Our final training method that we will be covering this month is the Electronic Collar (Shock Collar). Similar to the Prong collar, this training method is sometimes viewed as inhumane and does have the capacity to be so, which is why learning the proper fit and use is so important.
An electronic collar is a versatile tool that can be used in conjunction with a leash/harness, or can be used in off leash. The purpose of using an electronic collar is to reinforce commands that they already know. Having a receiver or controller allows you to reinforce these commands on a leash or from a distance. The amount of distance that the collar can cover is determined by the type of collar you get and varies from several hundred yards to several miles. As with the previous articles, I have included several options of collars.
Especially with electronic collars, I STRONGLY suggest that you do a fair amount of research prior to purchasing a collar. I also would suggest saving and splurging on a respected and maybe more pricey collar. They tend to work better, don't break or wear down, and often the company will assist in any troubleshooting or replacement pieces at little/no cost to you.
**For the reason I mentioned in the previous paragraph, you will notice I do not include any collars under $50. From personal experience with friends, clients, and myself, any collar under $50 will not be worth the money for you. Feel free to explore cheaper routes if desired, but below are recommendations at varying price points**
**Pictures are also links for purchase if desired**
Before we show you a method in which to use the collar, we need to discuss proper fit of the collar. Just as with the Prong Collar, the proper fit is critical to safe, humane, and effective training using this tool/method. To demonstrate this, I have included a video below from Sport Dog showing the proper fit. Even if you do not have this brand of collar, the fit will still be the same with any electronic collar purchase.
Once we have the proper fit of the collar established, we can move on to effective, efficient, and humane use of the collar. Whether you use the collar with a leash and collar (never attach a leash directly to the electronic collar), or you use it for off leash training, the easiest and most humane way to use the collar is to use a 1-2-3 technique.
This technique is exactly what your parents may have used on you when you were a child (it was probably very effective too), which is why it also works so well on your dog. 1-2-3 is when your parents counted to 3; if they got to 3, you knew there were consequences for not doing what they asked or stopping a certain behavior.
**This training method should not be used to train new commands only to reinforce already learned commands**
With the collar, we use 1 (audible tone) 2 (vibrate setting) 3 (shock setting). For example, you ask your dog to sit. If they sit, great job to them, they get praise and love. If they don't, then we press the tone button on the control which signals the collar to beep at them: this is 1. We then ask them to sit again. If they sit, great! Celebrate and love on them. If they don't, we turn the controller to vibrate setting and have the collar vibrate for 1-3 seconds so they notice it. This is 2. We ask a 3rd time to sit. If they do not sit the 3rd time, we turn the setting to shock. This is 3.
The shock should never be prolonged or harmful to them. Many collars come with a dial where you can control how powerful the shock is. If your dog is more stubborn, you may need a higher setting. Ideally, you want the shock to be high enough to immediately get their attention as a correction but not high enough where they yelp and seem painful. This takes some time to find the perfect setting for your individual training needs.
The main concern always with any training method, but especially with more invasive training tools, is that they are used correctly every time and never used inhumanely. To prevent this, we recommend to never train when you are:
5. Short on time
6. Distracted/trying to multitask
If any one of the above apply to you prior or during a training session, STOP the training session immediately, WALK AWAY from the situation, and only RESUME training when you are in a better emotional/head space. Ensuring that you are in control and also in the right mind space for training keeps training sessions productive and more importantly safe for you and your canine.
I hope that you have enjoyed this month's blog articles. Please feel free to contact either thru the blog or on our Facebook page with any questions/comments/concerns you have. Next month we will be covering Cat Health!! Stay tuned for new articles every Monday!!