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 Curious to hear from users of e-collars

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GeorginaMay
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PostSubject: Curious to hear from users of e-collars   Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:52 pm

Hi All  wave 
I have noticed as I've been browsing topics lately that there seem to be a few of you using e-collars.
I'm curious to learn some more from you guys if you wouldn't mind sharing?
What made you decide to use an e-collar?
What brands/types do you use?
Have you trained with professionals or more DIY style with instructions?
Have you weaned your dogs off the collar once the behavior is taught?
Do you think e-collars are suitable for all huskies?
What personality types are your dogs? Do you think their personality has affected how they have reacted to the collar? and did it affect your decision to use one in the first place?
What advice or general information would you give someone looking into one?
Do you feel confident or reassured using one?

I've worked very hard with Orion on recall and he is pretty good - I have had him off leash 2-3 hours a week every week at our local showgrounds for various classes over the last 6-8 months and I could count the times he has failed to return to me (or out and out ran away from me) on one hand - and yes there are regularly rabbits running round, sheep in yards, ducks landing etc.

The main issue with his recall is me. I am continuously waiting for the husky to kick in and for him to bolt, he hasn't but it still plays in my mind so as a result I am usually quite tense training which of course he reacts to.
I don't want him to miss out on agility etc just because I am freaking out. He loves it and has so much fun.
One of the guys in the club is training a Malinois as a search and rescue dog and he has just started working with a e-collar to "bombproof" his recall and he suggested I try it.

I had never considered it before so naturally I came here for info lol
I briefly thought of a bark collar for a separate issue I had with Orion but that idea was born out desperation and I managed to solve it without resorting to it.
So what do you think, is it worth me trying for a safety net?

Looking forward to your thoughts Smile
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Curious to hear from users of e-collars   Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:50 pm

Hi Olivia,
Yes we use one. I commend you for coming up with questions first. I will try and answer your questions in the order you asked.
1- My girl has a high prey drive, my voice is not very loud and does not carry far. I want to protect her from larger predators who think she is prey in the wilderness of west Texas.

2-We use the sport dog/stubborn dog brand.

3- Sadly DIY, recommend having a professional to help.

4-I continue to have her wear it but I don't actually use it often, can't remember last time I needed to use it. I don't feel it is a proper tool to use for basic training.

5-Not all huskies will need this, it depends on the situation you're in and why you feel you need it.

6-My girl has a high prey drive, if she sees a rabbit she will chase and pay no attention to me, like she has blinders on or is one track minded. the only personality change for her, is when I put it on her she knows we are going out for fun. No negative affects on her. I was very against it at first, my husband was the one who got it, I am happy we got it and grateful that it worked, she will not leave our property unless we tell her too. Out in the middle of no where she has the freedom to run, but her distractions are not as pronounced, she seeks us out for the ok to chase.

7- If you can get a professional trainer to help, please do. It can be complicated and/misused, not on purpose, but it can mess you/dog up. This is not intended for command teaching. I, like most everyone who uses an e-collar use it for recall only.

8- I absolutely feel confident and reassured using it, I know she will be safe, I do have to keep her at a certain distance or the collar will not work. There are different distances for different collars.

9- Last question- Not really sure if you need it, what I would suggest first is take Orion to a professional who is knowledgeable on e-collars, and see if he/she feels that an e-collar is needed. Do you live by a busy street, do you go out in the middle of nowhere? These are the reason why we use one, you may be worrying for no reason since you said his recall is good and you are the one nervous. Training with a professional may relax you and you may not need it. On the flip side, training with someone that has e-collar experience and using an e-collar will give you the extra reassurance that you may need.
I hope I helped a little. There was a thread not too long ago discussing the uses of the e-collar. Good luck and let us know what you decide.
Renee
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wpskier222
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PostSubject: Re: Curious to hear from users of e-collars   Sat Jul 19, 2014 11:59 am

