Why E Collars are More Effective than Traditional Training Methods
There is one saying that goes, "This isn't really dog training, this is people training." This certainly sounds true considering that it's also oft said that two dog trainers couldn't agree on anything other than the third trainer is wrong. However you want to look at it, though, one thing is true. Dog training is a must.
Benefits of Dog Training
Dog training is essential. It can be started at any age, but it has been shown that starting early will lead to dogs with stronger responses to commands. Puppies that were socialized earlier also exhibit a more friendly behavior towards strangers.
Training has many benefits, including:
- Providing mental stimulation
Mental stimulation is just as important to a canine's health as physical exercise. Even going through basic commands can ease the boredom dogs feel can help keep them occupied.
- Building confidence
Being able to follow commands leads to a sense of accomplishment. This is especially beneficial to dogs that are shy, timid or suffering from anxiety.
- Strengthening the human-animal bond
Training is one way to communicate with your pet. The attention your dog receives during training sessions makes them feel more connected to you.
Of course, while no one disputes that dog training is needed, the training method is a whole other matter. The dog world is filled with a considerable number of training techniques and methods. Each is backed and endorsed by the who's who of dog trainers—almost all of them continuously at odds with each other.
However, the main point of contention is whether modern training methods are better than traditional ones.
Traditional Dog Training Methods Explained
Traditional dog training refers to methods used before today's "science-based" techniques. This type of training usually makes use of:
- Physical Coercion
Sounds harsh, doesn't it? How did these methods gain widespread acceptance anyway?
The Dominance Theory
You have probably heard of the "Dominance Theory." This is also known as the "Wolf Pack" theory. In layman's terms, it is the belief that there must always be an "alpha."
Dogs are descended from wolves. In a wolf pack, there is believed to be a hierarchy between groups. The alpha is the most dominant, wins the most fights, and gets the most food and mates. He is quite literally your top dog.
How does this translate to domestic dog training?
Dog trainers following the traditional training methods think the dog will follow whoever they perceive as the top dog. Unfortunately, if a dog gets away with their problematic behavior, they start thinking they are the alpha. It is in these cases where getting them to follow commands will be difficult.
It is, therefore, in your best interest to re-establish the hierarchy and assert your dominance as the leader of the pack to get your dog to follow you instead. Some common examples of this training method include the "alpha roll." This correction type encourages you to forcibly turn your dog over, pin them on their backs and hold them by the throat. This is supposed to be interpreted as a sign of submission.
This training type has been challenged and debunked. Primarily because the study it was based on was faulty. Long story short, there is no such thing as an alpha wolf. So why would there be an alpha dog in your household?
Why Traditional Training Methods Fail
Why do traditional training methods fail? Well, on top of the fact that the whole theory behind it was a big misunderstanding, it's also been shown that punishment is only effective when certain conditions are ALL met.
- Punishment must be given every time the unwanted behavior happens.
- Punishment must be given within 1-2 seconds of the unwanted behavior.
- Punishment must be harsh enough to stop the dog from repeating the behavior BUT not enough to scare them.
It's tough to meet all three. Think of a dog that keeps getting to your planters. Yelling may dissuade them from doing it. But that likely won't stop them from trying again the moment you're out of sight.
If traditional training methods do not work, what should you do instead?
E Collars as a More Effective Dog Training Method
With traditional training methods proven to be largely ineffective, we turn instead to more modern, science-backed solutions. In this case, e-collar training.
What are e-collars, and how do they work?
E-collars are also known as remote training collars or remote trainers. It comes with a remote transmitter that sends a signal to the receiver collar worn on a dog's neck. The signal triggers the stimulation.
E-collars were introduced in the market in the 1960s. Back then, they were primarily used to train hunting dogs. Older versions of the e-collar only had a static correction, thus it became known as a shock collar.
Modern e-collars, however, have come a long way from collars of old. They come with added stimulation options. The static generated is lower even compared to a human TENS unit. The supposed shock effect is pretty much just a "pulsing, tingling, or tickling sensation on the surface of the skin." (Lindsay, 2005).
Today, the stimulation triggered by an e-collar can be in the form of tone or beep, vibration, or the oft-misunderstood static or shock. There are many different brands and models available. Manufacturers like Dogtra, E-Collar Technologies and SportDog continuously improve not just the devices but also how dog training is being done.
With the help of an e-collar, dog training can be much more effective. Here are the reasons why.
1. E-Collar Training is Quicker and More Efficient
Remember the training conditions mentioned previously? Using an e-collar covers all three points rather well. Once the unwanted behavior occurs, one quick press of a button will trigger the correction. This gets the dog's attention almost precisely at the same time the incident happened. This then allows you to give a verbal command so your dog can associate it with the correction.
Whether you decide to use static, vibration, or tone, the stimulation is different enough to make your dog pay attention. It's also unpleasant and yet sufficient to make them listen and not wish to be corrected again.
Note that we say "unpleasant" rather than "painful." This is because e-collars, appropriately used, should never hurt the dog. For example, if your dog reacts adversely to their e-collar, you likely have it on a level that's too high or not fitted correctly.
2. E-Collar Training Results in Less Confusion
Unlike the human voice that can fluctuate and convey so many different emotions, the correction provided by an e-collar remains constant, leaving little room to be misinterpreted.
3. E-Collars Can Be Used for Positive Reinforcement
One science-backed method of training is positive reinforcement. It's been shown that dogs on a reward-based learning system are more successful.
A common misconception about e-collars is they are a punishment tool. This couldn't be further from the truth. An e-collar is never meant to punish. Instead, it's supposed to supplement training.
An excellent way to teach your pet to behave is by associating stimulation with positive action. If your pup, for example, can do a task correctly, you can trigger the tone before giving the treat. They will eventually work out that the beep means they did well. You'd then be able to condition them to do the action with just a beep in the future.
E collars are not limited to the usual dog training, either. An e collar can also be used to address incessant and annoying barking in dogs. This type of e collar is commonly called a no bark collar or anti-bark collar. Bark collars for small dogs like the Dogtra YS200 also come with static in multiple levels. The shock is triggered whenever the dog barks. Bark collars for medium dogs and large dogs are also available.
There are also e collars that come with e fence sets. E fences can be wired and buried underground or wireless. These in ground fences and wireless fences take the place of traditional fences. They send a signal from the e fence to the transmitter inside the property and back to the e collar on the dog’s neck. The stimulation is meant to keep dogs within the fenced area.
E-collars are often misunderstood and get a lot of criticism. But they have a lot of uses. Used correctly, an e-collar can be the better and more effective way to train your dog.