Basic Training :: Getting Started with an E-Collar

For a dog trainer, the e-collar is just another tool that we can use in our

program. It's going to take the place of the leash, and we will start to

substitute using the e-collar in the leash's place. This cannot be used

to teach while we're working with the dog. They need to be taught prior to

applying the e-collar. Once they've learned their skills and they're comfortable

doing their skills, then we can use this in place of the leash. When you first

take your collars out of the box, and your transmitter out of the box, you want

to charge them. Put them on the charger for two hours. They'll go to a full

charge in that length of time and be ready to use. You'll know that when they need

to be recharged, the light on your receiver will be blinking red and the

light on your transmitter, when you press the button, will be red instead of

green. If you've got a green light here and a green light here, you've got plenty

of battery life. If you've got a red light when it's blinking and you've got

a red light here, that means you can train a little bit longer but you're

going to need to get this thing on a charger pretty quickly. Okay, to turn the

unit on, we're gonna turn the receiver on. It has an on/off button on top of the

receiver. You're going to press that button, and the green light will start to blink

saying that it is on. The transmitter does not have an on/off button. It is on

demand. When you press a button, any of the three buttons that are on it, it's on

but when you release the button it's off. Therefore you don't have to turn

this on and off. As soon as you turn this on, you want to send it a signal from the

transmitter just to make sure that they're synced up. I'm pressing the

continuous button right now and you see a continuous red light here. That means

that they are paired and they're ready to go. As you start to introduce your dog

to the e-collar, one the first things you want to do is

put it on the dog. Tension and tightness here is very important. There's

multiple ways to do this. My rule of thumb is I pull it to a specific hole on

the collar strap, where it's very tight, and I'll back out one hole.

That allows you to get a finger underneath it, and that you can get a

finger under the collar, and you know it's not too tight. It's not strangling him. Once

that is done, then it's time to do something fun.

So, immediately after you put your e-collar on your dog, it's time now to

throw a tennis ball or throw a bumper and make him start to believe that when

this goes on, we get to do something fun. So he looks forward to you putting an

e-collar on. It is his uniform to get to go play in the game.

So how do we get a dog to understand that this is nothing more than a leash?

In our training, as we start to teach this dog, we're going to be applying

leash pressure with our leash on his neck. That's where the leash

will contact him. As we use the e-collar, it's going to be contacting the dog

at the exact same spot. Same location. So now, each time that we give a tug on the

leash, we're going to give a light bump with a transmitter to send the signal to

the e-collar, to give the dog the stimulation. It's just a light tap. Each

time that we use a tug on the leash, we're going to tap him with the collar.

Before too long, in his mind, these two, the leash and the e collar, are the

exact same thing. There is no difference between them. Now with that, you need to

be careful. Probably the first two weeks, we're gonna have a min/max rule. No more

than five stimulations per session so that you can avoid over stimulating the

dog and having him start to worry about this. Get at least three stimulations

in, so that he can start to learn the lesson we're trying to teach him. That

this and our leash are the exact same thing. As you start to stimulate your dog

you're going to use low levels of stimulation, and what we're looking for

is the reaction from the dog. It could be for him to stop and turn his head and

look at you. What I typically look for is a little bit of head drop and a swallow

response out of the dog. If you look closely, most the time when you see that they're

saying I understand. I accept. I know I've done something incorrect here.

Once we see that response, then we're going to start to think about that level

on our intensity and stay in that level. Any time that you see your dog

vocalizing, you're out of bounds and you need to turn that wheel down. Rule of

thumb here though, is to always use the minimum amount of pressure necessary to

get the dog to respond and to stop what his instincts are trying to tell him to

do. Used properly, this is much easier on the dog than a regular leash is, because

it's less contact, it's less intensity, but they've just been conditioned

through training to understand they have to stop when they feel this. It's the

word "no" to them. It tells them to stop their actions.