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Do I need a dog training collar thread


bigeyes

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Ok, guys reading the other thread I am curious as to the opinions of others and I would appreciate the insite of setterguy's knowledge. I am new to dogs, but want a dog that will work without a shock collor. Here is the background. He is a 5 month old shorthair, his father was an excellent hunter and never saw a shock collar. I would classify my pup as pretty mellow, cooperative right now. I take him through fields and woods almost everyday and he seems to have a range I like. He always stays ahead of me and already responds to hand verbal/signals for right and left. Seems to have good drive, holds points and finds down birds. I am considering a shock collar because of the two following reasons: When on walks through the field I call him he will come, but not to my side. He just does a fly by and keeps hunting. So when it's leash time to go home it has become a real problem catching him. What I have been doing is calling him(not working) and just sitting and waiting tell he passes close enough to grab him(some times 15 minutes later). I don't want to chase him and don't know what to do? I hate to bring a dog tread a use that. I work with him on a check cord and give him the "come" command and make him come to me every time, but often if involves me jerking him in part or all of the way. He knows "come" because about half the time he will do it on his own(no leash). We work on this for 10 min a day almost every day and I make him come all the way to me. The second problem is similiar when he fetches something about half the time he will do a fly by and try to make it a keep away game or come most of the way in and then turn away. I do not chase him ever. What do you guys recommend? Should I go with a shock collar and at what age.
Sorry for the long post

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Bigeyes - like you I am new to the training game. I owned a couple of pointing dogs many years ago and had to give them up before they reached their prime. Now I am back in the game with a new pup. I am also experiencing some of the same tendencies with my pup. Like you I want to train my pup the most effecient and inexpensive way possible. I am not interested in producing a field trial champion. All I want is for my pup to mature and develop into an reliable, obedient and cotrollable friend and hunting companion. Lots of folks are using e-collars. From what I have seen and read they work. I know exactly how you feel. You do not want to create problems with your pup due to your training ignorance. Let's face it you and I and thousands just like us are going to make a bunch of mistakes. But here is what I am trying to do to resolve some of my pups undesirable behaviors.

1) Working dilengtly with come, hup, steady, fetch/come, to far and no bird commands in the backyard and out in the field with the checkcord.

2) Taking it slow and being patient. Making sure the pup understands each and every command with positive reinforcement and praise.

3) Trying hard not to repeat my commands. Making sure to keep myself in control so the pup stays in control.

4) Never give my pup the come command while in a hunting situation unless I absolutely need him at my side. Being more consistent so as not to confuse the pup. Using the hup (check) command to let him know I want a change of direction.

5) On the retrieve I have found when he hesitates to bring the bird to hand all I have to do is turn around with my back to him and begin to walk away. He then recognizes that he needs to complete the retrieve for whatever reason.

6) I know that my pup hates the car ride. He loves to hunt. So at the end of the day when he knows we are headed back to the truck he is hesitant to obey any command. So now I make sure I have his checkcord in hand and use the heel command long before we make our way back to within site of the truck.

7) Never underestimate your pups intelligence. Take it slow, be consistent, use your common sense and have as much fun as possible. Just remember he is only a pup and there is plenty of time for you and him to bond and learn the game together.

All that being said I am trying hard to avoid investing into a e-collar. I would prefer to do it the old-fashion way. But if after I have done all I can do to train him with the checkcord and mock hunts he displays a strong will to hunt only for himself then I will use the e-collar to administer the necessary amount of correction stimulus. I to would like for setterguy's input regarding whether or not I am headed in the right direction or down a slippery slope?

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Big eyes, I too am interested in knowing the pros & cons of trainning with a Electric and/or shock collar. I have an 11 month old Choc. lab. She is my first hunting dog and am thinking about haveing it proffesionally trained. All of the trainners that I have talked so far use an E-Collar. I keep hearing from other hunters, however, about how an E-Collar can ruin a dog. (See the other thread/posts about having to put a dog on tranquilizers). While, I appriciate that if you miss use and/or don't know how to use an E-Collar, you can do a lot of damage. I would like to know what the benefits of using the E-Collar are. Are there any good books and or other resourses on the topic? Are there any professional trainners that don't use an E e-collar? If not, why?
Thanks, Jim

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Guys I have a 1.5 year old black lab (Maggie). She is my first hunting dog and like you guys I was nervous about making mistakes with training her to hunt. I did not want to mess her up with my lack of knowledge. I contacted a trainer to not only help me train Maggie but to train me. I chose private lessons so I could because I wanted to ask lots of questions and have the trainer tell me what I was doing wrong.

