OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby MikeInTacoma » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:26 am

Red wrote:I am of the opinion that some dogs do not belong off leash and that there are limits that need to be understood and accepted. It's puzzling how some behaviors are described and then owners think that being off leash around other dogs is a must do type of situation. I am not talking about some reactiveness that can be worked with, I am talking about strong and unsafe behaviors with an history.

Yeah, that's weird for me too. But I accept it. As things are currently constructed, the dog's owner makes the rules. If the owner wants / needs the dog to behave well off-leash, for whatever reason, then that's their right -- though depending on the circumstances, I might feel they're wrong. But, the owner doesn't care a whit about my opinion; and as long as the dog gets a little food and water now and then, neither does the law.

Red wrote:Anyway, for the sake of the discussion.... people continue to use e -collars to punish dogs going down the field or breaking positions to go after another dog, long time after training has started and aversion though an e- collar, or other aversive equipment, was introduced. The punishment used did not reduce the probability of the behavior to happen in the future [...]

That's a good point, and I'm glad you brought it up. Mommy2Kane's reply --
mommy2kane wrote: [...] our training HAS reduced the probability of my dog breaking a long down when on the obedience field. [...]

It would be nice to have that quantified, at least roughly. (Something like, before e-collar, Kane broke Long Down 80% of the time; and after 12 sessions with e-collar over three months, Kane breaks Long Down 5% of the time.) Any chance there are training notes?

Red wrote: (so was it really an appropriate punisher, by definition, or something else got in the way?) and these dogs are still getting stimulated. So why to use high levels of punishment, which are painful, when punishment is not having long term effect? [...]
mommy2kane wrote: [...] I'm not going to continue saying how my dog is not damaged and shaking under a table because some people are just not going to "get it" or believe it. [...]

From everything I've read recently, Red is right that if the positive-punishment training is working, then the unwanted behavior (and therefore the punishments, i.e. shocks) should stop quickly.

And, the dog can be experiencing psychological distress from the shocks without such extreme symptoms as cowering under the table. The symptoms may be more subtle; or the dog's lifespan may be reduced. But this is an unproductive line of discussion. I'll simply accept the independent testimony that Kane doesn't seem obviously distressed by the e-collar. Non-obvious distress, I'm less sure about; but I don't see any way to have it measured, so... moving on.

Red wrote: [...]For some aggressive behaviors there are physiological automatic reinforcers that we cannot extinguish, plain and simple. In this case behaviors are most likely not going to be eliminated permanently so continued stimulation is required and, in my opinion, it is absolutely not fair for the animal to be exposed to it because the owner must have a title. [...]

Yeah; you can do a lot with training, but we sometimes encounter a dog's individual limitations, and it would be better to use a different dog for that particular job. But then we get back to the possibility that, for whatever reason, the owner has no use for a dog with that particular limitation. Regardless of my disapproval, the owner is the dog's owner, not me.
mommy2kane wrote: [...] But my "poor" dog is not exposed to "horrible" corrections just because I must have a title (if that was at all directed towards me). My "poor" dog was going to end up being put down if control was not established, and I didn't have years to use positive training and continuously decrease (and increase, and decrease) the distance between him and another dog because he was still "lighting up" at a long distance. [...]


So let's assume that for whatever reason, the dog must hold a Long Down, by the end of the month, or else the local ACO will follow a court order to seize and euth' the dog. In that situation, if the owner has the choice of PTSing the dog or using an e-collar for quicker training results, I'd probably rather see the dog shocked occasionally. Especially if the dog seems mostly happy despite the e-collar.

Of course, it's a false dichotomy, because PTS and e-collar are not the only choices. There's also clicker training, desensitization / counter-conditioning, and maybe CAT. Heck, there's probably pharmaceutical stuff that could help, like DAP or something. But if someone must change the dog's behavior in a hurry, with limited resources, or else the dog gets PTS, then I'm not going to jump on them for trying an e-collar. I'll just be glad I'm not in their situation.

mommy2kane wrote: [...] Have you EVER put a training collar (choke, prong, etc) on a dog? Have you EVER given a leash correction? If not, then that's great for you. If so, I think those can be considered "abusive" if used impropertly. [...]

