Electronic collars (e-collars) or remote collars have been around for a long time now (sometimes they are also referred to as shock collars), it’s about time that we learn the tricks of their trade!
For those of you that don’t know what electronic collars are; a shock collar or remote training collar is any of a family of training collars that deliver electrical stimulation of varying intensity and duration to the neck of a dog via a radio-controlled electronic device incorporated into a dog collar.
Mostly shock collars sound inhumane? It very much isn’t! The shock delivered to your dog from this collar is perfectly safe!
While it is certainly enough to get Mr. Doggo’s attention and discourage bad behavior, it won’t do any lasting physical harm either. Maybe we are dog heaven, and electric collars are given to us as a treat!
Trainers of working dogs have been using them for ages to train them. These proved very useful in training pets as you could give your pet a command even when it’s nowhere near you! Wow…
However, the earlier versions of these collars weren’t exactly what we would call a ‘perfect deal’ when it comes to dog training. These had limited stimulation settings, plus, they weren’t gentle to the dog wearing them either! Yes, many dogs had to suffer because of these in their earlier days. Poor souls…
However, this limitation warranted for an evolution. And we got one! The collars available in the stores nowadays are gentle on your dog and have a great range of stimulation settings too! And these are extremely effective in training your little one too! Great training’s on the way!
You adopted the cutest doggo from the animal shelter, and you brought it home. You have planned the perfect life ahead for it and want to give it the world. And why wouldn’t you?!
But now it’s time to teach that cute little doggo some tricks. This way you’ll have some bonding time in addition to the well-trained cutie you’ll have at the end of the process!
Even though it’s your first time training a dog, you don’t want anything to go wrong in the process. You want it all and you want it now.
This is where these collars come into play. Yes, these collars are very effective in making your precious a well-behaved and well-trained pet!
But you don’t have an idea as to how you’ll ever make this possible (because it your first time).
But just today you found a four-leaf clover in your yard. What does that have to do with this? Well, it certainly does because today is your lucky day, mate!
Today, we are here to help you in training that tiny canine you brought from the shelter, and that too with an electronic collar!
So fasten your seat belts because you are in for a ride that is sure to thrill (and help) you!
Responding to myths – do electronic collars really give out shocks to your canine?
Yes, it is your first time using electronic collars and you are really concerned. And you should be! You don’t want anything that’s bad for your little one or something that might harm it, now do you? You want to give it a marvelous life, so your concerns are absolutely valid!
And you are not alone my friend – this is the number one concern for everyone around the world when it comes to these collars. And rightfully so! No one wants a harmful thing anywhere near their pet.
First, let us tell you that they are perfectly safe.
Don’t believe us and want to be absolutely sure (like a good dog parent). Well, you can try it out yourself!
What you can do is to hold the hold in your hand, and push the continuous stimulation button. It tickled? Yes this is the intensity of it, merely a tickle!
At level 1 of these collars (this where most of the doggo kingdom resides), this sensation is barely perceivable! Don’t laugh Mr.Doggo even if this makes you laugh!
To assure you even further, it’s essential to mention here that the nerve tissues in a human’s hand are much more sensitive than that of a dog’s. It almost does nothing to your jewel. Plus your dog has a thicker skin and a coat of fur to protect it. Talk about nature’s gift! Safety ensured!
But now you have another question – if it does nothing (or near to nothing) why do dogs respond to it which makes their training easier?
The answer to that is – the stimulation just annoys (just like tickling annoys us) your pet and does nothing more (no hurt, no harm!). Yes, it annoys them and they want it to end that’s why they respond. Aww, cute!
The sensation it gives off is very much similar to insects crawling on your skin. Yes, that is annoying. But that’s what is really is! Insects are an end-level annoyance!
Or some might even refer to it as like a vibration on your skin. Yes vibrations can get annoying too and all you want them is to stop. Think about your vibrating alarm to get an idea of what we are talking about! The same is the case with your pet, they want it to stop. And the right behavior causes it to stop! Doesn’t it sound like the perfectly crafted and planned training tool?
