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Please explain how choke chain + e-collar supposed to train?

dogmelissa
August 16th, 2006, 03:52 PM
I'm sure this has been discussed in detail, but what I'm looking for is some sort of explanation of what you're actually *teaching* a dog by using the choke chain and/or e-collar to train it.

Before anyone goes bashing me; this isn't something I do or am considering doing (I have a small, clicker-trained dog). I'm asking because I'm starting agility with him, and at the orientation last night, one woman was concerned about using clicker training on her dog because he is "trained with a combination of choke chain and e-collar" and I'm just trying to figure out exactly how that's supposed to work.
All I can understand is that you're "correcting" the bad behaviour, but not offering a reward for the behaviour you want. Does anyone have a choke-chain and/or e-collar trained dog? How did you do it?

If I was to teach my dog something new, for example, to stand up on his hind legs (only), how would I do it using choke chain and/or e-collar?

Please try to keep this thread civil. I'm not saying one way or another is wrong, and I don't want anyone else to, either, I just don't understand.
Melissa

jessi76
August 16th, 2006, 04:04 PM
I'm asking because I'm starting agility with him, and at the orientation last night, one woman was concerned about using clicker training on her dog because he is "trained with a combination of choke chain and e-collar" and I'm just trying to figure out exactly how that's supposed to work.

I think you're asking the wrong people. You should ask the woman who made the statement. I'm assuming (which is all we can do since we don't know this woman, her dog, or her training ideas) that she's relying on negative reinforcement to shape behaviors.

MyBirdIsEvil
August 16th, 2006, 04:18 PM
If I was to teach my dog something new, for example, to stand up on his hind legs (only), how would I do it using choke chain and/or e-collar?

Choke chains and e-collars are only supposed to teach a dog what unwanted behavior is, not good behavior (like tricks and stuff).
You could technically teach tricks with a choke chain I guess, but why? You'd have to make the dog fear you, they wouldn't have any fun, and it would just be a lot of pain and wasted time for both the trainer and animal.

E-collars are usually used for things like a dog running into the street, getting into the garbage, leash pulling (though I don't think they usually work well for this because the reaction time on them isn't fast enough), or other unwanted behavior. The dog does the behavior and you zap him and in theory, he learns not to do it anymore. The problem with e-collars is if you're not a professional trainer you can actually teach your dog unwanted behavior with them, because you have to use them at the EXACT right time.
For example, your dog is pulling on the leash to get to a kid because he wants to be petted. You don't end up zapping him when he starts to pull on the leash, you accidentally zap him when he's extremely fixated on the child. The dog can associate the child with the shock and become either fearful or agressive towards children. (this is just one example)

Choke chains are used to correct a dog for unwanted behavior in the same way that an e-collar is, for disobedience, and they're also used to get your dogs attention sometimes (something that should NOT be done with an e-collar).
Example: You tell your dog to sit, he doesn't do it, you correct him with the choke chain and he learns that he should obey when you give him a command.

Both of these devices are usually misused because people have NO idea how to use them. Most dogs and owners don't even NEED or know how to use either of these devices.

All I can understand is that you're "correcting" the bad behaviour, but not offering a reward for the behaviour you want. Does anyone have a choke-chain and/or e-collar trained dog? How did you do it?

Both of these devices are SUPPOSED to be used with praise and reward just like any other training (though they're often not).
For example, with the choke chain: You tell your dog to sit, he doesn't so you correct him...After he sits you're supposed to reward him somehow. He learns that, yes, if he doesn't sit when you tell him he'll get corrected, but if he does he'll get rewarded for it. Otherwise you're just teaching your dog to listen to you based on fear of you. (You'll sit or else!)
A lot of the time a choke chain is used to make a dog react quicker than they already do, because the dog will learn that if he reacts RIGHT then he won't get corrected.

