Making the Case for E-Collar SimplicityPosted by Chris Akin
Depending on your background, your opinion about using an electronic training collar probably falls into one of three categories: 1) You think the modern e-collar is the greatest tool ever invented; 2) You think the evil “shock” collar has no place in dog training; or 3) You are afraid to use an e-collar because everything you’ve read or heard about it is how complicated they are and you’re afraid to “ruin” your dog.
Because you’re reading this at the SportDOG Brand website, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I belong to the first category. I’m all-in on the use of the modern e-collar because of its many benefits.
With that said, the fact that I’m a professional trainer doesn’t mean I use some sort of secret system that requires a Master’s degree to understand when it comes to applying the e-collar in my training and hunting routines. Just because the e-collar is a great tool doesn’t mean it has to be complicated.
However, I do believe there are too many people who grab an e-collar transmitter for the first time and press the button expecting an experience comparable to sending a spaceship to Mars. It’s just not that way. Rather, it’s a simple piece of equipment. I advise novices to think of the e-collar the same way they think of an extended lead, and we all know there’s nothing complicated about controlling your dog with a lead.
When I’m putting on a demonstration or seminar, I want to convince people they shouldn’t be afraid to push a transmitter button. What typically happens is once they understand that an e-collar is just reinforcing what a dog has already been taught and that an e-collar speeds up the training process, that’s when the light bulb goes on and they get excited about it.
Used properly, an e-collar is not about punishment. The low-level correction levels available on every modern e-collar mean you can communicate with your dog, thereby speeding up the learning process during training.
If I was in a debate and challenged to further make a case for the e-collar, I’d bring up this point: Think about how many dog’s lives have probably been saved because it provided control that we never used to have.
Consider this scenario and ask how many times something like this has likely played out over the years:
- You’re in the front yard chatting with your neighbor. Your dog is just doing dog things. He’s running around, sniffing the lawn, searching for his toy and otherwise looking for mischief. Then he sees a kid riding his bike on the sidewalk across the street. Being friendly, off he goes to say hi and that’s when a car comes speeding down the street. You give your dog a sharp “Here!” but he keeps going, headed in for a collision. Right at that moment you have the ability to bump him with the collar and make him stop and come back, putting an end to what could otherwise have turned into a very bad day for both you and your dog.
Dangerous situations are everywhere. The threat could be a rattlesnake when you’re hunting out West. It could be a porcupine getting ready to ruin your grouse hunting trip. These and dozens of other things that range from inconvenient to deadly can all be brought under control if you’ve trained your dog to respond to e-collar stimulation.
Even if you never use the e-collar for anything but emergencies, it’s worth having. Of course, as I said earlier, using it to reinforce commands such as “here” and “heel” feels like nothing short of a modern miracle when you see the results.
Need a longer lead? Use an e-collar. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Chris has spent most of his life duck hunting or training in the field. Over the years, his program evolved into one of the most accomplished hunt test programs in the country. Webb Footed Kennels, Inc. has produced more than 350 Hunting Retriever Champions, 175 Master Hunters, and 35 Grand...