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Discussion Starter #1
I am curious to know how folks feel about e-collars. I believe they have a place in training, but there seems to be disagreement as to when they should be introduced (age/development), how they should be used, and what they are used for (ie: just in the field, home & field, &/or for certain commands or behaviors). I have always thought (in my vast experience & knowledge-ha, ha ;D) that it makes sense to use them to augment training not teach the skill or command. Any thoughts?

Juat wanted to add that we have not yet introduced Pumpkin to an e-collar.
 

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I like them. Just a tool, like a check cord, or treats. The best thing you can do is reward the dog and he/she will respond positively, even if it's just a pat on the head. :) For things like chasing a bird into the street or jumping on a guest coming through the door, it's a must have. IMHO.
 

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We put one on Kian the other day in the field. He was not sure what was going on the first few times then he started to come around.
The second day he really understood what it was all about. I gave him one correction and he lept out of his skin and the rest of the training session he was fine, not one other correction with the e-collar.

It does help though, but the dog needs to know the basics and you have to know when to use it and how.
 

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I agree. I didn't let my kids touch the collar for a month. They are all teenagers but still, caution is warrented. ::) Miss use on an e-collar can ruin a good dog.
 

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Oh and if you are curious as to how strong they are, do yourself a favour and put it on your wrist.
I did..... it was interesting to say the least :eek:
 

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They are a training tool, and like many other tools they have a place.
First and foremost though, they are "an extension of the leash". Treated as an extension of the leash they are a great aid.
I never used, nor needed one, until I got Gunnr. She's was a little different is all I can say, and needed a significant safety net for quite sometime just to get her off the check cord. I don't even know where the remote is right now, and she doesn't need it any longer.
 

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I got one yesterday for Kobi. It seems to be working miracles so far.

Without one, Kobi is just crazy. He will jump all over people at my house or my parent's house, go places he shouldn't be going (the road), and ignore recall when outside and off leash (if he wants to).

For anyone looking at an e-collar, I would recommend paying attention to the range and considering what you will need it for (100 yrds is a bit short for anything, IMO, as you won't always get maximum range in all situations), whether or not it's waterproof, and what additional features it has. After having mine only one day, I have to say I'm glad I bought one with a vibrate feature. Others may have a beep feature. Some just have shocking options. I wouldn't want a collar that can ONLY be used to shock the dog.
 

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I haven't used one but a friend of mine had one and she said it was great - stopped her dog (not a V) doing whatever it was she didn't like (jumping on the kids i think) in one session.

But after one session, the dog would run away from her when it saw she had the collar in her hands.

I don't know how she was using it or whether it was set up properly or anything, but this is not a reaction I would want my dog to have to me. So I would say be careful and if you can get the result you want using negative punishments / positive reinforcements then that is far less likely to have un-wanted side effects.
 

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I think the general suggestion is to start out as low as possible and increase until you get a reaction from your dog. It should be JUST enough to get his attention. Nothing more. Some people prefer to use the highest stimulation the dog can handle, I think those people are idiots.

I agree with you Merc that negative punishments / positive reinforcements are the way to go. But the collar is another form of negative punishment, keep in mind. If I were the dog whisperer, I obviously wouldn't need the collar to gain some control on my dog, but my training skills are certainly nowhere near that good, and I think Kobi needs the dog shouter instead of the dog whisperer.
 

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These collars are now illegal in the UK. I don't have any experience of them so can't judge either way.

I have only seen one on a dog here. A Basset Hound that used to go wandering far out of the owners sight on a scent. He used to bring the dog back to him. The dog didn't seem to mind!

I wonder what the gundog trainers use here as an alternative if any at all?!

We have spray collars which spray a citronella on either a noise (for bark control) or a remote.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I just keep wondering how/when I will know that I have put forth a good enough effort in training to think it is time for an e-collar? Safety is an exception, because you may not have a 2nd chance. I rarely see, read, or hear people talk about not using them in the field. It seems like it's almost understood that once your pup reaches a certain age or level in the field, that it's time to put on the e-collar. That's my impression anyway, and one of the reasons I wanted to ask y'all. Gunnr, you are one of the exceptions. Pumpkin is in a pre-agility class to continue reinforcing the obedience in a more distracted/up beat environment. The class next to hers is advanced agility (a V in the class that is mighty impressive), and the level of obedience, skill, and attention is extraordinary. No e-collar, no pinch collar, and no leash for that matter. No birds flying in front of the V, lab, or flat coat retriever, but there is no denying the time & effort it took to bring those dogs to that level. I guess I'm just rambling with no point other than wondering when tools are aides or crutches. Please understand I am not passing judgement on anyone for using them, because I do believe in their value.

As to banning e-collars in Wales, there is a push to ban tail docking & ear pinning here in the states. The way I understood the effort to be taking shape by a staff member at The Piedmont Kennel Club (AKC) was a growing # of people/groups want to see it banned, but many are willing to make exceptions for tails in working & sporting breeds where docking is meant to be useful and not cosmetic. I do not know how serious and far along this effort has advanced. It was the first I heard of it.
 

