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I started training my german/husky, Anubis, for about 5 months now as it was recommended by a dog trainer a while ago. I placed him on a training and board program while I was away for 2 weeks and on the second week they began training him with the shock collar. For me personally it was worked as long as I have been using it in a non-hurtful manner for my pup but I would like to know what you guys think about it, or if you have ever tried it?
 

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Nope, not for me. Shock collars work by causing discomfort, is the long and short of it - otherwise the correction would not reduce the 'bad' behavior. I, personally, don't want a relationship with my dog where I'm causing them deliberate discomfort on a regular basis. I feel this way about physical corrections in general; I've found it much more straightforward and effective to teach my dogs what I want them to do rather than punishing them when they do something I don't want.

They're also unforgiving tools. If you have poor timing or are inexperienced, or even if your dog is just particularly sensitive, it's too easy to attach negative emotional states to the wrong stimulus. Say your dog sees another dog, gets excited, and pulls. You correct for the pulling, but in the dog's mind, they now think other dogs cause the discomfort. Next time they react more strongly, pulling and barking to get the other dog to go away so the uncomfortable thing doesn't happen again. It unfortunately happens a lot with poorly applied corrective training measures.

I do believe that there are people out there who can and do use them in a humane and effective fashion. I'm not going to come here and claim that anyone who uses one is abusive or evil or anything silly like that. But the risk/benefit tradeoff for me just isn't worth it. I have limited experience, but I've yet to come across a situation with my dogs where I've felt a physical correction was more appropriate or effective than a less invasive training technique. One of those choices everyone has to make for themselves, I suppose.

Well, let me amend that. There are a very few situations I'd consider using one, but they're literally life or death. Think training snake avoidance when you live in an area with venomous snakes coming onto your property, or training a hunting dog to leave livestock alone when an indiscretion could get them shot by a farmer. Like I said, I haven't had to make that choice for my dogs yet, but that's where I'd consider it.
 

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Put the collar on yourself, give yourself a shock, and see if you still think it can be used in a "non-hurtful" way. (Yes, I did it and know the answer.)

My own opinion is that they may occasionally be necessary for an older, hard-headed dog from a tough breed, but none of my dogs from tough breeds has ever or will ever get to that point, and I bet dedicated trainers never need them.

If I ever put my dog in 2-week training and board program, and they used a shock collar without my explicit, in-writing permission (which they wouldn't get), I'd be raising holy he!!, reporting them to every authority I could and giving them awful reviews on every review site I could, but that's me.

You need a trainer who can show you how to train and deal with your own dog. If you can't do that, training done by someone else isn't going to hold up. A dog that obeys Person A is perfectly capable of realizing Person B is a wuss and ignoring Person B. Of course if Person B has been given a magic button that can case pain....
 

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Not repeatable in polite company.

On the other hand, other people routinely use it, and wouldn't train any other way.

There are some situations where if can be a decent solution, but only when the dog has already been trained, and the e-collar is there just to back up that training.
 

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NO WAY in H377!!!!!

Find another training facility. Pull your dog out of that immediately and throw away the shock collar.

Too many studies have confirmed that adversive training has a long lasting negative impact.

The first most crucial step in training, IMHO, is earning the dog's trust. Then you can begin bonding with the dog and learning how to train that specific individual dog. What technique works for my dog, may not work for your dog. A technique that works for a particular breed may not work on another breed. You need to find the learning key for your dog.

How do you earn trust with a steady supply of pain????

Would you apply a shock collar to your child to get them to learn or obey???? Dogs have the cognitive level of a 2-5 year old child.

I have similar admonition for idiots who strike or beat the dog. Sorry, this is a ZERO tolerance item for me. There is no need for such action.
 

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I started training my german/husky, Anubis, for about 5 months now as it was recommended by a dog trainer a while ago. I placed him on a training and board program while I was away for 2 weeks and on the second week they began training him with the shock collar. For me personally it was worked as long as I have been using it in a non-hurtful manner for my pup but I would like to know what you guys think about it, or if you have ever tried it?
Shock Collars are illegal in Australia for a reason, I wouldn't listen to this trainer, look for a new trainer who rewards good behaviour & doesn't punish the dog, the dog may end up suffering with anxieties & be useless in the end...
 

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I’m sorry someone gave you such poor advice! However, You’ve got your answers above. I agree with everyone. You could not pay me enough to use a shock collar on my dogs, ever. There are too many long term side effects that can damage the dog. Dogs love us unconditionally and love to please. There’s no need to use aversive techniques.
Putting the collar on yourself still isn’t the same. Try wearing it and having someone else shock you when you’re not expecting it. That’s more accurate.
They are also banned in most of Europe.
Also what happens if the dog is off the collar or the batteries die - did they show you how to actually train the dog or just shock the dog?
Read this from AVSAB for a more in depth explanation of why you shouldn’t be using these methods or collars.
 

