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  #1  
Old November 24th, 2012, 09:18 AM
067734m 067734m is offline
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Recall Training with an Electronic Collar

Hi All,

I have two dogs; a beagle/coonhound and a small dudley lab. Since we love off-leash, outdoor hikes and runs, training the recall is very important to me. I've tried everything (different treats, incl bacon, long ropes, commercial whistles, games, etc). I can proudly say that both dogs are well trained in basic obedience. AND they have an excellent 'racing-back-full-speed' recall -- about 75% to 90% of the time.

So far, my most useful training techniques for the recall have involved no physical aids - just good treats, timing, positive reinforcement and the loud whistle that I can make with my hands/mouth. However, after a recent incident with the lab and a porcupine, I realize that 75%-90% isn't good enough. I want 100%. SO I've decided to introduce the e-collar to recall training.

My question: what's the best method of recall training with the e-collar? Do you stimulate before your command, during, or only if your command is ignored? I've searched YouTube (usually helpful with dog training ideas), but I haven't found any solid techniques with e-collars. I have yet to buy the collar, which I assume will come with some kind of training suggestions. But I wanted to do my research before purchasing. If anyone has experience with this I'd love to hear about it. Please let me know!

Note: PLEASE, no discussions on the ethics of electric collars. If you wish to comment for or against the use of electric collars, please start another thread. My questions is on training with e-collars, NOT whether or not they're humane.
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  #2  
Old November 24th, 2012, 09:57 AM
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marko marko is offline
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Hi 067734m
As one of the Admins here i can tell you that you've posted a touchy subject. Most regular members around here are indeed against this device and do not use one, so i'm not sure what positive advice (if any) they might have on this device.

I can say that I have heard many stories of these devices not being able to work in cases where a dog's instinct gets the best of them (like when they see a squirrel or another cat etc).
Adrenaline and instinct often win - so now we are not talking about the ethics of this device, but rather about its efficacy, and ultimately, about your pet's safety if you put too much trust in it.

I think it's reasonable that members can politely suggest alternatives to these devices if they feel they can help you and your pet's situation....

and if someone directly knew the answer to "My question: what's the best method of recall training with the e-collar? Do you stimulate before your command, during, or only if your command is ignored? " that of course would also be cool.
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  #3  
Old November 24th, 2012, 10:13 AM
067734m 067734m is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marko View Post
Hi 067734m
As one of the Admins here i can tell you that you've posted a touchy subject. Most regular members around here are indeed against this device and do not use one, so i'm not sure what positive advice (if any) they might have on this device.

I can say that I have heard many stories of these devices not being able to work in cases where a dog's instinct gets the best of them (like when they see a squirrel or another cat etc).
Adrenaline and instinct often win - so now we are not talking about the ethics of this device, but rather about its efficacy, and ultimately, about your pet's safety if you put too much trust in it. ...
Thanks, Marko. From what I've seen online it is a touchy subject - I'm hoping for constructive comments, like yours:
I have wondered about the "adrenaline/instinct" factor and whether an e-collar would make a difference. I guess there's only one way to find out...

I am open to alternatives, but as mentioned, I have been through a lot of different 'non-e-collar' methods already. Some worked well (some sucked). Maybe 100% recall is an unattainable goal... I'm still going to give it a try!
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Old November 24th, 2012, 11:09 AM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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If you do buy an e collar for your dog it would be wise to try it in the safety of your home. Your dog could freak out and take off and you do not want that happen outside. Have you tried to see if there are dog trainers that use e collars and ask them how to use it correctly ? I am going to say one other thing , I hope you will not get frustrated at your dog if it does not response to the e collar the first time then zap your dog over and over like some dog owners do. This it my biggest concern about using an e collar on a dog , I have heard of this happening to dogs and puppies.
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  #5  
Old November 24th, 2012, 11:11 AM
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Loki Love Loki Love is offline
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If you're set on an e-collar than I suggest you work a trainer who is VERY knowledgeable and has lots of experience with them. Do not try to figure it out on your own or you may end up doing more harm than good.

We had considered one for Loki way way back, but in all honesty, the number of stories where the dogs simply shut down and almost became 'broken' from use it scared us enough to find other methods.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 11:49 AM
067734m 067734m is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki Love View Post
...
We had considered one for Loki way way back, but in all honesty, the number of stories where the dogs simply shut down and almost became 'broken' from use it scared us enough to find other methods.
Yep - I'm definitely worried about that. I know it's a powerful tool, which is why I want to use it correctly.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 08:17 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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Got to agree, find a trainer who is experienced in these collars. Search out a local retriever club and you'll likely find someone there.

I was on the way to ecollar training, working with a
neighbour who hunt tests and field trials. We were about to start into the conditioning. If you don't know what that means then you really, really need to find a trainer.

However I was able to scrap it as I found North/South fetching and worked it into a whistle recall. Yes, I have every confidence I can call my dog off of a porcupine a deer a turkey a snowmobile etc. But, I don't beleive there is 100% recall, since my dog is not a machine.

My dog is a Lab. I think you might search out some hound clubs for your beagle/coonhound. Recall is notoriously hard to teach with the hound breeds, it's just not what they were bred for. They were bred to follow their noses and it's hard to subvert years of honed genetics.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 01:10 PM
067734m 067734m is offline
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Thanks for the input. I'll continue my research for proper conditioning...

Longblades, true, dogs aren't machines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Longblades View Post
My dog is a Lab. I think you might search out some hound clubs for your beagle/coonhound. Recall is notoriously hard to teach with the hound breeds, it's just not what they were bred for. They were bred to follow their noses and it's hard to subvert years of honed genetics.
Funny enough, the hound has the best recall of the two! We REALLY struggled with it at the beginning - her nose can get magnetized to the ground. (Both dogs are adopted, the hound adopted first). But after a year or so of sticking with it, it really clicked for her! (LOVE to see her race back at the sound of the whistle).

It's the lab retriever that's worrying me the most right now. Silly me, I thought that by going with a retriever, we could bypass some of the recall training difficulties we had with the hound. (I should note that as he's adopted too, we're really just giving our best guess as to breeding)... Seems like he has a strong hunting instinct. When I get a collar, it will be to start with him.
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