Yes, I have. At the time, that's the advice I was aware of, and the people advising me to do it sounded like they knew what they were talking about. And you're right, those can be abusive too (which is why Red argues against them too). Sometimes, I was abusive, though I didn't intend it. I don't use that stuff any longer, and it's tough for me to imagine a situation where I'd want to.

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby mommy2kane » Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:13 pm

wegobad wrote:Yeah, that's weird for me too. But I accept it. As things are currently constructed, the dog's owner makes the rules. If the owner wants / needs the dog to behave well off-leash, for whatever reason, then that's their right -- though depending on the circumstances, I might feel they're wrong. But, the owner doesn't care a whit about my opinion; and as long as the dog gets a little food and water now and then, neither does the law.


In my case, it started as needing control. Control, obviously, incorporated obedience. Kane has the drive to do the obedience, and do it well. So we continued. I made the decision to pursue competition obedience, which is where we are now. Now, competition obedience aside, we were still using the e-collar to get control and proof his regular obedience.

wegobad wrote:It would be nice to have that quantified, at least roughly. (Something like, before e-collar, Kane broke Long Down 80% of the time; and after 12 sessions with e-collar over three months, Kane breaks Long Down 5% of the time.) Any chance there are training notes?


Eh, I did have some training notes, from the beginning of our training with a trainer and e-collar - but not what you're looking for.

wegobad wrote:From everything I've read recently, Red is right that if the positive-punishment training is working, then the unwanted behavior (and therefore the punishments, i.e. shocks) should stop quickly.

And, the dog can be experiencing psychological distress from the shocks without such extreme symptoms as cowering under the table. The symptoms may be more subtle; or the dog's lifespan may be reduced. But this is an unproductive line of discussion. I'll simply accept the independent testimony that Kane doesn't seem obviously distressed by the e-collar. Non-obvious distress, I'm less sure about; but I don't see any way to have it measured, so... moving on.


I see what you're saying, and maybe it's the fact that we are now training for schutzhund-style obedience and looking to compete - sure, the unwanted behavior stops. But we're constantly training, constantly working on different things, constantly proofing. So, in OUR case, the training (and training methods) are ongoing. It's important not to over-use the training tools, as well. Like I said before, coming up on the BH, we were doing obedience with just a fursaver (which is what he was allowed on the trial field) and no e-collar. Obviously, because he wasn't going to be able to wear an e-collar on the field. So we had to train without it. And correct accordingly. Yes, he still got corrections (leash) if needed, and still got praise and food rewards when appropriate - even though in the real world, I'm not always going to have food/treats on me.


wegobad wrote:Yeah; you can do a lot with training, but we sometimes encounter a dog's individual limitations, and it would be better to use a different dog for that particular job. But then we get back to the possibility that, for whatever reason, the owner has no use for a dog with that particular limitation. Regardless of my disapproval, the owner is the dog's owner, not me.


Obedience, in my opinion, any dog can do. It comes down to rules. Now, some dogs are "flashier" than others, but I still think it's about control and the dog respecting you. I don't have a problem "making" Kane do obedience - I know he's capable. And fact of the matter is, dog aggression aside, "down" means "down."


wegobad wrote:So let's assume that for whatever reason, the dog must hold a Long Down, by the end of the month, or else the local ACO will follow a court order to seize and euth' the dog. In that situation, if the owner has the choice of PTSing the dog or using an e-collar for quicker training results, I'd probably rather see the dog shocked occasionally. Especially if the dog seems mostly happy despite the e-collar.

Of course, it's a false dichotomy, because PTS and e-collar are not the only choices. There's also clicker training, desensitization / counter-conditioning, and maybe CAT. Heck, there's probably pharmaceutical stuff that could help, like DAP or something. But if someone must change the dog's behavior in a hurry, with limited resources, or else the dog gets PTS, then I'm not going to jump on them for trying an e-collar. I'll just be glad I'm not in their situation.


