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There is a debate in the "dog world" on e-collars. Some trainers are against it, some trainers are for it, some trainers use it exclusively. The arguments are so deep rooted, that when reading these sites with peoples opinions, it feels like politics.
We believe E-Collars serve a purpose and are useful for some dogs in some situations. There is no black and white answer on this subject. It's a tool that is available for specific dogs that we are looking to accomplish specific tasks. Let me explain...
We believe in positive reinforcement.
Our personal dogs and the majority of our clients, have been taught foundational and advanced obedience using this type of learning. We have trained with so much repetition and consistency that when a command is given, the dog responds immediately. For instance, if one of our dogs was to see a squirrel, respond by chasing it, my response would be "NO!, COME!". Before I finish the end of the command, my dogs will already be turned around on their way back. The same is true with all of their commands including their focus heel. They understand that listening to me, results in something positive for them. They constantly seek the "Yes!" as I have taught many of you...
Every dog that we visit and evaluate for every one of our clients is treated as a blank slate. We make no decision regarding the learning plan of a clients dog until we meet the dog. In some cases we run into dogs that have had no foundation work, or been held accountable. Sometimes it's as simple as they are great dogs that are now older, set in their ways, and the owner is looking to accomplish new goals for them. (Example: Pulling on a leash, Barking at cars, etc) In those situations we make a decision whether or not the dog would be responsive to positive reinforcement or e-collar training. Then we proceed and execute with the dogs plan. E-Collars have helped a lot of our clients achieve the results they were looking for when they contacted us. (that's why we have them available for sale)
We approach every dog, especially puppies, with the idea they do not need the e-collar.
If we are able to get to a puppy before it matures there is a very high probability that puppy will never need an e-collar as it grows old. There are trainers that will utilize an e-collar for every dog they train, some trainers requiring you to purchase an e-collar for their classes. We feel very strongly this is not the right approach. Personally, I would never utilize an E-Collar on a dog less than a year old. The reason why I wouldn't can only be answered by I can't think of a reason I would. As a puppy grows, you can create a strong foundation of trust and bond by working on obedience utilizing our "marker-training" and our learning plan. It creates a puppy that as he matures learns to not just respond to your commands, but to focus on how quickly he responds. When this is achieved, an e-collar is rarely needed.
In summary, there is no right or wrong answer to the ever asked, "Should I use an E-Collar?". It should be treated as an individual question for each dog. The most important part to take away from this post -- if you have a puppy or young dog and you're thinking of using an e-collar or taking them to a training facility that requires the use of an e-collar, please give us a chance to evaluate and see if we agree.