E collar training and How to Use it

Using a remote training collar is not difficult. However, it is not entirely easy either. Too often people have the misguided notion that once your dog learns how to respond to the stimulation, there is no need to access each situation and adjust the “Number” so that your dog will respond to your command.

The challenge people struggle with is learning how to adjust the dial to use a level of stimulation appropriate for the dog’s sensitivity at that given moment. It involves learning to watch the dog rather than the dial. The dial provides a reference point, but the level you use will not be the same for every situation. The intensity can go up or down depending on how excited or adrenalized the dog is. A dog’s sensitivity fluctuates just as ours does when we experience changes in adrenaline level.  When your dogs become hyper aroused about a situation in their environment, they simply will not notice the same level they do when things are “normal” or calm in the surroundings.

An appropriate level will cause the dog to “do something” and stop the behavior. If your dog just continues doing whatever he was doing, then the level is too low and you need to turn up the stimulation until you see some behavioral change.

This is why it is so important to learn to be proactive in the training and management of your dog. The sooner you can interrupt Fido’s attention and refocus him on you or another task, the easier it will be to maintain control.

Learning to find the right level of stimulation to train with is about keeping your eyes on your dog rather than on the dial of your transmitter.  Keep in mind, your dog will learn quicker by one good correction than by 20 little corrections that do not stop the behavior.

Wearing the Collar:

Your dog should wear the Electric collar at all times (except when crated at night for sleeping, when you are charging it) for a minimum of 4 months.  That means, put the collar on him before you even leave your house in the morning for his first walk.  Using the Electric collar only when you are working in dedicated training sessions will make your dog “collar-wise.” He will figure out that he only gets corrected when the collar is on, so everything else is a free-for-all. Wearing the collar should feel natural to your dog. It’s like when a person has a favorite necklace or piece of jewelry that is worn all time.

Keep in mind that the contact points of the collar should have direct contact with the skin.  I always recommend using the large prongs so that the collar doesn’t have to be too tight.  Too tight poses risk of skin irritation.  You should be able to move the ‘box’ of the collar while the dog is wearing it but it shouldn’t be too loose that it moves on its own, the contact points will not be able to transmit the stimulation and it may cause chaffing.  If it rains or your dog is swimming or it’s very humid, remove the collar after use so the area of the neck receives air.  Check your dog’s neck daily for any irritation and if there is, move it to a different part of your dog’s next the following day; i.e. higher on neck, lower on neck and the box in different spots on neck (left, right, behind neck or under chin). 

How to start:

You have to transition to off leash, so have a long leash on your dog when initially training him on the collar.  Your leash must be hooked up to another collar, training or buckle and not the Electric Collar. The ring on the electric collar is not made for holding your dog on a leash and may break and then both collar and leash are completely off your dog.

Once he is doing well, go to a shorter leash, then shorter before going completely off leash.  When going to a new area, just as a precaution during the initial training, have him drag a leash; in case he gets scared or confused, you have a means of getting him back.  

Pick a command:

The Electric collar is used as a finishing tool, meaning, your dog knows a command but is not reliable off the leash or around distractions.  Pick a command that your dog already knows to start with.  Once your dog understands that the correction arrives because of disobedience to the command then you can start adding other commands. Don’t use it for every command until your dog is conditioned slowly on each command because then you might be pressing that button all day long and you will make your dog scared or confused.  This transition phase could take 1-2 days per command.  It’s not a race; you want to make sure the foundation of the training is strong.

Do’s and Don’t’s:

Do NOT use the e-collar for disobedience to “down/stay,” or “sit/stay.” The e-collar is not intended for correcting stationary exercises. DO use the e-collar for disobedience to “come,” for pulling towards distractions when she should be in heel, for jumping on people and things and for disobeying a “drop it” or “leave it” command.