Dog Aggression rehab? Commitment is the keyword.

Dog aggression is not a fun topic.

I know some dog trainers probably see it as sort of sexy and seem to take a lot of pride in repeating the phrase “I work with aggressive dogs” There has been a good deal of television culture and drama built around the buzz concepts of dog aggression, dogs that bite, and rehabilitation.

There is nothing sexy or exciting about it, IMO. It is sad. It breaks my heart a little bit each time I have to respond to a client inquiry about a dog that has bit someone.

The reality is, at that point, the dog human relationship is going through major breakdown and the real, day to day work that needs to be done to fix it isn’t all the glamorous.

The process of changing the behavior can be draining and often tedious. I don’t like to sound like a Debbie Downer because most of the time dog aggression CAN be changed. However, I like people to realize up front there is no quick fix.

Changing the behavior of a dog that is having problems with aggression means changing the behavior of the human(s) who live with the dog.

I want to introduce you to Si, a white GSD that some of you may remember seeing on the That’s My Dog! Facebook page back in the fall of 2014 when he came to us to start working on changing his mindset about the world he lived in. This is a picture from his first week in training.

white gsd

Si was under socialized, anxious and reactive to any sudden change in the environment. He had 3 bites in his short history when his owner found us and committed to a training program to try and help him.

I’d like you to focus in on the word committed in the sentence above. That has been the key to the story I’m about to tell. Si’s owner didn’t just commit to spending the money to have someone “fix” his dog aggression. She committed to doing the work and making the changes that would be needed. Without that firm intention being in place, we would have been doomed to fail.

A talented dog trainer can get most dogs to behave perfectly for them, but there is no magic pixy dust we can sprinkle or put in the animals food that will keep the improved behavior in place. The owner must learn to replicate the process and behave in a way similar to the trainer if we are going to succeed. And the commitment must last for the lifetime of the dog.

Si spent a couple weeks with us in a board and train program. The B&T program provides us a clean slate to start new routines without the interference of the dog being in his comfort zone at home where the inappropriate learned behaviors started. It gives the trainer an advantage because the dog is off kilter for the first few days. He doesn’t know the people, doesn’t know the terrain and doesn’t know the daily routine in this new place. That means he’s often a bit more hesitant and doesn’t react as confidently as he would on his home turf. It is the same reason kids are often better behaved at school then they are at home.

So, with an insecure dog who has learned to use his teeth to take care of anything “scary” the first things he learns with us is; if you want to eat, you eat from us, if you want to pee, you pee while out on a leash with us, if you want to walk and play, you play with us. You want an enticing treat, you must tolerate being touched before we will release it. Through successive approximation of closer and closer proximity, we build the dogs trust in humans by not giving the dog an option to do the daily necessities on his own.

Then we layer in obedience. We teach the dog that if: You want to go out the door, you must sit/stay first. You want us toss the ball, you must come when called and sit nearby before we will sling it again. You want to go for a walk, you will walk nicely by our side. Obedience builds the foundation for taking direction from humans.

Next we begin to take the obedience skills and expose them to more pressure in the real world. Pressure is the one thing an anxious dog has never been taught how to cope with. It is pressure when a dog who has never been off the farm, goes into the city.It is pressure when a dog that lacks confidence is approached on the sidewalk by a passer-by. Exposure to the ‘real world’ with the guidance of a calm, stable leader using obedience to communicate how he should respond in the moment actually takes the pressure OFF of the dog for making his own decisions. If I insist the dog sit when someone passes, he can discover that the bogey man in the big winter coat just passed on by, or maybe the bogey man even dropped a juicy tidbit to be enjoyed.

The other thing that obedience can be used for is to build exploratory behavior and confidence. I want an anxious dog to become more comfortable in his surroundings, not by using his vocalizations and teeth to drive everything away, but rather by learning to explore and trust more of the world around him.