Basically the dogs learn not to do unwanted behavior in order to avoid the correction.

one woman was concerned about using clicker training on her dog because he is "trained with a combination of choke chain and e-collar"

You can use clicker training along with e-collars and choke chains so I'm not sure what her problem was. Clickers are the opposite of e-collars and choke chains, when the dog hears the click he knows he's done something good, if a dog gets corrected with a choke chain/e-collar he knows he's done something bad.
If your dog does something good you can still use the clicker and give him a treat whether you correct him with a collar/chain for doing something bad or not. One device has NOTHING to do with the other device.
I really don't even see what use an e-collar/choke chain would be in teaching agility though, since it's an off leash sport.

dogmelissa
August 16th, 2006, 05:17 PM
Ok, so far the responses (well, one that actually sorta answered my question) is what I expected. I'll reserve a response now other than to say that I agree; choke chains/e-collars or any other training method that works only when you're attached to the dog aren't right for agility, and I think she will learn that they aren't effective in that scenario by the end of the first class (she's not allowed to use a choker, spike, pinch or e-collar in class).

Melissa

Prin
August 16th, 2006, 05:17 PM
K, is it just me, or does e-collar mean elizabethan collar? (i.e. the cone) Are you talking about a shock collar? If so, there's no need for that.

I do think chokers can work for some dogs, but the type of dog that usually performs well in agility is not the right type of dog.

dogmelissa
August 16th, 2006, 05:30 PM
Prin, I totally agree, e-collar sounds to me like the cone, but I understand they mean electronic, as in shock, collar. Sounds much nicer to the "caring" dog parent to get an electronic collar than a shock collar. I'm surprised the name of "choke chain" hasn't been changed to something nicer over the years.

Melissa

MyBirdIsEvil
August 16th, 2006, 05:57 PM
I do think chokers can work for some dogs, but the type of dog that usually performs well in agility is not the right type of dog.

I use a choker on walnut when we go for a walk, because it gets her attention (she won't even notice a flat collar and can sometimes slip out of it), but I don't see how it could even be used for agility.
I've practiced some agility stuff with her before, which she's really good at, but it's all off leash, and treat oriented, I don't think a dog could be forced into agility training with a choke-chain or shock collar.
Dogs that are good at agility just like doing it, and usually don't need much to push them into it.
I think methods like e-collars and stuff would actually hinder your dog because they'd make it apprehensive of some of the obstacles if you tried to use it on them while they were running the course.
If your dog won't complete an obstacle, punishing it with an e-collar isn't going to accomplish anything other than to make it fear the obstacle :rolleyes: .

LM1313
August 17th, 2006, 01:26 AM
A lot of people use choke chains incorrectly. The chain should NEVER be tight for more than an instant. It should never literally be choking the dog. It must be kept slack except when you're correcting. If you pull when the leash is already tight or let the dog pull constantly, you can seriously harm your dog. You should never drag a relucant dog on a choke chain. (Duh.) Also, you must put it on correctly and keep the dog on the proper side of your body while you walk so the chain will go slack properly.

Corrections with a choke chain don't have to be harsh; once the dog gets the idea that the choke chain is a correction, you can give a little tug that barely moves the collar and the dog will start "remembering" not to pull.

All I can understand is that you're "correcting" the bad behaviour, but not offering a reward for the behaviour you want. Does anyone have a choke-chain and/or e-collar trained dog? How did you do it?

Think of a choke collar as a supplement to "NO!" Can you train a dog tricks only by using your "NO!" voice and no praise? Yes, but it will be a pretty sad dog. The same goes for the choke collar. It's used for corrections; you use other things for positive reinforcement, specifically treats, praise, and petting.

If I was to teach my dog something new, for example, to stand up on his hind legs (only), how would I do it using choke chain and/or e-collar?

I think it would be very, very hard to teach that trick using a choke collar. Choke collars are mostly used to teach things like walking politely on a leash or heeling. Or if you're teaching "come" with the leash on and the dog is ignoring you, you might use it as an attention getter. But for standing on the hind legs, well . . . You couldn't use it to pull the dog upright, that would hurt the dog and scare it. I don't think a choke chain would be much use there.

mafiaprincess
August 17th, 2006, 10:07 AM
Well, whether the lady in question has issues with clicker training or not.. I don't see what she'd do with a dog on a choke chain trying to teach it agility.. They were pretty specific in classes, and any other school I looked at took that for safety it was flat buckle collars only.

