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Behavior & Training > Ecollars : An Intelligent Discussion


Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Thu Dec 6, '12 6:19pm PST 
Thanks very much for the update Sabi. You made my day!
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» There has since been 0 posts. Last posting by Jackson Tan, Dec 7 10:55 pm

Behavior & Training > Ecollars : An Intelligent Discussion


Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Wed Dec 5, '12 6:29am PST 
G2 wrote, "Could the "not feeding" be the difference? These dogs know they're going to be fed and when they're with the cows they know it's to work, not hunt. They know they'll get fed in the evening after the work is done, so it's to their advantage to get busy. The folks that have been in this a while say the old timers will shoot a dog that gets "coyote" with a calf - they see that as a character flaw. Wonder if this type of hard core culling has diminished that instinctual predatory response?"

I think that this kind of culling will definitely affect the tendency of the breed.

Earlier I wrote, "With such dogs, and in many other situations that make use of the dog's natural drives for the work, the Ecollar is not used to train the behavior, that's inherent in the dog due to genetics. Rather, there the Ecollar is used mostly as "brakes." To interrupt the dog from focusing on distracting stimuli."

G2 wrote, "Exactly - you can't really teach the things these dogs need to know - you can maximize their potential, but if they don't have it, you're not going to be able to create it."

Earlier I wrote, "Where are you located?"

And G2 responded, "Texas - where else?"

I came back with, "You may be surprised to learn, some Texans are, that there is more than one state in the Union. Lol. I asked because I'd be interested in seeing your work. But that's a bit of a haul from Los Angeles, the land of fruits and nuts."

G2 now writes, "Other states???"

Thereby winning the game, set and match. ROFL.

Regards, Lou
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» There has since been 2 posts. Last posting by Jackson Tan, Dec 7 10:55 pm


Behavior & Training > Ecollars : An Intelligent Discussion



Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Wed Dec 5, '12 6:28am PST 
Earlier I wrote, "I've proven that this theory works dozens of times now, and that it works better than theories that are providing rewards for behaviors."

Mulder wrote, "Wow Lou, "better" sure is a heavy word you used there

Anyway to objectively prove that?"


Is it "heavy?" Not sure what that means in this context. Anyway, I've proven it to myself and others over and over. I was training a dog when I got into this stuff. His work was pretty darned good, if I do say so. But when I started using his drives directly, the work improved by a quantum leap, and the conflicts that sometimes came up, disappeared. Since then I've done a buncha seminars on it and the attendees have consistently told me that they've seen great improvements in their work. I doubt that there's any way to "objectively prove" it though. I don't know of a way to measure such things as a "decrease in conflict" and "better searching."

But I understand your skepticism. I've encountered it repeatedly from people on the Net and even when doing a presentation on it in person. But people who have seen it, have become believers. But the status quo has a very strong pull.

Mulder wrote, "Other than your "the dog went for a ball" anecdote?"

Well, in this field, an LEO searching for crooks, that's a horror show. When it happens the handler isn't even just a police officer with a gun searching in the dark for a dangerous felon. Now he's a highly distracted police officer searching in the dark for a dangerous felon! That puts him in extreme danger. Imagine the SAR dog that's supposed to be looking for a lost child, instead finding a tennis ball and happily going off to play with it.

But it's not just that. In the video that Augusta linked to there are all sort of issues going on there. The conflict that she mentions, pervades just about everything that's going on there, from the weak bite, to the very slow out, to the imminent handler aggression. Those things don't occur with drive training.

Earlier I wrote, "Even if we don't they still try to lick our faces, avert their eyes when we're angry and "fawn" when trying to appease us, just as they do with other dogs."

Mulder wrote, "... what sort of dogs are we talking about here?
Mulder would just as soon die and roll over in his grave than lick my face or prance around trying to appease me.

Maybe that's the sort of relationship you like, or that makes you comfortable. Maybe a dog who will look you dead in the eye in your hottest moment and hold steady in your worst fit of anger, isn't the dog you care to own.

