E-Collar questions –

  • E-Collar questions –

    Posted by K2V2 on October 31, 2023 at 5:05 PM

    I have been working with Levi, my 2 1/2yo male GSD with an e-collar for ~ 4-5 months. We use the E-collar because we must have distance recall, we are not allowed to have a fence in our yard which opens up to wide open space (think lots of deer, elk, forest, mountains etc) Separately Levi didn’t really do well with the prong collar, he would listen if you gave him a correction AND he wanted to, which is 90% of the time – but if not, he would just wrestle you through it until he wasn’t interested any more and/or you physically pulled him away from whatever the problem was. At first the E collar was fantastic, (despite the trainer we tried to initially work with – who was horrible and frankly abusive) However, now I am seeing that same trend. I am struggling with 2 concerns – 1) I need him to be fantastic on a loose leash – ie- NOT pulling me at ALL. Winter is coming, and all of our mountain trails will be icy/snowpack. We walk him ~ 2-4 miles everyday, but if he pulls me on one of these rocky icy areas I will absolutely end up seriously hurt. I give him corrections when he gets too far in front of me now but I don’t feel like he is really learning. I have made ENDLESS turns, changes in direction, etc. If we are walking in a parking lot, and I am changing direction every 30-40 feet – he is great. The second we commit to just walking forward he is at the end of the lead, generally not pulling aggressively, just slightly tugging at the limit. If I give him a e-collar correction, he circles back around me and we start again – until another 40 feet and he is at the end of the lead, we do this for miles and miles – sigh. I have a Dogtra 1900S collar (dials between 0-127) and he will respond roughly the same way whether the correction is at 35 or 75. He doesn’t seem bothered at all, and it doesn’t really lessen the behavior. I simply feel much worse when it’s higher, although in my defense I was just hoping he would finally learn when it was higher and then he would not need the corrections as often – that doesn’t seem to be the case, or I need to move up more ? I do give him treats when he is walking next to me for a bit, which generally happens on the way home, when he will briefly be better but even that seems of minimal worth. He will take the treat and go right to end of the lead in front of me. Sigh. Clearly I am failing to show him what I want and convince him, one way or another, to do it <b style=”background-color: var(–bb-content-background-color); font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; color: var(–bb-body-text-color);”>consistently.

    Separately there are times when he simply ignores the collar – 19/20 times when I tell him to “leave it” on a walk – he is fine. But that 20th time he crouches down WWF wrestler style to sniff whatever it is he wants and does NOT care what I do, I am literally dragging him bodily away from whatever thing it is, given the mountain wildlife trails we are on – the 20th time is once/twice per walk. I can correct him with the e collar at higher and higher levels, but that continuous correction that used to work at 40 then 50 then 60 no longer seems to matter that much. I feel like I am being a jerk cranking up the intensity and I know he is being a jerk by intentionally ignoring me – Sigh. Obviously – I need a better, different, more serious approach?

    He is not fully fixed (he had one undescended testicle that was removed, but not both) and perhaps fully neutering him would be the answer, or would help, or NOT, because it is just who he is?

    I want the training to be fair, I want to have a great relationship with him, and I want/need it to work. I want to feel like we are moving forward and that we are both safe and happy on our walks – which I generally enjoy, but… sometimes it just a hot mess.

    Thank you in advance. I appreciate any help.

    Wagmore replied 3 months, 4 weeks ago 4 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • Gene

    October 31, 2023 at 5:48 PM

    We were just having a conversation about similar issues the other day. I would go back to square one. You want to build a strong relationship with the dog. I would stop formal training for a couple of weeks except for some basics, sit, stay, leave it. You want the dog to follow you. You want the dog to want to be with you as opposed to sniffing around or whatever. You are more interesting than whatever else is around. Use a long line and treats to encourage the dog to follow. There are no corrections with this exercise. It is all about being exciting and having fun.

    When the dog starts to check out just make an abrupt turn and walk the other way. When he follows and catches up, he gets praise and a treat. Checks out again, “Heh” or name, when he looks start and running backwards, “YES! “GOOD BOY!” he will follow, he is having a good time. Lots of praise. When you have to get his attention just one or two light pops to get the dog to look at you.

    I would start with these videos..1) All the Basics 2) How Relationship Affects Behavior 3) Karl-The Beginning 4) Mellow-Puppies First Lesson and work on from there.

