ELECTRONIC COLLARS - THREE TYPES OF TRAINING WITH ECOLLARS


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There are three general types of training with the Ecollar.

The first is called "Escape Training." Escape training occurs when the dog knows that it's his action that makes the stimulation stop. He will perform faster and faster in order to make the stimulation stop because it's uncomfortable. It's in his own best interest to do make it stop.

The second is called "Avoidance Training." Avoidance training occurs when the dog has learned the behavior very well such that he's performing it every time the command is given. Up until this time every time a command has been given it's been accompanied by a stimulation, whether or not the dog complies with it. At this advanced stage of training a command is given but no stimulation is applied. The dog thinks that he performed so fast that HE BEAT THE STIMULATION.

This is an example of what I call a "Dog Superstition" that is a part of early training of dogs with an Ecollar.

You can't see it but right now I'm wearing a medallion around my neck. Do you know what it does? It keeps tigers away!

Right now you're saying, "Lou you're in Los Angeles. There are no tigers running around loose there." I reply, "See it works!!!"

In the same fashion a dog sits so fast that HE BEATS THE STIMULATION. He turns to the dog next to him and says, "Didja see that? I sat so fast that I BEAT the stimulation." The dog next to him says, "You bozo, your owner doesn't even have the TX unit with him today."

Your dog replies, "See, it works!!!"

The last type of training with the Ecollar is called "The Guidance System." It can be done with any brand of Ecollar or even a leash and collar for that matter but the communication is clearest with the Dogtra Ecollar that has continuously variable levels of stimulation.

In this system the dog is guided into the proper behavior by the variable use of stimulation. My good friend Donn Yarnall, who founded the LAPD K-9 unit and was it's head trainer for the next twenty or so years, until he retired, developed this. He uses the analogy of teaching a dog to walk down the middle of a street. (NOTE: this is not the object of the training and I can't think of a reason why you would want a dog to walk down the middle of a street, IT'S JUST AN ANALOGY. You can think of any behavior that you like as I describe it.) It's a system of pressure on and pressure off from the Ecollar.

Imagine that you have released the dog from the middle of a north-south street. As he moves mostly south he wanders off towards the east curb you turn up the stimulation on the Ecollar, making it more and more unpleasant as he moves in that direction. At some point he'll discover that the east curb is uncomfortable and he'll turn back towards the west as he also continues to move south. As he does this he moves back towards the center of the street, where you want him and you gently and slowly turn down the stimulation level until when he's in the center of the street, where you want him, the stimulation is turned all the way off.

He'll continue to walk towards the other, west curb as he continues to move south. As soon as he leaves the centerline you gently turn up the stimulation, continuing as he moves away from the centerline. He'll soon figure out that the west curb is also an uncomfortable place and he'll veer back to the center of the street. As he does you gently turn down the stimulation a little at a time until, when he's on the centerline, it's off completely.

He'll probably continue south but this time not so far east, since he'll remember that moving in that direction brings discomfort. As soon as he crosses the centerline and is headed towards the curb you'll turn up the stimulation, reminding him of this. But this time he won't approach the curb as far as he did the first time.

When he veers back towards the west curb you'll turn down the stimulation until once again, it's off when he's on the centerline. If he moves towards either curb line after that, you'll turn up the stimulation reminding him that the center is the desired behavior.

You are using the "pressure" of the Ecollar stimulation to guide the dog into the proper place or behavior.

Lou Castle is currently a Sergeant for a medium size police agency in the Los Angeles area of California. He has been in law enforcement for 29 years. In addition to working as a patrol Officer, Lou has worked many specialized assignments such as a K-9 handler, Trainer and Instructor, as Traffic Officer, in Vice and Narcotics, SWAT, Detectives, as an investigator on SIT (a liability/shooting investigation team), Field Training Officer, Personnel and Training, and Department Rangemaster and Use of Force Instructor.


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