E-Collars and Their Myths
Everything you've ever wanted to ask!
Okay, so there’s more than one e-collar myth.
Few tools seem to have as much mythology, fear, and misunderstanding about them as do e-collars. And it’s really a bummer, because few tools are as beneficial in helping dogs and owners to succeed as is the e-collar.
Let’s just tackle a few myths:
-“E-collars are like electrocuting your dog." Actually, e-collars are much the same as a tens unit that us humans use frequently for physical therapy. There is no harm done to your dog. We encourage all owners to try the collar on their hand before starting the training. They’re always surprised by what it ACTUALLY feels like.
The lowest levels usually can't even be felt by the smallest dogs, and the shock can easily be set to a working level that is annoying, but not painful.
-“E-collars burn dogs” No, actually they don’t generate heat, and are incapable of burning dogs. (Take some toilet paper and try to light it on fire with an e-collar.)
-“Yes they do, I’ve seen the burn marks!” What you’ve seen are pressure sores from the e-collar contact points pushing on the skin in the same place for too long. The e-collar receiver should be rotated to a different location every 4 hours or so so avoid this. (Also, some dogs have allergies to the nickel in the stainless steel, and need different contact points to avoid this issue.)
-“E-collars hurt your dog and are a painful way to train.” Actually, modern e-collars are highly adjustable. In the old days they had few levels and COULD be extremely unpleasant at all settings. Contemporary collars offer 100 or more increments/levels of stimulation. That means you can find the perfect level for your dog. You would be surprised that the larger “tougher” breeds run on a lot lower levels than a lot of the smaller breeds who you would think to be more “sensitive.” Our goal is to find a working level that represents a feeling similar to a tug on the leash to each individual dog.
-“E-collars will electrocute my dog if they get wet" Actually, e-collars (the transmitter that your dog wears) is waterproof. They were orginally made for hunting dogs who go in water frequently. And the stimulation perception when in water is actually lessened, not enhanced.
-“E-collars are a shortcut for lazy trainers and owners.” Actually, shortcut simply means they are more effective at clearly communicating what it is we are asking. They make training much clearer and easier for your dog. That’s why dogs advance much more quickly with e-collar training. We haven’t met any dog owners who when given the choice would rather have problem behaviour, or training itself, take longer than necessary.
“E-collars are a last resort solution.” Actually, e-collars are being used regularly (for even mild and teeny dogs) as an invisible leash in the house and outside, so owners and dogs can enjoy more freedom, less stress, and more reliability. While they can be godsends for dangerous behaviour (running away, livestock chasing, consuming dangerous objects etc.), most of the time they’re used simply to create a great relationship and ensure owners have dogs that listen and are reliable in everyday life.
“E-collars are only for aggressive dogs, and should NEVER be used on a nervous or fearful dog." Actually, nervous, insecure, and even extremely fearful dogs are some of the best candidates for, and excel with e-collar training. In fact, We’ve seen few things help a fearful dog more than properly executed e-collar training.
“E-collars are easily abused by nasty folks who like to hurt dogs.” Realistically people who are out to hurt their dogs usually don’t spend good money on high quality training tools to do so. In the wrong hands a plastic bag or a pillow could be used to hurt a dog.
These are the questions we see most often floating around out there, its not all of them so feel free to ask if there are something you are still curious about. The truth is, after using just about every tool available, trying just about every approach available, we’ve gone to a full e-collar program for every dog we train at Lead Right. Why? Because the results – for both dog and owner – are simply undeniable. Our single goal has been to find what works best and helps the most. And we find that regardless of issues or goals, e-collar training has been the very best for all our clients.
There will be a never-ending stream of angry (and likely ill-informed) resistance to e-collars from different poeple, but we encourage you to make your own opinions. Dig past the fear mongering, and the nasty sounding bites.
Owners who have had a chance to see and try e-collar training, absent of all the propaganda surrounding it, become fans of it to too. Just imagine, an invisible leash that allows you to safely communicate with your dog up to a mile away. Imagine walks without reactivity. Imagine commands that your dog actually listens to. Imagine a well-behaved dog having the freedom to run and play safely. It’s pretty amazing stuff. And we so glad we have them.