Ignorance about “shock collars” is not hard to demonstrate

I shot a bit of video today to respond to one of the most lame dog training video’s I’ve seen regarding “shock collars”. It was obvious from the moment I clicked on this video the trainer didn’t have a clue of what e-collar training was about.

How obvious? Well, if a person is trying to demonstrate a training technique and they use time lapsed video footage of their training a STUFFED ANIMAL, that pretty much sums up their actual level of expertise on the topic.

Yes, you actually did read that correctly. The supposed expert used a child’s stuffed toy to demonstrate how “shock collars” are used to teach a Place command.

So here is my video response and how I and many others do use an e-collar to teach the Place command.

I understand there are people who don’t support the idea of using e-collars for training a dog and I understand people having misconceptions about how the tool is used. However, it is shameful for someone who proclaims their site as a source of knowledge to consciously propagate ignorance by generating such a load of crap.

Here is the video I’m referring too if you want to waste your time and watch.

My advice for the average pet owners out there sifting through mountains of info looking for help…If a trainer can’t use a living, breathing dog to demonstrate their techniques they’ve got no business asserting to the public they actually know what the hell they are talking about, e-collar training or otherwise.

Robin

51 thoughts on “Ignorance about “shock collars” is not hard to demonstrate

  1. jonathan says:

    Not trying to beat a dead horse, but I noticed something said about the profitability of remote collar training. I think it is quite an interesting statement. Most trainers who do use remote collars and sell them can tell you the margin of profit is close to nothing. If it was about making more money, don’t you think slow and steady would be the motto? Instead of four lessons for set criteria, we’d be saying let’s do 120…right? Fast isn’t as profitable when you look at it that way. Profitability may be arguable in the sense of customers saying it helped and word of mouth…but that idea that remote collar using trainers are making more money for any other reason than that….seems counter-intuitive. The companies that make the collars are much more likely to see profit from the sales of the collars. I’d have to compare profit margins on the fancier clickers out there, all the other tools used for motivation, etc…and then I honestly believe there would be better porfit margins in those things, from treat pouches, to different toys, tugs, leashes, harnesses, etc. Just a thought.