Cider took a dive off an aframe half way down once and I half caught her with a hand under her and the other hand grabbed her collar to try to soften the landing.. Or a dog getting tangled in something wearing a correction collar.. Owww.

Not sure why the lady is even questioning it.. I was walking mine on a prong when we started agility classes.. but since she couldn't wear it in class I had a pulley monster again. Gave me insentive to teach loose leash walking on a flat collar..

Prin
August 17th, 2006, 12:03 PM
Good explanation LM. Chokers are more of a correction than a positive enforcement thing, and from my day in agility with Jemma, if you correct things and say "no" instead of staying upbeat and positive, you'll ruin your dog's agility career.:D

dogmelissa
August 17th, 2006, 01:15 PM
I was kind of asking outside of the context of agility, how you'd use a choke/e-collar to train your dog anything, even "sit". Turns out that I was wrong about one thing; my assumption on what size of dog she was using these methods on. I was correct that she'd see the light about how her methods weren't working. Didn't think I'd actually get to witness it, though!

More story: I arrive at agility. There is my dog (maltese X), 2 border collies (one I would class as "normal," the other is scared of everything and almost crawls around the room, cowering under his guardian's feet everytime he's not working), a weimeraner, a wheaton terrier, and the lady who's trained her *Mini American Eskimo* with a choke/e-collar. I'm not kidding you. I half-expected I'd have the smallest dog, and I was right. But hers isn't much bigger, only a couple inches taller! Cube did well, considering his issues. *All* the dogs did well, given their own personal story (I have no idea what's up with the scared border collie but I'm sure it's not his current family and I'm sure by the end of the course he'll be good). Mini Eskie lady learned fairly quickly that the treats she had are way too big, but otherwise, didn't have to change much (he was responding quite nicely to the clicker, no choker in sight).

At the end of the class, we were given our homework; to teach our dogs a "stupid pet trick" (that's another thread), by using the clicker. Mini Eskie lady goes over to trainer after everyone starts leaving and says "I've been trying to teach him to shake a paw for weeks and he just doesn't get it!" Trainer says, "does he give you anything?" She responds, "no, I keep asking him to shake a paw , shake a paw and he doesn't do anything." (This after we were told that giving a dog a command when he hasn't learned the behaviour is like speaking to us in greek and expecting us to do what she'd said). Trainer squats down on the floor and shows her how to teach the dog. Gets the dog in a sit (he likes to jump up). Touches his foot (reflex is to pick it up), he picks up the foot, gets click, gets treat. Does this a couple times, and within a minute, he's figured out that if he lifts his foot, he gets a treat. At this point trainer says, "ok, so now he gets that when he lifts his foot, he gets a treat, so this is where we put the command," and then says "shake a paw" and the dog (of course) does it. Lady gets all excited, going "omg, omg, wow, I can't believe you could teach him that, I can't believe he got it so fast, omg, wow." At which point I couldn't listen to anymore and had to leave. I was sitting there like, uh, duh.

Anyways.... I still don't really understand how she's trained him to do anything (including sit) cause obviously the concept of reward isn't something she's grasped, but I think she'll be changing her methods now. Chokers are necessary for some dogs, to maintain their focus or "remind" them that it's bad to do something. But the e-collars scare the crap out of me, and seem like a very bad idea--though perhaps for some extremely stubborn dogs they'd be necessary.
Never known a Mini Eskie I liked (a few bad experiences with badly trained ones who wanted to eat people), and if this lady doesn't completely see the light about her training methods, I don't doubt that this would be one of the ones who ended up at the shelter and was euthanized because of his bad behaviour. But I think she's seeing the light, and I hope that her dog ends up being the first Mini Eskie that I *do* like. I'm sure they're wonderful dogs, overall.

