The Ultimate Adventure Companion
2. E-collars are a good training tool when they’re necessary, but they make a terrible training methodology. As with a choker chain and other training equipment, an e-collar shouldn’t be used as a crutch to make up for a trainer’s lack of ability or experience. Before you convince yourself that your dog is too stubborn to learn, have a professional evaluate your training style. Oftentimes it’s the handler and not the dog that needs correcting.
3. If you’re using an e-collar, you’re using it to correct undesirable behaviors. You’ll know you’ve succeeded when you no longer have to use the collar. Always keep this in mind. Once you start using the collar, it’s hard to stop.
4. If you use the collar for any length of time, you’re certain to end up with a dog that has two personalities: One with the collar on that obeys; one without the collar that does what it wants.
An electric collar is often euphemistically described as “stimulation” or “pressure.” That’s not quite right. An e-collar produces an electric shock that all dogs (and humans and just about everything else with a nervous system) know to avoid after very brief contact. The dog avoids the shock or relieves the shock by responding to the command. Never use the collar until the command is totally understood, then keep the collar on for extended periods of time so your dog does not become collar wise.
This is the training method of last resort, never to be considered a shortcut, only used for the most difficult subjects that continue to behave in a dangerous or uncontrollable behavior.
This article originally appeared on Outside K9, the former dog blog of Outside magazine, on April 6, 2009.