Using obedience for “urban agility” is what I’ve found to be one of the best ways to get this task accomplished. Taking an insecure dog and teaching him to sit/walk/down/place and recall, all while going over, under and across obstacles in the world (picnic tables, downed trees, retaining walls, park benches, etc.) brings a dog out of his shell in the same way that teaching a kid to swim, bike and climb trees creates body awareness and confidence in oneself.

This was the essence of Si’s weeks with us at That’s My Dog! Each day was the layering on of just a bit more learning and confidence building. I took these pictures on Si’s first field trip away from the training facility.

si3 si4

You can see how difficult it was to get him to focus on me with the camera. His tight facial expression and his head was on a swivel concerned about any possible new thing or change in the environment. There were days of frustration, for both of us. But we kept at it. Each day, new outings, new experiences and we also used integration with other stable dogs to help expedite his processing.

In a few weeks we felt he was ready to go home. The key would be that his owner now follow through with all the new expectations. Once Si walked back onto his familiar turf, mom needed to make sure that the rules had followed him home and not allow him to fall back into old patterns of behavior. This is the critical stage.

We believe it is only natural for a dog to revert to behavior that was once acceptable. The solution is the human becoming aware and intervening before those patterns emerge again.

Si’s mom did her best not to let that happen and the photo at the beginning of this article is a testament to her commitment. He is so improved and you can see it in his face and expression. This is a dog that is learning to be comfortable in his own skin. A dog that is learning to trust more and react less. It is the visual reminder of why we do the work we do.

We are so proud of both Si and his owner!

It is so important to remember that commitment to change is the biggest factor in resolving dog aggression.


Just Right E-collar dog training

A few years ago I created a very basic instructional DVD about e-collar training, Just Right Training.

The goal was to provide viewers with the basics of how to safely and humanly collar condition their dog. I hoped to help people understand how to properly fit the e-collar, figure out what level is appropriate for training and how to avoid creating confusion for the dog.

It was titled Just Right because of my continual reminder to users that there are ONLY three stimulation levels to concern yourself with when training the dog, Too low, Too high and Just right…and the dog makes that determination, not the numbers.

The DVD covers a few basic ideas (recall, loose lead walking, place) and helps resolve some minor, but frustrating behavior problems like jumping up and nuisance barking. The intention was to provide some simple, but solid instructional material to those who wanted to add an electronic dog collar to their training routine but struggled to find a knowledgeable professional in their area who could help.

Stefano is one of those people. We’ve been corresponding about the possibility of starting his dog on an e-collar. He was doing his research before starting (which I applaud!) and had several valid concerns like how to get a great recall without creating a dog who would be worried about leaving his side. After getting the Just Right DVD and a bit of e-mail coaching he got started and I was happy to receive the following message.


great techniques, I began the e-collar training today, my dog picked
it up straight away

I think maybe cause he already knew commands but starting the loose
leash walking it only took like twice changing directions then he was
shadowing me like crazy.

But then I said ‘release’ his free command and he went off straight

So then I just went for a walk and did about 3 recalls broken up over
about 10mins and he did great recalled away from water (which is
massive he is a lab that loves water)

no velcro dog at all except for when I gave the heel command, also I
was working him on 13 and only had to go up to 15 for the water
recall. And he came back tail wagging and everything for his treat,
wooohooo I’m sooo psyched.

I’m now going to train my cousins rottie x staffy with the e-collar,
his untrained mega strong and locked away in a backyard, my cousin
said if I can train him with this he will purchase one and I know it
will work. I know I could train him with other methods but its so
draining because its physically tiring but this is awesome, man I was
shocked how responsive he was on such a low level and I’m still going
to take my time working up and have the leashes attached for at least
2 weeks.

Anyways just wanted to let you know how excited I am and happy with
your dvd as it is an awesome easy way to train.

I’ll send a video in a couple weeks of both dogs my lab was already
highly trained but with selective hearing, but the rottie x is hardly
trained so will be awesome to see how he goes, I’m very patient so it
should be great.