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66. Nice article. It really clarifies the use of Negative Punishment with Positive Reinforcement. It also clarifies the adverse and the potential impact on the pet.
 

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A shock collar should only be used when the dog PERFECTLY understands what is expected of them in every single situation. It takes more than 5 months for a dog to perfectly understand any sort of training, really. Personally, I don't think the average dog owner needs to or knows how to properly use a shock collar without negative side effects. There's usually a hundred other ways to teach the dog what is expected of them without resorting to the shock collar or discomfort, and the positive reinforcement methods typically improve your relationship with your dog rather than make him fear you.

I think there are some situations where a shock collar is warranted, but you better make darn sure you know what you're doing and know the dog in front of you. Your corrections should be perfectly timed, and incredibly clear.

For normal, everyday dog training I really don't think a shock collar is necessary, and I would run far away from any trainer who used a shock collar for basic obedience training. It indicates they really don't have many tools in their tool box.
 

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Lillith.....a question based on your statement. "......,but you better make darn sure you know what you're doing....."

How would a person know?

I am not able to know what I don't know. Because if I knew, then I would already know.......

it is circular thinking.

Either way....Shock collar has ZERO tolerance in my world for any training.
 

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up selling at it's worse... guess you need the extra factory coating on your car too.. I've been around dogs,done my own dogs and I can fill out a form and answers questions on a piece of paper and get a dog trainer certificate.. Doesn't make me a real trainer the best trainer for you to entrust your dog with me when your not there to see what I am doing to them. Those are nightmare stories..... Dog trainers don't need shock collars..... Best trainers are the ones that value you training your dog with their guidance...
 

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I use a Tri-tronics Pro 500 on my dog and I am soon to get a E Collar Technologies Pro 900 Double box. I have used an e collar to train for a number of years. That said, the E Collar is not a tool for every dog or every handler and every situation.

Here is what you need to know. First of all, most people use it wrong. Most trainers not in Gun dogs or high level driven competition dogs don't know how to use it. Be aware of this. Also understand that the simulation frequency (mgHZ) is different between different brands of e collar and the choice of e collar needs to be paired with the dog's temperament. For my last dog the Tritronics was best. I have tried the E Collar I am soon to get and my dog is much more responsive to it and it actually increases his drive. My last dog was better paired with the Tritronics stim. If I could describe the difference, one is like a slow poke with a finger (Tritronics) the other is more like a buzz. In a dog that is already very driven and UP all the time, the poke is better than the buzz. For the dog that is is less on tip of toes all the time the buzz is better. That is the best way I can describe it in a short paragraph. NEITHER COLLAR SHOULD BE USED IN A MANNER THAT CAUSES THE DOG TO VOCALAIZE. EVER.

The E collar is impersonal. It can be much clearer than other corrections. Collar corrections are very personal and that can mess with your relationship with the dog. Corrections are not an immediate "go to" in training. Some dogs need no more correction than you clearing your throat. Both temperament and drive level as well as educational level in the dog determine the correction needed IF AT ALL.

So, before you ever use ANY form of correction the dog should be well trained. This is a long process. It means proofing the training in at least 20 new places. It means training every other day. It means that no matter where you are (inside at home, in your back yard or anywhere else) the dog UNDERSTANDS your cue. Period. BEFORE your correct in ANY manner at all.

Most pet dogs are not High Drive dogs. Most are not worked IN drive. Most DO NOT UNDERSTAND the cue outside of their home and back yard. These dogs are not up for correction. This is a key concept regardless of what you are training. Most pet dogs do not need an e collar unless they do a lot of off leash walking in wild areas and they have been trained to match the stim with recall. Most of these dogs rarely get a stim.. because they have been trained but the handler has it should a deer pop up etc.

Now, in IGP (formerly Schutzhund and then IPO) the dogs are high drive. When a dog is in HIGH DRIVE and they THOROUGHLY understand what is being cued, they sometimes need a correction to keep them on point and responsive to verbal cues. My current dog is coming 3 in March. He just started getting E collar stims this fall. Honestly? Very little and very low setting during obedience. During protection when his drive is different he MIGHT need one stim (a bit higher than during obedience) to remind him but most of the time NOT. The collar is on more as a "better to have and not need than to need and not have."