As pro trainer Bill Grimmer pointed out, a remote training collar is analogous to the seat belt beeper in your car. You get in, turn on the ignition, and if you don’t buckle up, the beeper goes off. It’s irritating, so you buckle up to turn it off. For most of us, we now buckle up without thought. That beeper has trained us.
So many examples to end your concerns! Even from a pro trainer, this really is your lucky day, your little one is in good hands.
How these collars are more effective than your traditional act and reward way?
The fundamentals of dog training are motivation and stimulation. You give your dog a stimulation, it responds to it, you like the response, you reward them for it to encourage them.
In planning and giving those stimulations you have to give your dog some expectations and plan a way to communicate with it (in a way that it understands). You need to reinforce your desired behavior!
Some people think that using e-collars involve too much authoritative behavior on behalf of the dog parent as ‘shocks’ are being used to force the right behavior. But this is not the case, and you know it. These collars are excellently engineered to not harm your pet in any way (duh!).
These collars create the most perfectly splendid means of communication with your little one. It guides them, it helps them and it trains them! It even prevents them from harming themselves in any way! Don’t we live in a little perfect world?!
Let’s accept it; training dogs can be an overly challenging task. They might get too excited, or too touched (or both of these at once!) when they see you (their trainer!). These remote collars also soothe your precious jewel and calms them down (when their calm is so required for an effective training session!).
These collars are so popular when it comes to training dogs as they help your doggo make the right decision. Yes, they really do! They provide your dog with a less intrusive way of learning (splendid!). That way, your dog really thinks that it was ITS own decision to do that particular act (just great!). HMM… Wise Mr.Doggo!
With these perfect packages on your hands (or paws!), you are in good hands (paws!). YOU ARE IN CONTROL! You are always in a position to comfortably give out and enforce a command.
However, you should know that just getting your dog to wear this and expecting it to do everything that you tell it to, it’s not realistic at ALL (HOW CAN IT BE?!). Training is long process that can take months, even with these collars around your pumpkin’s neck.
So there’s still some amount of hard work that you’ll need to do to in order to train your cookie with these collars!
With this knowledge, we are good to move on to the next step! Neat!
Training your cutie with an electronic collar
Before you start training your pumpkin with an electronic collar, you must assure that it already knows some basic commands.
You can use the old school act and reward strategy to achieve this. Reward them as soon as they listen to your command and you are good to go! These cuties love nothing more than a well-deserved reward for them being a good boy. WOOF!
The basic commands can be anything. They can be commands to stay, sit, come or roll over. These are just the basics that your dogs need to know, once taught you are good to proceed with this training!
Sometimes these are also referred to as ‘obedience commands’. Yes, they make your dog look an obedient and a well behaved child!
These obedience commands are absolutely a MUST! Yes this point is of high emphasis. Do not start training your dog if it doesn’t know these basic obedience commands. We repeat – DO NOT! It will only make it hard for you and your pup will have no idea why it’s getting a tickle from its collar! Poor, annoyed doggo!
Still can’t get your dog to learn these basic obedience commands? Don’t worry you can have someone else teach these to your little one! Talk about a lucky day!
What you can do if this is your case is that you can get a professional trainer! Yes, you read that right! There are professionals available who can really teach some neat tricks to your sweetheart! Yes, this is a profession and many people all over the world hire these people to get their doggo going! Charming!
After ensuring this you can move on to collar conditioning!
No, it does not in any way means that you need to use your hair conditioner on the remote collar before putting it on your pet! But what does it really mean?!
Well, Collar Conditioning is the reinforcement of a command the dog already knows, like “Sit” or “Stay”. Collar Conditioning is not used to punish the dog but only to teach. Once you reinforce the commands the dog already knows then you can use the collar to correct that action! Big brain time!
Okay, now we know what collar conditioning is, but how do we get our hands on it?
Well, that’s easy! It had started even before you put that remote collar on your pooch! Yes, that’s right! You already have your hands deep in the process!