Thanks all for your input, and for confirming mostly what I suspected about chokers/e-collars.
Melissa

Prin
August 17th, 2006, 01:21 PM
I was kind of asking outside of the context of agility, how you'd use a choke/e-collar to train your dog anything, even "sit". It's sort of a clicker in a corrective way... Like you say sit, and they don't do it, and you tug a bit as a correction (not hard at all) and then they sit. It gets their attention more than anything else. That's the thing, when you see a choker being used properly, you wouldn't think it hurts at all. But then when you see people (like the dog whisperer) dragging and yanking their dogs all over by the choker... well... it just makes you cringe.

dogmelissa
August 17th, 2006, 01:48 PM
But if the dog has never associated his *putting my butt on the floor* action with the word "sit", how does a choker help you teach it?
I trained my dog with a combination of half-incorrect clicker, treats, praise and just a lot of persistence. I didn't expect him to know what the funny sounds coming out of my mouth were and correct him for not doing what I was asking (even by saying no, which he did understand). I lured, guided or "tricked" him into doing what I was asking, and then gave him a treat, praise or by saying "good boy". Though I know that this lady has been choker training incorrectly, I still don't understand how using a choker (or any other correction method) to "correct" a dog who doesn't yet know what you're asking of it... how that can somehow teach the dog what you *do* want him to do? It is because when he *does* sit, he *doesn't* have his neck yanked on, or get a shock from the e-collar? Isn't that just teaching him how to avoid something unpleasant, and not teaching him how to get something nice?
Anyway.... I guess I won't get her methods unless I watched her do it, and I've already seen proof that her way (whatever it is) isn't working, because she wasn't able to teach her dog to shake-a-paw, though she'd been trying for weeks. Despite some of my mistakes, Cube learned that (and down, roll-over, jump, crawl, wait, leave it, and a couple other things) in a matter of 2 weeks. So I guess it doesn't really matter how it's supposed to work, since it's not a method I use or plan on using.

Thanks!
Melissa

Prin
August 17th, 2006, 02:16 PM
Well, ya, he has to know what to do first. Then, if he knows but just doesn't perform, that's where the correction comes in.

And like I said, it's not a torture device, it's just an attention getter. Like tapping somebody on the shoulder.

Prin
August 17th, 2006, 02:20 PM
Also, just because this woman is a choker advocate, it doesn't necessarily mean she's using it right. A lot of people use it wrong. A LOT.

It's really like a "Hey look at me, I'm talking to you" thing. It makes noise and touches them at the same time. When I say yank, I mean like a couple of rings. You never pull a choker hard or tight.

MyBirdIsEvil
August 17th, 2006, 07:28 PM
I still don't understand how using a choker (or any other correction method) to "correct" a dog who doesn't yet know what you're asking of it... how that can somehow teach the dog what you *do* want him to do?

It can't. It can teach the dog that if he's doing a certain thing he doesn't get his neck pulled on, but this method would be EXTREMELY frustrating to both the owner and dog and take a long time (hence the lady not being able to teach her dog to "shake" for weeks).

The collar is only supposed to be used as a correction once the dog has already been taught to do something by praising/rewarding him when he does it.
If you have a stubborn dog that already knows all his/her commands and he's either slow on his reaction time or won't obey the command you can correct the dog with the collar to show him "hey, pay attention and obey".

I have RARELY seen anyone use a choke-collar correctly, or even the right length for that matter, which is sad, because all it takes is a little bit of reading/research to figure out how to use one correctly.
Most people see some guy on tv put a choker on his dog and do obedience trials or something and they go "oh wow I wish I had THAT kind of control of my dog", so they just stick a collar on their dog and yank it around.

