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agesilaus

E collars?

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OK wireless fences seem to be out, and thinking about using one on the road seems to be impractical. But what about E Collars aka Training Collars aka Shock Collars. Now let me hasten to add that I watched a couple of hours of training videos on line last night and understand these are training aids and not for punishment. You stick with a leash for quite awhile after starting with one and the goal is to make the dog associate a leash with the e collar so you can dispense with the leash most of the time.

I recommend this video Larry Krohn and his 'dog' Sophie

His daughter Sophie does an excellent job as the 'dog' being trained. Krohn calls the leash "a translator" which conveys your wishes to the dog in a way he can understand. Also involved is a treat pouch full of dog treats.

So any of you out there using one of these? My goal is to convince our Aussie not to head for the hills as soon as he gets loose. And I would want to use it boondocking mainly at least until we are sure of the effectiveness

 

Edited by agesilaus

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Almost all campgrounds require a 6' leash on your dog.  We have never seen an exception for "e-collars."  We don't boondock but they won't be acceptable in non-boondocking locations.

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A great deal of the success of their use will depend on the dog. I have 2 friends that use them quite successfully, one with a standard poodle and the other with a Lab/Poodle. But we also have friends who tried one on 2 mixed breed dogs and found one worked "most of the time" and the other dog didn't seem to respond at all. I have never tried them.

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No, we don't use them.  When we're traveling, whether we're boondocking (which we do most of the time) or in an RV park, our dogs are on a leash with us holding the other end.  We do NOT let our dogs run free.  Also, when we're out walking the dogs, we don't want an unleashed dog running up to us.  Not only do we not know what the intentions of the other dog is, but one of our dogs is not dog friendly.

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We have them for both dogs, and they are extremely useful.  We have one abused rescue who came to us from a trainer.  She used the collar with him, and taught us how to use it.  Then we got one for the other dog also.  It's very useful at home, when out, and when camping.  If we are in the appropriate location, we will let them off leash, and recall them with the collars.  Basically they let us set a perimeter by saying "that's too far" and giving a light touch at 4 (out of 0-100 power settings).  Because these are basically TENS units and not just shock collars, at higher settings they provide uncontrollable muscle contractions.  Meaning that the dog cannot possibly ignore it, but it's really not pain per se.

And yes, we have tried both these and the old-style shock collars on ourselves to know how they feel.  Even outside the bedroom.

Oh, and even on-leash they are useful.  One dog likes to just eat whatever crap might blow into camp, and a collar touch stops that.  The other is highly reactive to strangers and animals, so again a hit with the collar (typically at about 20) will tell him to stop that.

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Thanks for the helpful reply, we have two dogs. One the Border Collie is well behaved and can be trusted off leash in controlled areas. He goes on leash when there is traffic auto or human. He has gotten better but he is no fan of strangers.

The other an Aussie is a very friendly dog, maybe a bit too friendly: he jumps on people wanting to get petted. But at the first opportunity he heads for the hills. And I don't mean the nearby hills we have recovered him after running off (he is chipped) miles away. I have had to fortify the fence in our back yard. The Aussie can jump over a 4 foot fence without touching it.

The Aussie is 100% ready to take on other dogs and the BC who is the follower is ready to follow along. One of those training videos gave me an interesting thought: maybe the Aussie is afraid of other dogs and reacts aggressively. Both dogs are bred to protect a flock or herd. But I've been watching and he calms down right away as soon as we are are just past the other dog.

So I want to discourage those behaviors, which I expect will be a slow process. But I think those collars will let us see a light at the end of the tunnel.

We have no plans, not being stupid, of letting the dogs off collar in occupied campgrounds or on trails.

Edited by agesilaus

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We are still working on some similar behaviors.  When on leash, near people, we use the collar on the reactive dog to stop his motion or intensity before he has fully done it.  So for example, if people/dogs approach, we walk off the path and tell him to sit.  Our dogs have an implied "stay" with all commands, so he's not allowed to move.  If he lifts his butt, he gets a "no" and a 20 from the collar.  Things are far from perfect, but better than when we got him.

