Unfortunately, there is still much misinformation in the public domain about the use of shock collars (or as more properly called remote training collars) in the training of pet dogs. I find many clients have already bought a shock collar before our training appointment. However, it is usually a sub standard type of collar – meaning a collar with only a few levels like 7 versus 100+ that offers more versatility and smaller increases between the levels. With more levels, one can truly use the lowest level to get their dog’s attention without causing pain.
Clients who had bought the collars without instruction were desperate and didn’t know what else to do to train their dog by themselves. Because the collars don’t come with adequate training instruction, many folks train their dog incorrectly using it at a too high of level, thus, as a punishment tool or give up and put it in their kitchen drawer not wanting to hurt their dog.
With proper instruction, a high quality remote training collar such as a Dogtra brand, is an excellent training tool for pet dogs. Used at a “just right level” (felt by the dog but not cause pain), it acts as a communication tool between you and your dog. When your dog has learned basic commands such as sit, down, come, stay and place using motivational rewards (such as praise, food and/or toys), your dog is ready for remote collar training. Adding this final dimension to your training program will improve reliability in performance.
Many owners want off leash control of their dog. Praise/food/toys may not be rewarding enough to your dog to persuade him/her to come away from other more stimulating rewards the environment has to offer such as chasing birds, squirrels and cars to name a few. With a tap of a button, an owner is able to virtually reach out and get their dog’s attention without causing pain or being the “bad guy”.
Case in point, recently, I was biking my adopted dog Sonic, a high drive Belgian Malinois for the first time. He knows his basic commands and is remote collar literate as well. I initially didn’t place the remote collar on him. He heels very nicely and does not chase moving objects during walks. However, very soon, I learned he thought chasing moving cars was a new Olympic sport. He never did that during slower walks. With his strength and determination, he was able to drag me and the bike toward moving cars. What should had been a fun bike ride had quickly turned into a potentially life threatening situation for him and I.
So since I had already trained him on a remote collar system, I placed the Dogtra unit back on him. With a couple of taps paired with the heel command, he immediately stopped trying to chase cars and happily ran along my side for a very enjoyable hour bike run. There was no pain for him, just a simple tap as a reminder to “heel” instead of chase. Now this “Sonic Boom” (hence his name Sonic) Malinois can safely go on long endurance runs which will help to exhaust his over-the-top energy level.
For more information about remote collar training visit: http://michigandogtraining.me/category/remote-training-collar/ and The Truth About Shock Collars.