Site Map


Remote Collar Training Tips

wanting to use these techniques should really attend the seminars where they  are being demonstrated. The subtleties and nuances should be seen first hand  by those that have perfected their use.





You want to work the dog at the lowest level of stimulation that he can just perceive. Put the dog on a leash and take him outside. Let him settle down so he's not fixated on anything or highly distracted by anything. With some dogs it may take a few minutes for him to settle down. If he's sniffing the ground, he's distracted. If he's looking at something and his ears are standing up (for dogs whose ears do this) he's distracted. When his ears relax and stick out to the side rather than straight up, he's ready to check his level.

For the Dogtra Ecollar, set the dial on "0" and press the button. Hold it down and very slowly turn it up. After about 5-6 seconds release the button then press and hold it again. Continue to SLOWLY turn the dial up until you see some sign that the dog is feeling the stimulation. There are many such signs. One of the most common is that the dog will sit down and scratch as if a flea is biting him. Some signs are subtler than that though. They include an ear flick, a quick look at the ground directly in front of the dog, a pulling back as if a grasshopper landed on the dog, a rearing up, moving to another place, locking up (rigidity of the legs). Sometimes all that is noticeable is a furrowing of the dog's brow.

The technique is just a little bit different for any other brand of Ecollar because of the different way that the stimulation level is set. For the TriTronics collars set it on the lowest level of stimulation available. Press the button and check for a result. For those Ecollars that have three buttons that give you a low for one button, medium for the other and high for both together, press the "low button." If the dog doesn't respond, go to the next level on the dial and press the "low button." Use only the "low" button until you find the dog's level. This allows you to use the medium and high buttons when the dog ignores you later in the training.

A dog may vocalize and rear up. There are two reasons that a dog will vocalize with an Ecollar stimulation. One is that he's in pain. Since I'm using the continuous mode, if this is the reason that a dog is vocalizing,

he'll continue to vocalize as long as I hold down the button. If this is occurring YOU'RE TOO HIGH. Another reason that a dog may vocalize is from surprise. Think of yourself sitting in a theater watching a scary movie. Someone taps you on the shoulder and you jump and involuntarily make a noise. This is not from being hurt; it's from being startled. I think that the first reason given for a dog to vocalize is unfair, especially at the teaching phase of using the Ecollar but the second reason is acceptable. The dog isn't being hurt; he's just being surprised.

One giveaway that the dog is surprised is that he only vocalizes for an instant, even though continuous stimulation is being applied. If he was being hurt, he'd continue to vocalize as long as the button was being eld down because it would continue to hurt. If you're using the nick or tap mode and the dog vocalizes each time the button is pressed, YOU'RE TOO HIGH.

When the dog shows you that he just perceives the stimulation level, you've found his working level. This may change slightly up or down. Some dogs become used to that level and it will need to be shifted up a touch. Some

dogs become sensitized to that level and it will need to be turned down. You may find that the continuous stimulation button is too intense for your dog, even just a slight movement from the "off" position of the rheostat. It's rare but it does happen. If your dog reacts very strongly, usually shown by constant vocalization and rearing up, you may have to go to the nick button to work him. This can be done but the communication isn't as effective. AND you'll have to keep pressing the button while others are just holding it down.

Your dog's working level may change from day to day. You should verify that it hasn't changed by checking it every time you take him out to work him. Start out just a bit lower than where you normally work him. Wait till he's not distracted and press the button. You might find that today, he's working at that lower level. If he makes no sign that he feels it; you can go back to his usual level. If he's ignoring you completely, you might need to go a touch higher.

(C) COPYRIGHT 2002, Lou Castle
Regards,Lou Castle, Los Angeles, CA
Permission received4/23/02



This has been an interesting subject and perhaps now that the smoke has cleared a little I may be able to shed a little light on the proper use of the remote training collar (e-collar). I think those that use clicker techniques will find e-collar training is not so far apart from their theories and applications.

The examples given by board participants regarding electric fences are clear examples of the misunderstanding of the application and desired results of electricity. I also have a hunch that the physical technology of remote collar has not advanced in the UK (or the rest of Europe for that matter). Trainers are therefore restricted to their experience with one level (usually high) archaic pieces of equipment. I will say from the outset that the use of these prehistoric collars is brutal, cruel, and limits a trainer to pure punishment training. The old one level collars restricted the trainer to employing a dominance based system using brutal force and fear to establish their Alpha status. Once that status was established the brutality continued using high levels of electricity to pattern train the dog. Worse yet, many trainers used this device on a one or two time basis to "fix" a problem typically the dog failing to release from the bite. In this circumstance the trainer would fry the dog for several seconds or until the dog complied with the command. As we know, many, many dogs have been destroyed using these brutal techniques. Unfortunately this is the predominate use, image, and reputation of the remote training collar. If this is the type of remote collar most list members are referring to as I suspect, then you are right to condemn their use. I certainly do!

On the other hand, there have been incredible advancements in the technology here in the States The high end equipment is cheaper than ever. The model I use allows me to select 18 varied levels from the transmitter with a one mile line of sight range. This feature enables me to achieve more than one goal during a single training exercise.

Lou Castle correctly pointed out that the goal of a knowledgeable trainer is to work the dog on as low a level as possible. Employing too high a level of stimulation causes pain and conflict and conflict causes confusion. Confusion results in unreliability and an unreliable police dog will get somebody hurt or killed.

An interesting point is that in fact, if used properly, the remote collar actually eliminates the conflict between dog and handler. I cant count the number of genetically handler sensitive dogs I have trained that are working on the street today because of the remote collar. The e-collar has actually allowed us to move away from Koehler as well as other dominance oriented force techniques and concentrate on channeling the properly selected dogs instinctual skills. It has afforded me the ability to train for the job rather than an exercise or certification. It allows me to be fair to the dog, rather than an unreasonable boss that punishes his subordinate for violation of rules he knows nothing about. It enables me to keep the dog focused and on task without resorting to tricks, rewards, or brutal force.

Copyright 1999 Donn Yarnall All Rights Reserved
permission received

Tracking  Obedience  Protection  Sport  BH  Humor  ZTP  Reading  Friends  Triple D  

Guest book  Awards  Webdesign  Working Links Sitemap

Dog Sport Items for Sale

Message Board 

subscribe to
for training tips and general discussion