E-Collars for Dog Training: In the Spirit of Valentines Day

E-Collars for Dog Training


Using e-collars for dog training is often a common debate among dog owners and trainers. I have seen a few petitions in the past about banning e-collars and prong collars, a shop owner being targeted at Crofts in a campaign to slander and harass his company for even selling such tools. I saw a petition to not allow dogs wearing certain tools such as e-collars, be allowed at a dog event in a public park in Indiana. I read a piece written by a YouTube dog trainer lambasting “shock collar trainers” (his words) and calling one individual by name saying he  “deserves to be corrected very publicly.”

Is it just me or does it strike anyone else as ironic that some of the self proclaimed all positive types have so much venom in them? Their own professed ideology doesn’t seem to hold up when it comes to interacting with human beings.

I mean if you really, truly, in your heart of hearts believe that the MOST effective way to modify behavior is to reward what you want and ignore what you don’t want than how come that latitude is not extended to your own species?

After a bit of surfing I scratched my head, took a deep sigh and then proceeded with my usual course of action when I’m disgusted by the lack of common decency that is so often present on the internet. I clicked off the computer and went out to work with the dogs and our clients who love them.

That is when reality set back in. The internet is just a whole lot of noise. My life is about the dogs and their people. About trying to create a relationship that works. It is what I will continue to focus on. I don’t care what tool any person or trainer chooses.

I care HOW a tool is used and I care that ultimately we are helping dogs stay in their forever home and strengthening the bond between owner and their companion animal.

I am going to continue to chose a loving approach to my dealings with my clients, their dogs, my fellow trainers and even those of you who hate me.

Yes, I get your e-mails and your You tube comments that call me all sorts of ugly names.  I’ll continue to respond by inviting you here to my facility to see things for yourself. And you can continue to ignore those invitations. You can continue the war, for apparently you get some sort of reward from the feud itself. Not me my friend, the fight isn’t worth it. My rewards are far, far greater. Here are just a few of them from this week:

shock collar for dogs
remote dog collar
dog training collar
shock collars
Lincoln & Sawyer
remote collar dog training

Everything was summed up pretty darn clear early yesterday morning when I was out shoveling the parking area and one of our clients arrived to drop off his dog for our Day School program. We exchanged a few words of greeting and he said “this is so amazing, I love my dog now. We were both so stressed before, now we can actually enjoy each other.”

I don’t care how you travel that path folks. As long as you get their humanely. If that kind of dialogue is the outcome, then we are all playing for the same team.

Happy Valentines Day.


*Updated 2/1/2016


  • Hi there,

    Just discovered your website and have enjoyed reading your balanced articles and the respect you have for this profession. After going through a positive reinforcement-only group obedience class and a private session with a positive trainer, I decided to enroll my young but semi-fearful rescue into a 2-week board-and-train boot camp if you will, with a trainer who also incorporates an e-collar into his program, to advance his training, boost his confidence a little more, and address his reactivity issues among other things (which were not improving at all). This is bad on my part as I hadn’t done a ton of research on e-collars in general, just research on the reviews of this individual trainer. I only discovered the kind of backlash the collars can sometimes receive once my pup got back home and I started working with him in public using what the trainer had taught me. In fact, I think the e-collar helped my dog actually take treats while working outside; before, he was so anxious and high-strung he would forget basically everything he knew inside our home and refuse to take his most favorite of treats while working outside in distractions and reactive triggers (even from long distances where he wasn’t reacting!). Couldn’t believe what some people would mutter under their breath at me on my walks and yet my pup is the one that is now trotting happily alongside me and not yanking me at everything that passes by. I have even gotten some comments from people who use prong collars (which is seen in the same light as e-collars by the positive camp). Too funny. When you see me out and about, I’ve got all the tools from both sides of the aisle: a short non-retractable leash, a Freedom no-pull harness, an e-collar, and a squeeze tube full of my dog’s favorite lickable treat. Why does dog training have to be so black and white?

    • Hi Asheley,

      Wish I had an answer for you on why some people insist on seeing dog training methods as only black or white. I guess the same reason as some get very emotional about political or religious discussions. Too often people have a need to feel they are “right” rather than just accepting that what is “right” for them may not be right for someone else. The sad part about the great divide in dog training is it is typically the dog that pays the price for the humans insistence on ideology.
      All I can say is, just keep on keeping on. You know your dog is happy and well adjusted and in the end that is the only perspective that matters.
      all the best,
      Good on you for

  • ” Is it just me or does it strike anyone else as ironic that some of the self proclaimed all positive types have so much venom in them? Their own professed ideology doesn’t seem to hold up when it comes to interacting with human beings. ” — I agree with this sentiment. Why are they so very hateful to fellow humans/trainers. Don’t beat up someone you’re trying to see your point of view with clarity.

    Further — I often wonder if clicks and treats work so well that any/every dog can be trained that way — why do some many dogs and people fail to get trained successfully. I’m not anti- prong or anti-ecollar. They are not my first course of training, but you bet I will go there if necessary and long before discussion of putting the dog down take place.

    • Hi Dana,
      I’m glad I am not the only one puzzled by this behavioral dichotomy. I find it frustrating and it really sort of chaps my hide that the biggest leaders in the all positive movement don’t address the issue with their supporters. They tend to stay very mum on the hateful rhetoric, most of them are too classy to get involved in the garbage trash talk personally but yet their silence speaks volumes in acknowledging it is somehow acceptable behavior. 🙁
      The vitriol is so harmful to the industry. Not only amongst us trainers but for the pet owners we are all trying to help.

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