For many people the use of an e-collar can be intimidating. There are often stigmas around this training method due to the amount of people who use the collar improperly. Some think an e-collar will harm their dog and may be cruel, but with the correct technique this can be a useful tool for training your dog.
First and foremost, the e-collar is not intended to punish or harm a dog. The people who have negative experiences with an e-collar may not know how to use it. This tool is used so your dog can learn the correct way to behave. Many people have heard about dogs who have been abused with e-collars, which creates part of the stigma around them. It is always unfortunate when dogs are mistreated, and the collar should never be used to create fear, harm, or to punish. To properly use this method, the fear and stigma for using the collar must be released. A person should also make themselves familiar with an e-collar and how to introduce it to their dog without fear.
We recommend using the Dogtra brand of e-collar. It is the brand we at Stars Howl-o most often use with our own dogs and dogs we train. This may not be the best match for every person, however. If another brand is selected, it is best to ensure that is has the beep or tone option with it. We also suggest that your collar has a vibration setting and is waterproof. If your collar is not waterproof it may be harmful to your dog and the tool. The collar's range is important to keep in mind as well. The longer the range of the collar is, the more beneficial it will be to control your dog from a distance.
The e-collar is only useful in certain circumstances. The tool must be paired with a reward system. While the collar may correct the dog when it is doing something wrong, the handler should also show the pup what it is doing right through praise and rewards. Dogs learn more by being told what is correct rather than what is incorrect, but both instructions should be utilized.
E-collars should never be used when dealing with aggression. The dog will not learn that it should not be aggressive through the collar, it will only encourage the aggression and create more stress for the pup. E-collars should be used for commands and behavioral issues, such as jumping and barking. The dog should understand the e-collar is correcting their action.
A collar with a tone is important so it may be used in addition to the shock. Before the handler sends the shock, they should first use the tone. If the dog understands that the tone happens before the shock, it will not want the shock to occur and will respond to the sound.
Collars with vibration settings can also be useful. Some dogs may respond better to a vibration than a shock. Each dog is unique and while some methods work well for one dog, another may respond differently. As long as the dog is paying attention and correcting its action without experiencing pain or fear, the setting will work.
When using a collar with an obvious remote, the handler should relax when holding it. If the person holds the controller like a television remote or is tense, the dog will pay attention to the controller rather than the person. The person hiding the remote behind their back can help with this. The dog should not associate the remote with the correction. The handler should be relaxed and look no different with or without the remote in hand, just as the dog should ultimately respond with or without the collar in use. The collar is used to condition the dog, so the look should be the same at all times.
When selecting a setting for the shock the collar gives the dog, the owner should select a low number or level. The dog should perk its ears up when given the correction and direct its attention to the task at hand. If the dog whimpers or tucks its tail when the shock is administered, the level is too high and needs to be lowered. It is best to start lower than what you may think is best for the dog and work up if need be. Even if a dog is high-energy they may not need an intense shock. When learning levels of shock, a person may learn that some levels are better for various commands. If the collar is used for obedience training, such as sit and stay, a low level may be best. If the dog is in a situation with distractions and high intensity, such as barking, a higher level may be necessary to get their attention. There is a slight learning curve when introducing an e-collar, but it can be easy to get the hang of. The person should pay attention to their dog and learn how to get their dog to pay attention to them.
The collar and the dog is an extension of the handler and should be treated as such. Many people are nervous when using an e-collar. It is important to know that each dog responds differently to the collar, so there will be an adjustment period when introducing it. However, when the person is relaxed and informed the collar can be a helpful tool when training a dog.