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How I enforced training with a shock collar

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How I enforced training with a shock collar

Old 01-18-2006, 12:06 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: the Great Plains
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Default How I enforced training with a shock collar

Hi everyone. I have noticed some talk here lately about using shock collars. Mite was talking about the slow introduction of the collar, which is good. I am no expert, but for some reason, I have had very good success with the "come" command when using collar reinforcement. The problem for me always seemed to be that my dogs would come great while on a long leash, but when you cut them lose, it was a different story. I think I've fixed that for good. Here are some things I've learned; hopefully someone might be helped by this.

First let me give a disclaimer. This is just the way I have used the collar mixed with my own opinions. Every dog and dog handler is different and you've got to decide what is best for your situation. That may mean you never use a collar. It also may mean you wait until certain age and maturity levels to introduce the collar. Some dogs should probably be a year old before having a collar used on them. My male was 6 months and my female was probably about the same, but they were introduced to the collar at different paces. It was up to me to determine what was best for each dog. Again, these are just some opinions intended to offer some help if you have had some trouble. You might even just find something in this post to mix in with your own training. I also suggest only using the collar for one command at a time.

My first rule is that the shock collar is for reinforcement only, meaning if I use it to enforce a command, the dog needs to know the command first (except for breaking them off trashy game).

I start by putting the collar on the dog, even a pup if you want, each time you let them out of the kennel, even to walk on the leash. Do not turn the collar on. Just let the dog wear it. The dog grows accustomed to thinking the collar means play or hunting. My male actually seems to get excited when he sees the collar coming.

Doing this creates can create an association for the dog - that being that the collar is a good thing. This way, when you begin to use the collar when the dog is old enough, they will never know the collar is getting them. They think the collar is good. They think "Disobedience" is getting them.

Work the dog on the "come" command on a long leash. Use bacon strips or something extra special. Make the dog think coming to you is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Never yell at the dog when doing the come command. I would even suggest avoiding any harsh correction. Bite your lip when the pup makes you mad and suck it up. Patiently tell the dog to come and "tug" them in with the lead until they figure out that coming to you is a pleasure. Praise them good when they come, and even when you have to tug them in. At any point that the dog comes, praise them up. Take advantage of the times that the pup or dog is coming to you on its own by saying "come," while they are on their way to you. This way you are praising them and applying your command to their voluntary action.

When you are sure the dog can come 10 times in a row on a long leash (at least 20 feet), all the while wearing the collar (which is turned off), then it is safe to say the dog knows the command and is blatantly disobeying when it doesn't come. At this point, you may have a dog that comes great while on the leash, but is smart enough to know when the leash comes off and he doesn't have to obey. He may also be smart enough at this point to know he is faster than you. When there is no question in your mind that the dog is ignoring you, the collar is probably ready to be turned on.

Now, backtrack with me for a moment. If you have an extremely aloof pup that never listens to you at all, it might be good idea to "get the dog's attention." Let's say the dog busts out of the kennel every time and runs off from you before you can leash it up. A trick I learned from another board is to have the dog leashed up on a long leash, and when it busts out of the kennel and heads a certain direction, you hold the other end snug like a football and run the other direction. When you get to end of your line, make sure you give enough "umph" to jolt the dog back (but not so much as to really hurt it). This should get their attention. If your dog is not that bad (or is toosmall to handle aman-sizedyank)then modify how hard you jerk the dog back. Just get it's attention.

That is half the problem with a pup - getting it's attention. They can't be expected to learn if you don't have them listening. This is often a maturity thing in my opinion, and you just need to have a feel for how mature your dog is so that you don't try to force things on them too early. Patience, Patience, Patience.

Now for the collar. When you've reached the point described above, take the dog to a neutral ground - somewhere that is not his or your territory. A ballfied that is fenced in is a great place, or a tennis court. The main thing is have a large fenced area if possible so that when you turn the dog lose, it won't leave the county. After all, you wouldn't need this training if your dog came whenever it was called.

Let the dog out on the long leash with the collar on. Let him roam about. Tell him to come, but don't do the normal tugging. If he comes, praise him as usual. If he keeps coming on command, you could probably let go of the leash and prepare for the next step. If he doesn't come, start a very low level stimulation on the collar and say "come." If you can tell the low setting is not affecting the dog, turn it up. It is better to use "just enough" rather than "too much."