You're right. PTS and e-collar were not my only options. My dog was already quarantined once, and had gotten into 2 (total) dog fights. It boils down to control was needed and I found a trainer who I liked and who uses all types of training methods. When the e-collar was brought up, it was discussed in depth. I asked questions. I felt it myself. I understood how exactly it was going to be used. And it was a correction/training tool that would allow me to correct my dog while still keeping a loose leash and not tensing up and pulling the leash tight at the sight of another dog. I never tried clicker-training, so I can't say it didn't work for me. I "can" say that I don't "believe" it would have gotten me the control I needed. The e-collar did (in my situation).

wegobad wrote:Yes, I have. At the time, that's the advice I was aware of, and the people advising me to do it sounded like they knew what they were talking about. And you're right, those can be abusive too (which is why Red argues against them too). Sometimes, I was abusive, though I didn't intend it. I don't use that stuff any longer, and it's tough for me to imagine a situation where I'd want to.


I can respect that. I don't have a problem with using different methods and corrections. That's just me. I don't expect everyone else to think just like me. It would definitely make for a dull world! lol I don't feel I've been abusive - I think I'm fair. Some dogs can't handle harsh verbal commands, so that too could be considered abusive. My point was, any tool *could* be abusive. It's all in the hands in which they lay.

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby Roo » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:31 pm

mommy2kane wrote:
wegobad wrote:
mommy2kane wrote:
wegobad wrote:
You see, it's puzzling to me, because I know of other high-drive DA dogs who have titled in various dog sports like Schutzhund, who were trained with positive reinforcement / negative punishment, and not with shock collars, prong collars, etc.

Please give us a list of these High Drive DA dogs and their handlers because I would love to talk to them about their methods.

I'll respond to the rest in a sec.

The dogsports titled "high drive DA dogs" I was thinking of are Nelson's Drago, some of Diane Jessup's dogs, and Wallace the Disk Dog. Could be that I'm wrong about how some of them were trained, though; all I know about it is what sticks in my mind from reading here. (And as you see from my questions, I don't know that much about Schutzhund...) (I know Disk Dog isn't as impressive as Schutzhund, but the dog is off leash, chasing a disk, in a park full of other dogs... :dunno: )


I'm in no way trying to drag others into this debate, that don't want to participate voluntarily. However, I do have reason to believe that some of the names you listed have used some level of compulsion (i.e. e-collars, prong collars, choke collars, etc).


Didn't read this whole thread, but just for the record Wallace has never had any other collar on besides his normal buckle collar that he always wears. No prong, no choke, no e-collar (except for the cone from when he got neutered and swallowed part of the spatula). Just a buckle collar and six foot leash. I used a long line in the park when we first started out.

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby mommy2kane » Sat Oct 31, 2009 8:17 pm

Roo wrote:
mommy2kane wrote:
wegobad wrote:
mommy2kane wrote:
wegobad wrote:
You see, it's puzzling to me, because I know of other high-drive DA dogs who have titled in various dog sports like Schutzhund, who were trained with positive reinforcement / negative punishment, and not with shock collars, prong collars, etc.

Please give us a list of these High Drive DA dogs and their handlers because I would love to talk to them about their methods.

I'll respond to the rest in a sec.

The dogsports titled "high drive DA dogs" I was thinking of are Nelson's Drago, some of Diane Jessup's dogs, and Wallace the Disk Dog. Could be that I'm wrong about how some of them were trained, though; all I know about it is what sticks in my mind from reading here. (And as you see from my questions, I don't know that much about Schutzhund...) (I know Disk Dog isn't as impressive as Schutzhund, but the dog is off leash, chasing a disk, in a park full of other dogs... :dunno: )


I'm in no way trying to drag others into this debate, that don't want to participate voluntarily. However, I do have reason to believe that some of the names you listed have used some level of compulsion (i.e. e-collars, prong collars, choke collars, etc).


Didn't read this whole thread, but just for the record Wallace has never had any other collar on besides his normal buckle collar that he always wears. No prong, no choke, no e-collar (except for the cone from when he got neutered and swallowed part of the spatula). Just a buckle collar and six foot leash. I used a long line in the park when we first started out.

