Cesar Millan, Electronic Collar

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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R.I.P. Big guy
Barked: Mon Jan 24, '11 11:50am PST 
Crazy, I tell you! This thread should be interesting.laugh out loud

I'm not here to strike up trouble. I'm just curious about an episode I caught today where Cesar used an e-collar.

The story is of a blue heeler that was a working dog. It worked on a farm with cows. The dog had a deadly obsession with biting tires. The dog had been run over 3 times. One time her lower jaw was pushed through the roof of her mouth, and another time her eyeball got popped out. So this dog is down to one eye from her obsession, and not even losing an eye stopped her from biting the tires.

An even bigger problem was that it was usually just the farmer and the dog. So, the farmer would get in his truck or get in his tractor and wouldn't be able to see the dog.

I can relate to this as I am a farmer...although I don't deal with cattle. I'll be honest, I have used aversives to keep the dogs out of the way of the tractors and other equipment. Never an e-collar though. Some dogs were just so confident that they were going to get hurt. You can't just keep these dogs tied up either.

I guess I'm just curious about everyone's opinion on this particular case. I'm wondering if anyone has every worked with a dog this obsessed with something. I know there are a million and 1 ways to teach a dog something, so I'd rather not get into the whole "e-collars are brutal and CM is a monster" debate. Although, I am expecting that to come up in conversation lol. How can it not here?laugh out loud

Is THIS a case where an e-collar is used properly or is a good consideration? I have my opinion, but I'm curious about others. I'm really trying to keep this specific to this dog's case and not broaden it to a general "chasing" cars thing as this was much more than just chasing cars.

I wish I could find a whole episode to show you guys, but I only have this snippet.

ETA: I so wish dogster would make adding videos easier. The video showed up perfectly in preview, but just vanished after I posted. Hopefully it'll work now.


Edited by author Mon Jan 24, '11 11:52am PST


Barked: Mon Jan 24, '11 12:04pm PST 
Aversive avoidance training, used to save a dogs life...totally justifiable.

No one could ever convince me otherwise.

I didn't watch the video, so I am curious how he went about using the tool. As long as all other methods were exhausted first, only then resorting to the collar, at which point he collar conditioned the dog properly and trained him on it correctly, then I have no qualms. Unfortunately most people have no clue how to use an ecollar properly...it would be of concern to me where he learned the technique from and if he was qualified to be administering it.

I hope he greatly emphasized that it's not for everyone and certainly not anything the average joe should be doing with their dog. Ecollars have a bad enough rap as it is...

AKA Big lazy- pup!
Barked: Mon Jan 24, '11 12:09pm PST 
I'm a newbie here and a first time puppy owner... But it would seem to me that if an e-collar is what would keep the dog alive and from going through other painful injuries then it would be wise to use one. My understanding of e-collars is that they deliver a non-painful vibration to the dog (like a cell phone). So if it's saving the dogs life without harming the dog, then why not?


Barked: Mon Jan 24, '11 12:17pm PST 
Maggie - ecollars can be used with a vibration option...but in this situation it's very likely being used to stim the dog. Hard.

The idea being that the dog comes to make the association with whatever is endangering him and the pain/discomfort.

It does hurt.

A lot.

Very temporarily but it's intended to.

If it didn't cause actual physical pain the dog wouldn't be "persuaded" enough to avoid what's causing issue in the future. I believe short of keeping the dog on a chain the rest of his life this would be the only option for a dog this driven.

Cave canis- vigilo omnis
Barked: Mon Jan 24, '11 12:20pm PST 
I've seen that episode and under those circumstances, I wouldn't object to using an ecollar. It being a working ranch dog probably precluded it from being sequestered for an extended period of time to retrain with other methods.

IMO, if there were ever an appropriate use for an ecollar, this would be it.
Shayne CGC,- RL2

Shayne- Disc Doggin in- the 'Burgh!
Barked: Mon Jan 24, '11 12:28pm PST 
What I liked: He was very clear that if you are opting for an e-collar it is imperative that you consult a professional to learn how to use the tool correctly. That this is a serious tool and not one to take lightly and that the main reason for his choice to use the tool is that this dog had already sustained multiple injuries and could easily die if the behavior continued.

What I didn't like: The implication that this was the ONLY solution to the problem. I was also a little iffy on the level of correction he was delivering. I really wasn't a huge fan of his "testing" of the e-collar... i get why he did it but it implies a low-level of correction when that is certainly not what was delivered to the ACD. This clip showed NONE of the conditioning that SHOULD be done.

There are other ways to work on wheel chasing, car chasing, wheel biting, etc. These behaviors are particularly common in my heart breeds... ACDs and BCs. I've known dogs to go from dangerous around vehicles to actually having some impulse control and ignoring spinning tires. It takes work and you start at low levels and work your way up... but it can be done... even on a farm. It doesn't have to be a long drawn out process necessarily. Do low level work around spinning tires and manage the day-to-day stuff to keep the dog safe. Ultimately, i dont think they'd end up doing much "more" training than they have to do with the e-collar if they went with different methods.. both require training time to condition desired behavior.

Wouldn't have been my choice, i DON'T think this was the only solution for the dog...but with the dog's safety and quality of life at hand, I don't fault them for the choice.

R.I.P. Big guy
Barked: Mon Jan 24, '11 12:31pm PST 
He used an e-collar that had a vibration mode, a stim mode, and a continuous mode. The collar had a setting from 0-100. Cesar used a setting of 40 and stimmed the dog when the dog started towards the tires. If the dog was following the car or walking beside it, not focusing on the tires, the dog was not stimmed.

He DOES say to absolutely seek a professional for e-collar use. However, he makes no mention about his endeavors with e-collars. But from watching the episode, I really didn't see anything bad about it. I'm no professional on e-collars though. He made sure to create a positive association with the collar to start, although it seemed very brief because of t.v. cuts. He stayed out of the way so when the dog did get stimmed, it was more in relation to the tires and not anything else.

The dog ran from the truck, but bounced back and started following behind or beside the truck. The dog didn't seem leary about the truck at all. Haven't seen a backup story to it, so I don't know if this training worked or not.

R.I.P. Big guy
Barked: Mon Jan 24, '11 12:36pm PST 
Ope, sorry Shayne, you posted when I was writing.

I agree that it did make it seem like the ONLY way. Thinking about it, even in the whole episode it seemed like he had his mind made up on the e-collar.

You mention management. I'm curious, how would you be able to manage a dog like this while still working and having the dog work? The people on the show made it sound like the father did most, if not all of the work with the cattle and needed the dog for help.

st. francis of- asses
Barked: Mon Jan 24, '11 12:37pm PST 
" I know there are a million and 1 ways to teach a dog something, so I'd rather not get into the whole "e-collars are brutal and CM is a monster" debate"

Good luck with that Kunta laugh out loudlaugh out loud Can't seem to bring up the name without a string of tirades against the man... Anyway, though I don't know that I could use an e-collar, I understand why they are used sometimes and for the above scenerio I would agree. Much better to use an aversive than have your dog die or be injured that badly.

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Mon Jan 24, '11 1:35pm PST 
How did they manage the dog while they were waiting for Cesar to arrive? My guess is that unlike most behaviorists, there is a waiting time after you contact Cesar till he gets there. That time period may have been long enough to modify the behavior.

And Sayne, I'm with you. I have worked with multiple herding breeds to change that car chasing thing. Chasing the household cat? A bit harder, but I have done that too.
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