Here I will discuss how I start the training. It is very important to teach the
dog the meaning or language of the e collar. The stimulation is completely
foreign to the dog and if you want the highest results possible you must teach
the dog the language. I will cover how I handle board and trains vs private
lessons. Let’s get started .
Let’s assume the dog knows nothing. We are starting from the beginning. I
want to teach the dog a marker word. It can be any word. I use YES as I
know many others do also. You can also use a clicker but many find it
difficult to work a clicker, remote, and reward with food all at the same time.
I will stand in front of the dog. A hungry dog works best. I will say YES,
with an emphasis on the marker word and then give a food reward
immediately AFTER the marker word. It is important to reward after and not
at the same time as the marker. I will do this maybe 10 to 20 times. Just to
give the dog an idea that something good happens when it hears YES.
At this time I have the dog on a 10 foot line attached to usually a flat buckle
collar. I used a 15 foot line for many years but I find that too many people
have trouble handling that long of a line without getting it tangled up under
the dog. A ten foot line gets you enough distance for the dog to move about
and is easier to handle.
Using straight line pressure when the dog is away from me I say COME and
with very gentle straight line guidance assist the dog toward me. You want to
use the lightest pressure possible and when the dog starts to turn toward you
give the marker word YES and reward with high value food when the dog
gets to you. By straight line pressure I mean that the leash is parallel to the
ground or lower from where it is attached to the dog. You want to mark the
initial behavior of the dog turning to come to you. With the dog knowing the
marker word this should make the dog move to you with excitement. If the
dog decides to veer off or stop just continue to guide with the leash.
If I am training a board and train I will take the first day just hanging out and
building the relationship with the dog. I will also use light leash pressure to
communicate where I want the dog. I will also work a lot of doorways, or
thresholds. I want to teach the dog to just be. Be in a good state of mind and
hang with me. Put your trust in me and don’t worry about anything.
If I am starting a private session client I will start the straight-line pressure
with the COME command and reward immediately after the ten or 20
repetitions of the marker word paired with the food reward. Also since time is
limited, I start the e collar conditioning about half way through the ninety
minute first session.
Now it is time to put the e collar on the dog and start the teaching process.
First I brush the dog’s neck very well with a Furminator removing all dead
hair. Dead hair will prevent good contact. Next I place the e collar on the
dog’s neck. You can place it anywhere on the neck below the ears except on
the larynx of the dog which is under the neck right in the middle. Place it off
to one side or the other. I actually prefer it placed very high just under the ear
on most dogs, especially dogs with thick coats or thick skin. It just seems
easier to make good contact up high. Make sure your leash is attached to a
regular collar, not the e collar. Never put the leash on the e collar. You don’t
want to pull on the e collar.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is keeping the e collar too loose.
You have to have it very snug or you will not make good contact and even
worse inconsistent contact. You should barely be able to get two fingers
under the e collar strap, not the receiver.
Now that the e collar is on the dog you are ready to find the dog’s working
level. This is best to do in an area where there is little or no distractions if
possible and on pavement instead of grass. Too many odors on grass and if
there are distractions your dog’s working level will be higher than he actually
feels it without any distractions present. Remember we want to use the lowest
level possible that the dog can feel. Barely feel is what we want.
Start on the lowest setting of your e collar. You should have a high quality
name brand e collar. Don’t skimp here because a low budget e collar can
create many problems such as inconsistent stimulation and the lowest levels
can be too high for your dog to train properly and HUMANELY.
 
 
 
 
With your dog not paying attention tap the e collar. I keep my e collars set on
continuous but still just use it as a tap meaning it is only continuous if you
hold the button down which we are not here. Continue raising the level and
tapping the collar until you see a sign that your dog feels it. That sign can be
very subtle so pay close attention. It may be just a flick of the ear, a lick of
the lips, or a dog may stop breathing with his mouth open. It can be more
obvious, like the dog may look behind him trying to figure out what that
weird feeling is. All of these signs are normal. Once he gives you a sign that
is where you want to start the conditioning. Once you start and the dog has
been feeling it, you may even be able to go down a little lower in levels once
the dog becomes sensitive to the feeling.