The real Bzzzz about remote training collars

If you are looking for information on remote collar training or how an electronic collar should or shouldn’t be used for training a dog, check out this recent interview on blog talk radio.

Brad Phifer from Bark at Brad had some great questions for me concerning the common myths surrounding e-collar training. We discussed many concerns such a proper levels of stimulation, “shock collar burns” and can using a remote collar increase fear and aggression in the dog.

Listen in and let me know what you think.

Listen to internet radio with Bark at Brad on Blog Talk Radio



  • Hi Robin

    I found your site some time back when researching whether to use a remote training collar on my young spaniel who was excellent under controlled situations but as soon as off lead under distraction – ie hunting mode, became totally irresponsive to commands. I spent a lot of time and energy training him including work on a long lead and by the age of 6 months he had passed the Kennel Club bronze training, but his off lead was still totally unrealiable and my concern was he would either end up getting shot for chasing livestock or get injured if he chased something on to a road – he had already had one lucky escape when he was hit by a car after running off a park my husband had taken him to.

    I finally purchased a collar along with 2 of your training videos in January this year (when the dog was 16 months old). He has now just turned two and this collar has been a great training tool. I can confidently take him out anywhere when wearing it and know that if we come across livestock I can recall him and put him on a lead safely.

    He doesn’t wear the collar all the time nowadays, but every now and then if I notice that he is getting a bit slack on his recall or sit commands. Also I put it on for peace of mind if we are going somewhere with livestock or where I haven’t taken him before and not sure what we may come across. Irrespective of whether he does or doesn’t have his collar on his walks are full of energy and he is great to watch running around flushing out the wildlife and bouncing through the long grass. The difference now is that if he disappears off into the woods I can recall him back on a whistle, whereas prior to training with the collar he could be gone as long as 30 minutes on his hunting trips. He also has a much more reliable sit command at a distance including when he has flushed up a bird.

    People often comment on how well trained he is and I’m happy to tell people that I have used a remote training collar. In fact the dog trainer I was going to at the time asked me to give a little talk and demo to others in the class about my experiences with it. I always like to demonstrate what it feels like and very few people can feel anything at the setting I have it on for my dog.

    Using the collar has by no means made my dog dull or nervous – in fact he exudes energy and enthusiasm for life.

    I will admit to making some mistakes with the collar and it would have been useful to have high quality training that you give available over here in the UK, local to where I live, but I couldn’t find any at the time. Having said that reading your blog and watching your DVDs really helped.

    Sadly my concern in England is that this tool will get banned, as it already has been in Wales. Unfortunately there is a lot of misunderstanding around these collars and I’m grateful that you do so much to educate people on how to use them correctly and to remove the myths around them.

    To people who suggest I could have achieved the same result with treat training – I trained him from the start using treats and also a clicker. I taught him all the basic commands, plus shake, high five, give me ten, spin and other tricks using treats but I can tell you I could be waving a raw juicy steak around and it wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference to improving his recall once he was off on a scent! Unfortunately the first dog training school I took him to said not to worry about letting pups off as all you had to do was go the other way and they would come running after you. And he did for the first 3 months of this life, but after that he realised he was a spaniel and it was far more fun to go hunting! It wasn’t until I found a trainer who understood gun dogs that I found out the importance of never letting spaniels get more than around 20 yards away and also the downside to letting them chase birds on open fields – 2 mistakes my husband and I had made which had now become very difficult to change until I purchased a remote training collar.

    The use of the remote training collar has meant that he spends most of his time off lead, will recall to be put on a lead when required and is able to run about to his hearts content with me safe in the knowledge that I have a pretty reliable dog. Used correctly in conjunction with praise and/or treats this is a very useful tool.

    Thanks for spreading the word and teaching people how to use this tool correctly.


    • Thanks for sharing your story Sally. It is so important that more people hear stories like yours!
      The misconceptions about remote collars are rampant and the short-sightedness with the bans….it is very frustrating, but I am very thankful that more and more people are finding this blog and similar information available. Thanks for keeping the dialogue going!

    • Hi Sally,
      Your article was really enlighting & i had also watched the 1st video (gifted to me) of Robin. I too have ordered the collar & video from Robin on her help & advice.
      Most important for me to go for this decision was when i watched her video itself. Robin never has the hard trainer look or a person out to sell only types & you can see that genuine gentle approach. Yes we may make mistakes hopefully less but will turn out right in the end. I live in India and as i can’t travel to learn with her (god willing should be able to someday 🙂 this is the best option i took.
      All the best.


  • Robin, I thought your interview on blog talk radio was excellent. I, like you, are committed to spreading the word regarding the benefits of e-collar training. Unfortunately, we have an uphill battle due to the enormous amount of myths which circulate about the e-collar. I feel a big problem is many of these myths are supported or even created by the world famous dog “rehabilitationist”, Cesar Millan. It is hard to argue Cesar’s popularity. He has co written numerous bestselling books, created multiple DVDs, has his own TV show, and gives lectures all over the world. So in the public’s eyes, what Cesar says regarding dog training is viewed as “gospel”.

    With that said, I am a huge Cesar fan. I feel what he is doing for non-professional dog trainers like myself is great. I have read all his books and watched all his DVDs. I believe in many of his dog psychology ideas such as exercise/discipline/affection, rules/boundaries/limitations and the animal/dog/breed/name concept. However in his most recent book, Cesar’s Rules, there are several e-collar myths which he further propagates.

    On page 210 Cesar begins his discussion of e-collars by saying “The electronic collar is not a tool designed to aid owners on the walk, though I’d like to say a few words about the myths and realities surrounding it. First of all, it is not a device suitable for basic obedience training, and since it is a punishment-based device, it should never be used for creating or adding a new behavior”. Really Cesar? You wanted to talk about the myths and realities surrounding the e-collar and then you state the e-collar is a punishment-based device that is not suitable for basic obedience. Cesar couldn’t be more wrong in his statement, and he just supported one of the many myths around “shock collars”.

    At least in the next paragraph Cesar allows Martin Deeley to state his opinion on e-collar use: “I find it a very versatile tool that can be used at low levels just barely perceptible to the dog to interrupt an unwanted behavior or guide and assist the dog’s learning while maintaining a very happy disposition. The modern e-collar is not a correction/punishment tool of its terrible reputation—it is an off leash communicator that many owners dream of.” Now I agree with Martin! His statement is what “us believers” what the public to hear. Cesar should spend a few minutes on and he will see the real side of the “shock collar.” I would love to hear everyone’s opinion on this issue.

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