When you know the dog does not like what is happening, tell him to come again and THEN tug the leash, Make the dog start your direction and then turn the stimulation off. Bring the dog all the way in and praise him as usual with all kinds of affection and even a bite of bacon if you've got it (I suggest you make sure and have the bacon or treat with you).

Only activate the stimulation when you first say come and until the dog is coming your direction, whether he's coming on his own or you pull him your way. As soon as he starts your direction, let off the stimulation. The dog needs to realize that coming to you is his only hope for relief from the annoying buzz.

What you are doing is convincing the dog that you are the safe zone and that when you say come, he thinks it is because you are protecting him from the sure danger that lurks (he has no idea that you are the one shocking him...a little deceptive, but if he knew you were doing it, he might not trust you. Little does he know that you are doing it for his own good so that in the long run, he doesn't get nailed by a car or worse).

Only shock the dog a few times the first day. Don't overdo it because it will wear them down. You don't want them to clam up and just sit down in fear. They can only take so much.

Remember it is up to you to know what your dog can handle. Some dogs are just plain too sensitive to a collar and probably should never wear one. The collar works best for stubborn dogs in my opinion.

As the days go by and the dog realizes what the stimulation means and he knows how to turn it off (by coming your way), you can start letting go of the leash and letting the dog get out a ways. Up to this point, you've been pulling or tugging the dog in when needed to start them in your direction so that they can figure out how to turn the stimulation off. For the most part, they should know by now that coming turns it off. Now it is time to let the dog get out a little further.

Repeat the step of calling the dog, and if the dog does not come immediately, start the stimulation and say come again (saying come a second time is probably highly debatable). When the dog starts your way, immediately turn the stimulation off and get ready to praise the heck out of the dog. If he starts your way and the stimulation is off, but then he starts to veer off, start the shock again and say come (again, saying come again is debatable. I say it because I want to remind the dog of what is supposed to be happening). Never say come harshly or let on in any way that you are the one causing the shock. Remember, you are the good guy, the "safe zone."

In time, this worked for me. Sure, my male needs a refresher course now and then, but he pretty much obeys me when we are out, and he is not 2 years old. He got his first dose of the collar at about 6-7 months old, then I held off until he was about 9 months old. My female is a bit more aloof and has required a little more patience on my part while she matures. She has needed a slower introduction, but still along these same lines. I heavily use the "attention grabbing" exercise I described above that involves the good solid yank when she doesn't come. The collar is starting to make good sense to her now, and she is almost 8 months old. She is learning that I am her safe zone when the "come" command is announced.

Don't make a habit of working the collar too much in a day or calling the dog in from the same distance every time. Let them realize that they can get out a ways and it won't hurt them. They just need to know that they should come on command. They don't need to think that a certain distance away from you is always going to mean you call them back...that is, unless you want it that way. I don't.

For whatever reason, reinforcing the come command with the collar really helped me get my male's attention. It calmed him down. He would take off and never come back when we went squirrel hunting. I sometimes had to walk a good 500 yards to catch up to him so I could leash him. He was stubborn, but now he is extremely sharp and easy to teach. I taught him the "whoa" command in conjunction with the come command, and he will actually stop and wait for me if I tell him to. Not bad for a treedog.

I use higher stimulations for breaking a dog off trash. My dog like armadillos a lot, but I doubt he'll ever mess with them too much again.

Anyway, like I said, these are just my opinions and should be done at one's own risk. You've got to know your dog and only introduce a collar when it is ready, if it ever is ready. Some dogs probably just shouldn't have one. Use age and maturity and stubborness as a guage. Good luck.
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Old 01-18-2006, 07:30 PM
  #2  
Typical Buck
 
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Default RE: How I enforced training with a shock collar

thank you for writing this. i started my pup today on the collar. i didnt do to much and i think it was a good day. but after reading this i have some new ideas. thanks
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Old 01-18-2006, 08:59 PM
  #3  
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Default RE: How I enforced training with a shock collar

Excellent ! !-- Nothing that I disagree on at all.




.
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Old 01-18-2006, 11:12 PM
  #4  
Typical Buck
 
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Default RE: How I enforced training with a shock collar

Swosumike
Interesting. I personally wouldn't have used the collar until much later but she was already condition to the bark collars. Also, the places where I can let her run have alot of open areas where the dog can and will escape and end up on private property. The fines for that run around $250 so, I had to use an ecollar. Even so, I've been avoiding most until I'm absolutely positive I can retrieve her.