  2. Bex says:

    In response to those who ask why use the shock collar when other ways will work. You may see my not wanting to take the time to teach my standard poodle a great recall without the shock collar as laziness on my part. However I would like to let you know that regardless of what you think of me, I am thinking of the happiness of my dog. If I were go the way of training positive only recalls, my nine month old standard would not yet be able to do all of the things she loves. My dog loves to run. Sure I could take her on a run but I would never be able to run as fast or as long as should would like. She runs so fast that she looks like she is flying. Without my shock collar she would not be able to run off leash at the beach, park, campsite, or on 10 miles hiking trails(I must be lazy if I go on 10 mile hikes with my dog). My dog would not be able to burn off energy when I visit my parents who live on 5 acres that just happens to be next to a busy highway. I will tell you my dog loves her shock collar because it means that she gets to sprint for miles around the yard and jump over all the logs at the beach. My dog’s life would be limited to the end of her leash because I love her so much I will not risk her life just hoping that the positive reinforcement when she is chasing a flying bird will be good enough for her to go against her instinct of continuing to chase that bird. Yes I could take her to a dog park, but that would require a 45 minute drive to a park where other dogs may not be up to date on shots or trained. I also like to give my dog the freedom to run everyday, rather than only the times I have the free time to go to the dog park when it is open.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Beth, I completely agree that drive building is part of the process. Often people say, “well if it isn’t super reliable, you aren’t educated on it.” To be honest, I read Susan Garret’s blog a bunch. I also very familiar with Gail Tamassas Fisher, Karen Pryor, Patricia Mcconnel, Mario Versljype, Meghan Herron, and Sophia Yin to name a few. There unfortunately in the world of dog training is an applicable timeline for people getting the help they need that needs to factor in cost, time, available time, etc… Which means fast does apply sometimes. By no means am I saying remote collar training must be the first approach. I use a bunch of drive building. But let’s also be frank in realizing that even with drive building not all shih-tzu’s are going to be Mario’s malinios, or a high drive working line shepherd. Positive training is not super complicated, while there are many techniques.
    Let us also be honest that if we are talking science, that punishment according to operant conditioning is not what is always being used in these cases. Negative reinforcement, conditioned reinforcers that could be called positive reinforcement depending on your definition, and yes, maybe sometimes punishment. Nor does it have to be about dominance in all honesty. Why do we attach dominance theory to all arguments in regards to training that uses multiple quadrants? Kinda silly. Last, in almost every correlation study (which will always have too many variables to be solid science) we can find problems with not only how the data was collected, the control groups, the lack of tested variations on use of the tool, etc… All these studies have some serious fundamental problems to truly be definitive or comprehensive. What instead they tell us, is that certain uses create more adverse effects, while other uses can be understood and continued with drops in stress and cortisol. Days, weeks, months and years matter little when serious aspects were ignored in the first place. I respect all methods. Once again, love clicker training, love positive reinforcement. Does it mean they are permissive? NO, and you won’t catch me saying it. However, it doesn’t take a genius, if not so bias, to see where every quadrant, every method, every tool, every approach can be limited, thus the need to be open to more than a narrow minded view. So because I use or others here use many approaches that makes us narrow minded? I beg to differ that the opposite is the case. Instead I offer that narrow mindedness is being unwilling to see those that are not getting the help they need from some approaches, whatever they be. I do not force an owner to choose this tool or that. I look at what the dog is motivated by before hand, what drives we can build, the progress of that in a timeline, how effective it is, the owner’s ability to apply the principles, and what modifications to the approach, method, or training aids will increase their success. And no, I wouldn’t claim dogs to be computers. It does require relationship, time, work, effort, reading and listening to the dog, etc… We cannot guarantee 100%. What we can do is increase probability, and with multiple ways of looking at a problem vs a narrow set of options, increase the options we have to do so. But honestly, if you are set in your thoughts, why contribute here. I learn from all sides because I see the advantage. If you see no advantage…you are simply spouting without purpose here.

    • Beth says:

      Sorry Jonathan although I agree it should not be the first port of call but I disagree 100% with it being needed at all as it does cause pain This link I posted shows how thin a dogs skin is compared to ours thus making their pain receptors closer to the surface than ours are.
      Love Jean, Karen, Patrica, & Sophia Yin I haven’t heard of the others but I know that those 4 I mentioned would never (from what I’ve read so far) recommend an E-collar now they are force free trainers. I will check out your other recommendations. Thank you 🙂
      http://www.vetwest.com.au/pet-library/skin-the-difference-between-canine-and-human-skin

      • Robin says:

        Where in this article does it state that the proximity of the receptors to the surface of the skin influences pain perception? You have drawn that conclusion yet I do not see any science to support it. It is my understanding that in the scientific community pain perception is thought of as a subjective experience with distinct discriminative and emotional components.

        If your theory is accurate how is it that dogs can swim in much colder water than we can without exhibiting any pain. In fact I would say they seem to thoroughly enjoy it (those who like to swim)? How is that canines can carry their young by the skin of their neck (via the mothers teeth) and the pups make no fuss? How is it that they often play with one another with enough bite pressure to elicit bruising on our skin yet no noticeable discomfort to each other? In fact they seem to play very roughly “biting” one another with such force as to be “painful” to a human…

        Have you seen Sophia Yin’s scat mat video? Straight forward use of +P. She is no stranger to negative reinforcement either. I am not criticizing her. I respect much of her work, but some (like yourself) place these people on a pedestal of “no force” when it is simply not true. They may not speak openly about it and they may choose other tools (head halters, chest harnesses etc.) but they apply force non the less. Pressure is pressure, whether is is physical, spacial, social or otherwise. It can be applied in many ways and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. We all learn via pressure variance. Pressure on, pressure off. It is simple, clear and instructive.

