The most successful foundation of basic pet obedience between handler and dog is taught best through the leash. The leash is our means of communication to teach the dog how to follow leadership, respect correction, and build trust. Once you have achieved a relationship and developed an understanding with your dog over time, then you are ready to overlay an off-leash electric tool. Rushing these critical steps will only cause mistrust, confusion, and conflict in your training.
Compare it to raising children. We spend 18 years laying a foundation in the hopes that when our children turn into adults and experience freedom that they will have the discipline to make the right choices. Please don’t set your young dogs up for failure by rushing maturity and cutting corners. You do this by using your electric collar too soon before teaching them what you are asking. A dog rushed through electronic collar teaching is only suppressed by the tool.
If a trainer needs an electric collar to teach a sit, down, heel, or stay command, then they are not taking the time to build a relationship and connect with the dog’s mind. Creating a partnership based on mutual respect is a process. Do not expedite your tools in dog training out of convenience. The maturity of the dog is a critical key in creating reliability on the leash. Nothing is wrong with having your future goal with your dog to be trusted off-leash one day. There will be a day when I don’t hold my toddler’s hand while we cross a busy street, but until then, I will happily keep her safe.
The definition of trust is “the reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” That trust in dog training should be built through relationship, consistency, and learning from mistakes. Remember, the definition of maturity is “the process of completing natural growth and development,” and neither trust or maturity happens overnight.
You might think so far that I am opposed to an electric collar, but quite the contrary. When taught and used correctly, electric collars are a fantastic tool in dog training. Here is my idea of the correct way an off-leash electric collar is used successfully in obedience training:
When you have invested the time into teaching obedience on the leash.
Once your dog is fluent in the reliability of the commands is when you should start overlaying the electric collar in training. This is to be precisely paired, so the dog understands that correction is a correction, whether leash or the stimulation of the e collar. We can prove to the dog that we don’t need a leash on you to be able to follow up with corrections. Now we are bridging the gap between on and off-leash training.
Here are 5 ways The Doghouse uses an electric collar when training a pet dog:
1. The best use in pet training for an e collar is for the off-leash “come” command.
Having an electric collar should always be compared to having an invisible leash connected to you and your dog. This trust creates freedom for both of you, and it’s a beautiful thing. You can confidently play ball in a field, allow your dog to explore away from you, and have peace of mind that if your prey driven dog chased after a cat, you could recall them.
2. The vibrate function on the collar serves as a great pager!
If your dog gets easily distracted on scents, you have acres of property, or you need your dog to “check-in,” this is perfect for you. When I take my lab swimming, and she gets too far for my comfort, a quick vibrate reminds her of my boundaries. Remember, you have to teach this function to your dog.
3. Family’s that have their hands full (literally with kids) can benefit from using an electric collar.
A dog knows when we get distracted, and that’s the perfect opportunity for them to test the boundaries. Electric collars give the ability for an adult to correct the dog from a distance rather than having to go to the dog and give a leash correction.
4. Clients who have weakened hand strength can find the electric collar helpful.
The good thing about correctly overlaying an electric collar into your training is because we don’t determine the correction level, the dog goes. We base the scale on what the dog perceives is enough correction to alter the dog’s behavior. Having the remote with the levels lets us know if we need to go up or down on the intensity, and sometimes a client doesn’t have the dexterity to give a proper correction on the leash.
5. Consistency in different locations.
Sometimes the more stimulating an environment, the higher the correction, but knowing your dog’s correction levels makes handling a strong-willed dog much more manageable. You take the fight out of training. It’s not about whos stronger but instead having consistency.
Those are my top reasons for overlaying an electric collar in pet dog training. Maturity and consistency are still the best strategies for creating reliable obedience with your dog. A correctly taught electric collar can serve as a safety net and an invisible leash in this crazy, unpredictable world. It allows you to keep your dog safe, and you relaxed no matter where you are.
If you need help overlaying an electric collar in your training contact us at The Doghouse, LLC