1. The biggest thing I have learned is that MAKE SURE your dog knows the command before you introduce the e-collar. If your dog is confused no amount of correction will help the dog.

2. It also help to realize that the e-collar is basically just a long leash. A little correction is just like a tug on the leash. I was nervous what Maggie might do if she came across a deer. I am still not sure since we have not run into one while hunting but I am very confident if I have to I can stop her on a dime.

3. Go slow and watch your dog. Your dog will tell you if you have it to high. Although dogs are just like people when they are excited it takes more of a stimulation to get their attention.

I am not a trainer and still have way more questions than answers but I would highly recomend the e-collar if for no other reason then piece of mind. I hardly ever actually have to use the collar. And when I do use it I have it on the lowest setting and she responds wonderfully!

Good luck with your dogs and I hope that you enjoy the entire process.

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Good topic, I too would like to know more on what training videos and/or books to learn more about ecollar training. Going to start with my brothers Dogtra video that came with his collar. I've never used one on my previous two dogs but am contemplating one for the new pup.

Bigeyes, I had that problem with my first pup about 15 years ago, one day at about 6 monthes he decided he wasn't going to come to me. I knew he knew the whistle command, so I went in the house and put on my tennis shoes and ran him down. It only took about 10 minutes, he knew he was in big trouble, and finally panicked and jumped into the back of the pickup. After a good talking too, it was back to the check cord, then lots of praise when he came back on the come and whistle commands. I never had that problem again.

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Using a shock collar is a personal choice, honestly I have used them for some time, but not necessarily during training. I run them on my dogs more for a saftey feature than anything else. If one of my dogs gets on a deer or rabbit I know I can stop them before they get to a road, barbedwire fence or get lost for that matter. I have found a couple lost dogs in my days afeild, none with a collar on. Lots of good suggestions here, make sure that the dog knows what is expected before any negative reinforcement is used. Only use the collar when it is truely neccessary. And lastly don't use the collar as a short cut in training. Keep things simple at first and be patient. Most dogs will not have the game completely figured out until they are about 3 years old. Collars can be a very valuable tool when used correctly. Just like anything else, if its used to severely or frequently you can really push your training back...

------------------
Keep the tip up, ask permission and shoot straight. Setterguy

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Remember that the collar is not for teaching but reinforcing what has been taught. Once you have introduced your dog to the collar it should be worn every time you go into the field. If that is to train or hunt the collar needs to be on. If you put it on only when you THINK you are going to need it you will not get the desired result you are looking for over time.
I don't think there is a better PRO trainer who uses the collar in the country than Mike Lardy. His record speaks for itself. Nobody has won more Nationals or had more Finalist than he has. If you are looking for a great video I would seriously consider picking it up. If you need information on how to obtain the video let me know. You can also visit his website. www.totalretriever.com
GOOD LUCK

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Thanks for all the apologies. Not necessary.

Is this the right thread wink.gif

I had a black lab, shadow ,1987-1999. I used Wolther's WATER DOG as my basis for training. Granted, I was young, but had lots of time to train her( being in high school at the time) She spent a week with Tom Dolken (Before he was on ESPN ). She never had an e-colar. Although myself, as well as any dog owner, wishes he/ she could reach out and touch someone on occasion. We got by without one. Everyone I hunt with now uses e-colars...

I know that they have the advantage of immediate correction, but are people becoming too reliant on them. What if all your batteries go dead? Will your dog hunt or will he have to go in the kennel until the batteries are ready?

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Wow what a hot topic. Zarkohl, I just finished some training with a pro trainer and we didn't use a e-collar. It was up to me to use a collar or not. I have done some collar conditioning since, but my pup doesn't really need the e-collar. Stick to the basics, be patient. It will work. By the way, my lab is ok now. We got her off the drugs. Read my other post under "scotty18" heading. I can give you the # of the pro I just used, I'm taking my pup back this month for more training.

Thanks,Scotty

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I realize I am late getting into the discussion, but yes there are many pro trainers that do not use e-collars for their training. I personally do not use an e-collar, and only constult with pro trainers, rather than sending my kid to them for the summer (More than happy to share names and websites of them if interested) theyse guys are very in tune with the dogs, and are great at working with me...

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Wow, how refreshing. Great discussion among what sounds like a bunch of responsible, loving dog owners without a bunch of "antis" throwing their high and mighty opinions around!

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I'll echo setterguy's thoughts. I consider an e-collar a must have just for the safety factor in the field. At some point while hunting, your dog will decide not to listen and it will be in a situation where your dog's safety is at stake.

For example, your dog just jumped a deer next to a road and a big sugar beet truck is traveling down it. How are you going to stop that dog? You can yell until your vocal cords blow out and the dog will not listen. The solution is an e-collar. You apply the amount of stimulation needed to get your dog turned.

