The Quickest and Most Effective Way to Train a Working Dog

I think most trainers these days started out using the “old way” of training dogs. Times have been changing for the better. I thought about researching and writing about this subject myself. I then came across this article and decided they did a fine job already.  Let the comments fly.

Dogs used in service to help and even save peoples lives are being trained faster and more effectively these days.  Here is what a  bird dog trainer found out:

Shotgun Life – Expert Dog Trainer Robert Milner  <— Click Me I am a link!

hoolahoop

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5 Responses to “The Quickest and Most Effective Way to Train a Working Dog”

  1. I think the question posed at the beginning of the linked article is a great one. Would you use one of these collars on your child?

    Plenty of people go to much greater extremes — like the common use of drugs that affect brain chemistry in still poorly understood ways — with their children. A hundred years from now, I wonder if the child development community will look back and say that a couple of spankings here and there might have been a much better choice.

    A child that acts out aggressively isn’t likely to be euthanized by local authorities. A child can also be reasoned with at least on some level. And while the author may eschew physical punishment, what parent hasn’t resorted to time outs, taking away the portable game console, or sending kids to bed without dinner? I’ve never met a child psychologist who suggested that there should NEVER be ANY negative consequences to child behavior.

    I can’t ground my dog. She doesn’t get it. If I send her to bed without dinner, she doesn’t understand that, either… it’s just one less meal she got.

    I can just let her do what she wants when she’s misbehaving or ignoring me… right up until she does something that gets her hurt or taken away by animal control.

    We’ve been using an e-collar with our Mal for just over a year now. In that time she’s gone from a dog with aggression and obedience issues to a dog we can have off leash pretty much anywhere we go. She knows that when we give a command it’s just that, a command, and not a suggestion. We don’t get obedience 95% of the time, we get it all the time. But she’s not scared or robotic. She’s an incredibly happy dog that gets to go all sorts of places and experience all sorts of things we’d never have been able to do before we started using the e-collar. At this point, even though she wears it from sunup until sundown every day, she probably doesn’t get a zap once a month. On the rare occasion it is necessary, it happens, she fixes her behavior, and life goes on as if nothing happened. She marches on happy and excited to do whatever we’re doing.

    There’s no doubt that there are people who use them incorrectly. They use the collar too often, too harshly, and/or at the wrong time. We never use the collar when we’re teaching Freyja how to do something. We’re all about positive reinforcement (only) for learning. The e-collar’s only purpose is to get her attention when she’s locked onto something else, like the bunny running across the street.

    The best example I can give is from the dog park. We take Freyja to one of a handful of parks every week. Before the e-collar she would get fixated on another dog and we would have to chase her all over the place when it was time to leave (or if the other dog’s owner didn’t like the attention). Now, we call her name and she stops what she’s doing. We give a recall and she comes trotting right over. The collar didn’t keep her from having fun. She’s not in constant fear of a momentary tap. But because we can now rely on her to drop everything and give us her attention, she gets to go to the park — and plenty of other places — that would otherwise be much more difficult if not impossible.

  2. Fantastic commentary on E-training! I am of the mindset that if a dog or an owner is trained properly by a professional it is valuable to the dog and owner! However, I find most collars lacking proper information and many are using them incorrectly in the general public, the same as prongs. They are most likely harming their dog mentally and physically!!!These are simply tools to utilize while training and I don’t believe they should be for sale to the general public! I train my dogs with E collars using tone and vibrate! So people should always seek out an educated trainer if they feel their dog’s need one!! Most often a trainer will find other ways to fix the behaviour the client is trying to fix without an E collar!

  3. I am training my dog who is already proficient in recall 99.9% of the time with verbal, foot and hand signals to respond to the vibrate or tone. This is fabulous if your dog is out of range and can’t see or hear your signals!

  4. I love how this post has started such a great discussion. I am surprised on how so many things are misunderstood or misused by trainers. So many people believe e-collars = electrocution. On the flip side I am also surprised on how many trainers use them as a fix for everything. Such a controversial subject. That is dog training for you! The only way you can get two trainers to agree is talk about the methods of a third trainer 😉

    • “The only way you can get two trainers to agree is talk about the methods of a third trainer”

      Now that’s funny.

      We’re certainly not experts when it comes to dog training or e-collars. But our approach, which we learned from someone who *is* an expert, has always been to use the zapper purely as an attention getter. It’s not supposed to punish, it’s supposed to break the dog’s laserbeam focus on whatever distraction is preventing obedience. I think the distinction is lost on many people.

      We also don’t use the tone as a warning, again on the advice of the trainer we used. We were told to turn it into a command. We use it as another recall. We’ve let Freyja off leash and out of site in chaotic environments and she’s always returned to us as soon as we hit the beep. We’ve even seen it stop her in her tracks when she started chasing something as fun as a rabbit or deer.

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