Great job Robin


Stefano and his crew


I certainly appreciate his kinds words but what tickles me the most is that he took the time to research and learn rather than:

a) dismiss the possibility of e-collar training entirely because of the negative hearsay he’d heard.

b) purchase an e-collar and slap it on his dog without first learning how to use it.

Two thumbs up for Stefano plus ball tosses and belly rubs for the dog! Thank you for letting me know how your new training skills are going with the addition of the e-collar.

Remote collar training in Singapore

One of my former students wrote me about his clients experience with remote collar training. Jeffrey Ong owns a company called K9 World. He lives in Singapore, a country that has regulation in place regarding dogs, the training industry and accreditation of dog trainers.
Dogs of certain breeds (Pit Bull, Akita, Neapolitan Mastiff, Tosa and their crosses, and the Bull Mastiff, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd Dog (and related breeds), Rottweiler and Perro de Presa Canario ) are referred to as Scheduled dogs. They must be licensed and are required to undergo basic obedience training with an AVA (Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore) accredited dog trainer.
As part of the process, owners must fill out a feedback from regarding the obedience training programs that they have gone thru with their respective dog trainers. Each dog trainer needs a minimum of 6 feedback forms per year to be included in the list of AVA accredited dog trainers.
Accredited dog trainers have the freedom to chose the training tools they deem appropriate for the dog & client. The feedback form requests information about the training facilities, training equipment and methods used.

Below is information on one of the client feedback forms that Jeffrey shared with me.

“Regarding the fact that Singapore is a big city I wanted to have a dog who is 101% reliable. Jeffery Ong introduced me to the Ecollar training
The line of communication with my dog is crystal clear after all the training and conditioning. My dog knows what I expect from her and obeys all my commands. I’m also in better control than with the leash because I can react on time which makes my dog extremely reliable and that’s why my dog can walk off leash. The e-collar works for me as an invisible leash-owner and dog react effectively with it. The Ecollar works for me a more reliable tool (of training) than a leash.
Special thanks to Jeffery Ong who put all the effort in our training sessions and the results is an perfectly obedient dog which makes people giving compliments everywhere.”
When Jeffrey attended my course on ways to train and utilize the remote collar, we had many conversations about whether or not the tool would be accepted in his country. He, like many, had concerns about how the tool would reflect on his business. I often hear the phase “well, where I live….” which is followed by a myriad of reasons why dog owners are somehow different in that location. My response is always the same “People are people” We share similar fears and anxieties, have been exposed to the same myths and misconceptions and likewise share commonality in our desires to have a happy and harmonious relationship with our dogs.
Fortunately for us, dogs are dogs. They have no preconceived notions, nor judgement about tools.
Thanks for sharing this feedback Jeffrey, it is always nice to hear that education is helping fear and misconception to fade away…whether in Singapore or anywhere else.

E-collar helps formerly reactive dog learn to make better choices.

The other day I received a Facebook message regarding remote collar training from a colleague in Ontario. My friend, Karen Laws, from Ontario Dog Trainer, had a post on her wall from a recent client that she wanted to share. I asked her if I could also share here on The Truth About Shock Collars.




The story speaks for itself, proper use of an e-collar can help transform highly reactive dogs into calm, thinking pets that are a joy to live with.


I couldn’t have imagined telling this story 4 weeks ago.

It’s 5am and Tara and I are having our usual walk, though now off leash, along the waterfront park near our home. It’s still dark out as the sun has yet to rise. In the distance we can hear the barking of a couple dogs in a thicket ahead, Tara is curious but stays close by my side. As we approach, a red blinking light down on the beach tells me that someone is there with their own dogs and I’m hoping that they have them under control. We pass unnoticed. However, upon our return some 10 minutes later, as Tara and I approach the same beachhead, this time two medium sized dogs come flying out of the thicket barking up a storm as they charge us. Tara quickly steps forward on alert, still off leash, then amazingly looks back at me. I tap the e-collar transmitter and surprisingly with calm say, “Come!” And doesn’t my wonderful girl circle around my back and come to sit at my side!!!!! I hollar at the racing intruders and then hear their owner calling out to them to return. The dogs retreat and Tara and I are left standing on the pathway without incident. This can’t be my dog???