Vastly different expectations"


Mulder I guess I wasn't clear enough because you apparently missed my point. Dogs can only relate to us as they relate to one another. The same signals, displays of dominance, submission, aggression, fear, etc., that they show to other dogs, they show to us. I mentioned face licking and appeasement only because most people here are pet owners and they can identify with those things.

It's vital in the search dog field that the dog not think that he's the leader. If he does he's not going to follow the directions of the handler who, while he doesn't have the instincts that the dog does, knows what area is to be searched.

Regards, Lou
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» There has since been 3 posts. Last posting by Jackson Tan, Dec 7 10:55 pm


Behavior & Training > Ecollars : An Intelligent Discussion



Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Wed Dec 5, '12 6:28am PST 
Sabi wrote,
"Lou the collar I borrowed is a Dogtra 1900. Shadow walks around shaking her head, periodically stopping to randomly bark. I have turned it down and then I get no reaction at all. As soon as she can feel it she starts moving again. She isn't afraid or freaking out, she seems confused and a bit annoyed. Not sure what to do with that or if its normal. I will need to save a bit for a collar so I would like to use the borrowed one if I can, at least for a while."


Sabi I'm greatly relieved that this is the brand of Ecollar that you got to try out. The head shake is one of the signs that dogs show that they're feeling the stim.

I'd bet that she is confused. There's nothing in a dog's experience that prepares them for the sensation of an Ecollar. She has no idea of what it is, and shaking, you'll probably soon see some scratching, isn't making it stop. Of course she's annoyed. It's an irritating sensation.

The fact that when you turn it down, you "get no reaction at all" is a demonstration of how important it is to be using the right tool for the job.

My suggestion is to read the article on fitting the Ecollar to the dog and finding the dog's working level of stim. CLICK HERE. And then the article on teaching the recall. CLICK HERE. Then go to work. I suggest that people read the recall article a couple of time, visualizing themselves actually doing the work that's described there. Then go out and do it. If you have a training partner, have them read it and go watch you do the work. That way, if you make a mistake, they might see it.

After your first session, go back and read the article again. Often people see things on that read, that they missed and didn't do.

Regards, Lou
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» There has since been 4 posts. Last posting by Jackson Tan, Dec 7 10:55 pm


Behavior & Training > Ecollars : An Intelligent Discussion



Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
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.

Regards, Lou
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» There has since been 5 posts. Last posting by Jackson Tan, Dec 7 10:55 pm

Behavior & Training > Ecollars : An Intelligent Discussion


Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Wed Dec 5, '12 6:24am PST 
Augusta,- CGC, RN wrote,
In this video the ecollar is being used to help a dog that is having trouble with his out, which seems to be a sensible way to use the collar to me. But even as he's getting better, it does seem the dog is conflicted, he spins around the decoy before he'll go back to his handler . . . ."


I hope you don't think that this is "what can be accomplished with an Ecollar." It's not very strong work. As you say the dog is conflicted and this is for a number of reasons. One is that this trainer is using the tool on momentary, rather than continuous. In this mode it's nothing but a correction, there's no guidance information there and so the dog is anticipating it, without really being sure of what's going on. He's not been shown why it occurs. Notice that the dog's tail is almost straight up. This is a sign that he's loading up. I'll bet that dog is on his way to biting that handler, if he keep up that sort of work. The tail flag in that situation is a sign that the dog is working in rank, and that a challenge to the handler is on its way. Hear the screaming just before the dog outs? That's from the Ecollar.

This trainer is working from the place of teaching a behavior, "Do it because I said do it" and is not using the dog's drives. In fact he's working against the dog's drives. Another discussion that's too long and is off-topic in this thread.

Regards, Lou
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» There has since been 6 posts. Last posting by Jackson Tan, Dec 7 10:55 pm


Behavior & Training > Ecollars : An Intelligent Discussion



Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 4:20pm PST 
Dr. Watson wrote, "I read the article about drive, but I am more interesting in how it pertains to working in drive with retrivers, specifically Goldens. I am intending to buy an assertive, fieldy Golden in a couple of years. (Have had one like this before.)
I don't mean the metaphysical Behan sort of drive training of course, but increasing as well as harnessing drive."