        • Mary says:

          By no means do I feel qualified to answer questions of neurological perceptions of pain across species, but I would like to point out that for the most part, dogs are better cold-adapted and less well heat-adapted than people (horses, meanwhile, have a huge range of temperatures they can tolerate well, in part due do adaptations like poor circulation in their legs and the ability to sweat). That has virtually nothing to do with how pain is perceived through the skin. On the skin, there is still a lot to parse out: Is the sensation pleasurable, sharp, confused (as with tickling), dull, throbbing, pressure, etc., etc? But all of that should matter little when using these collars since one should ALWAYS BE USING THE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF STIMULATION to get the desired response. Following that rule will inherently account for differences between people and dogs, between individuals, or in the same individual on a different day (eg hormone fluctuations are known to effect pain perception).

          As for carrying puppies, there’s a difference between biting something and holding something in your mouth, and while the latter shouldn’t be a big deal with a soft mouthed dog, it may very well not feel great. “Flea biting” always seemed like it was meant to focus pressure more above the skin and in the hair and around a flea, which is why it feels like crap on bare human skin, but that’s a guess.

          Carry on 🙂

      • Robin says:

        You do realize there are millions and millions of dogs on remote systems? Where are the over-whelming cases of this explosion of rage? Again, I am not saying there can not be abuse of the tool. I’m not saying some have no education and should not be using the tool…but where is the overwhelming amount of dogs who have been ruined? Who supposedly live in pain? Who are so shut down?…remote collars have been around since the mid 60’s. (Thankfully the tool has had major advancements since then!) but they have been in existence a long time. Their popularity and use continues to rise. If they are so horrid and easily cause such effects the streets should be lined with examples of what your concerns are. Yet here on this blog, on the FB page, in other communities, people who have taken a bit of time to learn how to use the tool are singing its praises for what they have been able to accomplish and how much happier and content they perceive their dogs to be because of the clearer communication and relationship enhancing experience they’ve had. Do you think all these people are lying or are they just stupid and can’t see the truth right in front of them?

        • Beth says:

          The dogs suffering from explosion rage make up a large number of those that have been PTS. I don’t think the people who train using these things are stupid I think they struggle to read a dogs body language & assume that because the dog doesn’t whimper or jump when they are given an electric shock but start to do what he person wants they assume the dogs are happy with it when they are not. I have adopted dogs from rescues that have had these devices used on them & I tried one once myself. These devices make the dogs shutdown & if you look in their eyes after you’ve used one of these you will see that their eyes are dull not bright & shiny like they used to be. These things only enhance the experience for the owner not the dog. E-collars only give “clearer communication ” that means if you do that agian I will zap you again so the dog chooses to avoid the pain by not going there agai.

          • Viatecio says:

            So then perhaps all the dogs suffering from this “explosion” are going to hospitals other than mine?

            I can verify that 99% of the dogs that have been euthanized during my employment as a vet tech suffer from health issues far beyond what earthly medicine can fix. The remaining 1% have been the VERY rare behavioral cases where the only training that was applied was not effective–not because it worked and then all of a sudden, after years of a great life with the family, stopped working. In fact, there has been the rare case that I have persuaded to seek the services of a results-based trainer (and by that I mean one who applies training collars in a humane and effective manner), and of course the result is a dog that stays in the home instead of being PTS or sent to a shelter. That’s quite opposite to your experience!

            Please provide evidence of these dogs you say are being PTS in large numbers.

            Your visualization of a dog with “dull eyes” made me smile. Was the haircoat dull as well? Perhaps the misapplication of a training tool is the least of the dog’s worries. I have seen the spark of life in the bright eyes of a rack-of-bones pit bull that was later PTS at a rural kill shelter. I’ll bet that dog wasn’t given enough treats, right?

