Professional Dog Trainer Course

The next professional dog trainer course is going to be held October 12th – 22nd. The 10 day E-cademy program is geared specifically toward those dog training professional who want to learn more about incorporating e-collar training into their training business.

Since 2002 this immersion program has helped individuals to hone their training skills and greatly enhance their coaching capabilities. The curriculum weighs heavily on practical application, rather than just theory. Participants gain significant hands on experience working with a wide variety of dogs of varying temperament. Cases range from basic obedience to complex behavioral issues.

Robin’s many years of experience, not only with a variety of training techniques, but also her animal health background create an ideal learning opportunity to understand how remote training works in conjunction with other tools and a “whole dog” approach. While attending the E-cademy program, students witness first hand, both private and group lessons as well as work with day training and board & train dogs. Students also get considerable instruction on the “how to” of successfully coaching pet owners to carry through and achieve their goals. The hands on learning, plus instruction of how to more efficiently operate the day to day of a dog training, daycare and boarding operation has helped many trainers greatly accelerate their business potential.

The 10 day course is held at That’s My Dog! Inc in Dubuque, IA and limited to 5 participants to ensure the best possible learning experience and one to one time training personally with Robin.

Check here more information about the professional dog trainer course  or e-mail robin@robinmacfarlane.com for complete curriculum.

and the Winner is:

Happy 4th of July!

America’s Independence Day seemed like the appropriate time to unveil the winner of our Bling Your E-collar contest. For many people and their dogs e-collar training has added a level of freedom they did not think possible.

Thank you to Caitrin and her dog Tulip for the inspiration to start this contest and to everyone who participated. We had some awesome entries!! You can take a look at the pics on the I Love My E-collar and So Does My Dog Facebook page. A very creative bunch of folks out there! I’ll be sending a goodie box to the pooch who sports the winning entry.

Thank you also to those who donated to our prize package: That’s My Dog! Inc. On The Ball K9, Michigan Dog Trainer, K9 Transformations, Follow Me Dog Training, and Dogtra Company. Because of your generosity a Non-profit Shelter of the Winner’s Choice will be receiving $700.00 to help with their homeless animals.

With no further ado:

 

 

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: Robin@ThatsMyDog.com

Stress in Dog Training

Stress in dog training, is it necessary or not?

Stress in dog training was a topic touched on in one of our conversations on this Facebook page about the Banning of Training Tools .

One of the participants there, Mike, had a few words to say so I invited him to share them here on my site.

My personal thought is there is a significant difference between stress and distress, and this is what we must be conscience of in our training. It is my opinion that short term stresses designed to increase our coping abilities are a good thing. I believe that is the case for us and for our dogs.

What are your thoughts on stress in the paradigm of dog training?

Guest post:

Stress is something we all live with on a daily basis. Though is stress always such a bad thing? Ask yourself, when you hear the word stress what do you think of? For most the thought of high blood pressure, or ripping your hair out in frustration quickly comes to mind.

In the same way when one hears the word electricity we are often preconditioned to think of it in a negative context. I know I did when first hearing about remote collars, having been curious enough (or stupid perhaps) to stick a fork in a socket!

So we are left with the questions, can negatives have an upside? Is stress always such a bad thing?

Is stress always bad for mans best friend?

I believe in small doses it is not. It can even be beneficial. Many people work better under stress, and I am one of them. The same applies to dogs. On a daily basis we ask our canine companions to endure various stressful situations. Such as moving, bringing them into loud and busy environments, blasting our favorite songs, and the list goes on. So why is it that if stress happens in the name of training we are so quick to call it cruel? I understand that if taken to extreme it can cause psychological damage, but there is a happy medium. I believe it is important to teach our dogs how to deal with stress and how to respond in stressful situations.

Many positive trainers would have you believe that any compulsion used in training is too stressful, equates to abusive, and is morally reprehensible. There is a prevailing belief that all the answers to our training problems lie with cookies and praise of behaviors that are desired and ignoring behaviors that are unwanted.

