Dog e-collar training: a case for clarity and another life saved.

Emily Stoddard from Canine Sports Dog Training recently sent me a success story of how proper use of an e-collar helped a dog destine for euthanasia.
Guinness’ story is not an unusual one, a dog with a less than desirable upbringing, going to a new home and the new owner struggling to rehab an animal who has learned the wrong behavioral response to anything he perceives as scary. Unfortunately the sad stories like his aren’t hard to come by. The positive note is that Guinness’ owner found Emily, a trainer who understands the value all tools can have in helping clearly communicate with a dog and make the surrounding world and our expectations of how to behave in it, clear.
I’ve come to believe that clarity is the single more important aspect of having a “successful” life. Whether we are talking about our own personal successes or teaching a dog how to operate in our human world. Being clear about our goals, expectations and the steps needed to achieve them sets the framework so we can move forward and conquer the hurdles toward our destination.

The advantage an e-collar brings to the task of dog training is that much of the clarity is built in and not dependent on the handler.

The timing of WHEN to push the button and HOW to help the dog understand the sensation is handler dependent, but after that knowledge is acquired, the e-collar does much of the work in providing neutral information and feedback that can guide a dog’s decision making process without getting caught up in expressed human emotion that is often too confusing for an already stressed dog to interpret.
The resulting clear information a dog receives via tactile cueing allows the dog to process more quickly and gives the handler an easier way to redirect to and thus reward more appropriate behavior. Learning to use an e-collar as a tactile feedback mechanism is the future of the tool. There are those in the know, who understand this and those who still believe the e-collar is a mid-evil torture device. Fortunately for Guinness, he found Emily, one of the people in the know. 🙂
Here’s the story Emily gave me permission to share with all of you.

This is one of my all time favorite cases…

I met Natalie through an apprentice program I mentor for a local open door shelter. She came to me after class one day at her wits end with one of her dogs, Guinness. She’d purchased Guinness from a man at the park that was mistreating him, what she didn’t realize was how deep his psychological wounds were. She’d been training with a local “pit bull only” group and he was getting worse, way worse. By the time I meet him, he’d landed a nasty, deep bite on a passer by on a walk and couldn’t leave the house without being muzzled and double collared. He looked like Hannibal Lector. I did an evaluation with Natalie and Guinness and asked if she’d ever considered e-collar work. While hesitant at first, she was willing to try anything to help her boy. First lesson was amazing and eye opening, Guinness responded so well that we even trained her other dog, Athena, on the e-collar as well.
So here we are about a year later and Guinness is a model canine citizen. He no longer needs his muzzle, he’s been integrated back into play groups with dogs, goes on large pack walks, he even seeks out affection from strangers!!! I received a text from Natalie the other day saying that Guinness was able to be completely muzzle free for his latest vet exam, our last hurdle! Here’s a dog that was days away from being euthanized due to his aggression,

now he’s the wonderful dog that we new he always could be and it wouldn’t have been possible with out the e-collar.

Attached is a picture of Guinness from this past summer’s pack walk benefiting a local rescue. 🙂
If you have a story about your dog and how the e-collar assisted with your training efforts, please share by sending to:

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