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Hey kobi,

I know what you mean - I have turned into the dog shouter on a couple of unfortunate occasions. I posted that story because everyone else has said 'be careful, use them sparingly' etc but no-one had an actual example of what could go wrong when used badly. Presumably because everyone here is far too sensible just to go whacking an e-collar on and turning it up without any thought.

Kelly, I reckon you're asking how long is a piece of string! I bet there are some people who would already have introduced pumpkin to a collar and I bet there are plenty of people who would also say not yet.

At one stage I wondered if that was going to be my only solution to the cyclist chasing issue, but fortunately it turned out not to be needed. But that is a different case, I could keep him on a check cord till the training kicked in so it's a bit different.
 

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I've read a few times about e-collars being used in the field. What exactly are they used for when field training? We have a friend who has a german wirehaired - setter cross, and she started using one to reinforce re-calls as she started chasing deer and ignoring recalls, and it has made this pup super-good at returning when called. I was just wondering whether it was used for similar things in the field.

Thanks!
 

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DarDog said:
I've read a few times about e-collars being used in the field. What exactly are they used for when field training? We have a friend who has a german wirehaired - setter cross, and she started using one to reinforce re-calls as she started chasing deer and ignoring recalls, and it has made this pup super-good at returning when called. I was just wondering whether it was used for similar things in the field.

Thanks!
Just like a whistle, it can be used for recall, sit at a distance, and to have the dog look at you for directional changes.
I like the idea of a whistle better, but I'll have to wait until tomorrow when we get our girl back from a trainer to see how well it works.

From what I've been reading up on, the general consensus for whistle training is a quick blast = sit, multiple quick blasts = come, and a single long blast = look at me.

I think e-collar training follows the same idea.


I'm getting my girl back tomorrow, and the trainer said she did ok with both whistle and ecollar, but is still confused about different commands with each.
My current plan is to work with the whistle and hope for the best with that. I may look into an ecollar if distance becomes an issue with the whistle. The dog has to understand the command first in order for either to work.

I don't like the idea of an ecollar simply because of 1 guy that seemed to light his brittany on fire from 1/2 a mile away one day in the woods.
I think you have to be more gentle with the corrections than that, but what do you do if the dog doesn't respond? Either turn it up, or throw it out???
 

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kellygh said:
As to banning e-collars in Wales, there is a push to ban tail docking & ear pinning here in the states. The way I understood the effort to be taking shape by a staff member at The Piedmont Kennel Club (AKC) was a growing # of people/groups want to see it banned, but many are willing to make exceptions for tails in working & sporting breeds where docking is meant to be useful and not cosmetic. I do not know how serious and far along this effort has advanced. It was the first I heard of it.
Apologies - a little off topic. Tail docking (unless you produce the correct working paperwork - v strict!) and ear pinning is banned throughout the whole of the UK. I'm not sure we ever pinned ears ... why do ears get pinned over in the US?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm not sure when or why ear pinning got started, but I understand it to be purely cosmetic in breeds like the Boxer and Doberman. I do see more these days with ears left natural. Boston Terrier? Some people use tape on a Corgi or German Sheperd to help their ears stay up, but I do not think they are surgically manipulated. IDK? I'm not too knowledgeable on the subject. Declaws are included in the push to ban dog/pup "cosmetic surgery," per the woman I mentioned. Again, sporting/working breeds would likely be exempt.
 

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kellygh said:
I'm not sure when or why ear pinning got started, but I understand it to be purely cosmetic in breeds like the Boxer and Doberman. I do see more these days with ears left natural. Boston Terrier? Some people use tape on a Corgi or German Shepperd to help their ears stay up, but I do not think they are surgically manipulated. IDK? I'm not too knowledgeable on the subject. Declaws are included in the push to ban dog/pup "cosmetic surgery," per the woman I mentioned. Again, sporting/working breeds would likely be exempt.
Here's my 2 cents.......Originally ears wear docked for the protection of the dog. The larger working dogs - Boxers, Cane Corso's, etc were used to hunt large game, so they docked them so whatever they were hunting couldn't grab onto their floppy ears. This however became the standard and has continued to be practiced and why you see it in dogs like dobermans, boxers, pitbulls, etc. Basically along the same reasoning for docking tails.

In my opinion they shouldn't do away w/ tail docking on certain breeds - working dog or not, as the docking is done so early in there life (3 days - before eyes are open) that it really would cause little pain or aggravation. Also I've seen first hand of Vizsla's and other dogs of their kind split their tails when running in the bush (dog parks, hunting, etc), doesn't matter. Also their tails are a pain in the butt if not docked - they hurt and knock everything over. The ear cropping on the other hand is done when they are older 9-12 weeks old - so they are more cognizant, and would be of much greater discomfort/pain to the dog. Also cases of infection are much more prevalent in ear docking.

Here's website on ear cropping which I think illustrates how uncomfortable the process w/b - http://www.puppys-place.com/ear_cropping.html

We're in Canada, so our V has been docked. Our breeder does it themselves and she did a great job as it's not done too short or left too long (no point to it then). Personally I hate when dogs ears are docked, no matter the breed...I think it looks ridiculous, and also gives a menacing impression of the dog. Look at a Doberman w/ it's ears docked vs undocked....completely different impression in my books!
 
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