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I have been wanting to ask about this for a long time but thought I had better keep a low profile as far as upsetting subject are concerned. And this is another one that upsets me! The use of electric collars. Banned in Sweden, but obviously in use in other parts of the world. I had almost forgotten about these instruments of torture, but found a referance to them on one of the websites linked to this site.
It states that XXXX is responding well to her training with the electric collar...

I think it is upsetting that with all the "intelligent" trainingmethods about, and all that we have learned about clicking and shaping etc, some will still try the shortcut that an electric collar provides. A remote-controll buzzing that (at least to me) shows that some people would be better off doing something else than training dogs.
Or am I the only one feeling this strongly about this subject?

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Absolytely right and I agree with you Ursula. Those who can not train their dogs without different kinds of instruments should not have a dog at all. All creatures, human and animals need to be educated to behave in a certain way.That is the parents or owner job and responsibility.
I have always wondered why would a man breed such a dog that one couldn´t handle without electricity?
you always need to work with obedience... no lazy man should have an animal
I believe the electric collar is used when people have failed to train their dog - it seems so easy to use remote control... but I think it ruins more dogs than it helps!!! I think a bit more knowledge about how the dog's (or any mammal's) brain works would help much more when problems crop up.

Ursula - you mentioned clicker and shaping. 3 years ago I discovered these methods after 30 years of dog training. I am absolutely thrilled with the results! I started with my young dog Glen when he was 10 weeks old and am astounded at his intelligence and obvious enjoyment in all kinds of work. Of course I am biased :-) but many other trainers have remarked the same.
Using the 'click' and letting him choose his reward works wonders for us! Even in field training.
There are so many easier and better ways to train a dog than using electric shocks.

I wonder how many countrys in Europe still use these collars (maximum effect when used on damp or wet dog, so wetting the dogs neck used to be a popular method of giving the collar a better punch). We had years of disscussion concerning this in Sweden. And even once it was forbidden, plenty of people smuggled collars in from Germany.
That was years back, I am not certain if they are still allowed in Germany.
I just feel brutal force shows up your lack of skills when it comes to training dogs.
And yes, shaping and clicker is GREAT!
Although I train without...only rewards. But give them what they want = situations as reward instead of balls etc.
Like, do this and you get to swim in the sea or gaze at the chickens or run across the fields etc.
Hi Ursula – No, you’re not the only one to find the use of electronics upsetting, but I’m guessing that’s because you’ve never met anyone who uses them properly, thoughtfully, humanely and with the best interests of the dog at heart. Used in such a way, they are not instruments of torture but, instead, simply a very long leash!

The person who says “I’m gonna git me one of them e-collars and burn him so he won’t…. or, to make him….(put in whatever you want a dog to be doing or not doing)” is an idiot and shouldn’t own a precious dog. I will say I haven’t heard that particular expression in a long time as people have learned more about the subject.

The term “training with an e-collar” is somewhat misleading as the dog is actually trained by other methods and then the e-collar is introduced as an alternative point of contact.

My mentor was instrumental in helping to develop these collars many years ago, and one of the things he insisted was that they not be too “hot” – for many years he tested and returned experimental models insisting that the “low end” be lower, and lower, and lower – simple reminders. The result is the type of collars we have today (which are still being modified and expanded) – variable intensities in momentary and continuous stimulation. It takes a clear, level-headed understanding of the dog, his level of training, and the instrument to make all the training successfully come together.

I’ve dug up a couple of articles that may be of interest to you:

Stimulation is Not About Pain:
http://www.teamhuntsmith.com/Docs/painstimulus.pdf

How to Overlay the E-Collar:
http://www.teamhuntsmith.com/Docs/overlayingecollar.pdf

I’m sure I’ll be “un-invited” to be friends with some folks because I use electronics, but I have taken the time to learn their proper use.

