One of the most difficult challenges in working with the Ecollar is working with a puppy. Puppies are the hardest because everything is new to them their distraction level is nothing one second and then at a peak the next. There’s very little in between. Everything is new to them. This makes it very difficult to find their working level.
They also tend to be highly reactive. They’ll try to ignore the stimulation until it’s impossible for them to do so and then they’ll jump and vocalize. I try to make sure that I can see their faces when I’m pressing the button because sometimes they’ll just change expression or their eyes will blink with every press, rather than some overt change, such as an ear flick.
Usually after they get bored they’ll just lie down. If they’re not facing you, you’ll need to move so that you can see their eyes. I suggest that you lock the Flexi so that it doesn’t exert the slight pull of the retracting spring as you walk around them. Most puppies will have been walked on a leash before you start the training. If they feel the pull coming from a new direction they’ll probably get up and walk with you. This means new distractions will pop up as he moves along and you’ll have to wait from them to calm down again.
To find their working level I try to work them someplace that’s familiar to them so that they’ve explored everything already. Sometimes you have to stand in one spot for 10-15 minutes before they stop exploring and settle down.
Sometimes it’s impossible to find the pup’s working level with the usual method even though you’ve followed all of the above advice and have crept up and down the power levels. He may be one of those that ignore the stimulation until it’s impossible for him to ignore it any longer because it’s gone too high. In those cases I’ll set the Ecollar just below the level where almost all dogs feel it and start the training. On the Dogtra 1200 that’s at about the letter “L” of the word “low.” On the newer models that’s about the number “20.” I’ll set the dial about 1/4″ below those levels. If after about ten minutes he’s not showing any response to the training, I’ll bump the level up a TINY amount and continue. When he start showing progress, I’ve found his level.
It takes great patience to work puppies.