  4. Jamie says:

    There are a lot of opinions and different comments on here, but I keep hearing people refer to the ecollar as a form of punishment training. I have a beautiful American Pitbull terrier. He is 5 years old, I got him from the local animal shelter when he was a couple months old. He passed the Canine Good Citizen test and we are a certified therapy dog team. I am a teacher and Primus has gone to school with me and read with children, he is a great dog. But he is still a dog and being a terrier brings along some dominant dog issues. We joined Sit Means Sit dog training 2 years ago and we love it. I do not use my collar as punishment, I don’t shock him when he is doing bad, I give him a level that correlates with his distraction and awareness when I give him commands. I have used all kinds of training, and yes they were beneficial, but I love this training and I feel it works best for my dog and me. My dog is checked regularly by the vet and there is no harmful effects of the collar. I know some of you will send me links that dissagree with that, but I have found that anything can be put on the internet so I am interested in the real deal that I see, and that is how this training has been great for my dog. I am not lazy, I don’t feel that the ecollar is the easy way, or the quick way, but it is efficient. And if you use your collar as a punishment that is wrong. My dog is not afraid of his collar, and he gets excited when I get it because he knows he is going for a walk or a ride. We attend training classes 1 to 2 times a week, and he also works without his collar. When we do therapy work and visit schools and nursing homes the collar is not allowed, so he goes without. Also, when I do obedience or rally work with him we also go without the collar. I can’t say enough good stuff about my Sit means sit trainers or my collar. But it all works because I took the time to learn the proper way to use and because I continue to work my dog and train him on a consistant basis. Training doesn’t work if you don’t use it.

      • Beth says:

        leerburg is a force trainer not a scientist so that is not a scientific study & therefore tat link would not stand up to scientific scrutiny.

        • Robin says:

          If you actually took the time to open the link and look at it…, you would see it IS an actual study. I just happen to use a link from where it was posted on the Leerburg site cause that is the first one that popped up in the google search.

          • Beth says:

            Sorry the link didn’t open properly before so I assumed it was one leerburg had done himself when I shouldn’t have. There are many things wrong with the sumations made in that link though. Why do you think th dogs hung their heads, lowered their tails & vocalised? they did it because it hurt & they didn’t understand why these people wanted to hurt them. If you look at my link below it explains that a dogs epidermis is nowhere near as thick as ours so they feel pain more easily than we do. The Leerburg study was done over weeks where as the study in my link was done over several months. Also the Leerburg study has nothing on there newer than about 2006 whereas the study in my link started in 2005 & was finally finished & published in 2013. Leerburgs study is already out dated.

          • Robin says:

            I’m sorry I am not following…perhaps the link is not opening to the correct information…but it was not a leerburg study, nor are those dates accurate…
            Maybe cut and paste the link or do a search for: Comparison of Stress and Learning Effects of Three Different
            Training Methods: Electronic Training Collar, Pinch Collar and Quitting Signal Hannover 2008

            As for a dogs pain threshold versus a humans, how then do we explain that dogs carry their puppies with their teeth and the pups don’t fuss, or that dogs gnaw rather willingly on one another while the same tooth pressure is pretty uncomfortable on our flesh, or consider the fact that my dog is thrilled to swim in 50 degree water and there is no way I would do the same, nor likely survive it for long. To compare our pain perception to that of the dog is not valid. Not saying that dog’s don’t feel pain, just saying that we are vastly different and for that matter the sensitivity of individuals even within the same species is vastly different.

        • Viatecio says:

          Beth, you MIGHT be interested to know that Ed Frawley has become a supporter of marker training. This is not to say that he has ditched his use of training collars (including the e-collar), but if you follow him and Michael Ellis, you will find a large foundation based on markers.

          Sorry to burst your bubble.