Tara was a rescue last year and came to us with a whole basket of control issues. Not that long ago, she would have launched herself without regard for anything at any excited animal approaching us, or passing by. This time she listened to me and thought better of her choices. I’m very proud of my Tara and very happy with the early results of her training with Karen. Who would have thought?

Steven Mitchell

Congratulations to Steve and Tara. The work you put in learning to use the e-collar as part of your training is paying off!

The words Shock Collar make me cringe

Yes, it is a true, those two words, Shock collar, don’t sit well with me. Not because I’m opposed to electronic collars, but because they further a perception that is inaccurate.

I recently gave a presentation for Scott Mueller and 16 of his students at Canine Workshops in Columbus, OH. Early in the day I directed students to this blog but made an apology for it’s title.


shock collar



The words “Shock collar” bother me too but the title of the blog was born out of necessity.


Until people are better informed on the versatility of electronic training collars it takes continual effort to educate about all the none painful ways they can be utilized. Remote training collars are what you make of them, they are no more shocking than a medical professionals TENs Unit. If you turn it up too high, they are certainly uncomfortable and can cause a significant startle response. Used appropriately the stimulation is at worse a mild aversive and at best a unique sensation that can be associated with any number of meanings.

That is what I set out to demonstrate to my fellow dog trainers during our time together. We talked about my belief that there are only 3 true levels on any of the remote collars on the market: too low (the sensation is undetected or does not gain the dogs attention) too high (the sensation startles or disrupts the dogs ability to learn) and Just Right (the sensation gains attention and enhances the dogs ability to learn).


The words “shock collar” apply when we are “too high”. That is a level we are encouraging people to avoid.


Instead of frustration with a dog’s behavior sending one running to the store to purchase a “shock collar” to punish a dog for doing “bad” we talked about the critical step of understanding HOW to TEACH the dog what attention getting sensation means. Teach the dog how to respond and have control of it. The feedback the dog gains is much like the child’s game of Hot and Cold and it is why the learning is so rapid when a remote collar is properly applied.

We talked about the use of rewards, proper timing, how body language influences, how to work in drive for more flashy performance.

I had a wonderful time. Thank you to Scott for hosting me and thank you to all who attended. I hope that the overall theme became apparent to everyone who was there. Our perception of the tool is what influences how we utilize it. I hope we choose wisely. Electronic training collars can be used to teach or it can be used as a “shock collar”

Bling Your “Shock Collar” Contest

I know you love your e-collar and I know your dog does too. I know you’ve taken the time to educate yourself on how to use the remote collar properly and the enhanced relationship you now have with your dog is self evident.

We both know the reality of how awesome this tool is when it is applied properly. So I’m thinking it is a good time to stand up and demonstrate that pride!

Announcing: “Bling Your E-collar” Month.

Which means we have to have a contest. Now through the end of June, you post a photo of your dog’s blinged out e-collar on the I Love My E-collar Facebook page, include your dog’s name in the posting (include best way to contact you if you win). My company will keep tabs of all entries and place them in a random drawing. All entries must be in by midnight July 1st, 2013 with winner announced on July 4th. 2013

Not on Facebook? send a photo of the blinged e-collar and your dog’s name to

Now here’s why it’s worth it, The winning dog gets a goodie box of toys, treats and cool dog gear and you get to pick your favorite local non-profit dog shelter or rescue to which I will donate $100.00 and my good friend Summer from On The Ball K9 Training has offered to toss in another $50.00. So that’s a goodie box for your dog and much needed cash for some of our canine friends in need.

