No, they are NOT mean.
Electronic training collar, E collar, remote collar, shock collar…whatever you want to call it. There is a stigma to them among certain crowds who are uneducated and ignorant to the tool. Modern e collars typically have around 100 levels of stimulation and the levels used are literally just a tickle. I make all my clients feel it before we ever put it on their dog. We aren’t using it as a punishment, we are using it as a communication tool. And they are just that, a tool. I use this tool to achieve amazing results on a daily basis. No other training tool can hold a candle to the level of reliability that an e collar can help get. It’s not a magic wand and it is definitely not a quick fix. However when combined with a sensible and effective training approach, it sure can work wonders.
It simply works.
I am an extremely down to earth and practical person. I’m analytical to the nth degree. It drives my fiance’ nuts sometimes. It doesn’t matter if it’s diet, exercise, business or dog training. I like things that are practical, realistic and that actually work. I don’t believe in miracle drugs or fad diets. I’ve been around the block enough to know that there are no shortcuts to success and the world isn’t all rainbows and lollipops. I refuse to waste my client’s time with idealistic training approaches that have no place in the real world. Because guess what? The real world doesn’t hold back and it doesn’t stop. There is no pause button you can hit when your dog takes off down the street after a cat.
My philosophy in a nutshell.
Dog training should be a fun, rewarding experience for you and your dog. But it is not a game. What you can and cannot get your dog to respond to at a moments notice matters. There are two parts to training. Teaching and proofing. The teaching phase is just that, introducing and teaching your dog the commands that you would like them to know. Unfortunately this is where a lot of training ends. For me, this is where I am just getting started and the proofing phase is where the e collar really shines.
Avoid confusion and increase problem solving abilities.
A dog who has been properly conditioned to an e collar knows exactly what that stimulation means when they feel it. It is simply a reminder of what it was they are supposed to be doing. For example, your dog takes off after that cat. You tell her to come, but she doesn’t. All that is needed is a quick push of a button at her working stimulation level followed by a repeat of the come command. There is no confusion and she knows exactly what she needs to do, which is come running back to you. Crisis averted. With dedicated and structured practice, her reliability increases until she no longer decides to chase that cat in the first place.
The above is only one example of the multitude of uses for an e collar. The end result is a happy, confident dog that is able to experience life to the fullest. If you are still skeptical, check out how my dog reacts when I pick up his collar in the video below. His reaction is the norm, not an exception. A dog properly trained on an e collar gets excited about having it put on because it means he is about to go get out in the world and do awesome stuff. No leash required.