  5. Kimberley says:

    Robin,

    I find your patience in with dealing with the nay- sayers refreshing. I wish I had that kind of tolerance when someone calls me stupid, lazy and abusive. I also must add that I find that some of the “positive reinforcement only” people to be very negative. Not always the case mind you,…but from what I’ve seen here and in other postings, some are pretty abusive in their manner of voicing their opinions. It’s a shame the “agree to disagree” mantra was not followed by more. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but nobody has a right to be abusive, so I’m guessing they don’t have as much “positive energy” as they claim.

    We have 4 rescued dogs of our own. They were all adopted as adult dogs and only one of those dogs didn’t come with serious issues. Two of them NEEDED e-collar training or else they would have had to have been put down. Our 4th dog “adoption” came as the result of a rescue dumping him because of his issues. Next stop…the needle. People don’t realize how many dogs have been saved from euthanization using this training tool. By the way, said dog is now a social, happy, off-leash dog who plays well with others and surprises everyone who hears about his people and dog aggressive beginnings.
    While fostering for a rescue we personally saw 4 dogs “rescued” from kill shelters, then later put down by the rescue because “positive only” training did not “fix” the dog. These were beautiful, healthy dogs that were promised a second chance. It killed me inside to see those dogs who were “up for adoption” one day,…euthanized the next. It’s not that uncommon either, so nobody should be kidding themselves about how serious a problem this is. After this we changed rescues and the next rescue just avoided the problem altogether by not taking in any dogs with “issues”. (Incidentally, this is where we acquired that 4th dog I referred to earlier…he slipped through) So one might ask… where are the guardians for these dogs? Who speaks for these dogs? In these cases it was a positive only reinforcement trainer that signed those death warrants. She couldn’t help those dogs, so they must have been unfixable. It bothered us so much that we started our own rescue and we, with the help of our trainer, give those dogs a second chance.
    We haven’t yet trained a rescue on an e-collar but that is only because we haven’t had any that would justify the added cost of an e-collar to an adopter. While we firmly believe that any dog can benefit from e-collar training, we only plan to use them on the ones that don’t respond to other methods of training.
    E-collar training is not lazy training,….it’s efficient training, and by the way (in Canada) e-collars are used in service dog training (search/rescue, K-9 dogs). For anyone that thinks achieving the same results in a faster time period (i.e. getting from point A to point B) is a bad thing, well then maybe they should park their cars and start walking everywhere they go…

    • Robin says:

      Thanks Kimberly. Sometimes their words sting…but mostly I am just aware that many have been brainwashed by a few fanatics in the “all positive” movement and have never seen e-training in person or never seen it done well. They just don’t know… so therefore it is hard to be mean or rude in return when I fully realize they simply haven’t seen this side of things.
      Besides that…this blog isn’t for those who have no interest in E-collar training. I remind myself of who my intended audience is and that makes it pretty easy to remain calm and carry on.

  6. Summer says:

    Previous comments are just another example of how the “positive” people only apply their principles to dogs and NOT people. Calling people abusive, stupid & lazy…… Very positive! 😉

    • Daniela Hielc says:

      You clearly DO NOT have an understanding of what positive reinforcement is. Positive DOES NOT MEAN PERMISSIVE. Just because we train positively doesn’t mean we would stand by and let people or animals get away with cruel behavior. Robin basically described the essence of laziness in one of her responses “I believe it is about desire. Those who desire the faster path to off leash reliability.” That is called taking shortcuts. It is LAZINESS because there is a more humane and effective way of teaching off leash reliability but people like YOU CHOOSE to use devices that are designed to cause discomfort to your dog to stop them from doing whatever it is they are doing. It is lazy because you just want to go the fast route despite any consequences their might be “end justifies the means” basically.

  7. Marion says:

    This is by far the most stupid thing I’ve ever seen.
    I can teach any dog to do that within 10 minutes – WITHOUT using e-shoks. Just with knowledge and positive energy.
    E-Collars are abusive and anyone who uses it is just too damn stupid or lazy to train their dogs in a proper way!

