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If You Know How to Train a Dog, You Know How to Use a Remote Collar, Right?

by Robin MacFarlane

The idea that someone knows how to train a dog seems to include the assumption that they understand how to use a remote collar properly.

It is a belief that I've run into many times. Most often I pick up on this presumption when I communicate with people who tell me either they've tried an e-collar in the past and it "didn't work," or they worked with a trainer who used e-collars and it worked but their dog "wasn't happy about it."

It is a similar thought process that many go through when they feel they have exhausted all options for training and now must turn to a remote collar as a "last resort."

Experience has brought me to the conclusion that the people making those type of comments haven't invested much time researching various ways to use the ecollar other than as a means of positive punishment for disobedience.

That line of thinking is limited in the understanding of how much finesse an e-collar can add to a training program

Frequently I've witnessed discussions where dog trainers and dog owners are at the conclusion that because a dog has been exposed to some form of correction (leash and collar, verbal or other), he will automatically know how to respond to e-collar pressure.

This is a big leap to make.

It is also a stretch to assume that because someone has good skills with a leash or any other training tool they will automatically understand how to use a remote collar with appropriate timing and techniques.

I look at it in the same way I do with any other transitions I've made over the years. At 15 years old I learned how to drive an automatic transmission. That didn't mean when I bought my first manual at 18 that I automatically just jumped in and took off!

Years spent mastering all the shortcuts on a keyboard didn't save me from the frustrations of moving to the touch screen of a tablet either. I caught on, but it wasn't an instantaneous leap.

When it comes to dog training tools we somehow seem to forget there is a learning curve to each of them as well.

So what is the solution to this common assumption?

A simple reminder that education is never a waste of time.

None of us are too old or too experienced to learn something new. Hopefully we are all looking to take in a bit more knowledge or pick up one more tidbit that might make our dog's training go more smoothly.

If you're still thinking remote collars are a last resort, they don't work, or they must always be painful or stressful to the dog, does it really hurt to spend time looking at the work of someone who espouses otherwise?
-- Robin

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.
  • Robin writes for Gun Dog Supply on our E-collars Dog Training blog
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  • Pull-Quote= When it comes to dog training tools we need to remember there is a learning curve to all of them.

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