by Robin MacFarlane
I'd like to think the myth that a remote collar can burn a dog has been put to rest.Most people now understand that the milliamps generated from the receiver of these collars simply cannot generate enough heat necessary to do tissue damage. If you need further understanding of how milliamps compare to amps, do a bit of Google research or take a look at this chart to see comparisons of output with similar contact devices used on humans and other animals.
If you are still not convinced, lets have a discussion about the real problem that can occur and the situation that people inappropriately label a 'burn'.
The real problem comes from inappropriate wear of the collar receiver. Pressure necrosis, or what many of us in the industry call "collar sores", can happen if the receiver is not on properly. They also occur (and can get REALLY ugly) if the collar is kept on the dog for too long of a period of time. Collars sores on a dog's neck are the equivalent to bedsores on a human.
They are a result of human error, not equipment failure.
Pressure necrosis occurs from one of two reasons:
1. Improper fit: A the receiver must be properly fitted to the dog's neck. Either too loose or too tight of a fit can cause problems. If the collar box is snugged down so tight that it does not move at all, the contact points will restrict blood flow to the tissue underneath, thus causing the skin tissue to begin to break down and deteriorate.
This is what happens to a human who is bedridden and not repositioned frequently enough. Continual pressure placed on the skin by small points of contact decrease blood flow to that area of the body and cause tissue damage.
You can totally avoid this potential problem by moving the receiver to different locations on your dog's neck every 3 or so hours of wear time.
On the other hand, if the receiver is too loose, i.e. it can easily rotate around the neck or move vertically as the dog raises and lowers his head, the resulting friction will damage the skin. Imagine taking your fingernail and scratching the same few square inches of your skin continuously for 8 to 10 hours, you will end up with micro tears in the skin. Continual exposure to friction will eventually cause tissue damage, so avoid it by being sure to fit your collar properly. (See article: "Proper Fit of E-Collar")
Both of these problems are exacerbated to by the following reason:
2. Improper wear time. If the dog is wearing the collar for longer than recommended (8 - 10 hours per day) pressure sores may begin to form. The horrid pictures that some of us have seen floating around the internet are due to L-O-N-G extended wear times, (think days and weeks without taking the collar off of the dog). Plain and simple, those situations come from neglect. In my days working in veterinary clinics, we saw the same problems with slip collars, flat collars and pieces of rope or chain used to contain a dog. People didn't pay attention to growing puppies and never bothered to loosen the collar as the dog grew. The resulting pressure sores left horrid situations of skin damage on the dog's neck.
Every dog is different, and variables such as length of hair coat, health of the skin, and moisture can all play a role in contributing to the possibility of collar sores forming. Some dogs seem to have no problem wearing the collar receiver for a full day, and others begin to show signs of redness after a few hours.
The best advice I can provide you is to pay attention to your dog's neck when you begin using a remote collar, bark collar or containment fence collar. A few times throughout the day take a peek and see how the skin looks. Make sure the fit is correct and notice if there is the beginning signs of redness. If so, move the receiver box to the opposite side of the neck or take the collar off for a bit to increase airflow and circulation to the skin.
If you are using a waterproof product and your dog gets wet, make sure you take the receiver off for a while after the swim (or heavy rain/snow) to allow the skin to dry. Moisture trapped under the plastic housing of the collar will hasten the process of tissue breakdown. It is the same if you go jogging in the rain. You want to get dry feet again fairly soon. If you keep walking around in wet shoes and socks, the friction combined with moisture will cause a blister to develop.
This isn't rocket science. This is common sense, good management and care of your dog. Next time someone suggests the e-collar will burn your dog, take a few moments to set them straight. It is time for that myth to disappear.
Robin MacFarlane is a professional dog trainer and owner of Thatís My Dog in Dubuque, Iowa. Her best-selling dog training DVDs, JUST RIGHT and JUST RIGHT 2 have helped thousands of dog owners teach their dogs basic obedience and fix problem behaviors through a system of training that you can easily work into your daily routine.