    • Beth says:

      Marionbe careful Robin will delete you for being like me. We can’t post links to show that we have the scientific evidence to prove it because Robin will get offended. 🙂

      • Robin says:

        Nice Beth. Very mature. For the readers who care…Beth posted several links with no commentary. I wrote her privately and said she is welcome to contribute commentary and opinion. However, links supported by no additional discussion are not what I’m allowing. My blog is interested in those who wish to have a “conversation” and since it is my blog, yes, I do make my rules. You can either abide or continue your childish antics and they get removed.

      • Robin says:

        and your links simply went to other blogs demonstrating their opinion of various studies…not the studies themselves. If you can’t form and articulate your own view point and can only post a bunch of links, I’m guessing my readers are pretty much like me and could care less about your contributions. Any of us can search the web for links to all kinds of stuff, that doesn’t take much brain power. Try to engage your own critical thinking skills, develop those into thoughts and feel free to express them with the written word. Beyond that, no, I’m not interested.

        • Beth says:

          Really so studies done by scientists aren’t scientific nor are the ones done by vets WOW I didn’t know that. Thanks for telling me Robin.

  8. Paula says:

    Don’t get it…what did you need the collar for…?? If you don’t need to use a tool to train why use it?? Ideally you would train without the lead too and just use the reinforcement. Like I said I just don’t get it!! Seems the most pointless example of shock collar (oops sorry I mean e-collar) use ever.

    • Robin says:

      I believe it is about desire. Those who desire the faster path to off leash reliability. And those who desire the security of knowing they can communicate more effectively off leash if needed. I and others tend to think of it as an insurance policy on the dog in those times when 100% isn’t 100%.
      It may seem pointless to some, I completely understand there are those who have no desire to use this tool. I respect that is their choice. These videos are for those who do not share that viewpoint. They are for those who wish to learn about the tool. And the point of the video is to demonstrate to that audience that if they chose this tool, they must understand they need to take the time to teach with it and help the dog understand what the sensation means. The point is to demonstrate these early steps in helping the dog understand what the sensation means. They are to demonstrate the humane way to use them as opposed to the often “wrong” way of strapping an e-collar on and assuming a dog understands and then using a higher level to punish a dog for non-compliance.

      Best regard,
      Robin

  9. jonathan says:

    I find it interesting that the defense of this video is whether one can teach a sit, teach a place, teach a…..most people can teach a behavior. However, the real question lies in the reliability of the behavior and proofing. As a professional trainer, most people already come to me with dogs that know what sit is and how to do it. However, it is a novelty, a cue that may get responses in low distraction. I see obedience as a toolbox to communicate and work through problems.I myself love clicker training and use it often. Seeing Robin and person and having the great pleasure of conversing with her, has shown me she is very familiar and proficient in the technique and concept of its timing and use. So going back to reliability, we have several options. 1. we have a highly food motivated dog from the start that has an unquenchable appetite. 2. we have an incredibly toy/tug/ball motivated dog with an unquenchable appetite for prey response. 3 we have a dog that constantly craves attention (which can be as unhealthy as it is good.) 4. We meticulously control satiation to always keep the dog somewhat unsatisfied, never quite bringing to a satisfied state, as the drive would lessen. From my experience, and gathering from others that I respect, you cannot always guarantee your dog will still be hungry. For the driven dog for toys, even some of the highest drive dogs will give up on prey drive when we need it most. For the affectionate dog, they don’t always see petting as a reward, especially in certain social situations. For those that tout premack as the save all end all, we don’t always have the ability to allow the dog to obtain the highly probably behavior in REAL life outside the training studio, and as our dogs are always learning, and training is always happening, then do we allow the reinforcement to disentigrate? Don’t get me wrong, it is likely that 100% of dogs can be “taught” sit with positive reinforcement. Maybe 50% (and personally I think that is a high estimate) will get semi-reliable behavior in and around the home and basic distractions. But for those dogs needing to overcome serious issues that fall into the not so food/toy/ affection/attention motivated dogs, it is likely that less than 25% will ever achieve a reliability required to use it as a tool to solve their problems through strictly AVERSIVE FREE training. Does that suggest the remote collar is unfallible? NO! It is simply another quadrant (part of learning theory) and another tool that can give an edge in increasing reliability and chances of success. And really, if anyone responds to tell me of whales and dolphins and we don’t use remote collars on them, PLEASE review the article by the NAVY on the success of such programs when the dolphins were released in to open water. Notice the lack of success without TAPING the dolphins mouths shut, as it was the only way they were truly responsive. I believe Robin, and can definitely say I truly believe positive reinforcement and negative punishment is extremely powerful, and we regularly harness it use, but, we need to be realisitic to its limitations as well. LEts be open-minded. Let’s not allow the concept of use of multiple quadrants stand in the way of helping dogs who didn’t fit in a pretty packaged box wrapped with love and cookies and a nice little bow. Thanks.