Happy hunting, Londa

PS - I agree with Katarina - no lazy man should have an animal!
PS - And with Susan - that dogs have been ruined by People with misuse of electronics
This is a difficult one to answer Londa.
I have read the articles and had I not been training since the 60`s and seen the changes in trainingmethods first hand, I would have said YES!!!!!
The answer to all our problems!
(And I can assure you there are many times when I personally would have loved a remote-controll on my dogs, and had I had one in my hand...well I may just have used it!)
Instead I have had to come up with alternative ideas.

But reading the articles, it all sounds very good! Rick Smith explains how its done and not done. He tells you about wet dogs and the dangers of this, in fact I believe he knows what he is doing.
The "tap on the shoulder" is so innocent and just a wake-up call really. But I see a massive danger in all the people that are NOT Rick Smith using a remote controll on their dogs.
I see the danger of using the collar in all types of situations that could be easily sorted out with the help of the clicker-method for instance.
It takes tons of time, effort and imagination to train dogs, and just as we dont "remote-contoll" our children, we should not do this to our dogs either. And I think that for every Rick Smith, there will be hundreds if not thousends of people that will see the electric collar as nothing other than a convinient and time-saving way to train a dog.

This is a bit like the firearm-discussion. Fair enough, guns dont kill people. People kill people. But by handing them the guns we are also handing people the means to kill.

No way would I ever "un-friend" you Londa...the only person I have ever heard of with a real live Tenneessee walking horse! :-))))
Ursula
We have three horses in our field that is shared by the horses and dogs. Two are Tennessee Walkers and one is half Tennessee Walker and half Peruvian Paso. I can no longer ride because of degenerated lumbar discs, but when I did, I found nothing so comfortable as a gaited walking horse. It truly brings a different perspective to riding, whether on a trail ride, or behind a field trial dog. When you are handling your dog on horseback in a field trial, you are not out for the joy of the ride. You are in competition and everything that you use is to help you to help your dog in that competition. A good field trial horse does a lot of the work on its own and actually helps you to handle your dog. Walking horses do not need the type of attention when being ridden that a lot of other types of horses often do. They tend to be quite gentle and like people, although they can certainly be fiery on the job.

California has been traditional quarter horse country for many years, but as people out here are discovering gaited horses, they are growing rapidly both in popularity and price. To really understand what they are all about, try riding along on one with a full glass of champagne in your hand.

An interesting fact is that horseback handlers in AKC field trials are required to ride at a flat walk unless given permission by the judges in a particular circumstance to move out more rapidly. A good walking horse can easily move faster at a walk than many horses canter. So they are preferred at field trials not only for comfort but also for speed. Best of both worlds.

Wendy
Hello Wendy, this is going of the subject a lot, but I just want to give a quick reply to the very interesting comments on the Tennessee walking horse.
My daughter has from an early age been totally in love with horses, she now has four of her own, competes in showjumping and is studying at vetschool.
When she was small, her favorite books to read with me were ones showing different breeds of horses. She kept wanting me to read all the details and what each particular horse was good for etc. Most of the breeds we had come across at home.
But there was ONE (it allways seems to be shown in books standing in a very strange way) we had never seen over here (as far as we knew). And we were both facinated by it...the name, the way it appeared to stand (sort of like a stacked dog) and everything else.
That was the Tennessee Walker.
So when Londa wrote she had one of these horses I just went WOW!!!!!!!!!!!
Now I appear to (almost) know TWO people with this breed!
Wonderful!
And thank you for that information Wendy.
Ursula
I think the electric collars are horrible and can ruin a perfectly normal dog. There are no real shortcuts to training the dog. Work needs to be done and the el collar is not a magic wand. Anyway they are forbidden in most countries, but people stil use them.
I have also found clicker training to be very useful on puppies. Dogs respond well to it. I've only tried it in obedience, but hopefully soon will also test it in the field.
Alenka
Is there nobody out there that can actually say WHERE the electric collars are still legal, and where NOT?
To the best of my knowledge, there is nowhere in the US where electric collars are banned. Of course they are not allowed in any competition venue, but I believe that any individual may purchase one for personal use. I have never met a field trainer who doesn't use one.