But the e-collars scare the crap out of me, and seem like a very bad idea--though perhaps for some extremely stubborn dogs they'd be necessary

IMO almost no one should be using an e-collar on their dog, unless they have the guidence of a professional trainer. I usually have good timing, etc. when training my dog and I won't even touch one.
It's WAY too easy to incorrectly use an e-collar. Not all e-collars react RIGHT when you press the button, so you have to have impecable timing to correct the dog at the right moment. You also have to consistantly correct the dog for the behavior you're trying to correct or else the dog will just learn to ignore it, or worse, become confused, fearful, or agressive.

mafiaprincess
August 17th, 2006, 09:48 PM
I have an e collar.
I rarely ever use the stim button. Mainly it's audio as that 'tap' to attention get. Scent hound. Mega distraction at times, often fine, sometimes not.
The stim button does stimulate the milasecond you touch it. It responds faster than the audio does. So you may want to base your opinion on use, not randomness.

OntarioGreys
August 17th, 2006, 10:31 PM
The proper use of a choke chain has nothing to do with choking the dog, like the clicker it is about sound, the chain as it is drawn up the the ring makes a chinking sound. like clicker training you make a sound, give a command when performed you reward and praise , that is how proper choke chain usage is supposed to be done, the difference with a choke chain is the sound maker is on the dog and your hands are free with the exception of the leash, the proper use of a choke chain is not about correction but getting attention, once the dog has a firm grasp of the basics the soundmaker is no longer needed from example long range work. The reason it has gotten a bad rap is because people do not understand the function or proper usage, which includes so so called trainers.

Prin
August 17th, 2006, 10:32 PM
YEY! Thank you OG for explaining it so well.:highfive:

MyBirdIsEvil
August 18th, 2006, 01:52 AM
mafiaprincess, I'm not basing my opinion on randomness. (I assume you were referring to me.)
Your collar apparently has more than one mode, this isn't true of all e-collars.
A lot of cheaper models only have one level and sometimes don't respond the split second you hit the button, these are the ones I was referring to. I guess I should have elaborated that not all e-collars are the same (post now edited) , but I'm specifically trying to point out how a lot of people misuse them.

I hope you can at least agree that there are right and wrong ways to use an e-collar, as well as a choke-chain, which is the only point I was trying to make.
I'm not against using either of these devices, I just don't trust MYSELF to use an e-collar, and I don't think most people are educated on how to use them correctly. I also don't think the average pet owner would benefit from using an e-collar.
Someone who's specifically trying to teach their dog an off leash sport that puts the dog in a situation where it could run off and disappear or get hurt(such as hunting) might need it, but the average pet owner who's doing agility in an enclosed area, or just taking their dog to the park has no use for it.

mafiaprincess
August 18th, 2006, 10:03 AM
No, I fully agree. Most correction devices the majority of people are uninformed and use them wrong. I just have to go to the park to see that. Like the dude who walks his dog daily with a choke on a flexi..

Sorry, you post made it sound like all e collars are evil, and I'm personally tired of taking flack for having one.. There's a tool for every dog. And the ecollar is what ended up saving the relationship with mine. But I'm awfully picky on when I'd use it..
I've never seen an ecollar more basic than mine though.. But it has an audio button, and a stim button, and a dial to change the stim to 10 levels.. so I guess that isn't all that basic..

True enough. Most people probably do lack a use for for it. I'm just tired of correction tools being frowned upon is all. For every tool there is a dog who could benefit. But not all dogs may benefit from every tool.

MyBirdIsEvil
August 18th, 2006, 02:59 PM
Sorry, you post made it sound like all e collars are evil, and I'm personally tired of taking flack for having one

Noooo, not what I meant at all, lol.
I just mean most people don't know how to use training tools that are based on correction, and most people don't need them.
I don't normally criticize the tools, just the people that use them incorrectly.
A lot of people think I'm mean for using a choke chain (or prong collar at one time) correctly, even though they let their dogs pull really hard and choke themselves on their flat collars :frustrated: .

LM1313
August 18th, 2006, 03:18 PM
But then when you see people (like the dog whisperer) dragging and yanking their dogs all over by the choker... well... it just makes you cringe.

I've seen so many people misuse choke collars! Some of them drag their dog around (you could do that with a flat buckle collar if that's all you want to do to "train"), some just let their dog pull and pull until the poor thing is gasping for breath.