I don't believe that you can increase drive. It's either in the dog or it's not. If it's not, you can't put it into the dog. To bring it out, one sets up training that makes the maximum use of it and then the handler gets out of the way. That last part is the hardest.

Dr. Watson wrote, "Another question I have is using the ecollar for boundary training. Is this an appropriate use Are efences better or plain boundary training or just plain fences? Living on a 10 acres, it's hard to fence a substantial amount of area, which I would like to."

You CAN use the Ecollar for this, but chances are that sooner or later you'll make a mistake, the dog will get through the boundary that you've established, without receiving a stim and he'll never forget that lesson.

The Efences are better in that they work all the time (assuming that you do your job).

But I'm not a fan of the invisible fences. As long as the dog is calm and the foundation training has been done properly, they're effective. But if the dog gets excited, goes into drive, or gets very scared, he's liable to run right through the boundary and not even feel the stim. Once he's outside, and the excitement or fear has passed, he won't be able to get back in because when he approaches the wire from "other side" it will shock him. They also do not keep other animals out, so he can be "trapped" by the boundary. They work well if you manage the dog in addition to the fencing. If the dog is left alone, tragedies are not unheard of.

I'd put my money on either a good wall or fence before I'd trust boundary training or the Invisible Fence to contain a dog.

Regards, Lou
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» There has since been 11 posts. Last posting by Jackson Tan, Dec 7 10:55 pm


Behavior & Training > Ecollars : An Intelligent Discussion



Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 4:19pm PST 
Mulder wrote,
"I'm not a pack theorist, I do believe in dominance in dogs though I do not base any of my training around these ideas, as personally I believe dogs are very intelligent animals and know the difference between a human being and another dog, and thus have completely different social dynamics with us than they would have within themselves."


I agree that dogs "know the difference between a human being and another dog." But I don't think that they "have completely different social dynamics with us than they would have within themselves" if we would relate to them properly. But few of us do. Even if we don't they still try to lick our faces, avert their eyes when we're angry and "fawn" when trying to appease us, just as they do with other dogs.

In order to get the purest, most efficient and strongest hunt out of a dog that I'm going to use for search work, I relate to him and communicate with him, as another dog would, as much as I can. I eliminate the conflict as much as possible, and this gets me cooperation.

Mulder wrote, "I also do not believe my dog sees me as his "alpha", or as you put it more gently, the "#1". At least not for those reasons. If my dogs do see me as #1, its because I do everything in my power to make myself the most interesting thing in their lives, to make them want to seek me out because I am the provider of good things in life"

I don't think that makes you #1, it may make you an equal or perhaps an inferior (meaning below the dog in rank). The dog may follow you around hoping for something interesting to occur, but he won't regard you a part of "his team" and certainly not the leader. That's essential for a good hunting dog. But as you say, "that is a different discussion for a different time."
Mulder wrote, "But I did feel it important to point out that even when bred to have these characteristics that make them good for the work they do... they are still doing highly impractical (in a biological sense) things, often times things we ask more of from them than we do ourselves, and to imply that they somehow need no further reward for that beyond not receiving stem... well, again, I fundamentally disagree with that."

Just as I don't require that anyone stop what they're doing and start using an Ecollar, I don't require that anyone agree with me on how to train or work a working dog. I've proven that this theory works dozens of times now, and that it works better than theories that are providing rewards for behaviors.

Regards, Lou
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» There has since been 12 posts. Last posting by Jackson Tan, Dec 7 10:55 pm


Behavior & Training > Ecollars : An Intelligent Discussion



Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 7:52am PST 
Mulder wrote,
"That's certanly not how I want to interact or train with my dogs. I want them to work with me because its FUN. Its REWARDING. Its ENJOYABLE. Not because it sucks not to.

Yuck.

And that's not even a comment on ecollars. That's a comment on anyone who doesn't find value in positively rewarding your dog for the very hard work they do. For all the amazing things these dogs accomplish, how much of THEMSELVES they give for us with everything they do... if you don't think the damn dog deserves a ball or a cookie or WHATEVER for that in the end then I guess I'm sorry, there's no more point in following along with this."