The most important step in effective collar conditioning is that you need your dog to accept the collar. Mr.Doggo we beg you to like this newly brought collar!
You need to make your canine accept that collar and consider it nothing more than its usual outfit. They need to understand that when the day has begun, they HAVE to put it on! Their day shouldn’t start without it.
Your dog needs to like it and associate it with its regular walk, its exciting play time and its every other activity during the day. Yes, that’s it, you need your dog to get used to wearing the collar all day every day. Your pup shouldn’t think that it has some foreign object hanging around its neck! Don’t worry Mr.Doggo, you’ll definitely like the collar we brought you!
You can even write your doggo’s name and your name and address (in case it gets lost) on the collar. Wonderful!
These collars are an absolute blessing when it comes to doggo training. They do not need their power to be left turned on all day. You only need it when you really need it!
That’s true, switch them on only when you want to train your little gremlin or to enforce a command. When those wholesome training hours are over, you can turn them these collars off. Cheers to control and convenience!
Now we move on to the most important bit in training your canine pet using these collars. Heart racing already? Sit back and relax, we have got it all covered!
When using these collars you need to set them up on an appropriate stimulation setting that suits your sweetie the most.
The lowest setting is barely even perceptible to human hands (and remember that a dog’s nerve tissues are much less sensitive than that of a human). If your dog does not respond to the lowest setting, go on a level further. Still no response? Maybe the next level will get it going.
Go on with this process until your dog starts responding to the sensation and in no time you will get your desired response. Yay! Mr.Doggo, we just found the right sensation for you!
The sensation should be set at a level that your dog understands. This will help you communicate more effectively with your pet during those long and tiring training sessions. Heavenly!
While adjusting that collar around your dog’s neck you should also make sure that the contact points beneath the collar are touching your dog’s skin (what use would they be if not?!).
The collars shouldn’t be too tight either (doesn’t mean they should be loose). If the collars are over tightened over your little one’s neck, it can lead to muscular strain and you don’t want your baby to suffer because of you! Poor souls…
Trying slipping your fingers beneath the collar (between the collar and your dog’s fur) to find the perfect fit. A good rule of thumb is that if you can fit two fingers beneath the collar, it’s a good fit. Three fingers underneath the collar probably means that it is too loose, and the contact points are not touching the skin. One finger mean it’s too tight!
Once you are done with setting the collar up, make sure that the stimulation setting that you have chosen for your brownie shouldn’t result in your pup yelping from pain. Work up all the way from the lowest setting, to find the right one!
The selected stimulation level should only annoy your precious and not hurt it in any way. Your pup should only think of it as an annoying insect crawling on its neck and nothing more! Say no to painful encounters!
Another sign besides a yelp that might mean that the selected stimulation level is a ‘no go’ for your pup is that its ears might go down or perhaps it might tuck its tail beneath its body. TURN IT DOWN IF YOU SEE ANY OF THESE SIGNS!
Dogs sometimes hide pain and act all unbothered and strong because it’s in their nature. They don’t want to show themselves as vulnerable, this is what makes selecting the right sensation hard. What you CAN do is look for any signs that your dog is in pain, and turn the stimulation down! Be careful!
If your dog shows any signs of discomfort or pain even on the lowest setting, please stop using these collars. You can’t possibly want this for yourself so why would you want it for your dog best friend! Be considerate!
Listening to the command, yes sir!
The basic understanding of training your dog with an electronic collar is that the sensation (or annoyance) drifts off (maybe to the valley beyond) as soon your precious one listens to your command and does what it has been asked to do.
The best way of teaching and making a trick or act permanent in your dog’s memory is by reinforcing it again and again. And the way to achieve this with an electronic collar is to turn off the sensation when it has performed the said act.
But remember – in order to reinforce this with a remote collar, your dog should already know the command (as we have mentioned earlier). It should have an idea of what is being asked of it!
Let’s say we have to reinforce the ‘come’ command.
