The Best Way to Introduce Your Dog to An E-Collar

Training with an e-collar is beneficial because it helps your dog learn to obey commands amidst distractions!

Did you know that conditioning your dog to an e-collar is very beneficial for his learning commands? This is because it helps train your dog to listen to your commands even when there are a lot of distractions around him. Remote collars are used in a variety of applications and can really transform your dog’s training experience!

It’s completely understandable that you may have a lot of questions about using a remote collar on your dog. Maybe you’re unsure where to even begin with using it. Let’s look at some of the best ways to introduce your dog to an e-collar and how to make the training process easier for you and your dog.

E-Collar Conditioning

E-collars are great for aiding in better communication between you and your dog. It also helps improve your dog’s behavior amidst stress and distractions. 

To start conditioning your dog to his e-collar, you're going to begin by keeping your dog confined for at least 20 minutes in a crate. Make sure that you already have his e-collar and choke chain on him before letting him out, as well as a short lead. This helps you have control the whole time. 

Keep in mind that the prerequisite to beginning e-collar training is making sure that your dog completely understands formal obedience and has training on short and long-lead endeavors already. This is what makes e-collar training so effective!

Finding Your Dog’s Level

To begin the training process, you’re going to begin with a concept called “finding your dog’s level.” This helps you understand what amount of stimulation works for him without giving him too much.

Begin by turning your transmitter down to its lowest setting, then use the “nick” button and watch his reaction. The nick button just gives your dog a tap without harming him. 

The key here is to look for any sort of recognition in his posture or his body language indicating that he's feeling the electric pressure. Begin at level one and go up from there until you notice a reaction from him, such as his ears twitching, him looking up at you, or moving his head. 

Whichever level he starts reacting to will be the start of your working relationship with him. 

Build an Association with Your Dog

It’s important to build an association between the pull on the leash and the electric stimuli (the nick of the collar), which are both forms of negative reinforcement. Eventually, you’ll stop using the lead and only use the electric collar.

In the first couple of weeks of training, you’ll want to try and have three to five nicks a day so the dog can begin to learn what the collar means. 

Sit and Stay Command 

The first of three things that you should work on with your dog is getting him to sit and stay. Start by carrying your e-collar remote in one hand and the leash in the other. Take a step away; if the dog got up from the sit stay, then pull the lead up and press the nick button at the same time.

By nicking the collar and pulling the lead at the same time, it helps the dog associate the nicking with not obeying the command. 

Heel Command

The next command that you’ll work on is heeling. Your dog should be doing well enough on his obedience that he's coordinated enough that you can get away with having one hand on the collar and one hand on the lead. If he's not ready, you're going to be trying to do too many things with your heel!

If he doesn’t obey, just nick the collar each time. Remember, if you make any sort of correction using negative reinforcement, it's important to allow the dog to do it successfully afterwards and then give the dog positive reinforcement.

And make sure you stay on the same command until your dog is successful with it!

Recall Command

Let's move on to the recall. Now, when you’re calling your dog, if he doesn't come to you or he veers off course, simply repeat the command followed by a pull with the lead and a nick at the same time.

When you're attempting to achieve success, don’t apply any pressure to the lead. Make him do it all by himself!

Introduce Controlled Distractions

Once your dog understands the first part of e-collar training, you’ll switch over to the long lead and implement some controlled distractions. Introducing your dog to controlled distractions while training is important because there will always be distractions in the hunting field or in a crowded park. 

He will need to understand how to listen and focus on your commands despite everything else going on.

To do this, begin by bringing in another dog or some sort of distracting element purposefully to get your dog to make a mistake during his obedience training so he learns to perform these commands despite distractions.

Start Practicing with a Long Lead

Begin by practicing the commands at a short distance, then slowly create more and more distance between you. When you’re at greater distances, if your dog were to make a mistake and break the sit command, pull the lead and nick the electric pressure at the same time. 

Use a lower level with the collar in combination with the leash pressure. If he breaks it again immediately, then raise a level. Once you get about five to six nicks during your collar conditioning session, you're going to just not use the collar for the rest of the session.

Just use your leash and then finish out with whatever you do in your daily routine, such as doing some fun retrieves! 

Using Different Levels With Your Dog

As the days go on, you will start to be aware of which levels on the collar get the job done without confusing the dog.

Keep in mind that the first working level that you use might be a little bit too low. So if you notice that you're having to use repeated corrections with that and it's not really making a difference, then the next day you can start at a higher level.

Once you get to the point where you feel like you're having good continuity with successes after collar corrections, you can begin to transition into just using the e-collar with the lead on! 

Be careful not to pull the lead; let the collar do the work. 

Training a dog using an e-collar may seem daunting, but it is easier than you may think! Just remember, only use the e-collar when the dog's making a mistake with his obedience.

You can shop DT Systems’ e-collar today to make your training experience easier with your dog!

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