In the dog training community there is a divide on the use of a lot of tools that can be used for dog training. As a trainer that uses these tools everyday on my personal dogs and clients, I can say that these tools have literally saved the lives of dogs. Let me give you a personal story:
I rescued my dog Bella, I was convinced the best way to train my dog was with a long line for her off leash recall along with the help of some extremely yummy treats. Perfect, that’s how every recall training should start, I did this for a while and she got really good and listened to me most of the time. Now time to work her off leash, she was listening and I felt like I was awesome. I start to think maybe those prongs and ecollars are actually not useful and bad. I had her on a gentle leader when I walked her. Continuing the story, I began to Mountain Bike with Bella off leash because she followed and i could recall her. It was something I always wanted to do with my dog because other than Dog training it is a passion of mine. I want my dog to be able to be apart of 90 percent of my life and not have to shelter her. One day we are riding and a coyote was out staring at us while we were riding. The coyote saw us coming down the hill and took off, I recalled Bella but out of the corner of my eye I see her take off after the Coyote and she disappeared. I began to scream and feel tears forming, I was sure my best friend was gone. Suddenly she comes back after what felt like eternity. That day I got home and did my research of what can guarantee recall on my Bella. Low and Behold the ecollar came into my life. With proper introduction and using low-level training, I can now ride and Hike with Bella and not have to worry a bout any distraction.
My goal of this story is to show everyone that we say our dogs come when called but when you need them to you in the event of an emergency or when they take off after something, are they really coming back with just treats and your voice? Some dog trainers say they teach recall command and then an emergency recall command, I am not convinced this solves the problem because there are things out there that will be more enticing to your dog then you and even the best treat ever. The ecollar has been put in a negative light for the wrong reasons. Trainers never get to talk about the amazing life saving potential this tool has. I agree, it is an extremely powerful tool , but if used correctly this tool will allow owners to truly do everything with their dogs, and not have to worry. There are trainers that use this tool incorrectly and cause problems for your dog. The ecollar could potentially solve a lot of the problems we hear about in the news of off leash dogs going after people or other dogs. Why are we avoiding these issues? I would rather give my dog an ecollar muscle stimulation for .05 seconds then leave them at home or risk my dog injuring anyone. Even if you have the happiest, nicest dog ever, it can still happen to you. If you buy and train your dog on an ecollar and after a month you never press the button again that’s great but the safety net is still there. Trainers who oppose ecollars most of the time have never used, or seen them be used, the right way. They have a negative view just because they think it “shocks” your dog, which it does not. I can wear my dogs ecollar and have stimulation higher than she needs. Using a quality brand of ecollar with settings in the hundreds such as Ecollar Technologies which we use is the best thing you can do for your dog. It will allow your to do more with your dog which will make you and your dog happier.
I beg of owners and trainers to take the time invest in ecollar training because I do not want to see poor dogs being euthanized for something they cannot truly help which is their prey drive or desire to chase. Your dog takes off after another dog, person or any other animal there can be serious ramifications for you and your dog. Talk with a qualified trainer who will use the ecollar in more positive ways then just purely for punishment.
The prong collar is an extremely helpful and safe tool under the guidance of a qualified trainer. Most people do not like the prong collar because of the way it looks and their image of what it does. What if I told you that prong collars give use the ability to communicate clearer to our dogs in their language. Prong collars even have rounded tips so there is no puncturing or anything of that sort. All there is when a correction is given on the prong is pressure from the prongs that mimic the bite of another dog. The prong collar is not designed to choke your dog in any way. The prong collar should sit high on the head and be tight enough to not allow it to slide around the neck or slip over the head. Many horror stories of trainers using prong collars again come from unqualified trainers who do not fit the collar properly or owners who use them incorrectly as well.
Prong collars have the ability to be life saving as well. These collars give us the ability to truly teach and control our dog in all situations which in turn is aiding in building a better relationship with your dog. Many dogs who are euthanized daily in the United States for aggression, fear, out of control behavior can be saved by a good trainer and a prong collar. It is Sad when we have the ability to save dogs lives with using techniques that require a more skilled trainer, but instead of finding skilled trainers we take another trainers advice to euthanize, or re-home dogs. That is the part that is truly upsetting for true professionals in the industry. Prong collars are safe, effective, and a tool that offers true control of our dogs.
These life saving tools are demonized because many trainers do not have the skill to use them effectively. Here is where we need to talk about finding a dog trainer for your dog. Dog training is full of a lot of unqualified trainers who will do more harm than good to your dog by using training tools inappropriately or mis-diagnosing behavior problems. This breaks our hearts at Backcountry K-9 Training as dog owners and as a dog trainers. There are dog trainers, us included, who have worked long hours and years to be able to master this art of training dogs and we will provide any documentation to our clients to show we have done our homework and are certified or have good amounts of experience. Look for a well-rounded trainer who is varied in disciplines and styles, a true dog trainer knows more than they have to. Someone who can articulate in great detail everything they do while training your dog and why. Be careful of your chain training brands who simply shadow a trainer for a couple of weeks and are suddenly dog trainers.
What needs to be done differently in 2018 as well is that owners need to do their homework. I challenge owners to ask questions articles they read about dog training and dog training styles. For instance, where did this information come from? and most likely they will be shocked to see it comes from an organization that profits from publishing skewed results. When you get sick what does your doctor say? Do not google it because it will say you have a serious illness when in reality it is a cold. I leave you with these 9 Questions for your dog trainer in your consultation:
Remember we are using these tools to communicate with our dog on and off leash not always for punishment! I use these tools because I love my dogs and my clients dogs, I want them to be able to give the fulfilling life they deserve and be wherever their family is.