E-collar Training

A conversation on using the E-collar to push for desired behavior

My wife (Connie Cleveland-Nolan) and I are working on an updated e-collar course. I will be posting about our program and progress here. The following is paraphrased from the obedience manual I offer for sale on Amazon.

If you have questions or comments about using the e-collar leave a comment below. I’d like to hear from you.

Getting Started

Every dog perceives the stimulation from the e-collar slightly differently. To use the e-collar to push for desired behavior you will first you need to find a good starting point for the intensity setting.

As training progresses and your dog’s drive state and the distraction level of the environment changes you will need to work up and down on the intensity setting dial to get and keep your dog focused on training.

The ideal setting is high enough that your dog notices the e-collar but is not so high that it upsets him.

Objective 1 — Find the right initial e-collar setting for your dog  

Bring your dog from confinement to your training area. She should be wearing her e-collar and another collar, either a flat buckle or slip-type collar. Attach a 15-foot line to this collar and not the e-collar. Allow your dog to relax and explore her surroundings.

finding a good initial e-collar setting

With the e-collar on your lowest intensity setting, push the “Nick” button to “tap” your dog. You may see no reaction. Now continue to “tap” at random, increasing the intensity setting each time. Watch carefully, as the first signs that your dog notices the e-collar are usually subtle. When they first feel the e-collar some dogs stop and look up; others may turn to look over their shoulder or shake their head; some sit and scratch at the collar.

When you see that your dog has noticed the tap, stop increasing the intensity setting. After a short pause, repeat a few taps at this setting to make sure that your dog did, in fact, notice the e-collar. If he did, this will be the introductory or teaching setting for your dog. (Occasionally, once the dog realizes that he feels something from the e-collar you can reduce the setting; do not reduce below the level that your dog responds to.)

The most effective intensity setting for teaching with the e-collar is one that is just high enough that your dog notices the e-collar, but not so high that he shows any panic or distress. If panicked by the e-collar stimulation, reduce the setting; if he shows no reaction, increase the setting.

This video is 10 or 11 years old. Connie and I are shooting new video now for an online e-collar course. I will be sharing new video clips as we go.

1 Comment

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  • This is terrific Pat! I just got new e-collars for my 2 pups… I am with Navesink River HRC and have signed up for a working spot in your workshop next month with my 2 1/2 yo Lab Page. I have an 8 mo old Lab Story and was unable to “add” a collar to an old system I had for my previous girl Jenna. I have attended all your NRHRC workshops as auditor, chickened out doing a working spot . Older and wiser now so jumping in with both feet as e-collars give me angst “do it wrong and you mess them up”. I usually am one who does photos of the club activities, but this time I will also ‘work’ my 2 1/2 yo and gain confidence to work my 8 month old! Can’t wait!

    Maureen Reply

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