The other one learned to respond to the collar in less than a day.  But he's a pleaser, and always attentive to humans.  Also he loves absolutely everyone so no reaction issues.

 

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I have used electric collars on numerous hunting dogs since the mid 1970s. In my opinion they are most useful for avoidance training such as snake proofing and stopping chasing of cars deer, etc. They are often the only way to get compliance with commands at a distance when there is no physical connection between the handler and the dog. The first ones had one setting that was quite robust like a cattle prod. Some of these early systems used a single channel or very few channels so that there was a chance that another dog handlers transmitter would trigger other dogs collars. A power radios like CBs or ham radios in close proximity would sometimes trigger the collar. I think these problem have mostly been resolved.

Today, many collars have multiple stimulation settings as well as tones and vibration. I prefer a collar with all three and a wide range of stimulation settings. Once a dog knows a command, the tone or vibration is often all that is necessary to get their attention and focus on the command(s). There are systems that can handle more than one collar from a single remote. Not all collars and transmitters are waterproof. Some state they are water resistant. Some collars with rechargeable batteries can not be opened to replace the batteries and are essentially throw aways.  Good quality systems are not cheap.

Edited by TCW

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I have trained dogs with and without an electric collar and the collar is usually the best.  Training dogs requires simple but straight forward commands.  Using a collar to force the required response to a specific command seems to work very well.  As TCW posted use a collar that has a warning such as a tone.  Most dogs learn quickly what will follow if they don't respond to the specific command and the shock is used very seldom.  However, I have seen people try to use a collar every time a dog does something they don't like.  This results in a confused and often angry dog. 

My last cow dog was rarely on a leash but once trained he would never leave my side when on command and knew to come immediately when called.  His training went far beyond this but an electric collar for that type of training is way easier and more humane than any other method I have seen.  My Granddaughter bought a new Lab a few years ago and she had the dog doing mostly what she wanted but sometimes it wouldn't come on command.  This was most likely when another dog was around or a rabbit or something appeared.  She brought her dog and we worked her with a collar for one weekend.  That is all it took but this was a young dog that had previous training.  My suggestion would be to read up on best training methods and selectively use a collar.

Edited by Randyretired

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These are all good points.  I'll add that yes, the problems of other radios interfering it totally gone on GOOD modern collars.  One way to know if you have an interference-free radio is if you have to "bind" or otherwise link them.  Our collars and remotes can bind in any combination, so one remote, two dogs with certain buttons that do certain things.  You can connect them so that one button gives the chosen stimulation level, while another button does that plus 20.  So our reactive dog does his normal commands at 6, but needs much more if he's reacting to something.  The second button gives a 26 without touching the level knob.

We have the "working dog trainers" from E-collar Technologies.  They are waterproof as in submersible.  We had an issue with a remote and they immediately sent a new one by Fedex two-day with a return shipping label for the bad one.  Awesome service, and it was OUT of warranty, still no cost.  "They shouldn't have that problem."

 

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Oh...remote shapes...  The round ones are harder for me to use, and preferred by the wife.  I think the round makes it hard to remember which button is which.  But I have never had a good memory for that sort of thing.  Our home light switches are labeled for me.  And that happened BEFORE I got old.  For a smaller hand, she says the round is better as she can touch all switches at once.  The bar takes effort to reach a switch, but you always know which one you are hitting.  

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22 hours ago, Carlos said:

 If we are in the appropriate location, we will let them off leash, and recall them with the collars. 

So that means that you have to be outside with them, otherwise you wouldn't be able to recall them, right?  What I want to know is do you watch for them to poop and then go pick it up?  I've seen too many people who just open the door, let their dog out to poop where ever and the owners have no way of knowing where they did their business and, of course, don't pick it up -- leaving it for someone else out walking their dog to step in it.

