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

E-Collars for Dog Training


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Valentines Day.


*Updated 2/1/2016

Dog Training Help: New Resource

Dispensing dog training help and advice has been high on my list of priorities for a long time, but you probably can’t tell it from my presence (or lack of!) here on my own blog!!

I have a good excuse.

I’ve spent much of my time this past year writing and filming for my friends at Gun Dog Supply. Together we’re creating some awesome dog training tips through a series of articles and videos. It’s FREE stuff, so how cool is that?

Take a look at all these articles and let me know if you find some useful information. Knowing that a few words or a video made a difference for you and your dog is the ultimate positive reinforcement for me! Plus, feedback helps me to know if if I’m going in the right direction or not. If you have topics you’d like to see covered, please make a suggestion.

While you’re at it, you might want to pick up a copy of the latest training DVD. This new release has over an hour on the topic of e-collar training for your dog. Commonly asked questions, tips for training and lots of exceptional footage so you can see various examples and problem solving situations that can help with the e-collar training for your own dog.

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:



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.

Remote Collar Dog Training workshop in Texas

If you are interested in learning more about remote collar dog training come join us for a two day workshop. Robin MacFarlane will be coming to Texas in May 2013.

The workshop is being hosted by On The Ball K9 Training in Denton, Texas so please contact Summer@OnTheBallK9.com for all the details. Get signed up soon if you want a working spot. Bring your dog, their favorite toy and treats, your e-collar, a lawn chair and an attitude ready to have some fun learning new things with your dog!

We are expecting a nice turn out of both dog owners and other professional dog trainers so it should make for an excellent and information filled weekend.

Unlike many training workshops…we do not pre screen dogs so you can feel free to attend whether you have a shy dog, a wild and crazy young one or one you feel a little lost in dealing with some behavior issues. We’ll do our best to help you and make sure you go away knowing more about your dog and how to use an e-collar successfully to enhance your relationship even further.

For more info or to register: Summer@OnTheBallk9.com or 940-765-3597

Hope to see you in Texas!

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!”

Thankful for Dogs

Here in the US we will be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. It is a day to remember all that we are grateful for. With that in mind, I did not want to over look extending my gratitude here.

So, for those of you who read this blog and comment regularly, thank you for sticking beside me on this topic. As prickly as it can get from time to time I appreciate your wear-with-all in helping others understand the true nature of what we do and that we’re not “just shocking dogs.”

For those of you who read this blog and disagree with my viewpoint and take the time to comment, thank you for reading and expressing your opinion. I choose to believe that despite our differences our mutual goal is always to act in the best interests of the dogs and clients we strive to help.

Thank you to my staff at That’s My Dog! Without you all doing your jobs so well I would not have the available time and resources that afford me the ability to maintain this site.

To my professional colleagues, thank you for the things you share with me and the inspiration you provide. I have deep gratitude for our friendships.

Thank you to my many clients over the years. Since I chose to embark on the path of discovering all the possibilities this tool can afford…you’ve validated to me time and time again, it was the right thing to do. For your trust in myself and my employees I am eternally grateful.

To the dogs, my personal dogs past and present and the thousands I have worked with over these 20+  years in the animal profession. I owe you most of all.

You’ve taught me to be humble, because just when I thought I knew it all, you show me something new. You may drive me crazy one minute but you always leave me laughing the next. Perhaps most importantly you always remind me to stay present and in the moment. I am thankful for that.

…oh, and I do appreciate when you clean up after yourself when you eat too fast and end up puking it all up. I’m a bit of a pansy about that, so thanks for taking care of it! 🙂



  Is there anything your dog has taught you that you are thankful for?

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 Robin@ThatsMyDog.com



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 Robin@ThatsMyDog.com