Remote Collar Training for Puppies?

Training for Puppies: “Never shock a puppy?”

If you have a new pooch and you’re looking for some help with training for your puppy, you can find a lot of great information out there. You’ll also likely find some strong opinions like; “never shock a puppy”.

Those are some scary words, meant to entice emotion and title to one of the anti e-collar campaigns…and I agree with that sentiment. I would never shock a puppy. I would NEVER advise someone to run out, purchase an electronic collar put it on their 6 month old pup, wait for them to be “bad” and then push the button. That, in all likelihood would cause some adverse fallout including possible superstitious behavior around people, other dogs or even objects.

However, I would use an e-collar as a communication device to guide a pup into behavior that can be rewarded. I would collar condition a pup so they have an understanding of what the stimulation means and how they could control the sensation. Then I would use the tool to encourage behavior I want and discourage behavior I don’t want.

Now you might ask why I or others like me would do such a thing and the answer is “because if you actually know what you are doing with this piece of equipment it is the fairest, fastest, most humane tool you can use to train your dog.” As part of well-rounded training for puppies approach, the remote collar can be a wonderful addition.

I believe remote collar training done well works the way a GPS system works when you are driving your car. You receive information for when you are off course and information of what to do to stay on the right route. No one seems to feel it would be more appropriate to create a GPS unit that ONLY tells you when you make the right turn while ignoring your “off route” moves. If you think about that it is pretty humorous…but I imagine it would also be rather frustrating if you actually want to arrive at your destination on time.

Imagine for a moment that I tell you “hey, lets get in the car and drive to the destination I have in my mind and I’ll only tell you yes when we are on the right route and I’ll give you a dollar every time you make a correct guess in direction” we might have a grand ole’ time for a bit, but I’m thinking we won’t get there any too fast. Now add in the criteria that getting to the destination correctly also means only then do you get to get out of my car, go home and back to your life you might get a tad frustrated about how long the task will take. It seems that when time begins to matter…we prefer more constructive feedback.

That is my perspective on reliable training for puppies or training for any dog for that matter. It is feedback, yes and no are both communicated to the dog. The challenge with educating about e-collars is helping people understand that “no” does not have to be painful or startling. I honestly try to understand the viewpoint that the never shock a puppy advocates are coming from. I really get it that there are some who will use a tool out of frustration and I am keenly aware that there is some lousy equipment on the mass market. Neither of those points are going to be debated by me (in fact they are part of the reason I keep speaking out)….but those points alone don’t convince me that the tool should be banned from the market. If that is the “ban stuff” criteria, than there is a lot of stuff that needs to be banned in the world.

In place of e-collar bans we need massive education and we seriously need the manufacturers to step up and take a lead role in this…the quality e-collar trainers out here are doing the best we can but it is time for some support.

Now this is just speculation, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and question that perhaps what the anti e-collar advocates are really worried about is the fact that some of us can do things so much faster, with so much more reliability with this method of training that it is threatening to their careers. If they can’t compete with these type of results with their preferred tools and methodology then perhaps it makes sense that the easiest solution is to ban the tool that provides an advantage?

As far as making up your mind about if one should Never Shock a Puppy….tell me what you think of this little guy. He’s six months old. He came in because he puppy play bites, chases people, pulls on leash, does some nuisance barking, is scared of other dogs, jumps up a lot, and likes to play “catch me if you can”. This short clip was taken on the second day of his 2 week board and train program. As you are watching, pay really close attention and tell me how many times did I push the button on the remote collar? (cause Yes, I DID push the button, however I never shocked the dog)

Now here’s the disclaimer. If you have not used a remote collar before and you think this looks cool, it is but find HELP if you want to learn to do this with your dog. Training for puppies, or training for dogs, for that matter need not be that difficult. With a bit of time, education and commitment most anyone can achieve a well behaved companion.

Flyswatters and Shock Collars: A Question of Effective Dog Training Methods?

Effective Dog Training Methods

How do you define effective dog training methods? I know in the professional world we often get caught up in the scientific discussions of punishment and reinforcement and what constitutes effective use of each. That path of discussion can often lead to heated opinions of the necessity of punishment and for me that brings up the topic of the versatility of a remote collars. Are they only a tool of punishment as some assert?