Hey Olivia,

Sorry this is going to be a long one, but you know me... I'm verbose. Good to hear things are going well with Orion. Smile I use an e-collar for Diz for recall and for the leave it command when he's off leash. I started when he was around 7-8 months old, and mainly just used it to teach an emergency recall. One morning, I was messing around with one of those flexi leashes, and I was trying to figure it out. He took off toward the park and ran out into the street. Stupid me tried to grab the line and got a deep rope burn (it was one of the smaller cord flexis). He almost got hit by a car. It scared me so much I decided I needed to teach him a bomb proof emergency recall. I followed the protocol at loucastle.com and it worked pretty well. When I started, I had no intention of ever letting him off-leash, but just needed the recall for safety reasons in the city. I used it for about 2 months, got him to a point that I felt his emergency recall was 'good enough' and then stopped using it all together. He was doing pretty well, and I tried letting him off-leash on purpose a few times, and while fun, he was just too young and not mature enough yet.

Within the last month, I started using a super long line for some other training stuff on our morning walks (70') and noticed he still responded very well to his recall word "breeze." I picked a weird word because when there is a pack of dogs running around and everyone starts calling their dogs, I wanted Diz to know I was talking to him. With 5 people all yelling "come" it can lose effectiveness for each individual dog. So anyway, I pulled out the e-collar again, and started re-working him, to see if I could get him to the 99% mark of reliability, even around high distraction situations (other dogs, squirrels, etc.). I started letting him drag the long line, but without me holding it. If he took off, I could manage to get within 70' and step on the end of the leash. After a couple weeks of dealing with an absolutely disgustingly dirty drag-line (covered in city park muck), I felt comfortable trusting him with a shorter line (20') and about 2 weeks ago, no drag line.

I use the e-collar maybe 2-3 times per walk (our walks are generally 1-2 hours), and usually only if he wants to chase another dog or small animal and gets too far away from me. He also is almost always very aware of where I am at any given time. I play hide and seek with him to teach him that he should have an awareness/attachment to me, or I might just disappear (with his cheese). It keeps a small part of him focused on me at all times. Now our morning walks are always leash free (once we get to a safe area in the park) and I'm very happy about it. I also make sure to always have an extremely high value treat, either meat or cheese, knowing Diz, I need both the e-collar and the reward. If I only had the e-collar, eventually he would decide whatever I'm calling him away from, was worth a little shock to go check out, remember, I'm not blasting him. With him, the shock seems to just break his fixation, then he can give his attention to me and come for his reward. It's interesting, if he is in full stalk/fixation mode, if I use the command and not the shock, its almost as if he actually feels as if I used the shock. If you decide to try it, eventually you'll see what I mean. Anyway, the point is, don't stop using high value rewards just because you decide to use the e-collar to proof the recall. It still needs to be a positive thing when he comes to you.

Here are the answers to your specific questions:


What brands/types do you use?
I have the Einstein Educator model, it's their cheapest one at $179.00 on amazon


Have you trained with professionals or more DIY style with instructions?

I did it myself following the website I gave you above. I know how experienced with training you are, and I would say you would be fine on your own, especially if you can ask your s&r friend for advice. For most people, I'd recommend seeking out a trainer, but I know you can handle it.


Have you weaned your dogs off the collar once the behavior is taught?
I have not, and am not sure if I will. I will probably always have it on him, but as he matures, I may not need to actually use it.


Do you think e-collars are suitable for all huskies?
Yes. I was very hesitant to try it, but I'm extremely glad I did. It has allowed Diz a level of freedom on a daily basis that I would not have been able to achieve without it. We now have a group of friends that we meet in the park in the morning and walk a couple miles with all the dogs off leash and playing. He has been much more content since I've allowed him to do that. Now, it is the summer here, so it's possible that in the winter, his energy level will kick back up and he might not be as reliable. I will have to take that as it comes. I don't think I will ever be fully relaxed when he is off-leash. I do trust the recall much more with the e-collar, but he is still a strong-willed, independent, high prey drive husky, so you can't get lax about it. It's a great tool, but don't use it as an excuse to get reckless.