Years ago, before the electric collars were in common use and before they were refined to be used as "stimulation" - which is counted a positive reward by many - we broke dogs to be steady to wing and shot with what was called a "force" collar. These are still available on the market today, but many people are not familiar with them.

A force collar is a thick leather choke collar that has sharp pointed metal spikes on the inside. Most trainers clipped off the points of the spikes so they were blunted, but not everyone did this. The collar was attached to a long check cord, 20-50 feet in length. The dog would be turned loose to run wearing this device. The handler might be holding the end of the check cord or not, but when the dog established point, the handler would pick up the end of the check cord if he wasn't already holding it. Then the handler would walk up the length of the check cord, keeping constant light pressure on the collar.

Another person would flush the bird while the handler held the cord very close to the collar. The dog would be told to "whoa" and if he didn't, the handler would let him run to the furthest extent of the cord, and then, usually holding the end in both hands, sometimes with it wrapped around the handler's waist, let the dog hit the end of the cord at full speed, often flipping the dog into the air as he was stopped by the spiked collar. My first Irish Setter was trained that way, without ever previously being taught what "whoa" meant. She hit the end of the check cord no more than three times, and she was broke solid for life! I never heard of a dog being injured or "ruined" by this experience, but I did know a number of handlers whose backs were quite seriously injured when they were pulled off their feet as well by the jolt of the dog hitting the end of the cord. Perhaps it served them right!

Now with the advent of "yard training" so that a dog recognizes the command "whoa" when it is given, and the gentler e-collars that now exist, I think this is a far more humane way to train than use of the check cord with force collar attached. I cannot imagine using clickers to train senior field trial dogs - they may be as much as 1000 yards from their handler when they scent game, and they must conquer their basic instincts of chasing and catching prey at that far remove from their handlers. They must establish point, hold that point until the handler arrives, which could easily be ten minutes, or might literally be hours, stand while the handler flushes the bird, watch it fly out of sight, and turn and commence running again without any appearance of chasing that bird. It is awesome to watch, and a clear statement about both the intelligence of the dog and its ability to internalize training to the nth degree.

I was always told that one does not use an electric collar to train a dog. It is only to be used when the handler knows that the dog absolutely knew what it was supposed to do and willfully broke that command or exercise. You could always tell dogs that were "fried" into submission at field trials. But handlers use other forceful measures to insure compliance to their commands. There were handlers whose dogs were always very alert and careful in the birdfield when their handler lit a cigarette, because that cigarette had been used to burn the dog when it made an infraction in training. There are dogs that are force trained to retrieve using an ear pinch method (which I won't describe here) and when the dog gets to the birdfield where retrieving will take place, the handler may give him water and subtly pinch his ear at the same time to remind him to mind his P's and Q's. Et cetera...

My training experience has
I think the end of my previous reply was cut off again, so here it is:

My training experience has been primarily with Irish and Gordon Setters who are intelligent dogs and generally willing and cooperative workers. I do understand that there are other breeds of pointing dogs that are more hard-headed and may need to be trained by more extreme methods.

So I would ask everyone to please do your homework and learn about the complete training situation before condemning any particular training method or device as "torturous," "barbaric," or "Inhumane." Off the soapbox now.

Wendy
Oh Wendy, it hurts to read of all theses methods that I experienced in my early days of dog training some 30 years ago. In those days it was believed necessary.
Fortunately today there are people around who know better and are capable of training dogs in a way that makes it unnecessary to have to resort to torture. A sentence that sticks in my mind is: Where wisdom ends, violence begins.

As Ursula mentioned earlier, it is possible to train a dog to respond happily by just teaching him one basic idea: whatever the dog really wants, he must first offer you a desired behaviour for which his reward will be the thing he desires at that moment. Meaning: you can even train a randy dog to retrieve, if he knows that his reward afterwards is a flirt with the lady of his dreams... Obviously this method of learning must be taught first, but as soon as the dog gets the idea, you'll be surprised at how fast they are willing to learn!!! My dog learnt to retrieve cold game by saying: OK, you want to hunt - but first I'd like you to hold this bird for one second. We carried on from there.

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