Howdy friends! It’s Al the Dog Trainer!
Welcome to Al’s dog training tips!
Today’s date is Friday, January 15th, 2021 and the topic for today is: “Don’t do that with your remote collar!”
In today’s session, I had an opportunity to work with two different dogs using quality remote collars.
By the way, the two remote collars we were using on these particular dogs, were not the ones that I generally use.
Some of you guys who are new here, may not approve of the use of remote collars. And you know what? I get that! For the longest time I actually didn’t use remote collars, but then I started to learn about them and how they could help particular dogs with certain problems. For the most part, my method still is to fundamentally reward the dog for doing the things that we want them to do and use their genetics to help them express themselves and become everything that they could be.
However, sometimes the remote collar can be useful to give information. Sometimes the remote collar can be useful to get a dog to stop doing a behavior that is really entrenched and can put the dog at risk.
Let’s talk about some things that you shouldn’t do with a remote collar. The first thing that you shouldn’t do with a remote collar is simply decide to go buy one and then get on Amazon and find the least expensive one that you can strap on your dog, turn up the volume all the way and press the button. Don’t do that! Nobody, who uses remote collars professionally to help dogs would do that. If you know a trainer who is doing that, run away very, very quickly!
Most trainers are much more nuanced with the remote collar. Just because it’s nuanced doesn’t mean that there’s not a method to the way we use them. When I look at remote collars, I’m looking at the quality of the ones that I’m going to consider putting on a dog. The price range for the ones that I would even consider start at about $ 200.00. I’m not saying there are not any quality ones below that price point, but I sure haven’t been able to find any. If you’re going to do remote collar training, don’t skip on the quality of the collar, because it really makes a big difference. One of the things that I’ve noticed about cheaper remote collars is, that the electronics are terrible. We just want the dog to feel the smallest amount of stimulation, just to get their attention. Sometimes with really cheap collars I’ll put them in my hand I’ll turn it on to level one and it’ll be equal to 50% of what my remote collar does.
Now that I have talked about the downfalls of cheap remote collars and what not to do, let me talk about what I do recommend.
When I put a remote collar on a dog, it’s usually after I have taught them a skill, for example, a place stay on their bed. I make sure the collar fits well and makes good contact with the dog. Then I find the lowest possible level that the dog can feel on my particular remote collar. There are quite a few levels, which allows me to move incrementally from one level to the other. I find that the lowest number is typically somewhere between level three and level seven. Then I press and hold that button and when I can tell that the dog can feel it, I tell the dog to go to their bed. As soon as they get on the bed, I release the pressure and remember, it’s very mild at this point. A human wouldn’t be able to feel it. Then I praise the dog and feed some of their favorite treats. We then repeat the process. I just want to show the dog, when you feel this very gentle sensation I’m going to talk to you. If you do the thing that I ask of you, which you already learned to do, that sensation is going to go away. Then I’m going to reward you.
I show the dog over and over again until they really understand what that touch means.
Alright, guys, that’s it for this week’s flash briefings. I hope they were really useful, particularly today’s briefing.
If your dog doesn’t need a remote collar then be happy! You’re blessed! Some dogs do need it and it’s kind of an expensive training tool. However, it’s an effective tool, when used in an ethical, humane and safe way.
Have a wonderful weekend! I’ll be back on Monday and happy training. Take care.