What personality types are your dogs? Do you think their personality has affected how they have reacted to the collar? and did it affect your decision to use one in the first place?
Ah Dizzy's personality... Well, he is extremely social (especially with other dogs), super high prey drive, goofy, silly, smart, energy level is low/medium for a husky (unless he's pent up), wants to play with every dog he sees, chases anything that moves, and used to tend toward anxiety/excitement but that is mellowing with maturity. I think different personality types will react differently, and that's why I like Lou's method. It's very, very gentle and even soft types do well if you get a collar with a huge range of minute adjustments and work only the level the dog can first feel.

If we are super low distraction Diz works at a 12, if we are super high distraction 15-18. Out of 100. I tried it on myself and made it up to about 50 before I couldn't stand it. Diz has never been over a 20. I would compare a 20 to the shock you get in the winter time from a light switch. Not fun, but not traumatizing either.  His personality did effect my decision to use the e-collar. As you know, he can get extremely fixated on things and especially at that age, once he's on a stalk/chase/bite mode, it was impossible to break that concentration. Also, living in NYC, there is no such thing as a distraction free environment, so I couldn't train in the traditional way of starting in the backyard, low/no distraction area and work my way up. It's kind of all or nothing here. I've never taken a walk where we did see at least several other dogs, squirrels, rats, and any number of things (the other day we happened to run into a guy practicing yodeling in the park! Diz was quite curious about him). So, I had to train him in a high drive state of mind.

I don't know if it would work for agility or not, unless you are primarily using it to make sure he doesn't take off in an outdoor environment. I would not use it say, if he misses a jump or takes a wrong turn on the course or something. I think that would just be confusing for him, because the courses change, and if he learns that going from one obstacle to another gets him corrected, then he won't want to do that the next time, even if it is correct for the course that time, there are too many possibilities that he could associate it with something unintended. Does that make sense? If you are using it as a fail safe/proofing tool to make sure he does not get lost or hurt if he is in an unfenced area, that is fine.


What advice or general information would you give someone looking into one?
Make sure that you get one that allows for a lot of adjustment. Some of them only have 10 levels so it can be a big leap from one level to the next and it's hard to find the level that the dog feels and responds to, but doesn't 'blast' the dog. So say you have one with 10 levels, and your dog is somewhere between 2-3, 2 doesn't work, but 3 is too high. What do you do? If you had 10 microlevels between 2-3, it would be much easier and more humane to find the correct level.


Do you feel confident or reassured using one?
Well, sort of, yes and no. If we are in an area both Dizzy and I know well, and I know the potential areas of attraction to him (if we are in the usual park, I normally leash him as we walk by the dog park because he tries to run in if someone is coming in or out), it helps me feel confident that I have a fail safe if something unexpected happens. Say we are on our normal morning walk and there is something new that he wants to investigate or chase, I call him and he doesn't respond. I call him, and as I'm calling, use the e-collar, he will look up, look for me and come running to me, essentially I use it to break fixation, it will also break a chase if he has already gone into full chase. Or if we are in an area with no busy roads nearby, no other people or dogs, and lots of time, then I might attempt it, but I would still attach his drag line to be safe.

If we were in completely new territory, I would definitely attach the long line just in case because I'm not sure how to expect him to react. He would be in a heightened state of excitement and exploration, and if something interesting caught his attention, he may not even feel the collar. If I'm testing the waters of a new situation, I definitely regress the method a couple steps to make sure it will be safe. If he does well after a little while, I would remove the long line again. We may work up to that eventually, or he may not be able to get to that point. We'll see as we keep training, as we are still somewhat early in the process.

Good luck! Let me know how it works out. Smile
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Curious to hear from users of e-collars   Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:30 pm

Olivia,
After reading Jen's posting, I apologize, I didn't realize you had in depth training with your dog. Jen can articulate things way better than myself. Had I been the one picking out the collar I probably would have went with a different collar. Although the one we use has a tone(doesn't do anything, but was a selling feature), and a vibrate which if I need to use I use that feature after voice command and before stim. The biggest selling point for us was that it was waterproof, Miya loves to swim deep water. After buying 2, I wish I was the one who bought because I would have done research on the different brands. My experience is very similar to Jen's with Dizzy, although we don't have nearly the distractions here as in NYC. When we are out and about Miya stays close to me, and she does stop to look back to make sure I'm around, Miya has never been a High Value Treat kind of husky, she has always responded with the verbal Good Girl and pat on the back rewards.