More importantly, is the dog’s experience of a remote collar always that of punishment?

Is it always a “penalty imposed on an offender for a wrongdoing”? (definition taken from Websters New World College Dictionary)

Before you answer that question, let’s consider some other things that might typically be considered punishment when directed toward our dogs. Could I use a flyswatter as one of my tools for effective dog training methods?

What would you call it if you swat your dog with a flyswatter? Is it punishment?

What if you blast him with a squirt of water or hit your dog with a stick or shake noisy objects at them?

All punishment, correct? Right up there with shock collars…no if’s, and, or buts about it. You might even categorize them as effective dog training methods for punishment based training…

But, I happen to think differently. I believe what is aversive and punishing is defined by the recipient. And that the recipient’s expression of what is aversive is defined by the experience…which in the case of training dogs is created by the trainer.

If you wish to stay locked into the mindset that tools can only fit into one quadrant you may not want to watch the video below or bother to read further. Often what we “know to be true” is only true in our experience. It is false for someone else’s experience.

Stepping outside of our own paradigms can be disconcerting.

Ultimately, we have control over how our dogs perceive any tool we bring into the training scenario. We set the tone and create the experience. My dog’s react the way they do to these supposed “aversives” because of the way I introduced them and created their experience with the tools. Any good protection trainer, or bite sport competitor knows exactly what I’m talking about. A dog’s experience of any tool or situation is created through mindful application.

What made the difference? How come these “punishment” tools (water blasts, shake cans & flyswatter) don’t look very punishing to my dogs?

I believe the answer is: Intent.

Intent determines how one will use a remote collar or any tool and how it will be perceived by the dog. The mental attitude we take with us when we train will determine the majority of our outcome, regardless of our tool of choice.

My advice for anyone considering using a remote collar to train their dog is to check their intent before they put the collar on the dog or start pushing buttons.

If your intent is coming from frustration and wanting to “show the dog once and for all!” it needs to shift before you start training. Using the e-collar that way certainly fits the definition of shock collar and it is not what I want you to do.

Just as my dogs have learned that a blast of water, a flyswatter or a loud, noisy shake can means “play time” your dog can learn that the remote collar means fun learning together and interesting adventures to go on. If you’re interested in learning to use the tool as part of a balanced training program, you’re willing to spend the time and energy teaching your dog what to do rather than just what not to do, my guess is you’ll end up with a dog who loves his e-collar and is an eager and willing participant in your training time together.

It all starts with intent: Shock collar or remote training collar, it’s your choice of what kind of effective dog training method you want it to be.



More shocking reviews about remote collar training

Linda C. of Lincoln Park, Michigan shares her story of how her dog Lexie (before
training with Michael Burkey, a Michigan Professional Dog Trainer) use to jump up to
greet people and cause injuries. Her sister had received bloody noses and she had
her lip split by Lexie’s friendly but overly excited greetings.
Previously, Linda had tried to teach Lexie to sit instead of jumping up by using
only food treats (positive reinforcement). However, this was unsuccessful due to Continue reading “More shocking reviews about remote collar training”

Training with an e-collar brings peace of mind to Minnesota family

I recently started a Facebook page called ” I love my e-collar and so does my dog” The purpose of the page is to offer a collective place for people who choose e-collar training  to tell their success stories and feel supported in their choice of training.

It is also about creating awareness that their are people campaigning to have e-collars  banned for sale or use.

Their campaigns would have you believe that using an e-collar means you walk around randomly shocking your dog into submission. Continue reading “Training with an e-collar brings peace of mind to Minnesota family”

Hey Canada, so you want to ban shock collars?

Libby Davies, MP Vancouver East is supporting this ban shock collars petition and presenting to parliament.

I have a question for you Ms. Davies and the 1400 who signed this petition…can you please explain your decision to Cindy who has MS and has already tried 3 other trainers and just about gave up on her dog before she found a humane and effective solution with a remote dog training collar.

shock collars vancouver, BC canada

Granted, I understand Continue reading “Hey Canada, so you want to ban shock collars?”

“I love this shock collar!”

shock collar for dogs
Jasper and his family

Those are the actual words MacKenzie spoke about 15 minutes into our first lesson with her Labrador Retriever pup, Jasper, early Friday morning. In the discussion that followed Continue reading ““I love this shock collar!””

