|By: Thomas A. Beitz|
Why would anyone want to shock his dog? Some people think of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” with Jack Nicholson and “Electro Shock Therapy,” when they think of shock. Others think about an electric chair which is designed to end life. However, not all shock is created equal. A pace-maker administers shock to the human heart in order to sustain life. The TENS machine administers shock to the body in order to mitigate and manage pain. Shock in itself is not good or bad. It is how it is used that makes all the difference.
The remote training collar, the e-collar or what is commonly referred to as the shock collar is one of the most misunderstood training tools on the market today. As a result, it may be one of the most misused training tools. It is understandable that some people are suspicious of things that they don’t understand. The purpose of this article is to explain at least in part, how a shock collar can actually be used to train a dog safely and humanely.
Over the past 10 to 15 years, the e-collar has significantly improved in many ways. First, the quality of these collars has improved in terms of eliminating false signals from other electronic devices. Secondly and more importantly, the newer collars use much lower stimulation levels, which is extremely helpful in communicating obedient behavior. The training strategies which have evolved over the past 10 years have proven to be more pet-friendly and easier for the pet owner to learn. In the past, people thought that they needed to be a professional dog trainer in order to teach their dog to “come off leash” in a park with distractions.
Now that e-collars have caused technology and training to merge; off-leash reliability is now a reality for the companion dog, trained by the average pet owner. Any training device is a tool which can be used to effectively communicate to your dog. The momentary, low level of stimulation used properly, can effectively communicate volumes to your dog even from a couple of hundred yards away. Let me give you an example that most people will be familiar with:
Have you ever gone horseback riding? If you haven’t, have you ever watched a western movie? Just imagine yourself riding in the saddle along a country road enjoying the beautiful scenery. Let’s say that you want your horse to turn to the right. To the experienced horseman, the following explanation may seem like an oversimplification, however, it does help to illustrate my point. To turn to the right, you would pull on the right rein which would in turn put pressure on the bit in the horse’s mouth. The horse has learned from repetition and conditioning that if he turns to the right the pressure (something a little unpleasant) on the bit goes away.
The horse has learned a training strategy (yielding to the pressure) that makes the pressure go away. This is known as escape training which becomes self-rewarding to the animal because it builds its confidence when they learn how to make the pressure go away. When the horse feels the slight pressure on the bit in his mouth, he has learns when he turns to the right he can escape that unpleasantness and is rewarded by complying with the request.
By using a low level shock and a momentary stimulation (1/100th of a second) you can teach your dog the same self-rewarding training strategy. This newer, pet friendly training strategy will yield 100 % reliability and consistency with your dog in an “off leash” situation where there may be any number of distractions. The beauty of such a training strategy is that it communicates effectively to the sensitive dog all the way up to a highly excitable dog with “Attention Deficit Disorder,” (A.D.D.) You know the type. When he gets off the leash, he’s on his own and anything you tell him goes in one ear and out the other until he’s ready to come home or get hit by a car, whichever comes first.
With nearly 80 % of the dogs being surrendered to shelters and rescue groups (due to unresolved obedience and behavior problems,) perhaps some e-collar shock therapy applied in a humane way is just what the doctor is ordering.
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Tom Beitz is the owner of the Academy for Puppies and Dogs and is an authorized dealer for Pet STOP Hidden Dog Fences. Tom can be reached at (716) 628-0651 to answer your questions or he can be found on the web at www.smartdogtrainer.com . E-Mail: Tom@Smartdogtrainer.com
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