This section is to help you understand how an e-collar is used, and how it should NOT be used. Since the beginning, e-collars have had a bad reputation from some some dog owners and uneducated trainers, and sometimes for good reason. Any training tool can be misused in the hands of an uneducated, inexperienced dog handler, especially an e-collar. I get calls all the time from people who say that e-collars don't work on their dog because they purchased one, put it on their dog and then zapped them. They say their dog did the opposite of what they wanted with the e-collar on, or they say it made them timid and fearful. Or they have seen someone or been to a different trainer who put it on their dog day one and started using it to stop problem behaviors, thus making the dog confused.
Well, doing those things is the last thing you ever want to do when introducing your dog to an e-collar. Let me explain to you our process when introducing a dog to an e-collar.
Introducing a dog to an e-collar:
First of all we never want to use an e-collar as a form of punishment. We want our dogs to enjoy training and want to listen because what we offer is way better than any distraction out there. But at the same time dogs can get distracted and not hear us when we call them, so something is needed to solve that issue. That is where an e-collar comes in handy.
My goal is to get dogs trained to a level where they listen consistently off a leash. That way they can enjoy running around, going hiking, go to the lake, camping, etc. But being stuck on a leash makes it very hard for them to enjoy themselves. Seeing a dog tied to a tree while their family is at the park really does make me sad. But an e-collar can make it to where your pup can be off a leash, and if the pup gets distracted the e-collar is there to get your pups attention long enough for them to hear what you saying.
The first step is we teach the dog some commands like sit, down, stay, heel (walk by your side) and come when called. Along with that we teach your dog how leash pressure works. Teaching a dog leash pressure means to teach your dog to follow the directing the leash is pulled. For instance, naturally a dog wants to pull against the leash, a brand new puppy usually pulls away when you pull toward you. It's kind of the same concept as if someone were to push you on your shoulder, you would lean into the push, not away. It's not a natural thing to be on a leash, so what we have to do is teach the dog that when we pull toward us they need to come, when we pull up they need to sit, when we pull down they to lie down. Once they start to consistently go the direction the leash is pulled, then you know they understand leash pressure.
After your pup has learned the commands 100 percent, (and when I say 100 percent I mean being able to do the commands with no hand signals, without any confusion. We want them to have no confusion at all on what the commands mean and we don't want to have to rely on them looking at us to do the commands, as if they are confused at all with the commands than they will be really confused once we introduce the e-collar) after they have learned leash pressure, then we introduce the e-collar on the lowest level possible.
What we do is set the collar on the lowest level, if we tap the button and they don't feel it, then we turn it up on notch and see if they feel it on the new level, if they don't then we turn it up one notch at a time until they notice it. Once they do we reward them with food and lots of praise. Usually when a dog feels it for the first time on the lowest level possible they just look around to see if it's a bug or something. That's the kind of reaction you want, you do NOT want them to be fearful or nervous.
Once we figure out what level of stimulation they feel then we incorporate the e-collar with the leash. When we want them to sit we tap the button first, then at the same time say "sit" and pull up on the leash. When we call them to us we tap the button, then at the same time pull the leash toward us, and say "come." Every time your pup does a command they get lots of praise and food rewards or toys. What starts to happen is your dog will feel the e-collar stimulation, then look to you to see what command you are going to tell them to do. That is exactly what we want. The e-collar is supposed to be only used to get your dogs attention while off a leash, not to punish or hurt your dog. But some dog owners or trainers turn the level up way too high and end up hurting the dog and making them confused, or they use the e-collar way too soon before the poor dog even knows what is going on.
Once the dog has been slowly conditioned to the e-collar and understands what it means when they feel the stimulation, than we start weaning them off the leash until it doesn't need to be there anymore. NOW your pup is off leash trained and can enjoy freedom to run, play, and explore!
I hope you have found this information useful, and if you'd like to get your pup trained please don't hesitate to call to set up a time for a free evaluation, to determine what your goals are and how long it would take to get your pup there!