  • Ed

    October 31, 2023 at 7:57 PM

    I think many behavior and obedience issues come down to (1) you understanding the dog, (2) the dog understanding you, (3) your timing in interruptors or corrections, and (4) the respect the dog has for you. I would work on these 4 irrespective of the tool. Then layer the tool that is best for the situation. That is, when something does not work, try to place the fault in one of these 4 categories and try to figure out what you can do better in that respect — cuz we only have control of ourselves anyway. Hope it helps!

  • Ed

    November 1, 2023 at 6:08 AM

    Here is where I’m coming from. I have worked with 2 top tier trainers in person. One for agility and the other for protection. My dogs in their hands is like a virtuoso playing a Stradivarius. Me with my dogs is like me driving a Mac truck. The dogs are the same. So I can get frustrated and angry at the dogs, but virtually everything they do well, to the degree that they do a few things well, is despite my limitations.

    What would do is to reach out to Robert in the AMA and ask for a trainer recommendation in your area. It will be expensive but the trainer should be able to look at you and your dog and train you accordingly.

    The neutering does not affect character. It is like a man and testosterone, a bastard is still a bastard, the difference is that instead of mowing the lawn he will be watching TV 😂

    • K2V2

      November 1, 2023 at 3:26 PM

      Thank you for the reply- it’s hard for writing to fully convey how you feel but I’m not even slightly mad at Levi, I am worried that I don’t have an answer as to how to move us forward – I feel like he and I are spinning around in circles. I spent thousands of dollars on the first trainer because he guaranteed to me that it would work – it was horrific. I absolutely don’t have that money to spend again so whatever it is – Levi is stuck with me and all my faults. Its fair to good ~85% of the time, but it doesn’t take alot for that 1% of bad to be dangerous.

  • Gene

    November 1, 2023 at 4:50 PM

    I didn’t get the idea that you were mad at Levi. I got the idea that you were frustrated with yourself. We have all been frustrated with ourselves and the dogs at times and made mistakes. That is why we are here. By bettering ourselves our dogs have a better life.

    Listening to your commands 85% of the time is pretty darn good. You can work on his recall around the house, backyard, front yard then down the block, then the park. You have to proof him first with no or very little distractions. I will go out at times in the late afternoon when I know there won’t be many people around walking their dogs. He is on a 40/50ft line and I drop it and we meander around the school/park. Occasionally, when told to come he looks at me like “no I’m busy” so he gets corrected. The point being that this was done over an extended period of time. Stay with the site. Lots of good info. Everyone is always learning but many people on this site have been there done that as they say and can help you along the way. RELAX, just cuddle for a few days,

  • Ed

    November 1, 2023 at 9:02 PM

    3 thoughts. (1) When I hike with dogs (have not done in maybe a year) I use very long leashes to give them more freedom, but also to negotiate obstacles like climbing up and down. (2) It is not a bad thing to realign expectations. With one dog it was a lot of fun to hike. With two it is more work. With 3 or more I do not trust them or myself to manage the situations that may arise. The net is that I seldomly hike now. I suppose I could work all of them to be able to hike like a pack, but that is a lot of work and possibly an impossible standard for me at this point. (3) a hard correction is better than endless soft corrections. I believe emotionally a dog will brush off a hard correction if it is fair and clear, but endless nagging corrections, I think, erode their confidence. Hope is helps some.

    • Ed

      November 1, 2023 at 9:03 PM

      Very long as in 25-30 ft

  • Wagmore

    November 2, 2023 at 12:43 PM

    Just running through these suggestions I don’t see any tips on your e-collar use in general. You might want to go back to basics, being sure to groom his ruff (neck) each time and keep the prongs clean too. Have you tried Robert’s collar hacks? Even just changing the prongs to the outside can make lots of difference in these dogs with all that hair. I’m a do-over trainer so I would want to reshape my e-collar training in your situation. Since your main concern is his refusal to walk with you appropriately it sounds like you haven’t taught him that…yet. My thinking is you’re going to have to solidify that before using the e-collar for so much correcting. My goal is always the solid recall. If you have that then you build from there. I’m trying to say I think you’re using the collar too much for too many reasons without phrasing it like that. A good way to find out is put it away for a couple of weeks and you’ll find out where you are with Levi. I share this with a grin cuz I too live in wildlife lands and trained two Coonhounds on a 2-dog Dogtra. Fun times. Hope you post updates.

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