I haven’t been hugely active in the “method war” in dog training, mainly because I feel if someone wants to know more about something, they don’t tend to rage about how ineffective it is. I have had folks come to be and ask genuine questions about things that I do or use, the most inquired about tool being Remote Training Collars. These tools are consistently scrutinized for reasons behind my understanding. If anybody took the time to observe (or even participate) in the demonstrations I give my clients, they would understand that these tools are not as bad (or inhumane) as many folks claim them to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I get it. Remote collars back in the 70’s and 80’s were no joke. They had one level and were meant for one thing. The term “Shock and awe” comes to mind when I think about them. They hit hard, and they hit fast… and the sensation lingered, much like an electric horse fence.
Here’s the problem
Many things have changed in the past few decades and Remote Collars are much different as well. There aren’t to many things that haven’t changed since the 80’s, but for some reason, everybody still thinks Remote Training Collars are still used for Shock and Awe.
We’ve seen advances in every piece of technology, and remote collars are no different. They are now used in much more subtle way than they were back in the day. Rarely do qualified professionals strap one on a dog and turn up the levels to punish a dog for a behaviour. Dog’s are trained on the level where they first perceive the stimulation. This triggers a curiosity in the dog’s head because what they’re feeling is very foreign to them. All of a sudden, you (the handler) are giving them information and as they listen, the “feeling” goes away. It becomes a game, and it’s fun! Most dogs pick up on remote collar training fast because it makes them think without putting them in a super high state of arousal. And when you’re talking about training a nice, calm pet dog… that’s exactly what you want.
I’m not big on “defending” my equipment and method choices, but I do believe in creating awareness. I don’t think my methods are better than others… but I do believe in educating the ignorant. It might be a strong statement, but anybody that tells you that Remote Collars are “cruel, inhumane and could ruin your dogs” either last attempted to use one in the 80’s or received lessons from a VERY POORLY trained professional.
Would you take computer advice from someone who’s last computer was the original Macintosh?
Below is a video clip of one of my bootcamp dog’s first session on a remote training collar. One thing I want you to be aware of is his overall attitude and demeanour… if remote training collars were as inhumane and cruel as some thing, wouldn’t he be expressing a lot more avoidance, heistiation and non-engagement than he was?
My truth may not be the same as others, and that’s OK. Educate yourself and make your own mind up… don’t take anything I say for face value without first exploring it yourself!