Besides doubling as a bark collar, the only time I've been using it is with the come command. This she knows real well as I've been teaching and reminding her of it every day since only a couple months old. The first real time I used it was when I saw her indecision, she was looking at me then back at the playfield then back at me etc. The collar won. LOL.

Anyway, that's a fine article you've written. Thanks.
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Old 01-19-2006, 11:00 AM
  #5  
 
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Default RE: How I enforced training with a shock collar

SWOSUMike....... very good write-up. i think it will help many guys get started. the only thing that i did disaggree with is buying a collar without a warning mode. we train beagles here and they can be about as hard headed as them come. when it is time for a correction we always warn first then shock. it only takes a few times and the only correction the dog needs is a warning. i pretty much think a collar without a warning mode is useless. there is no need to shock the dog when they don't jump at acommand. i guess everyone trains a differant way.
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Old 01-19-2006, 06:54 PM
  #6  
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Default RE: How I enforced training with a shock collar

ORIGINAL: missed_another

when it is time for a correction we always warn first then shock. there is no need to shock the dog when they don't jump at acommand. i guess everyone trains a differant way.
For me, the actual "come" command is my warning. If you say come then warn them, that gives them extra time to think about it. I prefer immediate compliance, but like you said everybody is different. I have a tone on my transmitter, but I use it as positive enforcement. I use it when the dog is doing well and I just want to remind them that I am nearby. I beep on it and they know it does not mean anything bad.

Thanks everybody for the replies. I hope somebody might be able to use some or all of it if they've been having some trouble.
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Old 01-19-2006, 07:04 PM
  #7  
Typical Buck
 
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Default RE: How I enforced training with a shock collar

well i did some work today. i had him inabout an acre fenced in area. and i let him run for a while to burn off his energy. then i said "here", warning beep, zap, zap,zap while saying here over and over. and he would turn and start coming to me and i didnt zap him then he would try to go another way then i zap him again till he came to my hand. i tell you what about 3 times of doing that he would come once i said "here" even when he was at the other end of the place and he couldnt see me, i yelled "here" and he came a runnin.. so i would say it was working pretty good. after the first time i turned it down a little now he dont need a high power just a low power..
missed another- the warning beep worked the 4th time just the beep and he came, after that it was just on the word..

now how long should i work w/ "here" before i use another command.. ionly want the collar for a few things not for everything. just whoa, and heel. which he knows just off leash he wont listen. so anyone want to give me a time frame i dont want to give him too much at first.
thanks
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Old 01-19-2006, 09:26 PM
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Default RE: How I enforced training with a shock collar

Hey PA, always remember, or what I always do when teaching, is command, nick, command. It re enforce the command. You keep teaching here, you will know when its ready to move on, gonna teach you a little, this will be called ....... dog reading 101, hahaha You will tell, promise, the fenced in area works nice don't it. Good call on reducing heat, if you have a nick, and a continuous, you can control the heat with a cont. nick, instead of a hot setting, and a split second nick, you can do a low setting, with a little bit longer cont. nick, I do this when I have a dog ready to start breaking from the chase or shot. Good work and posts, to all of you, you guys been paying attentionLater Jonesy
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Old 01-20-2006, 04:59 AM
  #9  
Typical Buck
 
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Default RE: How I enforced training with a shock collar

PAGobbler,
I don't know honestly. I've been thinking of just using it for here or come. Woah is something that isn'tcritical, ie. life threathening like near highways or roads. I would rather she come to me in those cases.

The reasons for this is that you want your dog to woah on point, for example. So, the dog's pointing thenhe starts creeping. Yougive a little nick to stop him. Well,either twothings canhappen, 1.He knows he suppose to stop; or 2.He thinks the bird is doing it to him. So, be very careful of when to use it.

Maybe in yard training it's okay. Thisis also my first time training with an ecollar. With yard training I do everything without the collar except for 'come' command as she is still getting use to it. But I really can't see the need to enforce the woah command. I would expect the dog to listen to it but, as I said, I can't think of any situation where it's life threatening. So, maybe jonsey will enlighten us .


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Old 01-20-2006, 08:59 AM
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Default RE: How I enforced training with a shock collar

PA GOBBLER....... that's the best thing you could have done is turn the power down. anytime the dog crys or whines the power is set to high. about all the power you need to do is break their train of thought. the warning mode really shines when you are out hunting and the dog can not hear you. because of leaves or wind etc. this will stop the unneccessary shocking.
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