Electronic collars essential part of training dogsWORTHINGTON — There are a very limited number of outdoor activities that you can do when the snow is four feet deep and the wind chill is normally at least 20 below.
By: Scott Rall, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — There are a very limited number of outdoor activities that you can do when the snow is four feet deep and the wind chill is normally at least 20 below.
It is the length of Minnesota winters and a complete infection of cabin fever that causes most folks to wish for summer.
Next week, it might actually reach 32 degrees, and I asked my wife if in two more days February could be counted as one month closer to summer?
A few days back, I was sitting in my living room watching the wind pile up a drift that has to locate itself as close to the garage doors as it can. The dogs were laying in a group on the living room floor, resting from what was a really good pheasant season.
I decided that I was going to make the most of what was left of the winter and teach my dogs something new. Dog training is not a difficult thing to accomplish if you have the time, patience and the know how to get the job done.
I have used an electronic training collar for reinforcing my training activities for many years. This is the greatest training tool to come along since the history of dog training began.
There is one great myth associated with this tool.
Big Myth No. 1, a training collar can teach my dog just about anything.
The truth is that NOBODY has ever taught a dog one single thing with a training collar if they did it correctly. Training collars only enforce commands that a dog already knows.
What exactly is a training collar? They are a dog collar that holds a rechargeable battery which has contacts that touches the dog’s neck. The trainer holds a remote transmitter that allows him to signal the collar to apply a varying rate of electrical stimulation to the dog’s neck.
The new models can apply a level so low that the operator cannot feel the stimulation if he applied his fingers to the contact points and activated the collar. These collars obviously have more power than that, but in the hands of the knowledgeable handler would only use the highest setting if the dog’s life was in danger. For most training situations a level at about the 20 percent range is used.
One instance where a very high level might be used is if the dog were to take off chasing a deer and was about to cross a highway and be hit by an oncoming car. In these cases, high levels are warranted to save the life of the dog. It would be a very rare occurrence to use these high levels of correction in any but the most serious situations.
Collars made 20 years ago only had the high setting and were unfit for most dog owners. The collars of today are so advanced that with a little training almost any dog owner can use one successfully.
An example of a typical training opportunity to use a collar would go like this. If your dog knows what sit means and will do so consistently when you tell it to, you can use a training collar to reinforce this known command.
Without a collar, if the dog is told to sit in a remote location outside of a duck-hunting blind and then chooses not to obey the command the owner should immediately leave the blind, go to where the dog is and physically make the dog sit. The closer the dog is the easier that this training is.
What if you are trying to get you dog to sit with another party 50 yards away? Running back and forth to reinforce the sit command can be really hard on the trainer and less than effective for the dog.
If you were incorporating the use of an electronic training collar, the dog handler could repeat the sit command from where he/she is and apply a correction with the collar. This immediate command reinforcement allows the dog to comply quickly and reduces the wear and tear on the trainer.
Can you train a dog to a high standard without a collar?
The answer is a resounding YES.
What goes along with the desire to train without a collar is the necessity to be very physically fit, have an extra year or two and being unemployed would also be a benefit. Traditional training methods can and do work. In most cases they just add a considerable additional length of time compared to what can be achieved using the more modern training techniques.
As an informal comparison, a dog trained with the help of an electronic collar can reach the same level of success in four months of training that would take a non-collar counterpart probably right around year to accomplish.
There is not a professional trainer who I know that trains customer dogs for hire that does not incorporate training collars in their business.
Training collars come in many sizes and price ranges. Some are very good and some are down right awful. Be careful in your selection, and if you are being promised something that seems too good to be true be certain that it is.
Different models have different features and functions. If you are in the market for a training collar drop me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help you avoid some common purchasing mistakes.
Training collars allow the dog to advance quickly, and adds a great amount of control and confidence when you are in situations where keeping your hunting companion close is an absolute necessity. Some examples include in town, at a motel and others.
There is always the dog that is about to ask a skunk to dance and you can use the collar to advise him that this would be a bad idea.
I have well-trained dogs and they wear a collar every time we go out. There can be periods of a week or more where they have the collars on and I have not had to use them. Many owners will then tell me that their dog is so good that they don’t need the collar anymore. This is a huge mistake waiting to happen.
I explain this issue this way. The training collar is a tool that you carry in your dog-owner toolbox. What good car mechanic would leave some of his tools at home instead of their toolbox at work? He may not need this specific tool very often, but a good mechanic keeps his tools close at hand in order to be prepared for any repair.
I may not need the collar on my dog very often, but I am not willing to chance the potential loss of my hunting companion due to circumstances that I can not predict, and when this happens, I have no ability to do anything about them. Great dogs that listen well might still chase a rabbit on to the road, where it can end very badly.
My dogs think of their collar as a fine piece of jewelry and they know that good things happen when they get to wear them.
Get a collar and use it wisely. Require your dog to wear it in any circumstance where a high level of control is required. They will be safer as a result and you will have greater piece of mind knowing that your buddy has a direct link between what he wants and what you are expecting him to do. This interdependent relationship between a dog and the owner is like a perfect marriage. Nothing feels better for both parties involved.