I know I will have to get another soon, so Jen is the collar you use waterproof for deep water, diving under water type use? I like the fact that you can control stim in micro numbers, and yours was only $20-$30 dollars more. I'm also guessing that the one you use would hold up longer than a year, since that's how it's been for us, with the way Miya uses it we had to replace after one year of use, she's a pretty crazy playing type of dog. Btw, it's the prongs for the connection that falls apart, not from overuse in the stim feature, she knocks the prongs loose, don't know how she does that, but that is why we had to replace.
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GeorginaMay
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PostSubject: Re: Curious to hear from users of e-collars   Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:07 am

HI Ladies,

Thank you so much for your responses, Renee don't apologize Smile recommending a professional in scenarios like this when you've not seen the dog and handler is absolutely the right thing to do!

I think it would help if I explained my scenario a little better and to do that I have included some pictures...

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This is where we train. As you can see it is relatively large - about 6 rugby fields + an equestrian ring + stock yards. Only the very exterior is fenced, and he probably could get through that if he wanted. So when we do agility we just set up a course on a field and go for gold, there is no boundary stopping the dogs from leaving the course and running riot around the grounds if they please. If Orion took off it might take me 20 minutes to run from one side of the grounds to the other lol. Oh and we train at night in the dark under flood lights so if he ran outside the range of the lights I'd never find him.
What I was considering the collar for was for if he bolted from the course and kept running. Usually he won't go further than 5 or 10 meters from me but with acres of ground he could cover it worries me that he might and if he really stretched out in a run I don't think me calling would break his focus so I was considering this as a reminder tool. I wouldn't use it for actual agility, if he gets that wrong I just say Whoopsy and we try again Smile

It is interesting to hear about the personality types of your dogs, I have to admit that is one of the things that worries me. Orion is... well a bit of a douchebag lol. Don't get me wrong I love him dearly but he is full of himself. He is a dominant personality type, who challenges everything. He has high drive, is high energy, full of tenacity, he is sneaky, cunning and supremely confident (actually cocky would be a better word to describe it!) he is male through and through. The only way that we have survived each other is the fact that I am just as bad. It is not my style to back down, ever, what I say goes - I do not force him to do anything but I do not allow him to do other than what I want. I spent a lot of his puppyhood staring at walls waiting out tantrums etc lol and as a result our relationship is very much based on respect. What I am afraid of is he will see the collar as a challenge and will react to it negatively. Do you think it is a legitimate concern or am I over thinking it?

The collar I was looking at only had 10 level so I will definitely go back to the drawing board on that one! I will see if maybe I could bring one over from the states, even with the currency conversion and the shipping cost it is far cheaper than buying one here and I would want to make sure if I get one that it's right.

I don't think I would use it in any other situation than this one because we are in a rural town and I would worry that If I let him off he would kill something - there are sheep and things everywhere here and it is legal for farmers to kill dogs on sight.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Curious to hear from users of e-collars   Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:19 am

Oliva,
I am rural as well, sheep live across the dirt road from us, you can see behind Miya in my avitar the sheep field. Ranchers may shoot on site, that's one of my problems. We have something in common. We spent hours and hours walking our property line when she was a baby on leash, she has mutual respect for sheep, haha, she may drool, cry but she will not step paw on the road unless I tell her to.

Miya, although female, is very dominate, she only has played with male dogs and she dominates all of them, kind of funny really. Like you she would challenge me and the long wall staring, I know your frustration.