What we can do over here is that, tie a rope or cord (it should be long enough, say 20 feet) around your pup’s neck like a leash collar (be sure that it doesn’t compromise the contact points of the collar!). Now give your sweetie a ‘sit’ command, if it doesn’t sit, it means it lacks some basic training, the only way to move forward here is to move backwards (teaching it how to sit first!). Shucks!
If you have proved yourself as a successful trainer and your poodle is already sitting, back off a little bit from it (let’s say 10 to 15 feet). Now give them the ‘come’ command while at the same time stimulating it with the collar. Make sure your command has some excitement and spirit to it! SHOUT IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!
What to do next? Well, guide them of course! Take the rope in your hands and slowly guide them towards you (stimulating them and shouting out the command at the same time). When they almost reach you, stop the sensation, for your little one has been an excellent boy!
This is the behavior you so wanted and this is the behavior you got! Tell them what a good little sweetheart they have been (you can even reward them)!
The gist of this training lies on the principle that your naughty one just wants to turn the annoyance off and it learns that it only happens when they obey a command. They know that listening equals no annoyance and unwanted sensations. They apply this theory and perform the desired act. So clever!
Now you need to repeat this process again and again until your dog really learns the tricks of the trade. Perhaps try it in a different environment now. Maybe a playground or a park (somewhere with more distractions and noises). This way this training embeds even deeper inside your dog’s mind.
The real purpose of using the rope as a leash is that sometimes your dog might outrun the signal range from the remote and learn that the annoyance has stopped just by running off to somewhere else. This is not the behavior you want! The leash ensures that it couldn’t run anywhere else and the only way to stop the sensation is to obey your command. Mr.Doggo, we are smarter than you (sadly)!
When not to use the this collar
Let’s accept that, these collars are powerful tools. They make your training easier while at the same time can help to eliminate any unwanted behavior. You can even give out commands from a distance with these collars on your hands! They are just great when it comes to human-pet interaction!
Yes, they are a blessing but some people might abuse them. Yes, some people really do abuse these collars which beats the real purpose of these. They were meant for training not hurting these poor souls (for God’s sake)!
People sometimes turn the stimulation to such a high level that it is no longer a mere annoyance. It starts to hurt them! They don’t deserve that. If they do not respond to you command it does not in any way mean that it’s your dog’s fault. Maybe it was your training that wasn’t effective.
Learn where you went wrong or start all over again and you’ll surely make some progress.
Furthermore, you need to keep these out from the reach of your children. Your child may just think of it as a toy and stimulate your dog every now and then. Your child’s play can result in your dog’s pain. It doesn’t mean that it’s your child’s fault, but it’s not your dog’s fault either! Don’t let it be yours by not keeping these away from your child!
This was just a basic tutorial in teaching you how to teach your dogs to listen to your commands using an e-collar. But the sky’s the limit! You can use it in any way that you want to use it for your dog’s training. Be creative!
But remember that you don’t need to go overboard with these collars. You don’t need to use them too often or for your own benefit.
Everything looks good in moderation and it really is! Don’t exert your precious little pet too much with these collars.
Every dog is different in its own beautiful way (just like us humans). Some dogs are easier to train than others, but this doesn’t in any way mean that they won’t learn what you are trying them to teach. It just takes time and patience is the key here!
Don’t be too rude or mean to your diamond if they don’t do well today, maybe tomorrow’s your big day. Don’t give up on them!
Dogs are beautiful and they deserve everything in this whole wide world for loving you caring for you. Someone wise once said “A dog is a man’s best friend.” And no dog parent can deny this statement without being biased. We mean the world to them, why shouldn’t they mean the world to us?
While training your dog, don’t let the failure today dishearten you. While training a dog can be a difficult task, it also gives a whole lot of time to bond with your pet. This nourishes your relationship and they start trusting you even more. They have such pure hearts!
Having these collars around best friend’s neck, never stimulate them more than they can take. They should feel a sensation, that’s it! A SENSATION AND NOTHING MORE! We are here to just tickle them!