I find that the e collar has helped to make things much more clear to my dog. I ask to "out" the ball and he knows what that means but sometimes his drive is so high.. and he likes the ball sooooo much.. that "out" needs a very low level stim (the dog should NEVER EVER YELP when stimmed) to remind him that yes, he must still out the ball. IF he must be stimmed and he outs, he IMMEDIATELY gets the ball back. Then the next Out without a stim he AGAIN IMMEDIATELY gets the ball back. The object is to teach him that he does not always LOSE the prize when he "outs" it. The object is to NOT NEED the stim. This is in a dog that has been taught out with the trade game since he was 8 weeks old. He is now coming 3 years.

Same with the decoy. He comes into the blind and gets dirty (means he bites when the decoy is neutral and the dog should just bark and that is actually an instinct behavior because the prey is still and neutral) (after being taught correct distance using a platform and a long line) he will get a stim.. and the minute he barks clean the decoy rewards with a bite and slipping the sleeve. Some dogs (mine) simply never get dirty in the blind. Others don't "out" when on the decoy and the handler says "Out." A stim is far kinder and clearer with less conflict than the old school method of the handler or decoy choking the dog off! (Of course there are a LOT of reasons why a dog won't "out" on a decoy but that is not this discussion) (my dog outs.. has never needed a reminder).

So there is what I think about E collars and some basics on how I use them. They are NOT an every day tool (even if my current dog wears it every day).

I get maligned on this forum for talking about e collars and for using them. I do not use them on every dog and not every dog needs an e collar.

Most non sport dog people I see using an e Collar use them incorrectly.

Most people who have never used them do not understand anything about them but "think they know." If they have seen them used they probably saw them used incorrectly.
 

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Lillith.....a question based on your statement. "......,but you better make darn sure you know what you're doing....."

How would a person know?

I am not able to know what I don't know. Because if I knew, then I would already know.......

it is circular thinking.

Either way....Shock collar has ZERO tolerance in my world for any training.
I'm pretty sure most people don't know what they're doing when they resort to a shock collar. And those who do most likely only use it when all other options are exhausted, or they are proofing something important like recall, where a dog ignoring the command may result in injury.

But if you're thinking a shock collar is a good training option for your dog getting into garbage or being exuberant around stimulus, you probably don't know what you're doing.
 

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I'm pretty sure most people don't know what they're doing when they resort to a shock collar. And those who do most likely only use it when all other options are exhausted, or they are proofing something important like recall, where a dog ignoring the command may result in injury.

But if you're thinking a shock collar is a good training option for your dog getting into garbage or being exuberant around stimulus, you probably don't know what you're doing.
THIS. Because first and foremost MOST do not understand DRIVES in a dog and then MOST do not understand the DRIVE IN THE DOG IN FRONT OF THEM.

I know AKC Obedience handlers who have used shock collars to reduce drive. You know what happens then in a drivey dog? The drive is NOT reduced.. it simply is suppressed and it will come out in another manner that is a lot worse than simple exuberance.

The trick is to understand DRIVE and learn to USE DRIVE to get results. Most people with pets (and often a LOT of people in AKC Obedience) don't want drive because drive causes them to need to WORK with the dog. They want to suppress drive.. and that is a mess. Agility trainers are better.. they will channel drive into work and, if they are clear, get results.

If all you want the e collar for is to eliminate behavior and exuberence because you cannot come up with a better way to set the dog up for success I strongly suggest the dog be returned to the shelter or previous owner and you go get a stuffed toy dog at the local store.
 

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When you are training a pet, a companion dog, and you use a shock collar, aversive methods, or positive punishment, then you may reduce the trust in your relationship. You may improve obedience, but you may also decrease confidence, independence, and trust. It is difficult to see the damage in the relationship.

But you may be able to compare a non-aversely trained dog to a shock collar trained dog and see a happier dog with more personality and more trust, especially with the owner. You may not notice what's missing in the shock collar trained family pet, except by comparison.

I like the way that 3GSD4IPO and Lillith made the distinctions for use AND avoidance of the use for shock collars!
 

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When you are training a pet, a companion dog, and you use a shock collar, aversive methods, or positive punishment, then you may reduce the trust in your relationship. You may improve obedience, but you may also decrease confidence, independence, and trust. It is difficult to see the damage in the relationship.

But you may be able to compare a non-aversely trained dog to a shock collar trained dog and see a happier dog with more personality and more trust, especially with the owner. You may not notice what's missing in the shock collar trained family pet, except by comparison.

I like the way that 3GSD4IPO and Lillith made the distinctions for use AND avoidance of the use for shock collars!
I will add that there are times when pet dogs need correction. A simple correction can make things much more clear for the dog. EVERY correction needs to be immediately followed with a reward system that is 3 times "bigger" than the correction.

