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Good points, Finn. Voice contact is so important - conversational for friendly undemanding purposes, highly pleased when the dog obeys and a very cross (sweary!) voice when the dog displeases.... and variuos shades inbetween. But the whistle - that means 'leave what you're doing and come to me NOW'... because coming to me is the nicest, happiest (rewarding) thing that we both enjoy.
Raised voice indoors has a very unsettling effect on dogs and yelling outdoors with a distance between you and the dog is prone to unwanted interpretation by the dog!! ;o])))
This is a good point. The voice is an important tool and will look to how I express myself in the tone of my voice when training the new pup.
If I would have that problem, I wouldn't use a spray collar but a shock collar instead. It doesn't sound friendly but it is much more friendly as a spray collar. A shock only last for a second. Instead of using a shock you can choose just using only the pager. The smell of a spray will last for a long time.
I see your point and agree. It's only the inexperience dog owners that think using one of the shock collars is a short cut and doesn't put any work in to training before hand they're the ones who end up abusing the use of this type of collar on their dog and shouldn't own one.
When I used it, it was a last resort as I had tried out everything believe me with no affect. I used the shock setting less than 10 times over the space of a week. I then used the bleep setting as the collar would bleep before it gave the dog a small static shock and so that was enough. I had one that had a really long range so she could go off in front of me up to a 1,000 metres so a good amount of freedom.
Now when we walk she goes off but always keeps me in sight and runs back to me every now and again, when she does this she gets a reward, water or cheese. Now she takes rewards !!!
The problem is these collars are used by people who know nothing about training and nothing about their breed of dog.
Then it's people like me who get flack for resorting to this believe me as a last resort.
I will admit to using a shock collar on a dog of mine, many years ago, who was my worst nightmare, with a hightened hunting instinct, which took her across trunk roads and all kind of dangerous places. It was this dog who truly lead me into the realms of a serious interest in training, to the point of going through a degree and masters degree on the subject of cognition (learning processes). Looking back, I made some horrendous mistakes with that dog. Did the shock collar work? no it didn't. It just made her fearful. I had a very experienced gun dog trainer helping me in those days too, whose advice with the shock collar was as sound as it could possibly be. I will never go down that road again.
What did change was my training methods. The knowledge of the effects of hormones upon behaviour, and also a HUGE lesson (taught to me by that particular dog) in canine/human relationships which eventually turned her around, and oh boy did I end up with an amazing working gun dog as a result! My experiences of living with Flicka started an amazing journey into the mind of the dog and canine cognition, enough to be able to write a book about the subject. There are sooooo many reasons for recall problems, which cannot really be gone through without actually seeing the dog in action, and even measuring where it is with its true understanding of the word come, what its expectations are of what come means, plus its overall motivation. What many people fail to understand is that learning is a process, and certain things happen during that process which can cause not only confusion to the dog, but to the handlers too, through them not understanding what stage they have reach, and why.
Since Flicka, 6 Setters further down the road, and goodness knows how many dogs through the training school, I can honestly say, I would never go down the road of using a shock collar on another dog again. I might use a spray collar in extreme circumstances as a form of interruption, followed immediately by positive re-enforcement. Also looking at the latest research on the use of shock collars to come out of the Uni. of Lincoln by my former mentor, Prof. Daniel Mills, I have reached the conclusion, that shock collars, if ever used, should only be used by people who are highly experienced, and perhaps even licensed. There are always risks in using these devices, even on the lowest settings. As I say, I had an extremely experienced gun dog trainer giving me advice in those early days, and her advice was technically correct BUT the effect it had upon Flicka was far from good, and if anything damaging in the stress that it caused her. Over the years, I have subsequently seen a number of dogs as behavior cases who have been shocked, and gone on to develop quite serious fear related issues. Also with regards to spray collar, I have seen some sensitive dogs who have experienced these devices and it has been very traumatic for them. There are so many things which need to be taken into consideration when using any aversive training. Before giving any advice on recall training, I really do need to know the context, and many things about the dog, it's human companion, to make a fair assessment of the situation, what is needed, and advising the owner as to what the realities are. Them helping them to get their expectations in line with such realities, because as with most things in training, things don't start to happen over night. Learning is a process which will wobble about to a great extent in the early stages (like when most of you learned to drive!) and it's knowing what to do during those wobbling periods which can help bring things forward. And yes, there can be hormonal issues which can make recall training virtually impossible for some (I emphasize some) dogs.
I fully agree with you on this one, Fran!
Recall is certainly one of the most complex lessons to teach a dog and there is no simple 'fix'. What strikes me here is everyone saying that they may use a electronic device as 'the final resort when all else has failed'. Stating 'all else failed' actually means that the dog had had many months or even years of performing unwanted behaviour. Any behaviour that has been displayed more than twice and heading on 1000 times has gone through 'the perfect learning curve' meaning the behaviour has been perfected by repetition and has been reinforced by success (from the dog's point of view). Chasing, hunting, or purely running is an inborn drive and is re-inforced simply by the dog doing it.
Use of an electric shock collar will not train your dog and is more likely to instill fear. A fearful dog is not a happy dog and fear is the largest cause for aggressive behaviour in dogs.
I agree with Fran: If the shock collar has its place, then only in the hands of people licenced & trained to use it.