    • Paula says:

      Sorry but I have to strongly disagree with you Jonathan. We should ALWAYS be aiming to use the least amount of punishment possible (and preferably none at all) to get behaviours we need. So far in my training career I’ve never had to use a shock collar to get a reliable behaviour, besides when we recommended it to help a serious stock killer – it was that or the blue needle.
      What you fail to understand is that reliability is infinitely possible without using punishment and many many trainers are getting BETTER results through this type of training. See Steve White as an example. And a shock collar does not give you 100% reliability – dogs are not computers, no one can guarantee what their dogs will or won’t do. We can only train to make it much more likely that we can predict what they’ll do.
      If you have resorted to use of punishment then to me that’s laziness. If it’s possible to teach without punishment (as you admit it is) then there’s just no need to use it. If you are getting a 50% reliability with reward training then you aren’t training properly!!
      Oh and by the way it has nothing to do with the level of motivation your dog starts with. Suggesting that you need a highly food/toy/attention motivated dog to train with rewards is very narrow minded. Training is as much about building motivation as it is teaching behaviours. See Susan Garett as an example.
      Sorry for the negative mood of my answer but I do get annoyed by the reasons used in defense of this type of training – if you can do it without you should strive to do so!!

      • Robin says:

        I find your reference to Steve White interesting. I had the pleasure to meet Steve a few years back at the HITs conference in Louisville, KY. He took a copy of my Just Right dvd, watched it overnight and complimented me the next day for a job well done. Said my work was important to get the word out about how the tool can be used humanely. He may or may not agree with how frequently I prefer to use the e-collar for training but he did respect my work and my attempts to teach people a more appropriate way to use it. He also complimented me on the relationship I had with my dog, Tommy, how was with me at the show. We had a nice chat and it was refreshing to share conversation with a professional who could see that even though we may disagree on a path to achieve a goal, we can respect one another’s work for what it attempts to do for dog owners and handlers.

        best regards,
        Robin

        • Paula says:

          My point was Steve has highlighted the fact that you can train more reliability with reward based training, even when training serious behaviours such as those used by police dogs. If this is possible don’t you owe it to your dogs to try this first?
          I don’t understand why, if it’s possible to train without punishment, you would even consider the use of punishment? In my mind we should only resort to punishment when absolutely necessary.
          I didn’t make any comment about your ability as a trainer, nor your relationship with your dog – I’m sure you are a brilliant trainer who has a strong relationship with your dog and you get excellent results. But for me that’s not the point…pushing punishment based training methods as a first option is not ethically right in my opinion.

          • Robin says:

            I don’t see it as punishment. I realize that is hard for some to wrap their minds around. But I don’t, at least not in the way that some seem to view “punishment” = something to be avoided at all costs or at least something that is the last resort on the hierarchy of training. If you have not had an opportunity to listen to the interview I posted today on the blog, give it a listen. It may help explain how I view the remote collar and my use of it.

      • Summer Milroy says:

        Why not train the way you train and leave everyone else alone? If the way you train works best for you and your dogs, that’s great. Maybe it is not the best way for someone else.