The inspiration for this idea goes to another friend and colleague, Renée from Follow Me Dog Training who sent me pictures of her client’s e-collar all dressed up. Renée started working with Caitrin and her dog, Tulip (pictured above) in April of this year. Tulip was having some pretty significant issues, including serious dog fights with the other dog who shared the household.

This is what Caitrin had to say about Renée after going through only 3 private lessons: “You’ve made our life amazing so far and I’d have paid quadruple if I knew this is where it was heading… so we will just keep preaching your name. :)”

and this is what Caitrin wrote about her two dogs who could now get along in peace rather than fight: “A wagging tongue-lolling Dexter just lazily chased a low speed, happy-eared, wiggle-butted, toy-holding Tulip past the porch. Ha Ha. I called for quits and they did and both pranced over to me, shoulder to shoulder for petting.”

Caitrin is proud of all that Tulip has learned and obviously has a positive attitude about the e-collar as one of the training tools that helped accomplish those goals.



So for those of you who love your e-collar it is officially, “BLING YOUR E-COLLAR” Month!


Post the photo of your dog’s blinged out e-collar on the I Love My E-collar Facebook page (include best way to contact you) and you’ll be entered to win cool dog stuff and a donation for your favorite dog charity. Winning photo will be posted here on July 4th, Independence Day!!

Does flooding have a place in the world of dog training?

I recently hosted Chad Makin for his Pack To Basics workshop. We had a wonderful event and many trainers went home with new skills and knowledge to add to their programs in helping dogs and humans deal with aggression issues.

Because the work involves immersing dogs into a group (“pack”) as a main part of the protocol for dealing with dog – dog aggression  issues, Chad discussed several concepts early in the day before we moved on to practical applications. The discussion facilitated greater understanding in how the approach served the dogs who would be participating.  I found Chad’s view on learned helplessness particularly interesting so I asked him to share those thoughts here on The Truth About Shock Collars.

Give it a read and let me know what you think:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…” — Serenity Prayer

There is a term used often in dog training circles usually used in association with abuse.  The term is “learned helplessness.”  Generally, it calls to mind images of a dog so abused, that is has given up hope of anything from life other than abuse.  The image in my own head is one of a cold skinny dog shaking in the corner at the approach of an abusive owner but no longer trying to escape the inevitable beating.  Even the term itself has a hopeless ring to it.  “Learned helplessness.”

But what does it really mean?  The behavioral definition refers to the state where an animal learns that it is unable to affect it’s environment, and as a result stops trying.  It is a terrible thing when learned helplessness is a response to abuse, neglect or cruelty.  It is truly heartbreaking.  It’s heartbreaking whether we are talking about a dog, a cat, a mouse, a human, or any other creature really.  And it’s important to note that humans also experience this state.

When an animal responds to abuse with learned helplessness they usually “shut down”, meaning they retreat into themselves and stop interacting with the world. They can do this as a response to any number of stresses as well.  In training, any time an animal shuts down, it’s a sure sign that the trainer has pushed the animal too far.

But what I am mainly concerned with is the nature of learned helplessness.  Is it always a response to abuse?  As I’ve said, it is often considered to be synonymous with abuse, but is that fair?

I am writing this on an airplane.  There is a small child crying in the row behind me. He stops every now and then for a few moments, and I think I am going to get some rest, and then he starts again.  I look around, everyone seems a bit irritated by this and his mother looks both irritated and embarrassed.  I have my headphones on, and am listening to music to try to drown out the noise, but it’s not working.  He’s right behind me and it seems as if he’s screaming into my ear.  I’ve reached  a point where I am aware of it, I am mildly annoyed by it (like an itch that I can’t scratch) but I have come to accept it.  I live with it because I don’t have a choice.

In other words, I have moved into learned helplessness. Or as we put it with humans who aren’t abused, I’ve “accepted it.”  I’ve “gotten over it.”