This may be an extreme example, but imagine I walk up to a person with a fear of bats (the flying kind), holding a great big bat in a locked room and I am going to throw chocolate chip cookies at them while I do it! Is that really going to make them feel any better or make their stress go away? Of course not, they would need to be desensitized, and conditioned to act calm in such a situation.

The same is true when working with a dog that has anxiety, or aggression issues, avoiding stress is not only impossible, it is also counter productive. We can do our best to minimize it, but some is required to help the animal overcome such behaviors and be able to cope in our world.

Stress subsides when a dog (or anyone for that matter) begins to understand what is being asked of him/her, and what he/she should be doing. This is why I personally believe a leash correction is less stressful to a dog then negative punishment (which in simple terms is the removal of a treat as a punishment). A leash correction is a clear way of communicating to a dog they did something wrong. In the same way that a clicker is an auditory marker for a correct action, a correction is a physical cue to tell the dog they did something wrong, and does not need to hurt to work (in the same way a clicker works, but does not hurt).

Ask yourself, when are you more stressed? In a situation where you have black and white instructions on what to do, or in a situation with limited information when you are unsure of what to do?

The use of punishment techniques in dog training have become a controversial issue in recent years. Long standing training tools such as the prong collar, or remote collar are being labeled as barbaric. Though when rational thought prevails, it is easy to understand abuse does not stem from a tool, but from the one using it.

Take a knife for example. It is dangerous or not? I believe it depends on who is holding it and what the intent is. It could be used as a weapon or to carve the next Venus de Milo

It is the same with any dog training collar. Using a tool judicously to aid a dog’s understanding of what to do or what not to do may add some stress to the learning process, but once the learning has occurred there is no longer stress. There is comprehension and with that comes increased confidence and decreased stress over all.

remote collar training
Mike & friend.

 

E-Collar Dog Training

E-collar dog training: Would your dog choose it if you gave him the option?

Have you ever wondered if your dog would choose e-collar dog training? I spend a fair amount of time sleuthing the internet for information and opinions regarding e-collars or “shock collars” as some continue to call them.

One of the sentiments I’ve noticed lately being touted by those who wish to have the tool banned from existence is the idea that the dogs (our dogs) didn’t get to “choose” this form of training or this training tool. This statement is usually uttered in reference or testimonial that demonstrates a human subjecting themselves to e-collar stimulation for either comedic purposes or for the sake of visually elaborating on a concept. The typical commentary is: “well, the human had a choice about feeling that tool, those poor dogs don’t.”

That line of thinking got me pondering on the idea of choices for our dogs. I am curious how you feel about e-collar dog training and hope you chime into the conversation.

I’m all for giving my dogs some options, as in: do you want this toy or this one? Do you want to sniff out this trail or the one over there? But my personal outlook is that my dogs are my responsibility and as such I do make a lot of decisions for them. Here is a brief list of some of the decisions I don’t give my dogs a choice about.

I decide:

What they eat.

What vaccinations they get and how often.

What dogs I trust and allow them to interact with.

If they are allowed to swim or not.

When they need to get a bath, nails trimmed or ears cleaned.

If they get to remain intact or if they will be surgically altered (spay & neuter).

Why do I decide these things for my beloved companions and not give them “their choice”? Well, I feel fairly confident I will make better decisions for them than they would make for themselves. Case in point, my dogs would probably never chose to get vaccinated or take a bath or file their nails, they would likely make some bad choices and trust dogs that they shouldn’t. They would absolutely choose to eat trash and clean up every human left over they could. And for certain, Diva, would jump in the water and swim ANYWHERE despite a dangerous current.

So does the fact that I don’t allow my dogs too many choices make me some sort of evil dictator? If it does, I guess I am guilty of raising my kids that way also. I believe in applying structure, limitations and rules that I determine to be in the best interest of all.

