Let’s Talk About Electric Collars – Phoenix Scottsdale AZ Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
OR, if you are out of this area, inquire about a telephone or e-Lesson
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Is the trainer you are considering trying to convince you that the best way to train any dog is with an electric collar? Are you considering getting an electric collar, or hiring a trainer that uses electric collars in their training program?
There are trainers that promote a perception that they can correct any problem with an electric collar and use it to hand back a perfectly trained dog. I think that is a completely wrong use. Others say they will gradually introduce your dog to the collar, and it is only a tickle feeling. That’s also a completely wrong approach. Electric collars are best used for a planned specific aversive training setup that has a high probability of success. If used appropriately, the problem is addressed and solved, and the dog doesn’t then wear one the rest of their lives. These collars are invaluable for some situations and not appropriate for others.
For myself, based upon my experience and learning, I have studied the use of electric collars, I have owned electric collars and I have years of experience with using electric collars on a variety of dogs for a variety of training issues, so I can speak from personal experience. Electric collars are NOT inhumane, do not cause long term psychological trauma, and do not cause physical harm… provided they are used correctly. Many trainers secretly use them, out of the public eye, because of the “all positive” trainers and talkers on the internet attempt to destroy people who use any type of aversives, including the word “NO” when training dogs. When someone says “the science says”, they don’t know what they are talking about. There has been NO scientifically valid double blind study on the proper and improper use of electric collars for training dogs. Most of what is being called “science” is just propaganda. That is unfortunate because the world would benefit if such a study was performed. What we do know is reflected in what I’m saying here.
What science has been performed? Here’s a good practical example. Electric collars have been tested, studied and used to protect Kiwis from predation by dogs. They worked well. The dogs first have to be obedience trained, then, like snake training, taught to avoid the birds and leave them alone.
What Isn’t Good
You can find trainers that use electric collars and work to have the dogs performing all the basics in under a week. Some of the ones I have found on the internet will even start very young pups with an electric collar. The first time I heard of this kind of thing, about 10 years ago, was a ‘trainer” in the Seattle area. That was the basis of his business. The next one was a fellow in California. Same approach. The business plan was always the same: train your dog to obey in less than a week, saying that other trainers waste time and just don’t have the skills to do it faster, indicating they have “secret” dog training methods that are revolutionary, over promising that they can fix just about any behavioral problem, not being up front in their marketing materials that they were electric collar trainers, and so on. Good dog training goes at the pace of the dog and doesn’t fit a schedule like this.
You see, a lot of novices think you can just put on the electric collar and start working their dog… NOT EVALUATING THE DOG, NOT BEING EDUCATED IN BEHAVIORAL THEORY, AND NOT KNOWING WHAT THE HECK THEY ARE DOING. That is why I never have a customer get an electric collar until they are well into the training. Novice trainers will train with their emotions, not with logic or any kind of instruction. They will use a collar to try and punish the dog or force the dog to do things that the dog isn’t ready for. They don’t know how to train a dog with any method. They don’t know when to make the transition to using the electric collar. And they don’t take the time to do it right. For novices, they’d be better off just training with treats, if they aren’t going to do it right and humanely.
Do I need to say more? There are no quick and easy answers to be found in using an electric collar, whether you are a professional, hobbyist, or novice. You should do what is right, not what is expedient. Electric collars are aversive, and an aversive consequence is sometimes the best way to solve a behavioral problem. But, sometimes that is the wrong approach. You need someone experienced to help make the right decision and do the work properly.
Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.
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