We have recently started to introduce additional training aids into our programs, based on the situational requirements of the relationship between the dog and their owner. Over the last six months, I have been discussing these new techniques with the Veterinarians and Vet Technicians across Dawson, Hall, Forsyth, Cherokee, Lumpkin, Fulton, and Cobb Counties. Last week I was visiting vet hospitals in Big Canoe. I was talking with the Vet Tech at the front counter and one of their clients overheard our conversation about E-Collars (misnomer: Shock Collars). She approached us in amazement and asked us why we were using such painful devices on dogs. The Vet Tech and I had been commenting on some of their/my clients that have been introduced to the E-Collars and how well they worked. I thought that this was a great time to explain to their client (with an honest misconception) of how these devices actually functioned.
I started my conversation with their client with the disclaimer that I had been against using “Shock Collars” on dogs for many years. I saw many dogs hurt and become overly fearful or aggressive after having them put on their necks and “being zapped”. It wasn’t until about a year or so ago that I saw firsthand that they could be used effectively in training a dog without hurting or scaring the dog in any way.
Most of us think of “Shock Collars” as the things we buy in the dog stores, Walmart, etc. These are cheaply made with little control over the stimulus and very little explanation of how they should be used. Most people buy them because they want a simple and fast fix for their dog’s problem. They clip them on, turn the dial to “high” and press the button any time they don’t like what the dog might be doing. The dog normally becomes disoriented and fearful. They also feel a good amount of pain and have no idea what happened. This causes them to lash out at everything they see. The more they do this, the more they are shocked. As you can see, you are simply creating a vicious circle that is pushing the dog farther and farther towards constant aggression and probable euthanasia. I think that we can all agree that this is bad.
So why do I (and most of the Veterinary community in Georgia) approve of the use of E-Collars?
Remember the old TV commercial where they tell you “This isn’t your father’s Buick”? The same is true of the E-Collars of today. Most good E-Collars are sold by Professional Dog Trainers or Hunting Dog Suppliers. They are designed with multiple settings to allow the user to specifically set the type and intensity of stimulus that is precisely needed for the dog’s temperament and environmental situation.
In any training situation, the first goal that you need to achieve is the dog’s focus. You simply want the dog to (if he were a human) say “So, what do you want?”. In doing this, you never want to hurt, scare, or frighten him. If he is frightened, he is not ready to learn and definitely not ready to provide you with calm and respectful focus. You should use whatever is needed to achieve this. It might be a clap of the hands, a stern voice, pennies in a can, etc. Sometimes, none of these things work and you still haven’t gotten your dog’s attention.
You now need to ramp it up. The E-Collar allows you to either deliver an audible signal right by your dog’s ear, or give a static stimulus on your dog’s neck. The key with either of these actions is that their sole purpose is to only get your dog’s attention and nothing more. The modern E-Collars provide the power and control to find that exact point just where you finally get your dog’s attention.
Even though they are great tools, they still need to be used properly. They still must be used within the dog’s natural communication hierarchy. You must first be standing tall so that your dog can focus on your dominance. You must provide a correction sound so that he can divert back to you. You will finally use the E-Collar correction device to ultimately gain his focus and understanding. The settings on the E-Collar are initially set to the lowest level and you slowly increase them until you get your dog’s attention. Once you have your dog’s attention, you can easily direct him to his proper behavior.
Please call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Big Canoe Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Big Canoe Georgia.