You probably will need a high level to do this. IMHO, this is a good thing because your dog will think deer bite very hard and he will think twice about doing it again.

The old saying is "they're all broke 'till they break". The unfortunate part is that they always break in the field.

gspman

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I have trained 4 hunting dogs for my own personal use. 3 labs and one gsp. Only the gsp was trained with a E-collar. The gsp has been the easiest to train and the best trained dog I have owned. I wouldn't train another dog without an e-collar. It is much more humane than most training methods. I'm sure my neighbors would agree. Yelling and tipping a dog over backwards with a long rope are many times worse than a little pinch on the neck. My gsp loves her collar too. When she sees me with the collar in my hand she really gets excited. Before I put it on the dog, I test it on myself. Most days when we go out I don't even touch the button. It's always available for safety reasons or if she forgets her boundries. One little tap of the button and she remembers what she is doing. I don't consider it shocking the dog. For me it's talking to the dog.

Boyz

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Willie- I think your attitude and expectations are going to produce a finely trained dog. I its wonderful that so many people understand the patience that needs to be taken with a dog. Just like children, dogs will go through stages. When they are in the puppy stage (until about 6-9 months) they will do just about anything for you. They will come when called, drop the dummy, wait until released and just about anything else they have been trained to do. Now I know some children that obey thier parents every word, never misbehave and would never think of testing limits. Some dogs are the same way....some are not. Some children need discipline, so do some dogs. Dogs cannot get grounded, or have the TV taken away. A small correction from an e-collar does not harm them in anyway, and is a lot healthier for them than a swat or jerk with a cord. If a dog is trained with an e-collar correctly they will never know that its you that is providing the stimulus. They will think that thier own actions caused the discomfort. Example: For years the taught method to teach a pointing dog to whoa (stop) was to place them on a tipped barrel with a rope around thier neck with the other end over a tree branch. Then you would throw paper plates in front of them, if they moved they choked, if they stayed still they recieved no discomfort. Now in my opinion a small reminder from a collar is a much better way to get a point across. Now I never used the barrel method, but it just proves that if you want to "abuse" a dog there are infinite ways to do it. If someone is going to abuse a dog with a collar, they would be abusing it some other way with out the collar. Again, using a collar is a personal choice. I know many guys who don't use them and plenty that do. Some guys that use them have great dogs and so do those that don't. Basically what I'm trying to say in this novel is every situation and dog is different, you have to trust your own judgement and experiences.

------------------
Keep the tip up, ask permission and shoot straight. Setterguy

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Setterguy - thanks for your input, words of encouragement, wisdom, insight and patience regarding the repetitive nature of the majority of posts found within this forum. Seems to me like the flood gates of free flowing questions, ideas and informative answers are in high gear! Kudos to all the moderators of this forum. Keep up the good work!

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BlackJack,

How is the new pup doing? Was it out of pointing lab lines? I think you mentioned that Riks Risky Raider was a grandparent. If it points and you want to work on this, there is a good book by Paul and Julie Knutson called "Pointing Labs" I believe that you can find on www.pointinglabs.com. The breeder that I am getting my pup from suggested videos by Mike Mathiot for retriever training and anything by George Hickox for pointer training. I am picking mine up in about another month. I am really looking forward to it. As to the question of e-collars, I think that I am going to do most of the training I can without one if possible but have the dog collar conditioned if I find that it is necessary.

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Training Tip #44
Should All Dogs be Trained with an E-collar?
From: Training with Mike Lardy Volume I


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In an interview, Mike was asked about his recommendations for using the e-collar. One question was should everyone use the e-collar? The entire discussion can be found in Training with Mike Lardy Volume I, a collection of articles published in Retriever Journal.

Mike said: I do not recommend using the e-collar if a person is only going to use the dog for very simple tasks. If you only want our dog to be obedient in the general sense –- to be a good citizen or if their hunting involves only very simple retrieves and not many of them, I don’t think it is worth the time and effort to go through a proper e-collar program ---because you can’t use the e-collar haphazardly. Using the e-collar correctly takes quite a bit of work on the trainer’s part, and there are plenty of ways to teach general obedience and simple field work without an e-collar.

Generally in my own e-collar program, we don’t start a dog until he is eight months to a year old, long after he has been taught all his basic obedience and has been doing lots of retrieves, he’s almost steady, and can do singles and doubles.

A point I‘d like to make is that you don’t teach a dog anything with an e-collar. There’s a misconception that somehow the e-collar is a method. The e-collar is not a training method – it is a tool.

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