Roo


No worries! I wasn't including you in my "I have reason to believe" comment.

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby Roo » Sat Oct 31, 2009 8:44 pm

I wasn't worried.... just wanted to make sure that was put out there. ;)

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby MikeInTacoma » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:39 am

That reminds me... In light of Nelson's thread about using prong collars, I guess Drago doesn't belong on the list. (Though he seems to strongly dislike e-collars.) And I'm really not that sure about Diane Jessup's training. From her posts about teaching dogs to Heel and Out, I infer that she's in the positive reinforcement camp; but I don't really know, and she's no longer a member here. So I don't really have a list of highly driven, titled, DA dogs who were trained without compulsion. :oops:

Perhaps someone else who follows the dogsports world more closely could rescue me on this? lol

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby Absolute Peril » Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:17 pm

For me an E-Collar would be a last resort. I do use some corrections in training but I don't think I could shock my dogs. I think it can work and I think it can be misused just like any tool like a choke chain or prong collar. Just my opinion.

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby vadersmom » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:55 pm

I've used an e collar before. Only had to use it once and never had to use it again.....

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby Red Chrome » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:13 am

Just a word on dogsports and dogs being titled through positive methods......Some of DJ's titled dogs...a LOT of them have SEEN the use of an E-collar at some point in their sportlife. Les Flores trained Dirk and I know for a fact that there was an E-collar used. Not too many people with good high-drive working dogs that don't employ an e-collar at some point in their training, although there are some out there. My TD/club president clicker trained a Rottie to a SchH3 so I know that it can be done.

Honestly, I use mostly Positive reinforcement and a ton of Ivan B.'s methods. BUT I also use an E-collar. I use it for wanting to kill the cat, positive reinforcement didn't work. I use it for proofing OB behaviors on the training field and also for focus work. I use it for focus work as it has a "Tone only" button, that emits a tone when pushed, I use this feature as a clicker would be used BUT I can do this from a 400 yard distance and give my dog positive reinforcement. I put him in a 'platz" click/tone and walk away, every 50 feet I go, I "toned" him again to reinforce the "platz" then I moved it out to a 100 feet and now, I go where he can't see me and he only gets "toned" once. Not the typical way that your E-collar is used but it works and works great.

My dog is DA to a point(not to the exteme Kane sounds like) but he is DA. The E-collar has helped us work through some issues with that. Me telling him "fuuey" wasn't enough, a leash pop wasn't enough, he could care less about "cookies" and at that point, a toy is nothing to him once he is fixated on something(be it dog, cat, whatever). I little zap with the collar and he regains focus, i correct him with the collar when he is in that insne drive state, and he turns his head to look at me, as soon as he gives me eye contact, he is rewarded as much as I can reward him.

I wasn't commenting on this thread even though I've been reading it as many people on here jump someone that uses different methods than them. Especailly something as sensitive a subject as an E-collar. They are not cure-alls, lifesavers etc. They are just another tool in the bag of training tools. Nothing more than that. When used proprely, there is nothing wrong with them, but like ANY tool(even a headcollar) when used improperly, they can hurt a dog. The "used it once and never used it again" statements are SCARY to me as a properly used E-collar doesn't work like that normally.

Courtney

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby Red Chrome » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:24 am

DP but here is someone that is very versed in e-collars and is a wealth of knowledge...

http://www.loucastle.com/myth.htm

http://www.loucastle.com/articles.htm

Courtney

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby Adrianne » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:59 pm

Wallace, being DA, benefited I am sure from an alternative desire, stronger than his desire to fight another dog. His awesome frisbee skills perhaps?

What does one do when they have a dog who has no higher desire? Unable to redirect, the next option is purely control, yes? Potentially this is the place (after all solid foundation training has been laid out but the road block is hit at every dog sighting) an electric collar comes into play?