Again we go back to clarity. Dogs LIKE black and white and they like boundaries that we set that are consistent and CLEAR. IF a correction is delivered and must be repeated more then twice then it is ineffective. This means the dog either does not understand what was asked OR the correction level or timing was incorrect.

Positive punishment and aversives improperly delivered (bad timing or to a dog that does NOT understand) can damage your relationship with your dog. Being unclear can do the same thing. Corrections delivered in the right circumstance can actually improve your relationship with the dog if they are delivered fairly and are clear and allow the dog to get what he wants.

IOW's as an example you have trained the dog to focus on you in heeling. You have a competition focused heel in numerous places. But the dog finds he can sometimes break focus and look around. At first you reward when he looks back at you after breaking focus.. but eventually the dog learns that breaking focus and looking back he gets what he wants (reward). His break in focus becomes more frequent as it is how he gets what he wants (reward upon bringing focus back to you). THIS is where you add the correction. A low stim when he looks away and STILL reward when he looks back. The stim correction lets him know that looking away is unacceptable. After a couple of correction stims he stops looking away.. and then you can reward for duration heeling at any point (I use trial markers.. such as always rewarding after the second gun shot, always after the group and so forth which is pattern training) (I also reward randomly for good work such as a snappy movement of the hind end doing a sharp left turn). The dog learns the reward comes at certain times but can come also come at any time.. so paying attention and being focused he gets what he wants (the reward).

Training dogs is NOT hard. We make it hard by trying to verbalize what we want and expecting dogs to act like kids. Dogs are non verbal beings and must be trained a LOT and in different places/settings and they are not kids. If we paid more attention to the dog and its dog like behavior and shut out mouths and allowed our dogs to BE dogs they would be much happier.
 

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IOW's as an example you have trained the dog to focus on you in heeling. You have a competition focused heel in numerous places. But the dog finds he can sometimes break focus and look around. At first you reward when he looks back at you after breaking focus.. but eventually the dog learns that breaking focus and looking back he gets what he wants (reward). His break in focus becomes more frequent as it is how he gets what he wants (reward upon bringing focus back to you). THIS is where you add the correction. A low stim when he looks away and STILL reward when he looks back. The stim correction lets him know that looking away is unacceptable. After a couple of correction stims he stops looking away.. and then you can reward for duration heeling at any point (I use trial markers.. such as always rewarding after the second gun shot, always after the group and so forth which is pattern training) (I also reward randomly for good work such as a snappy movement of the hind end doing a sharp left turn). The dog learns the reward comes at certain times but can come also come at any time.. so paying attention and being focused he gets what he wants (the reward).
Rather than resorting to physical correction, a skillful trainer will use "loss of opportunity for reinforcement" as a mechanism to get the desired result.

IOW's, for those who may be unfamiliar with the concept. During training, let's say the objective or end goal is for the dog to go through the entire heeling routine before receiving his reward. So, at whatever point when the dog breaks focus (for example - forward, left turn, slow speed, normal speed, about turn <dog breaks focus>), he is perhaps given an NRM at the exact instant of the look away, the handler/ dog engagement is subsequently 'broken off' and the dog is returned to the very beginning of the exercise, in this case the start line. IE: loss of opportunity for reinforcement. During the second attempt, if the dog makes it to a point anywhere past the aforementioned about turn without looking away, then the verbal marker "yes" plus reward plus release is immediately given. Third attempt, a bit further, progressively ... and so on and so forth until the entire heeling routine can be completed with unfailing focus. Whereby a release plus mega-jackpot is given and a huge loving fuss is made.

This is clear communication without ANY need for physical, potentially damaging corrections. This is what I like to call skillful training.
 

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To add to my above comments. In that example, I'm certainly going to recognize the dog's difficulty with the about turn portion because IMO he's giving me some usable information there. Therefore I'm going to break that down into a much smaller component - the about turn itself - and practice * whatever it is he's struggling with *, separately, in order to build a considerable amount of value into it. IE: two or three steps of heeling, about turn without breaking focus, REWARD (at various micro-points during the about turn), release. ... Repeat, repeat, repeat. Then, once he is proficient, add it back in with the rest of the heeling routine.

Again, skillful -- and thoughtful -- training. Without the so-called "need" for corrections.
 

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Shock/prong collar are banned here in Australia, for good reason.. Any trainer worth their salt would NEVER recommend painful/negative training methods. If they need to resort to using these tools then they are a useless trainer, and should not be in the field!
 
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