How long will my dog have to wear an e-collar? (Or Does your dog like to speed?)
People have lots of questions when they are learning how remote collars can be used to help train their dog. How do you find the right level for the dog? How do you know if the dog is feeling the stimulation? What is the correct fit for the collar?
One of the more frequent questions is: How long will my dog have to wear the e-collar?
It is a good question and my assumption is they are not asking me how many hours a day the dog will wear the collar, but rather when can they expect their dog to respond reliably without the need to use (wear) the remote collar anymore.
The answer takes into account several variables:
How old the dog is when we start the training makes a difference. It is not that an old dog can’t learn new tricks but it is certainly faster to get reliability with a dog who has not had years and years of practice with behaviors that are considered unacceptable.
How much practice time an owner is willing to invest in the training is directly related to how soon the dog will be able to *run naked*. An hour of practice time each week never turned the budding pianist into Ludwig Van Beethoven either. However, I can say that because the variable of distance (being able to gain attention immediately from afar) becomes almost insignificant when training with a remote collar, the journey to reliability is WAY faster than any other method.
Of course the temperament of the dog in question plays a big part as well. Some dogs are just more biddable than others. There are those who you can shake the “no-no” finger at and they lay the ears back in an apologetic “sorry, I ate your shoes mom” gesture. But on the flip side there are the ones who bark back at you as they delightfully prance your underwear to and fro in front of the visiting church ladies luncheon.
Those dogs are a little bit like me and my driving habits. I admit to being a habitual violator of the speed limit. Most of the time I have a good reason, I’m running late to some event of believed importance or maybe I didn’t see the sign about slowing down…but often enough the truth is, well,…I enjoy it. I consider zipping down the road at 80 mph just plain fun!
By the way, I’ve been properly trained on how to drive. My instructors were very competent and here in WI we put in a decent amount of practice time before taking both a written and practical test. I know where both the accelerator and the brake is. I can read and I know what the street signs mean. I understand red, yellow and green lights…..but darn if I don’t seem to need a reminder from time to time to keep me following the rules!
Case in point, my recent speeding ticket. An 85 dollar reminder that I need to be obedient to the white signs that clearly state what the law is. You would think after nearly 30 years legally maneuvering a vehicle I would be “trained”…but I guess I am only human.
And my dog is only a dog. In my mind is a lot better alternative to let him have his off leash fun with his e-collar on. I have an option to use it if I need to remind him to stay with me, even when we see the SQUIRREL!
To me, it is like an insurance policy. It is there and provides safety and security even if I don’t need to tap the button.
So this ticket (or opportune learning event as I am choosing to look at it) has added another analogy to my teaching toolbox. I can never predict EXACTLY when a dog will be reliable without the e-collar, but I can say that it is a good idea to keep it on the dog when presented with circumstances that are highly enticing to the dog.
And since the officer gave me that little tap on the shoulder, I’ve figured out how to use the cruise control on my car!
zoom, zoom, woof!