    • Robin says:

      Hi Daniela,

      I understand that…so if we examine the logic…”I am so afraid I will damage a dog by what I’m about to do that I will use a stuffed animal”…how can one then come to the logical conclusion they should dispense that information as knowledgeable or accurate?

      Makes me wonder if perhaps the intent was merely to spread fear and propaganda?

      and IF that was the intention it again leads me to the conclusion…this is not professional therefore not worth listening to or taking advice from on this topic.

      If we put the shoe on the other foot and I begin to create videos to demonstrate what can potentially go wrong with lack of adequate knowledge and poor timing of “all positive” training (…imagine clickers snapping as stuffy fluffy is flattened by a truck)…I’d suspect I’d see torches and pitchforks tearing through my virtual door.

    • Viatecio says:

      If she is in such fear of “traumatizing a dog,” then that is a glaring red flag that she does not know how to use the tool properly. Surely this is not breaking news?

      Someone who is skilled in drawing caricatures should stick to those and not try to replicate Rembrandt, if you get my drift.

      She can continue to play with her stuffed doggies and I’ll continue to trust Robin, and other responsible remote collar trainers, with the real thing.

    • Robin says:

      I really like some of her videos. I don’t agree with everything she says, and she can spout some of the currently popular “anti-tool” “science” rhetoric…but there is no need for all of us to agree. (IMO anyway) She does some very nice work.
      all the best,
      Robin

  10. Margot says:

    Why on earth does one need a shock collar to teach a dog to sit???? In over 50 years of dog-owning, I’ve never used more than a biscuit to teach a sit! And by the age of 10 weeks, a pup will sit!! Biscuits and clicker training is far more rewarding – for the dog and for the owner.

    It’s all a matter of patience and consistency – the use of shock collars is just pure laziness – and can in some instances lead to epilectic fits in breeds that have a tendancy towards it.

    Trouble is there is more profit to be obtained shock collars than there is in the manufacture of dog clickers.

    I do realise that my comment will not appear on your pages – but it will appear in the unflattering comments on your page as it is shown on facebook.

    • Robin says:

      No one “needs” any particular tool (including a biscuit or clicker) to teach a dog to sit. Nor did I make any such statement. My blogs and video have always served to educate those who CHOOSE to use an e-collar on ways to do so that are humane and fair to the dog.
      Thank you for your comments and for reading the blog.
      Have a great day!
      Robin

        • Robin says:

          Totally agree with you. Pain has no place in training. I met Steve at the Louisville, KY HIT’s conference a couple years back. We had a nice conversation in regards to my training and work with e-collars. He complimented my excellent relationship with my dog, my educational efforts regarding remote training and gave my instructional dvd a thumbs up by telling me how well done it was and that more people needed to see the tool used in the way I use it. It was nice validation from someone who understands all quadrants and that all tools can be used or abused.

    • Robin says:

      Yes, the buzz sound does indicate when I am tapping the e-collar. I have a monitor setting on the table that picks up the radio signal from the e-collar so it helps viewers understand the timing of the taps.
      Low voltage? not exactly sure what you mean, but I am assuming your surprised by the happy, positive response you see in the dog. That is because e-collars are highly adjustable and the sensation need not be startling or overwhelming to the dog. The tap prompts the dog to “do something” and in this video I am helping the dog to understand the “something” = “get on the Place” It is just a tactile cue for the dog to take action. Later when he is off leash or under higher distractions it will serve as an excellent way to get his attention focused back on his handler to “do something” Tactile cues are much harder to ignore than visual or auditory…which is why e-collars can work so well as a training tool.
      As for as voltage, there is voltage involved in any electronic device. However, the amperage of these tools is miniscule, thus making them very safe and unable to physically burn or damage the way electric coming from a wall unit could. The e-collar technology is more similar to a cell phone than to a toaster or blow dryer (for example) No “heat” is generated, thus they can not burn.

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