For those of you that are new to ECollar training, an encouraging story is that I recently trained a very good recall into a Pit Bull at a Rescue that I volunteer at. This was accomplished in 3 sessions with the sessions having a 1 week gap. The ECollar has opened up a whole new world for this dog. He absolutely loves running off leash in a dry creek bed.
First time today starting the recall with the (relatively) untrained 3 year old Great Swiss Mountain Dog I rescued. It took a total of SIX reps for the dog to figure it out. SIX. I finished a total of about 20 reps, no commands, just a quick pat on the head. I'll continue tomorrow. I'm convinced!
I can say that Uncl Lou saved two GSD from being PTS thru his kindness in helping me correct their habits......They didn't belong me but I ask for help in training them , he offered me help which turned them around...
There were two main behaviours that I was despairing of changing. The first was her "boisterousness" around my kids. It was NOT an aggressive behaviour at all - Ceili was, and is, so friendly and happy to be with them and to play with them that she would quickly get out of hand. My husband called her the velociraptor! She had a particularly unwanted move of "boxing" with her front paws, which could and did leave pretty bad scratches. The more she was corrected, the harder she tried to "play".
I tried the usual route of substituting a wanted behaviour for the unwanted - i.e. sit and then you get attention, but something wasn't clicking. Correction for the jumping was difficult as well, since she didn't jump ON you, just AROUND you and AT you. It was the paws that were deadly! I also had the additional concern of making sure that Ceili didn't associate Brianna with the "bad" things, i.e. corrections. Having an animal that size wary of or nervous toward a child is asking for trouble.
So - I needed to redirect the boisterous energy around the kids, and make that recall 100% solid. I started from step one with Lou's advice, teaching her the "language" of the collar. I also made sure that collars were changed several times a day, so that putting it on and taking it off meant absolutely nothing to her at first. Soon, the obedience work was very, very solid (and I mean very soon - she turned into Velcro dog!). Then I had Brianna, my oldest, begin working obedience with her, again using the methods Lou taught us, with me or my husband supervising and "backing up" with the collar when needed. When Ceili began to see that the "pecking order" was changed, and Bri wasn't a litter mate but a superior, it became very easy to redirect the unwanted behaviours in play.
We're not done with the ecollar, nor will be ever be, because it simply seems to facilitate communication far better than slip or prong, or anything else - Haltis were a joke! Correction comes only after we're sure that Ceili knows exactly what is required of her. The stim level is VERY low - on my own hand the working level simply tickles or itches, and I have a low pain threshold, ask my midwife. It's almost as if it's a "switch" that turns her brain into working mode and says "ok, look here - this is something you need to know and do, so listen up and get it in there!" I don't know that I'd call it a negative per se - just different? Maybe BECAUSE it's different, the brain re-wires so that that particular stimulus becomes instantly associated with learning and receptivity - then when the stim might have become accustomed to, the new circuit is already in place?
I'm guessing on the last, because there's a lot about the ecollar that I'm not sure WHY it works - I just know that it does. I can also say that Ceili is excited about training sessions and likes to have her ecollar put on (she wears it all the time when not unsupervised in her run, even if I don't TURN it on. It's quite small and light). Collar on means that she can play with the kids, have the run of the house, maybe we'll go outside and train or go for a run, etc. Collar = good things (which I'm pretty sure is an extension of a Pavlovian response, but hey, it works!).
Anyway, I hope that answered some questions, and helped a little. I'm still very, very new to this, but I'm excited about training again in a way that I haven't been for a long, long time.
Here's a note that Amber sent me a few months later.
I guess I just wanted to thank you again for all the info you provide . It's made my relationships with my dogs, and my family's relationships with theirs, so much richer. :)
I am a UK based dog owner who stumbled across your excellent site after exasperating all other training methods for my rescue Patterdale terrier who I have shared the last year with. I have found an excellent UK based store from which I have purchased a remote collar and after following your protocols and commencing training last Saturday I can only express my gratitude for providing the information you have. My dog used to chase anything and after a few frightening incidents and one incident in which I was first to arrive at a road traffic incident in which a dog was killed I decided to take action. My dog is now able to enjoy his life thoroughly with off-leash play and freedom but with complete safety as he will now respond to my voice commands when issued. My problem was with his disobedience in the face of distraction which we now do not have to contend with. I only wish that there was more readily available information out there and for the thousands of misinformed individuals who are basing their judgment on remote training on either other people's poor practice or unreliable misconceptions about the collars themselves to be furnished with the truth as I have discovered in the last few weeks.
Initially I was reluctant to use remote collars because I had only heard the usual horror stories and it is only after a great deal of research and now personal experience that I know differently.