The Abuse Theory: How Do You Use a Shock Collar?

How Do You Use a Shock Collar? Is it Abusive?

I’ve witnessed conversations by professional trainers regarding the average pet owner, that they don’t understand how do you use a shock collar for training a dog and therefore they should not be allowed to purchase one.

There is concern that without a high level of expertise and perfect timing JQ Public will use the tool abusively and thus harm dogs through application of *pain and fear*. Some trainers and behaviorists support the idea of banning e-collars because of these ‘abuse possibilities’. The thought process stems from the idea that dog owners purchase the remote collar, strap it on their dog and go about randomly zapping the dog every single time Fido does something wrong.

If that scenario were the prevalent case, I’d support limitations on remote collar use as well. However, I don’t believe it is the case. I’m not suggesting their isn’t the occasional circumstance where someone might use the tool abusively but it is certainly not the norm. An abusive person is going to take out frustration with the dog one way or another. Some people do cruel things. They do them with their hands, feet, a broom, a stick, rope, leashes, rocks, or a whole host of other things. If we are going to start banning stuff based on the “possibility of abuse” we have a whole lot of banning to do.

However, my main argument to the concept that the average Joe abuses this tool is based on my experience meeting so many people that have purchased a remote collar, took it home and then barely to never used it. Shortly after purchasing these folks realized that they didn’t know the answer to “How do you use a shock collar?” so they didn’t get much farther than charging it up or putting it on. Actually pushing the button was too far outside their comfort zone so the remote collar is gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere.

I clarified this point at a recent speaking engagement at the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers. During opening comments I invited the trainers to use a collar on me. Since this is a frequent snide comment made about my work (“Someone should put a collar on your neck and see how you like it!) I thought it only fair to demonstrate my commitment to the belief that the remote collar can be used as an interruption, a way to gain attention.

So to test my theory that limited knowledge of “how do you use a shock collar?” doesn’t automatically lead to abuse, I placed a live collar on my neck and had my assistant, Kelly make sure anyone who wanted to ask me a question push the remote collar transmitter button a few times in order to get my attention. This was the rule for my lecture, rather than the traditional raising of their hand. If someone wanted my attention they had to tap me to get it.

From my perspective it was a really cool experience. I got the dog’s eye view of how the remote collar can interrupt focus and redirect to alternative behavior. I’d be chatting away, focused on doing my presentation and would then become aware of the tap, tap, tap sensation on my neck at which point I’d stop presenting and say “ does someone have a question?” I’d scan the room trying to find the source of the interruption, and the controller of the transmitter would identify themselves and ask what ever it was they wanted clarification on.

From the audience perspective it was another story. The audience was more stressed about it than I was….can you guess how much my assistant had to convince these folks to just push the button?

She had to WORK at it and some people flat out refused. They wanted to ask a question but were “afraid to hurt me”. (of course it didn’t hurt at all because we use the Just Right level….) Near the end of the presentation I asked how many people had questions that didn’t get asked because they didn’t want to tap me or how many had to be convinced by Kelly to push the button….. a lot of hands shot up.

So the food for thought was… “if it took that much convincing to tap me, even when I willing agreed to the entire process, how hard is it to tap the button with a dog, the animal that you have a bond with, the pet that is part of your family?”

In reality most people don’t want to push the button, they are afraid too because they don’t really understand what does and doesn’t happen when they tap (and of course we need to fix that gap in knowledge about this tool)

The bottom line is when people don’t know the answer to “how do I use a shock collar?” they aren’t that slap happy to just strap a remote collar on their dog and start *zapping them*. The perceived rampant cases of abuse don’t exist. If they did, chew on this fact: In 2010 there were over 3 Million receivers sold in North America alone. That is JUST in 2010 and that only counts the collars sold by the three manufacturers who shared their numbers with me (Dogtra, Radio Systems & Tri-tronics). If we say that electronic collar use has been fairly prevalent for the last 10 – 12 years in North America and you do some extrapolating about how many units have probably been sold……where is the evidence of all these dogs living in fear and pain? Where are all the abuse cases?

People that purchase a remote collar actually care enough to try to train their dog or attempt to solve the problems they are having with their dog. They do so because they LOVE their dog. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t bother spending the money or waste their time trying to improve things.

