To Use an E-Collar or Not? Is It a Question of Too Many Dog Training Tools?

To Use an E-Collar or Not? Is It a Question of Too Many Dog Training Tools?

There are many dog training tools available to help us find solutions for training problems. I’m grateful for that, but recently I had an evaluation with someone who’s response to the idea of using a remote collar surprised me.

The new puppy owner was seeking help due to concerns over the puppy’s biting behavior. While play biting is normal puppy behavior, this little guy would resort to the higher end of the intensity scale if he decided he didn’t want to quit. The pup demonstrated a rather strong propensity for wanting to do things his way and yielding to human desires was not high on his list of priorities. Any type of restraint against his will brought out a willingness to use his teeth to assert that point.

There are several techniques and approaches to dealing with the issue. However, one of the possible dog training tools we discussed was the use of a remote training collar. I have found the e-collar to be an extremely easy way to interrupt puppy biting. In this case I felt particularly confident it would be a good choice because the owner also has her hands full with young human children.

My goal with puppy biting is to interrupt and then redirect. The redirection teaches the puppy what it is okay to chew on (and human skin or clothing is not included on the list of acceptable items) Interruptions need to be well timed, meaning in the moment the behavior is happening. OR better yet, the moment the thought is processing in the dog’s mind….so for a busy mom it is easy to have a remote collar TX on her person so she can tap a button (the vibration feature works well for many pups) as soon as those razor sharp puppy teeth make a move for the toddlers hands or pant leg. The weird sensation interrupts the dogs focus and mom can then encourage the pup to grab a toy to gnaw on. Behaviors that are interrupted and not rewarded tend to disappear rather quickly so it is a fairly fast track to teaching a young dog that chewing on his own stuff rather than the kid is a much better option.

It is not unusual for the suggestion to sound extreme to some people. But that is only because they have yet to actually experience how gentle the sensation is from many of today’s remote training collars. Visions of a shock collar and dogs jumping in pain or fear are still prevalent in some peoples mindset. Because of that misconception I am always aware of how the suggestion might be received.

However, I was more surprised by this young mom’s desire to not have to use a remote collar and try doing it other ways first because she seemed to feel it was a more valiant or authentic effort to try other less gadget oriented ways first.

This is a mindset I encounter from time to time and I sort of get it since I too try to be guided by a more holistic, less cluttered approach to life.

Yet, I certainly recognize the value that modern day conveniences add to our daily routine. I love my smart phone and appreciate driving to work rather than walking, especially now that the temps remain in the teens and 20’s most days. I also juice daily as part of my way of maintaining a better diet, but I know there is no way I would do it if I had to squeeze and pulverize everything by hand.

I think it is about deciding which gadgets actually serve to enhance our life experience and which just become extra weight.

As we discussed the pros and cons of various dog training tools and the approaches in using them, I pondered the idea of “is it more valiant” to approach training a dog through limited tool use?  The conclusion I came up with was a yes, in regards to professional dog trainers having a more thorough appreciation for all approaches and tools.

But for an average pet owner I don’t really see the point in taking the longer journey. I don’t believe it makes one a better person or makes for a better dog.

For me it is like believing Thanksgiving dinner is superior only when the cook raises their own turkeys, grows the root veggies & pumpkins and prepares all by hand over a crackling fire. Personally I don’t care if the turkey came from the freezer section as long as someone else does most of the cooking. I just like to eat and enjoy the final outcome. 🙂




Happy New Year!

Time to toss the old calendar and get ready to ring in a whole new year. The earth kept rotating and somehow we’ve made it through 2012 despite the predictions of impending doom.

Here at The Truth About Shock Collars we’ve continued on as well and it has been a good year. Let’s peak back at a few of the highlights: Continue reading “Happy New Year!”

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”

What do you think about remote dog training collars?


The main reason I started The Truth About Shock Collars blog was to share information with potential remote collar users. I want to provide insight that I have gained, share experiences from other trainers and most importantly share experience and opinions from other pet owners who decided to go the route of training with a remote dog training collar.

Because the big picture goal is to rid ourselves of the term and idea of a pain inducing “shock collar” and help people understand that an electronic collar should be used with finesse as a communication device.

The thing about blogging is…most of the words are my own and repeatedly hearing just my voice on the matter gets tiresome so I’ve asked numerous friends who are also professional dog trainers to distribute a simple questioner to their clients so we can gather more feedback on what other dog owners think about the “shock collar”.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be posting responses to those questions and expanding on some of the ideas presented. I hope you’ll join in the conversations. If you’re interested in filling out the questioner just provide me an e-mail address and I’ll be happy to send one your way.

In the meantime, here is one response I’d like to share.

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.

The next question on the form is:

Q. In one sentence describe how you feel about remote collars NOW.
If you are curious about the answer…stay tuned. 🙂

*Request this 10 question survey by e-mailing

More dog owners weigh in about training with a remote collar

Curious about how remote collar training might work for your dog?

Perhaps you are hesitant about a remote collar because you’ve heard others call them cruel?

Are you worried that using a remote collar might have negative fall out or side effects if you use one for training your dog?

You’re not alone. Most people Continue reading “More dog owners weigh in about training with a remote collar”

Electronic collar training: The click that built a reliable recall!


When it comes to teaching a reliable recall their is little doubt that the electronic collar is the fastest and easiest way to do it.

Unfortunately all too often people don’t learn of the e-collar option until they have exhausted all other tools and techniques first. Even more unfortunate is the fact that few trainers are knowledgeable about the use of electronic collar or worse, some shun their use and the unknowing owner never learns of the possibilities that exist for off leash freedom for their dog. Continue reading “Electronic collar training: The click that built a reliable recall!”

Electronic training collars; One woman weighs in.

Opinions abound about electronic training collars.

Actually, opinions are plentiful about dogs and training in general. A quick search reveals  loads of information to read and sift through.

But it always nice to hear opinions about “stuff” right from the horses mouth. If you’re considering purchasing a breed of dog isn’t it nice to talk to people that live with that breed? Or if you’re wondering about a medical procedure for you dog, it is nice to hear from others who have traveled that path with their pet.

So, if you want to hear opinions about electronic training collars how about asking people who use them? After all, doesn’t that make a little more sense than asking someone who has little to no experience with the tool?

Well, here you go. Continue reading “Electronic training collars; One woman weighs in.”

Can you use a remote dog training collar on a sensitive or over reactive dog?

Another testimonial from satisfied e-collar users. This one from a couple in Fort Wayne, IN who found help with Clarice at Flying Colors Canine. It is always nice to hear from owners of small dogs regarding their success with the remote collar. It is even nicer to hear how successful the training was for a dog considered sensitive to correction. Continue reading “Can you use a remote dog training collar on a sensitive or over reactive dog?”

Is a Remote Dog Training Collar a substitue for a leash?

I had an interesting call the other day from an Animal Control officer wanting to know my take on whether or not a remote dog training collar should be considered the same as a leash. Apparently the idea was proposed that city ordinances be altered to include e-collars as an acceptable substitute for a physical leash.

Those of you that have been following this blog for a while are probably pretty aware that you won’t find a much bigger advocate for remote collar dog training than myself so do you want to guess my response? Continue reading “Is a Remote Dog Training Collar a substitue for a leash?”