When my charges (dogs or kids) clearly understand the rules I’ve created they actually get more freedom as a result. And they grow to a level of independence that I feel is our responsibility to teach them to have. One of my children is out of the house, putting himself through higher education and making his own way in the world. The second child will soon be following suit. And meanwhile my dogs no longer need to be kenneled or baby gated when I am away from the house and they are calm and well mannered if they are left in anothers care for a period of time. Through the choices I’ve made for them in e-collar “training” they have learned self control and the liberties that go along with that.

e-collar training
“all the kids” circa 2009

I honestly believe that if my dogs could speak for themselves they would choose the e-collar dog training and the subsequent freedom it brings with it.

They get to run off leash in unfenced areas, they get to be part of the party when there is company, they get to go along on most trips and they can be in public venues without being a nuisance.

Yes, I am the one responsible for making the e-collar dog training choice for my dogs. And as a result of it I do not have to make choices to withhold their freedom because “there are too many distractions around” nor do I have to limit their exploration to the end of a leash or clipped to a front pressure harness or head halter.

So what are your thoughts? Is it appropriate that we make the choices for our dogs training tools or exactly how does this argument stack up in your opinion?

Successful e-collar training gives dog and owner new freedom

Being an advocate for education regarding the e-collar is not always an easy path. Disparaging remarks and harsh judgment come frequently to those of us who choose to be outspoken about a toolwe believe is unfairly labeled as inhumane.

Some days it is down right disheartening when constantly subjected to the personal attacks

BUT Continue reading “Successful e-collar training gives dog and owner new freedom”

Using a remote collar to help teach a Place command

Here is a recent video of some “place” training. This is a 5 month old Labradoodle who was in for a Board and Train program for basic off leash obedience and manners. We’re using a combination of tools including the remote training collar and treats to mark moments of behavior, just like a game of hot and cold.

The meaning of the Place command is that 4 paws should remain on the bed. The dog has a choice of sitting, lying down or standing but the expectation is to remain on the bed (Place) until released. We typically do not teach with the word Stay, rather the expectation of remaining is built into our commands and the dogs learn to wait for further instruction which can either be another command or a release cue that tells the dog he/she is free to do whatever.

This idea of “place” is useful in any number of situations, but for this example we were proofing the idea around the opening of doors and the sound of the doorbell. This is a great behavior to teach in your home if you do not want your dog rushing the door each time visitors arrive. The dog can learn to go to the “place” at the sound of the bell and remain there until you wish to release him/her.

The remote collar is a big advantage for this training because the timing is so precise to mark the exact moment the dog begins to make the mistake of getting off of the mat. You will be able to mark that moment from a distance and the dog learns to alter his/her behavior to make the correct choice of remaining on the mat.

Bear in mind it will take a bit of practice and repetition in your  home, so keep a light line on the dog until the remote collar serves as the invisible leash on it’s own. In due time you will be able to wean off of the remote collar as well and your voice command will be the solo cue that your dog has learned to listen to.

Also remember that using the Just Right level is important to match the level of excitement going on in the environment.

Watch the video and let me know what you think. Continue reading “Using a remote collar to help teach a Place command”

Remote collar training is less stressful for dog and her owner

 

“Just as with any product that sounds too good to be true,
I was at first skeptical about remote collar training.
When my dog began to Continue reading “Remote collar training is less stressful for dog and her owner”

Two weeks of remote collar training turn mischeivious mates into precious pups again.

How long should it take to have well trained, well behaved dog?

For the Earl family it was 8 years of challenges before they found the right training and techniques to turn their two into a more mannerly duo. However, once they learned about how the electronic collar could help them it was only two weeks until the problems were solve. They were then on the way to the more enjoyable life they had envisioned with their dogs.

Continue reading “Two weeks of remote collar training turn mischeivious mates into precious pups again.”

Have a SHOCKINGLY Great Christmas

dog collars trainingok, so I couldn’t resist with the headline. Shame, shame… Santa should leave me a lump of coal!

Diva, Tom and I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. We hope Continue reading “Have a SHOCKINGLY Great Christmas”