When my three year old screams because I won’t buy him a toy, or because he doesn’t want a nap, or because he doesn’t get ice cream on demand, I let him cry, and eventually (every time so far) he gets over it.  He learns that he cannot change that aspect of his environment and makes a decision to move forward through life despite that disappointment. That is a variation of learned helplessness.

The reality is that all sentient organisms practice learned helplessness every day.  For us humans, our lives are full of it.  Every time we do something we wish we didn’t have to do we are practicing it (for example, paying taxes).  Life involves disappointments and hardships.  Those who cannot accept disappointment and hardship are never happy, and never can be.  Learned helplessness in the face of simple, or abject disappointment is a necessary life skill. Those who don’t develop it are likely to be frustrated and upset all the time.

I can hear some readers saying, “But dogs don’t have to pay taxes! Your examples are all constructs of human society! Dogs don’t have as many disappointments because they don’t have as many wants!  Give them a warmth, affection, and a full belly and they are happy.” To which I reply, “This is true, if they’ve learned to accept life on life’s terms.” Which is kind of my point.

When a litter of pups is dealing with the absence of mom for the first time it is often their first experience with learned helplessness.  Mom just gets up and leaves.  They scream and cry and try to climb out of the whelping box to no avail.  Mother ignores their frustration and anxiety.  Somewhere inside, her motherly instinct tells her that this is a good and necessary process for them.  Eventually, they all accept that they are without the warmth and protection that their mother provides them.  They calm down and get on with the business of exploring their immediate environment.  This is natural. This is healthy.  It aids in their emotional and physiological development (puppies exposed to low levels of stress early on develop stronger nervous systems).

What we don’t see is the mother dog practicing counter-conditioning, feeding food treats etc. She is instinctively doing what many trainers and behaviorists see as setting the dog up to fail.  She is practicing “flooding”.  The critics of this practice will tell you that flooding only results in learned helplessness. Based on the way I’ve described learned helplessness, I agree.  Where I disagree is in the assertion that such a response necessarily indicates abuse.   I don’t believe it does.  If they want to define “learned helplessness” in that way, they are more than welcome to do so. But at that moment, they need to exclude the act of acceptance outside of abuse from that definition and recognize that such a response is indeed a possible (if not likely) result of the entirely natural process of flooding.

Accepting that life will not always be as we wish it is part of the maturing process for all species.

So learned helplessness isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s the best thing. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that makes any sense.

The plane is starting to descend.  They flight crew has informed us that we need to shut off our electronic devices.  I am suddenly aware that the crying child has, during the time I have been writing this, stopped crying.  Unable to change his surroundings, he’s chosen to accept them.  Flooding, once more led to acceptance. Which is as it should be.

Remote collars only make aggression worse. (or so they say)

Below is video footage of a dog-dog aggression case we worked recently. A remote collar was one of the tools used in working to modify the behavior. Some people will tell you that using a remote collar for these types of cases is only going to make things worse.
You can be the judge. Did it work, didn’t it work? Did it make things worse, did it make things better?

My opinion? It depends who’s doing the work and how they are using the tool. One thing I can tell you is when you compare opinions about tools and training and you come across people who bash remote collar trainers as abusive or unethical…please compare apples to apples. Watch their work and watch mine. Here I’m actually working around real dogs, not stuffed animals. Why is that important…..because owners actually live, take walks and exist around real animals.

It is important because viable solutions mean that the owner needs to actually be able to successfully function with their dog in the real world. The real world is difficult to control…so at a minimum an owner needs a solution that allows them to manage their dog in an unpredictable world.

The part I happen to like about the remote collar as a tool option is that it is very neutral to the dog. The stimulation is identical between handlers, which means once we have the timing mastered…the dogs learning experience is far more consistent. The training is more easily reproduce-able and transferred on from person to person…which is why my entire staff can get the same results with this dog as I did and why owners can learn to do it too.

