywhere are trained these days) when problems arise with false alerting, which BTW is rife in such a system. But it takes a very skilled trainer to use the tool like that. Too heavy a hand, or some bad timing, and you can damage the work. But those dogs need a few OB commands, at least a recall, and that can be trained with the Ecollar.
Augusta,- CGC, RN wrote, "there's no inherent drive to seek marijuana or bombs, for that matter . . . doesn't that have to be made meaningful to the dog by being paired with a positive reward for the dog?"
Not in a drive training system. There, dogs are selected for their level of prey drive. The training has them believing that they are searching for real prey, such as a rat, and that is a naturally driven behavior for a dog with prey drive. The results are much better than in systems that have the handler supplying a reward for the dog making a find. AGAIN, another discussion that's off-topic in this thread.
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