E-Collars equal freedom and enrichment for many dogs when used as a communication conduit and not as a punitive “shock apparatus “. Coupled with many positive rewards such as praise, food, tug and play - many dog's lives are enriched when they understand remote communication with their handlers.
I do not post this to start a divisive social media debate, however- I invite thoughtful comments and questions.
I respect the fact that not everyone appreciates e-collar work like I do. If you want to have a civil debate please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I'm happy to consider your view.
Currently- canine behavior professionals are in battle to retain the right to use these tools as prong and e-collars are under scrutiny and being questioned as acceptable dog training/rehabilitation tools.
In my work, I don't use prongs or e-collars on puppies under 8 months, or fragile seniors or any dog with a laryngeal or tracheal sensitivity. (E-Collars can sometimes be adjusted up or down the neck to avoid sensitive throats.)
I know when my death row pitbull from Clayton County GA recalls off a distraction (chickens, chipmunks, deer scent) on a low level stim, (12 on a 0-127 scale DOGTRA), I am grateful that her e-collar effects her like a hearing aid - it amplifies my request from distance or supersedes arousal. Did I train recall with lots of food and praise in an enclosed area on a 15' line for several months before introducing the e-collar? Yes, yes I did.
It's thoughtful work to prep for an e-collar. The e-collar didn't teach recall, it expanded a reliable recall out in field and wood in a gradual and thoughtful way. It gave her off-leash freedom. Guess what happens when my e-collar battery dies unexpectedly...Joanie still recalls - reliably. Eventually, I will phase it out. Joanie and I have been together for 2 years. This was not a quick fix. We have hours of practice and variety and distraction set-ups under our belt.
Many times we are asked to work with dogs who are adults with years of bad habits or unknown pasts. E-collar work can reframe communication between handler and dog, it can bring clarity. Sometimes - purely positive is not the best way for these dogs but it is a great way to start a timid dog or puppy with no baggage. There is no ONE TOOL for all scenarios. I use food rewards, praise, clickers, stainless steel prongs, plastic prongs, e-collars, martingales, Halti's, every iteration of a harness and slip leads - until I find the best tool for the dog.
Hopefully, common sense and open minds will prevail and there will not be a ban on any of these tools.
Quite frankly watching a dog cough and wretch while leaning into a flat collar is no joy to behold. Yet we see it all the time...should all collars be banned?
Remember- a pencil can be used to write poetry or shank someone in the eye.
Operator error and inexperience is the problem- not the tool.
If your dog is a dedicated puller on leash, we'd love to help.
If you or your dog finds leash walking unenjoyable - you're missing out on one of the most natural bonding activities between man and canine.
And that is walking together through life - we were all nomads back in the day - and the dog was always by our side.
Walk with your dog - let your dog walk with you!