by Megan Uebelacker
WHAT’S UP WITH THE E-COLLARS?
You may have noticed that a lot of us use e-collars. Here is some important info about the e-collars we use, why we use them, and personal stories from LARPBOs.
THEY’RE NOT SHOCK COLLARS
The most important thing to know is that they are NOT shock collars – these collars deliver an electronic pulse.
The pulse is similar to a TENS machine that is used on humans during physical therapy or chiropractic sessions.
When you begin training with an e-collar, you should put it on your hand before putting it on your dog to make sure you know what it feels like.
HOW DO YOU USE THEM?
We use our e-collars only for positive training.
They serve as a combination of cue to pay attention and also reinforcer to let our dogs know that they’re done the command correctly.
To learn how to use an e-collar properly, you need to work with a professional trainer. Like any training method, learning the right timing and technique is crucial.
DOs AND DON’Ts OF USING AN E-COLLAR
- DON’T use the e-collar as punishment, EVER.
- DO use the e-collar to communicate gently with your dog.
- DO use your e-collar to re-focus your dog’s attention.
- DON’T ever say “no” to your dog or yell at them. Instead, DO re-direct them to a different, positive behavior.
- DON’T use an e-collar without the guidance of a professional trainer. We recommend at least two private sessions. Contact info@LARPBO.org to connect you to a trainer nearest you. If you’re outside of the Los Angeles area, we may be able to recommend a trainer in your area.
OUR STORIES: WHY WE USE THEM
Many of us have found that using an e-collar has transformed our relationship so much for the better with our dog. Here are some of our stories:
Jennifer F., Beatrice’s Mom
Beatrice was a fearful puppy, but always full of energy. We began training with LARPBO within the first week of bringing her home when she was just under four months of age.
For many months we had average success training on a leash & Martingale collar but as she began to grow, I had a harder time managing her and the tasks at class took twice as long to learn compared to the dogs on the e-collar. Beatrice had a lot of puppy energy and after every single walk around the block, she would be gasping for air and choking herself. It pained me to see her eyes bloodshot, and while we worked extensively with her, we never achieved complete success until we got the e-collar.
I knew that this was the most humane way to train my dog. There is no drama from pulling, choking or yanking on her neck. Our walks are calm and fun – and now after several months of training we can be “off leash”. I like to say that we have a 400 yard “invisible leash” with the e-collar.
When we first started using it, I noticed that Beatrice’s learning increased significantly. We moved on to more advanced training items faster than I could have imagined and almost instantly her nervous pacing in the house and constant asking to go outside stopped. Beatrice became much more relaxed and comfortable in our home because she finally understood what was expected of her. It has helped her greatly with her fears. I couldn’t get her across the kitchen floor without her trembling and now with the e-collar I can help guide her (and reward her) with my “invisible leash” and my voice.
At the age of ten months, Beatrice received her AKC Canine Good Citizen Certification (using a flat collar and standard leash) and we are hoping to get her certified as a Therapy Dog. I can’t say enough about the e-collar. It is the most humane way to train a dog in my opinion. We use it as directed in lessons through LARPBO and would never recommend using it without their direction. (Yes, we used it on ourselves first!) We would never do anything to hurt our girl; that is why we chose the e-collar with LARPBO trainers.
Kristy G., Rafa’s Mom
When I got my puppy at 12 weeks old he had been in the shelter for SIX weeks. He was taken from his mother too early, he got no socialization with humans, and very little with other dogs. He had no training, no manners and no bite control. I worked for a long time trying to train him and just couldn’t get his mind to “unlock” from that almost feral stage. In addition he didn’t respond in ANY way to “reward” training. He didn’t care about treats, and when I followed the directions I was given by a trainer (give him treats like you’re a pez dispenser) all I ended up with was an unruly puppy who threw up.
I found a trainer who recommended the e-collar (Troy). He came to my home, spent time with me and my puppy, taught me how to use the collar properly (and safely) and within a week the puppy FINALLY started to “get it”. Now, he’s a happy, healthy, only slightly stubborn year old pit bull. He has manners, he behaves and he acts appropriately. On the occasions when he is too overstimulated to focus, or just being puppy stubborn, the collar helps tremendously. When he is focused and listening, the collar serves as a communication tool that cannot be outdone by ANYTHING.
Joellyn M., Yoda’s Mom
I can’t speak highly enough of the e-collar we use with Yoda. When we first got him, he was a mess. He was nippy and obnoxious and had a mind of his own. He was always a sweetie, but he had never had any kind of discipline, and was always challenging me when on walks, and also at home. Finally when he was almost 6 months old I knew it was time to make a decision, because at that point, I wasn’t strong enough to control him, so we went for the e-collar. It wasn’t without some trepidation, though. It turned out to be the best decision we ever made.
Literally, and I’m not exaggerating, within a few days of starting the collar, we felt like we had a different dog living under our roof. The transformation in him was near miraculous. It was as if he was hearing me for the first time, and we were truly communicating. It’s been all smooth sailing since then (he’s a year old now) and he just earned his CGC! Now he is almost as attentive without the collar as he is with it. It might not be for everyone, but it made such a wonderful difference in our lives.
Megan U., Petey’s Mom
Pete is a very powerful dog (80 pounds) and has an incredibly intense prey drive for balls. I was on the fence about the e-collar until the day a soccer ball bounced into class – and Pete dragged me across the training area, got away from me, and chased the soccer ball into the parking lot. I realized that after five years of working with him on this issue, I still didn’t have control of this very big, very powerful dog, and needed to change that. And he had some other issues too – pulling on the leash, getting too excited when he saw other dogs, and lunging at the poor stray cats in our neighborhood.
As soon as we started training with Troy using the e-collar, it was like we had a different dog. Or rather, we had the same dog, just an incredibly improved version of him. He “gets” the e-collar in a way that he never got any other kind of training.
Pete’s world is HUGE now. Going to class is fun, instead of being a sweaty, exhausting battle, so we go more often. My husband can take Pete running in the park and not worry about Pete yanking like crazy to get the soccer balls. We can go to the pet store without him dragging us all over the place. I don’t worry anymore about being pulled off my feet or him injuring himself or others in his pursuit of whatever instinct is consuming him.
We love the new relationship with have with our dog. Instead of having this 80-pound force of instinct attached to us by a leash, we have a companion who looks to us for fun and interaction. He’s also gone from being a somewhat aloof dog who was mildly interested in us to a very cuddly guy who seeks out our attention.
In short, we all have a new life thanks to the e-collar.