So I can understand why some people think "choke chains are the devil!" :evil: But it is a useful, humane training tool if you know how to use it correctly.

Unfortunately the "dog whisperer" is on national television using it incorrectly . . . Wonderful. :rolleyes:

Prin
August 18th, 2006, 03:45 PM
Exactly. "Trained professional" using it wrong in front of millions of people. Greeaaaat.:rolleyes:

mafiaprincess
August 18th, 2006, 11:07 PM
Noooo, not what I meant at all, lol.
I just mean most people don't know how to use training tools that are based on correction, and most people don't need them.
I don't normally criticize the tools, just the people that use them incorrectly.
A lot of people think I'm mean for using a choke chain (or prong collar at one time) correctly, even though they let their dogs pull really hard and choke themselves on their flat collars :frustrated: .

Far more sense. No problem. I totally feel on your frustration of watchign people use any tool incorrectly too..

Angies Man
August 21st, 2006, 08:28 PM
I've always (since the mid 70's anyway) obedience trained my dogs. I've used obedience classes in the past, I think I don't need them anymore (been through several sets of classes with different dogs and very different instructors.) I guess I've developed my own philosophy of dog training.

I've used various training collars (never an electronic one, tho.) My first experience was with a Great Dane--not a blockhead, by any means, we used a training collar made from soft synthetic rope with rings on each end, a fiber choke collar to put it simply. I liked this collar, it really took a lot of effort to hurt the dog, it was soft and would release immediately. My Dane didn't mind it either--it was silent so I put a couple of dummy metal ID tags to give him an "achtung!" ringing--the action wasn't pulling the lead, so much as snapping it. No pain for my big dog, the movement on his neck and the light ringing noise near his ears was enough to remind him to do what he was supposed to. Mostly, I connected the lead to both rings--the dead position, so that the noose couldn't close. And I think because there was no pain involved, it made off lead training easier--discipline came from inside my dogs head rather than from me trying to dominate his will. But I had to learn on this dog, to control my own impatience and tendency towards brutality.

Fast forward several dogs, to 2000, I took my 5 1/2 month old poodle to a training class. They talked me into buying a prong style training collar. He actually was more of a blockhead than the Dane, he was very intelligent and an alpha male (even after early neutering.) I used that damned prong collar once in the live position--Charlie hated it and rebelled, which of course hurt him more. I never told the instructor, but all the way through class, we had the prong collar on inside out and with the lead in the dead position, lead on both rings. (BTW, we beat all the other teams in the final exam, obedience competition :) )

Charlie and I made the learning and performing process a game--treats, praise, romping in the grass. He learned that the training collar meant that it was time for business, but it was always fun and exciting for both of us. If it got to feeling like work, we put it away for a little while 'til the fun returned.

If agility training is supposed to be fun, what has punishment got to do with it? I think I'd pass on the shock collar, probably on the training collar too, but prong collars do work better and are more humane (imho) than straight chain chokers. They require a whole lot more self control from the human, tho.

Never,never,never leave a training collar on a dog outside of a training session!

It's supposed to be fun, both for the human and for the dog!

Discipline works alot better if the human is the leader and the dog is the disciple. Most dogs are pretty much hardwired to want to please their human. Pain is a lousy alternative to gentle handling and patience.

MyBirdIsEvil
August 22nd, 2006, 04:47 AM
but prong collars do work better and are more humane (imho) than straight chain chokers

If used correctly, prong collars are a lot safer than a choke chain. They're also harder to misuse than a choke chain but people still do it somehow :rolleyes: .

The only reason I don't use a prong collar on my dog anymore is because it made her nippy and she's VERY hard headed so she learned to ignore it anyway. It's also a bit of a pain to take a prong collar off and on.

Really though I rarely correct my dog anyway. IMO, If you need to correct your dog constantly or the collar is being ignored you're either not using it correctly or you're using it too much. All these collars should be used with positive reinforcement, and many people don't realize that.