Electronic Dog Collars
"The Shocking Truth"

Dog Training Resources - K9 Training Specialist

No topic in the dog training world sparks more heated and divisive debate than the “Electronic Dog Collar” or the e-collar.

After 30 years of training, I can honestly say the e-collar is the greatest dog training invention ever. It is also the worst training tool ever. I don’t mean to sound indecisive, but that truly is how it is. For people trained in its proper use, it is an invaluable tool. Those who don’t have experience with it can ruin a dog very quickly.

You have the group that takes the politically correct position on one side. That position in today’s dog training world is to be against e-collars or any other perceived form of “Punishment,” either “Positive” or “Negative,” as defined by the Skinnerian Operant Conditioning model. The truth is that the E-Collar is just another training tool, as is the leash, the martingale, or the Halti headcollar.

“Punishment” in the Operant Conditioning model is defined as adding or removing something that will make a behavior less likely to occur. Unfortunately, this group associates the e-collar with a form of punishment with an ugly, inhuman connotation. The e-collar, however, delivers no harsher a correction than an exhausted mother bitch nipping at a persistently rude puppy.

Today the internet is fraught with members of this group made up of mostly “clicker” and “treat” trainers who advertise their “100% Positive training” to clients who don’t want to punish their dogs in any way. These trainers often are very successful with this marketing approach. However, they either are not being honest or are not knowledgeable about their training methods. By definition, punishment is a penalty inflicted on an offender or the loss of something desired as retribution. Consider this then: during this 100% positive training method, when “Spot” is denied a treat for not sitting, is he not being punished? Just saying!

It is human nature to knock or disparage what is not understood. Most so-called “Positive” trainers have not trained themselves in the proper use of the e-collar. They are not familiar with the tremendous benefits, which leads to their negative outlook on the e-collar based on lack of knowledge. Interestingly enough, most will support electric fences but not the e-collar when they both work on the identical premise.

On the other dog training hand is the group that has seen the benefits and understands the usefulness of the e-collar. However, this group is not without its subset of people who don’t know how to use the e-collar or rely excessively correctly on it; most e-collar users have successfully incorporated it into their training regimen.

Professional hunting dog trainers like Ronnie Smith, George Wilcox, and Jim & Phyllis Dobbs, to name a few, have been successfully using e-collars for many, many years. I am sure they would back me up when I state that if you don’t know how to use an e-collar, don’t use it until you get proper direction.

The e-collar gives you many benefits, such as long-distance control, which can’t be gained from any other training tool, and the ability to perfect your timing in certain situations. The e-collar is super effective when dealing with specific behavioral issues. Take unwanted “digging,” for example. When used properly, the dog does not associate the stimulation with the handler but instead with the undesirable act of digging, thus correcting the behavior.

In conclusion, the one thing that all trainers should agree on is that a lack of understanding, knowledge, or exposure to specific training tools should not lead to a premature evaluation of its effectiveness. The E-Collar is no different.

For any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Jorge A. Fleming with K9-Training Specialist, LLC in Maryland at 301-980-2204 or through our contact form.

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