I totally see your situation, thank you for the pics. Miya is a chaser for sure, nothing can stay on our property that don't belong there. She would be a great sheep herding dog, so far no desire to harm anything, rather chase and play.
Your night time training is understandable to get a collar. Most nights my husband takes her out for night time potty, if I do I have to switch her to the e-collar and take a flash light, that's when I fear she will take off and can't see her, although we have few neighbors, I still don't want to be screaming for her. I certainly don't want her to get tangled up with a wild animal.

We started Miya on the collar at about 5 or 6 months, after we found the right number, it took about 2 adjustments. I don't want to sound politically incorrect, but when it is used she comes over to me as if the hand of God tapped her. Does that make sense? She has no idea I was the one who tapped her, but her focus shifts back to me. I used it on myself, has 9 levels, the last one being full on blast and I would never use it, my description is it feels like a 9 volt battery when you place it on your tongue. I wish that I got a better one with more levels, my husband seen it was waterproof and the distance seemed right so he got it. She has never bucked me to not wanting to wear it, and she has never reacted negatively at all , I would say totally the opposite. She hates being on a leash and loves the e-collar. She knows we will be running, or swimming or whatever that is non-restrictive. She gets happy.

I do think Jens suggestion on the training aspect would be best since he is older, my girl is about 2 months older than Orion, but has used it since she was a puppy. That may work best to get him used to it. I am truly amazed that she can take him in NYC off leash, saw a video she put up here. So I can honestly say we both have happy dogs, with the freedom to run, and be safe. I wish I had a video so you can see her in action as well. My avitar has her with her e-collar on. I think after reading your text, and Jen's that you would do well with it and use it for the right reasons. More importantly I think it would give you the peace of mind you are looking for.

Not too long ago I took Miya out, just at home. I got a phone call so I wasn't a hundred percent focused on her, she took off chasing a squirrel and my heart sank, she turned the corner of our house, e--collar was blocked, I used it at the same time she was going out of sight. It didn't work next thing I know she rounded the corner of the other side of the house, squirrel in front of her and chased it up the tree next to me. My training paid off and yes I was lucky, I would never forgive myself if something were to happen. It reminded me of always having focus, and to keep myself prepared.
Jen and I may have had different approaches and use different collars, but we are both very positive on the use of the e-collar. I wished that I would have researched more, in the end I still have a happy dog and don't feel she is negatively changed in using it.

I got long winded, but I do have a positive passion when using this training tool.
Renee


Last edited by MiyasMomma on Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:24 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : wanted to explain myself better)
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AnyaLuv
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PostSubject: Re: Curious to hear from users of e-collars   Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:50 pm

I've posted before about how an ecollar absolutely transformed my dog and made her my happy, silly dog who I love and trust completely.

What made you decide to use an e-collar? After trying traditional training, we were getting no where. She could not walk without choking herself, flung herself into tantrums, and was a nightmare. The ecollar transformed her from getting kicked out of obedience classes to being a therapy dog in on month.
What brands/types do you use? We use the Einstein collar. I like that it offers levels from 1-100, as well as vibration, tone.
Have you trained with professionals or more DIY style with instructions? I trained with a professional, using K9 Offleash. I highly recommend anyone starting ecollars work with a professional first
Have you weaned your dogs off the collar once the behavior is taught? Yes, now we work completely off the collar. The only time we still use it is in highly new or distraction heavy areas, like if we're at a new off-leash park
Do you think e-collars are suitable for all huskies? If used appropriately, yes
What personality types are your dogs? Do you think their personality has affected how they have reacted to the collar? and did it affect your decision to use one in the first place? Anya is an alpha female, but eager to please and quick to learn. It certainly made the process remarkably quick
What advice or general information would you give someone looking into one? I just recommend working with a pro, and starting off slowly. So many people jump in and crank the dial, and that's what gives ecollars a bad name. Even at Anya's wildest, we never went above 2 or 3 (of 100).
Do you feel confident or reassured using one? It did give me more confidence. After 2 weeks of training her with it, we went off leash during a quiet evening at the park. Halfway through our walk, a fox darted in front of us. Anya went to bolt, and I told her "OFF" and pressed the vibrate button, and she sat immediately. That was when I knew it worked.
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