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby Stormi » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:18 pm

Here's a fantastic article regarding the use of a shock collar and its behavioral fallout:

http://www.4pawsu.com/IAABC_Ecollar.pdf

It's quite lengthy, so I didn't want to post the full 18 pages on here :)


I have to say, I notice a lot of folks that seem to be pro-shock collar that claim "treats don't work at this point" seem to fail to notice that once the dog is in that high aroused state, they are over their threshold. Proper desensitization and counterconditioning, if it is to work, needs to be worked on BELOW threshold. Any animal in a high anxiety state cannot and will not learn anything.

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby mommy2kane » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:37 pm

Stormi wrote:I have to say, I notice a lot of folks that seem to be pro-shock collar that claim "treats don't work at this point" seem to fail to notice that once the dog is in that high aroused state, they are over their threshold. Proper desensitization and counterconditioning, if it is to work, needs to be worked on BELOW threshold. Any animal in a high anxiety state cannot and will not learn anything.


And some people have actually tried methods BELOW threshold. I do believe that some dogs can succeed with counterconditioning and desensitization - and they actually start associating other dogs with a good thing (treats, whatever). However, I also believe that with some dogs, that doesn't happen. My dog would want nothing more than to jump on another dog. That's greater than the possibility that he may be rewarded if he sees a dog and immediately looks to me. So, for us, a correction works better. And that's what I use. It doesn't bother me if others use different methods - again, whatever works for you AND your dog.

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby mommy2kane » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:10 pm

I'm trying to read through the study posted by Stormi, but's it's going to take a bit. I'm skimming now, just to see if I can relate to anything in the article.

The goal of this study was to determine the behavioral changes in dogs during training using electronic training collars. Thirty-two dogs were divided into two groups, each receiving both general obedience and protection training. One group was trained with shock collars and the other group without shock collars. The dogs trained with the shock collars displayed signs of stress: lowering of body posture, high-pitched yelps, barks and squeals, avoidance, redirected aggression, and tongue flicking. It was also noted by the authors that, even during play and relaxed walking, the group of dogs trained with shock collars continued to show signs of stress while in the company of their handler.


I don't see where they mention what the "non e-collar" group was trained with. I might have missed it. Sure, there are going to be "signs" when giving an e-collar correction. The dog is reacting to it. High-pitched yelps could be the reaction to a low stim, and the dog is just surprised. It doesn't have to mean that the remote was turned up all the way and the dog experienced extreme pain. Avoidance - in my case, I don't mind it. I know my dog will never be "ok" with other dogs, and if he avoids that other dog (which would probably mean that he's not going to react to that dog) I'm fine with it. As far as I'm concerned, my dog doesn't display signs of stress during play or normal walking, etc, just because he's been training with an e-collar. And I'm sure he's aware that I correct him, yet he's not stressed out when he's around me and we're not training.

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Re: OFFICIAL e-collar debate thread

Postby Red Chrome » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:46 pm

Stormi wrote:Here's a fantastic article regarding the use of a shock collar and its behavioral fallout:

http://www.4pawsu.com/IAABC_Ecollar.pdf

It's quite lengthy, so I didn't want to post the full 18 pages on here :)


I have to say, I notice a lot of folks that seem to be pro-shock collar that claim "treats don't work at this point" seem to fail to notice that once the dog is in that high aroused state, they are over their threshold. Proper desensitization and counterconditioning, if it is to work, needs to be worked on BELOW threshold. Any animal in a high anxiety state cannot and will not learn anything.


You know, this is why I didn't post that I used an E-collar. Some people can't get over the fact that in some cases they do work and that they are not evil torture devices.

Have you met my dog? Have you evaluated him to say that I was working him over the threshold?? NO. BUT my trainer has and is a huge proponent of positive reinforcement SO I feel that if he recommends an E-collar then it is definetely time to try one. So is it us failing to notice a dog in a highly aroused state over their threshold or is it the lack of being able to judge a dog's behavior over the internet.

I understand about counterconditioning and desensitization being done properly as I've done it very successfully with my other dog.

Judge is a happy happy dog and shows no ill side affects of having an e-collar used on him.

Courtney


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