In this case the management was combined with a stable pack and the right reinforcement and we have a good outcome. The next step is helping the owner learn to do the same things so that the dog can live out a life free of further aggression problems.

Did the remote collar make it worse or not? How come?

Remote Collar Training? A Users Perspective on What Their Dog Thinks.

Understanding Dog Behavior

A couple months back I shared some of my sentiments on training with a remote collar and speculated what my dog’s might say if given a choice in the matter of training tools. Then I posed a question that caused a bit of a stir. That April blog post received over 100 comments and a lot of emotional feedback.

It gave birth to the idea that I wanted more input from other dog owners who have trained this way. So, recently I’ve been conducting and informal survey. I’m asking other pet owning, e-collar users to share their thoughts via a questioner I and fellow expert trainers are circulating to our students. One of the questions on this feedback form is: If your dog could speak on behalf of this training tool/method, what do you think he/she would say?

I’d like to share the answers I’ve received so far and remind you to bear in mind that ALL answers are provided by people who are currently using a remote collar as part of their dog training process. I think it is also very noteworthy to know that the majority of the participants have worked under the guidance of a professional trainer with specialized expertise in this training tool.

So, in no particular order:

If your dog could speak on behalf of remote collars and remote collar training, what do you think he/she would say?

” The collar – Yippy – we’re going to the park to play Chuck It – wag, wag. Mom doesn’t act like a crazy woman anymore. “

” He didn’t like it at first, because he preferred to be the King at all times! But now he’s happy about it because he has more opportunities to go places and more entertainment outside. “

” She would say that it is an easy way for me to communicate quickly and effectively with her .”

” I think he would give it a good review because it more clearly lets him know what I’m looking for from him, and he’s a happy boy to be off that leash and not stressing from barking, pulling and general misbehaving.”

” It gives me a lot more freedom!.”

” I think he would say that he’s grateful for the freedom that the e-collar has given him. Although I don’t think he’s happy about not being able to get away with stuff at a distance. 11 years old and he’s still pushing the boundaries. “

” You’re putting the collar on? AWESOME! We’re going for a walk. We’re going for a walk. We’re going for a walk. “

” She would say it allows her to go with us everyplace and is well worth it. “


” My mom is calm when I wear my collar. She can get my attention when she needs it. She rarely ever has to tone me anymore. I don’t have to be “on leash” and we can hike anywhere! “

” Gus and Blue Moon would both say “being off leash rocks!!”

” Judging by how they react when I pick up their collar (they go CRAZY in excitement because they know they are getting to go somewhere), I think my dogs would ask me to put their collars on every morning and go do something fun!”

…that is what we have so far to question number 10 on our remote collar training survey.

When I review these answers, I pick up some overall themes about remote collar training…themes of increased freedom, reduced frustration and dogs that display no resentment in putting their e-collars on. Those reasons have been consistent factors in my decision to make this an area of specialization for the past 12 years.

It is not that I feel people HAVE to train with a remote collar to have a well mannered, obedient dog. It is that using one makes the task faster and easier on the average pet dog owner AND ultimately gives the dog an improved quality of life.

Once more I want to point out that these are primarily answers coming back from students of the professional dog trainers listed here. I have long held the belief that skilled guidance influences the outcome…we can chew on that topic together in the future…

If you’d like to share your thoughts and fill out this survey, please request it by e-mailing



What do you think about remote dog training collars: Part 2

Last week I wrote about a questioner I was looking for volunteers to answer in regard to their e-collar training experiences. I want to hear from dog owners who are using this tool as part of their training program.

And I left you with the tidbit from one person who responded:

Q: In one sentence please describe how you felt about remote collars BEFORE you started training with them.

A: The only people that use them are police dogs and hunters dogs, it was too harsh of training for what we were asking for our dogs.

Plus I promised that I would reveal the next Q&A from the same person so here you go: Continue reading “What do you think about remote dog training collars: Part 2”