That may be fine for pets. I believe that it's a mistake for working dogs for several reasons. One is that it may become a distraction from the search. Many dogs trained with such methods lose their interest in the hunt if they come across a ball. I've seen it happen many times, when a dog finds a ball in a back yard during a search for a dangerous felon. They'll retrieve the ball back to the handler in the hopes of a game of fetch. Now the dog is no longer a hunting animal, instead, he's interested in playing.

And most importantly, I believe that the greatest joy in the world for a working dog, should be being allowed to follow his drives. Playing games sends the wrong message to those dogs. It actually damages the bond that needs to exist for a good working relationship. This is a fairly long separate discussion. I'm happy to have it, but it's completely off-topic for this thread. It has to do with wanting the search dog be the #2 dog in the pack, while the handler is #1. Initiating play, tells the #2 dog that either the handler is his equal or probably even lower in the pack hierarchy. People who dismiss dominance theory out of hand, will have problems with this, but I've demonstrated it time and again to LE handlers. Here, where most people have pets, rather than working dogs, it's even more off topic.

But I know that there are some SAR handlers here. I STRONGLY recommend that you take a look at my friend, Donn Yarnall's website. Donn formed the LAPD K−9 narcotics unit. A few years later he formed the LAPD patrol K−9 unit. He was its head trainer until his retirement about 20 years later. You can see the site by CLICKING HERE. If you're in law enforcement you can get access to the restricted side of the site. There are discussions there that non-LE don't need and are confidential. But the unrestricted side of the site has the rest of the information. At least read the sections on "Drives" and "Rank Drive." It's the most under−rated and at the same time, the most important drive, in working a dog that searches for a living.

Regards, Lou
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» There has since been 24 posts. Last posting by Jackson Tan, Dec 7 10:55 pm

Behavior & Training > Ecollars : An Intelligent Discussion


Member Since
11/27/2012
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 7:51am PST 
Sabi wrote,
"I am certainly well trained in the Koehler Method given my mentor was a student.
Something he wrote most often pops in to my head when people talk about only positive, "'let's not deprive the dog of his privilege of experiencing the consequences of right and wrong"
I believe in that. It doesn't mean I want to beat my dog, it means I believe in the 'actions have consequences' idea."


Some people who follow the ideas of the softer methods don't like this. They prefer extinction, where they ignore undesired behavior, believing that will make it stop. In some cases it will, but if the behavior is self rewarding, and most of them are, it won't.

Sabi wrote, "I spent some time with an ecollar this evening, on me not my dog. Ever used a tens machine in physio? Same sensation. Same principle."

The TENS machine is a very close analog to the Ecollar. It's used for, among other things, to help with the rehabilitation from injuries and surgeries. I've had hundreds of hours of it. I'm a sissy and can only take the lowest levels that the machine had. I often fell asleep while wearing it. It's also used during childbirth, at fairly high levels. The idea is to distract from the pain of childbirth. Isn't that like hitting your toe with a hammer so that you forget you have a headache? lol

Sabi wrote, "But I am borrowing one and in the house where she feels safest I will test Shadows response to it. If I see any negative reaction the collar will leave and never return, but if, as Lou claims, her reaction is annoyance or confusion then we will try it."

Sabi it's essential that you do this with a suitable tool. I give the Dogtra and Einstein units my highest recommendation, followed by the Tri−Tronics (TT) units. Those are the industry leaders for their reliability. I favor the first two brands because they offer a very large number of levels, Dogtra has 127 and Einstein has 100. The TT's have only 15 levels. The difference is very important to my methods. It often occurs with the TT's and other brands that have fewer levels, that your dog feels (for example) level two-low but level two-medium makes him jump and scream. If you need to increase the stim level by "just a little" due to the presence of a small distraction, you can't. With a 15 level Ecollar, the difference between the levels is about 8%. With a 127 level Ecollar, the difference between the levels is about 0.8%. With more levels you have more precision in finding the level that the dog first feels. It's like the difference between a lamp with a three−way bulb. V. a lamp with a dimmer switch. You can go to a more precise level, exactly what the dog needs in any situation.

Regards, Lou
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» There has since been 25 posts. Last posting by Jackson Tan, Dec 7 10:55 pm

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