FREE or only a penny with the following collars:
Delta XC, Delta SPORT XC
Dogtra IQ Plus
and several more...
Here's Why You Should Train Your DogDoes Your Dog Know her Place?Teaching a Recall? Start Slow and Make the Dog SuccessfulTeaching the Down CommandHouse Manners"Pay Me!"How to Strengthen Your Dog's Understanding of "Stay"How Long Does My Dog have to Wear the E-Collar?Consistency Without an E-collarSkills Every Puppy Should LearnDogs and Doorbells -- Oh My!Stop Your Dog from Bolting to the Door!Use Food Lures to Shape Your Puppies Introduction to Sit, Stand and DownPuppy Training 101: Play Biting ProblemTeaching Your Puppy to "Kennel Up"Dog Tricks: How to Teach Your Dog to Walk BackwardsWant a Standing Ovation? Teach Your Dog to "Take A Bow!"Want Your Dog to Come to You? Try Moving Away from Him."Catch me if you can!"Tired of Fido Stealing Your Snacks?E-Collar, Leash, Treats, Toy, and the Dog. How to Manage it All!Dog Tricks: Teaching Your Dog to DanceBefore You Expect a Dog to Stay on a Place, Teach Him to get on Willingly.Adding E-Collar Prompting to your Place CommandImpulse Control Games are a Time Well Spent Playing with your Dog!Juggling All Your Training Equipment?
FREE Dog Training VideosProper Fit of E-CollarIs Your Dog Collar Wise?"How long does my dog have to wear the collar?"Pressure NecrosisUsing Treats in TrainingCan I Use an E-Collar on My Small Dog?I Need a Shock Collar!Dog Training: Keeping it Real: Training Your Dog Should be EasyWhy Would I Want to Use an E-Collar on My Dog?A Tired Dog is a Good DogThree Things You Must Know to Have a Reliably Trained DogAre Remote Collars Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, or Motivators?The Best Way to Rescue a DogIt is More than Just Pushing a Button: Part OneWhat About the Leash?Tennis Ball, Tug or Cookie? What do Rewards Have to do with Good Training?The More Important Tool: Part 4 of "It Is More Than Just Pushing a Button."Do You Need Impeccable Timing in Order to Use a Remote Collar?What Does Your Dog's Future Look Like?6 Essential Things to Teach to Have a Good DogThe Top 3 Reasons Your Remote Collar Doesn't Seem to be WorkingHow Long Does It Take to Train My Dog?Put a Plan Into Motion for Dealing With Your Dog's Behavior Problems!Why are You Grateful for Your Dog?Are You Struggling to Get Your Dog to Stay? Try This.There are Only 3 Levels on a Remote Training Collar?The One Thing You Must Know if You Want to Train with an E-CollarHow to Help Your Dog Understand What You WantPhotos: One Great Reason to Teach a Place Command to Your DogNew Puppy TipsSit? or Sit! -- The Case for Intonation When Speaking to Your DogNumber of CommandsSo Your Dog Knows Sit. Now What?20 Reasons to Teach a Place CommandE-Collar Use: Training vs. EnforcingKnow How to Train a Dog, Know How to Use a Remote Collar?5 Ways to Enhance Feeding Time"But my dog doesn't like it."Outwit Your Dogs if You Want Better BehaviorWeaning Off E-Stim: Tap, Tell or HelpProofing: How to Help Your Dog Really "Get It."Should Your Dog Sleep on the Bed With You?Human Body LanguageGood Health: The Missing Link for a Happy and Well-Adjusted Dog?Are You the Center of Your Dog's World?E-Collar Training: Be Sure to Do This Before You Go Off LeashWhat Behavior are You Rewarding the Most?The Importance of Routine Nail Trims for Your DogWhen is the Right Time to Start Training My Dog?Is it Important that a Dog Learn to Heel?3 Things to do Right Now to Avoid Separation Issues with Your DogTraining Your Dog to Stop BarkingHow to Use a No Bark Collar