I suggest we professionals devote our time and attention to creating more effective education and stop assuming that the average pet owner is not capable of using a remote collar or any tool for that matter.

remote collar
Tommy teaches Robin a thing or two

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!”

Marley: E-collar helps him go from anxious-aggressive dog to happy and content pet

A headline that claims an e-collar can help a dog go from anxious and aggressive to happy and content may seem hard to believe for some.

But for those in the know, it is a common occurrence.

I suspect the bigger question about using the e-collar to work with dog’s like Marley is why does it work so well? Science is going to have to jump in and provide more research but it is my opinion that using a low-level tapping rhythm to bring a dog back into focus when highly agitated or distracted works similar to tapping (EFT) techniques that many humans use to recalibrate their own nervous systems.

My speculation is that using a cadence with the e-collar taps that falls into sync with the natural timing of nerve impulses helps to calm the dog. Just like patting a crying, over stimulated baby on the back. The tapping, when done in a rhythmic way works in conjunction with the nervous system bringing the heart rate and breathing pattern back into a calmer state.

Don’t get me wrong it is not magic and not just anybody should grab an e-collar and strap it on a nervous dog and start using it…BUT with direction and understanding of how this works, it honestly doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get these kind of results. (contrary to what many people would like you to believe)

It also take a paradigm shift and the ability to see an e-collar as something other than a tool that is strapped on the dog’s neck and used to SHOCK when bad behavior is exhibited. That paradigm shift is something Eileen learned when she studied here at TMD and I can’t say I am more proud of her and all the students who have gained a better understanding of what this tool can help achieve.

The more educated we become, the more we can work to ensure happy success stories like Marley.  It just doesn’t get better than dog’s being rehabilitated and being able to stay happily in their homes.


e-collar dog training

Marley was the perfect pup.  He was smart, sweet and beautiful.  He was the easiest dog to potty train.    But as he approached the year and a half mark, his behavior was developing into a problem.  He was always a little leery of strangers, but now he was beginning to show aggression.  He began charging the front door when someone would visit, barking out the front windows at anything or anyone passing by  and running the fence barking at all of our neighbors.  When we did have company over, he was fine until the company was about to leave.  Twice he attempted a bite when a guest hugged me goodbye.  We were not happy with Marley.  It was very frustrating for my husband, my daughter and myself.

Eileen introduced us to the e-collar. She worked with Marley and both my husband and me.  We established a whole new set of rules for Marley and our family.   The whole family became involved in showing Marley what was expected of him.  Eileen instructed us to use a place command with Marley.  We used this when anyone came to visit, leave and also at dinner time.  The e-collar made our communication with Marley possible.  He caught on quickly and seemed more content.

Eileen worked extensively with Marley and strangers.  We incorporated a reward system with guests.  Once our company was in our home, Marley was released from his place.  The company was given a small treat bowl and was requested to give Marley a treat reward once he did something for them.  It was comical to see what he would offer.  It might be a paw and if that didn’t work he would do his dead dog, roll over routine.  His behavior with company did a 180 all in thanks to the e-collar training pared with positive reinforcement.

We love Marley.  He is now a happy, relaxed member of our family.  Since our training with Eileen we noticed Marley sleeps on his back.  He would NEVER do that before.  I am convinced he feels secure and happy with his new life.  The e-collar provided a way to communicate  with Marley.  Our daughter, Lauren, who was never really fond of dogs, especially Marley, has also done a 180.  At bedtime, it is our evening ritual to read a story.  Lauren now requests Marley get up on her bed so she can  read to him.   Marley waits for permission to be invited up and once he is on the bed, he lays perfectly still listening to Lauren read.

Thanks to  Eileen and her knowledge working with all of us using the remote collar,  Marley is a wonderful dog.
Ann, Tim and Lauren

Shelter Dog happy with “shock collar” training.

Here at The Truth About Shock Collars I receive many e-mails containing stories, photos, testimonials and questions about the use of electronic collars. These notes come from dog owners around the globe, people just like you and I who love their dogs and want what is best for them.

I don’t edit the stories, questions or information, I just give it to you straight up, as is. So even though those scary words, “shock collar” are used again in the following letter, notice a few key sentences in the description of Owen and his training. Continue reading “Shelter Dog happy with “shock collar” training.”