I just got the 1700 from you and I found my own working level like you said on your website and I think that was great advice because it takes the fear out of the tool knowing when the stim starts. I first felt the stim at level 14 on the Dogtra 1700 NCP. I could go up into the 20's before I didn't like it anymore. My two year old daughter did it also and she was giggling on level 15.
I had the collar for almost a couple months before I dared to use it. I was so nervous even though I must have read just about everything written about e-collars and training techniques. My girl as well had gone through several OB classes without the e-collar. And I, too, had someone -- my awesome vet -- do the first introduction to the collar. I couldn't have asked for anyone better. He himself has wirehaired pointers, has a good understanding and respect for the breed, and he adores Matea. He was SO upbeat with her, and she SO adores men....it was an awesome match.
I always prefer pinch collars over chain collars, but with this girl, I've always had a feeling in my gut that she would not respond well to the pinch. She's a hard-core athlete, with no sense of reason when it comes to her body; her pain threshold is high, as her hunt drive is very high. However, she is a very 'soft' dog. One harsh word can affect her for a months upon months. I've found if the 'correction' comes from me -- in the form of a word, or a leash tug, etc. -- it has a profound affect on her, that may not be immediately visible, but can show up the next day or training session. But the beauty of the e-collar -- as my experience has shown me -- is that the dog doesn't directly attribute the correction of the stim to you. The correction is not 'attached' to you in the form of a leash. Therefore, if properly introduced and taught, I find the dog takes a great deal of responsibility for the collar. It becomes a language between you more than it is connection to you.
For instance, when I did have a chain collar on her a long time ago, she broke her heel and lunged at a little yappy dog that was throwing a fit across the street. I gave her a big correction with the collar. She seemed unaffected. Almost two weeks later, the same scenario played out, and she lunged out again, but the instant I was about to give her a pop, she cringed dramatically and came back into position. I don't like a cringing dog. This girl has NEVER cringed or shown any signs of connecting the stim to me when using the ecollar.
So I honestly feel that if I'd used the pinch collar on this dog, because it is attached to a leash which is attached to me, it would have been too much for her. I might be wrong, but I have no need to prove this gut feeling.
Matea is high drive and a real wild child. She's about 26 months now. I do a lot of hiking with her and other pointers (GSPs and Vizslas) and she's the best in the bunch, hands down. She ranges, but checks in often. Her obedience and responsiveness in the field or when training is amazing; you'd never EVER think this was the same wild dog we took out of the rescue. She'd been there 5 weeks, trial adopted and brought back. No one would even look at her. Just too much dog. Without the e-collar, she and I would not have the wonderful relationship we have today. She'd still be on a long line; I'd be frustrated...and honestly, I'd probably not like her very much. Now I love this dog.
Several months after writing this Illona sent this video of Matea working to a list that we're both on. Remember that this is not a competition dog, just a pet.
Click this link to be taken to Illona's video. Use your back button to return to this site.
I've been to Lou's website before I knew anything about e-collars and their use. Like most people, I was really apprehensive about this type of training tool. But after doing some reading on the net, both good and bad, I realized with proper training (handler as well as dog), the e-collar can be quite beneficial and safe at the same time.
Jazz is a 16 month old male, has an excellent temperament, great with people and loves other dogs. I hoped that the e-collar would not destroy his thirst for knowledge and love of training with me. His eyes light up when I put my backpack, full of his toys on. Or his goofy, happy go-lucky personality. I am happy to say that by following the instructions given on Lou's website, staying calm and guiding him and working him at the lowest level he can perceive, He Did GREAT!!!
Not once was his tail tucked or head down. I would describe his initial reaction, as Carlos Mencia would say, "Ti-Ti Tee". But overall, he was just as good as if we were training with treats or toys. The only problem was that it didn't take 15 or so leash tugs to get him to come close to me. I would say, about 5 or 6.
I'm using the SportDog SD-800 and his working level was at 1 from 1-8. We were at a park with mild to medium distractions. I can tell he felt it and it was just a bit nagging to him more than anything. Like he was at boot camp in Parris Island and had a sand flea biting him. He would stand close to me, I would walk a way, he would follow, and the cycle continued. I went on with walkaways and he was starting to stick like glue.
My point, other then sharing my experience with you all, is that I saw a significant improvement in his awareness for one. Not just the fact that he was more aware of me and my movements, but more so that he was still aware of his surroundings as well. He kept me in his peripheral vision, no matter what else he was focusing on. If I even much as shifted my weight, he would move toward me.
To make a long story short, my fears of my dog turning in to a zombie are null and void. If you use them properly and humanely, they can be a great asset to you and your best friend. Make sure you find YOUR own working level before you find your dogs also. This helped ME to be aware of the sensation my dog is feeling when I press that button. You won't be as eager to raise the level and you'll question your own performance and teaching. Kinda like a quick "Nick" to your subconscious saying, "check yourself before you wreck yourself and your dog".
Just wanted to say thank you for giving me a little confidence boost yesterday. I got started today and it went fine.
I had done a lot of fiddling with the collar testing it on myself, just having it around where I could see it. I’d gone through the mechanical skills for the recall with the collar ‘on’ my husband (g-d he’s great!) and that was extremely valuable. I had also been putting the collar on my dog when we go out to play so I can see how tight it needs to be so that it doesn't move around etc. Basically, I just had to kind of have it around, pick it up and play with it (not on the dog), get used to seeing it on her etc. I had a lot of anxiety about the thing but the more I messed with it the less afraid I was.
I had pretty much memorized your protocol and just went out this morning and did it. I had visualized the whole thing in my mind, ‘what will I do when …’ etc. I proceeded with confidence and we did not have any trouble. I was so afraid that my lowest setting wouldn't be low enough, that she would yelp and be freaked out and Oh the Horror. I ended up working on a low 2. At first I thought it wasn't working. So I turned it up and still nothing. She is fairly sensitive emotionally so I am very accustomed to what her ‘calming signals’ look like and there was nothing – no lip licking, no blinking, no ear twitching or lowering, no eye squinting. I finally got a reaction at 2 high, she cocked her head like ‘hey, what was that?’. I had planned on working in the back yard but don’t you know that I put her Flexi leash on and she wouldn't wander … (this is before I’d done any ‘work’) but what can I say, she’s a good kid!
We live in a quiet cul-de-sac so I went out into the street and worked there. We progressed fairly quickly. I did not add any cue yet, just worked on a rough heel – and we had that in maybe 2-3 minutes doing walk-aways, she moved with me but not so much that she was under my feet etc. I gave her lots of happy praise when she was in position, which was familiar to her, and when I stopped she came to my side and sat – which we’d been working on already, pre-collar – and I gave the usual ‘Yes!’ & treat. Her body language was a little different, but then again, I did completely change the rules today. I have faith that if I follow through and don’t let her just think that she can never leave my side because ‘out there is bad’ that this will work out fine. I realize this was only the 1st step and it may very well have been just as stressful (if not more so) to me than it was to her.
We came back in the yard, I unhooked her leash, left the collar on, we played for 20 minutes or so, came back inside and that was that. No big deal. While we were playing I brought my other dog out and they were tugging on their toys and frapping and having a fine time and I was just looking at her, thinking “ok, you don’t look broken emotionally, you don’t look like you’re entire world view has been shattered, you look like nothing happened” … and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I took the plunge, and to say thanks for being so helpful on the list and in person …. answering all the same questions over and over and over again!