Edited by LindaH

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If it's appropriate for them to be off leash, then it doesn't need to be picked up.  Meaning that we're really in the middle of nowhere.  You know, where coyotes and bears poop too, and it doesn't get picked up.

They are never outside off leash without us being outside, to answer that question though.

 

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I had a "interesting" black lab.  When I was hunting with her I found a fully functional transmitter. I took it as a message from GOD, that I should get a collar to fit the black lab!!!

You can ruin a dog by overusing a collar.  So pay attention to the video or training manual.

That said...my current dog earned his "good citizenship" collar at 16 weeks. He is currently dying of bone cancer at almost 11 and has lived with the collar all his life!!! 

He is perfect when hunting, I just use the collar to hear the beep if he goes on point in heavy cover. Day to day living, well he views himself as a "free" citizen. I tried explaining to him that Constitutional rights only apply to humans not dogs, but he ignores me. Hence, the collar.

One HUGE advantage to a collar is the tone control.

You can teach your dog to sit on the tone.  Handy, when you don't want him to investigate a skunk or porcupine.

On a repetitive tone, you can train the dog to come back to you. Sure does beat, yelling or blowing on a whistle to get your dog to return to you. If your dog roams the neighborhood, this is a great way to get them to come back home.

My wife bought one for her Bichon, my daughter bought one for a dog smaller than a Bichon. They work, just be careful not to overuse the shock portion.

Get them trained on the tones. 

You will never go back to yelling.

I bought my collars from SportDog. Great American company.  I even asked them for a collar with ONLY the tone control. After awhile, you will NEVER use the electricity portion.

If your dog lives on a leash.....thank you, but I feel sorry for your dog. 

Quite frankly, at 100 lbs I don't think I can control my dog on a leash. His is the perfect gentleman with the shock collar.

BTW....I once met a woman being dragged by a dog on a hiking trail. He was adament about attacking my "unleashed"  dog which was sitting on command by my side.  When he reached my dog.....I released her and she nailed that "leashed dog". 

It isn't about a leash.  IT IS about controlling your dog.  For large dogs, your really do need a shock collar.

 

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A prong collar is how you physically control a large dog if you're a smaller person.  A proper prong collar, like a proper e-collar, is another great tool.  It's simply not possible for them to fight against the prong collar, and a well made one poses no risk to the dog.  You also have to learn to use it; most people pull back parallel to the dog, but it needs to be pulled up.  Also it needs to be high on the neck, not on the shoulders.  Another tool our trainer left us with.  We use Herm-Sprenger collars on her recommendation.  We tried a cheap one from Petsmart--total junk.

 

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We have used a prong collar and yes it does control the dogs on a lead. But it does not allow you to let the dogs off lead. You cannot use it to train them to sit, stay and come. So it is very limited.

I would like to thank those who posted all those very helpful ecollar suggestions. I would not have thought of the 'sit' solution to our dogs wanting to take on other dogs. So if you have any more I'm ready to listen and implement them. The collar is supposed to be here today and unfortunately I ordered one before I saw the suggested vendor. We'll work with what we have and maybe hand that down to my daughter who also has a dog and order that one.

 

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We use them for training, and we do let the dogs off leash and leave them on.  Then use the e-collar for recall, then put them back on the leash.  Both are great training tools.  Again, all done under the supervision of an accomplished trainer.  She showed us how a sharp but not hard snap upward on the prong collar teaches sit.  And a pull to the ground trains a down.  There are half a dozen things she used those collars to teach.  Again, it must be a high quality version with zero binding.  It must squeeze and release instantly.  It's the light and not painful pressure that will train a dog without negative effects.

Also now the collar going on says "we will be in working mode" and they pay more attention.  The prong goes on for all training even if we won't use it, and only use the e-collar.

 

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I was very interested in these for a while. But after reading a few stories of e-collars malfunctioning decided clicker and treat training was the way forward for us.

 

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