Soft Touch Electronic collar training
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Soft Touch electronic collar training

Using technology, such as; electrical stimulation to train a dog?... To many this sounds either futuristic or inhumane.  I am here to tell you that as a former critic of the electronic collar, I have over the years become enlightened on what an extremely useful training device this can be, and surprisingly with the right person can be quite humane.  The electronic collar, also commonly referred to as the e-collar has become a very popular training device amongst trainers, giving dogs off leash freedom as well as rehabilitating a variety of behaviour issues. 

I have had the opportunity to train with one of the best electronic collar trainers out there, Brian Agnew of "The Balanced Dog"; while participating in the Lucas Agnew workshop in California, USA.  This four day dog psychology workshop also introduces students to evolutionary cutting edge e-collar instruction.  Brian is at the top of his game and was a former trainer of the Cesar's Way workshop (a workshop put on by famed "Dog Whisperer - Cesar Millan" at his Dog Psychology Center). 

Watching Brian work the electronic collar was an eye opening experience for me, not only was the electronic collar used as a communication device, but it also looked like an art form.  The communication between dog and handler was fluent and compelling, so subtle was any reaction of the dog to the collar it could easily be missed, but to the expert eye there was a response.  We were surprised to learn in many cases that the dog had responded and many had already missed this response. 


Later on, I learned that we are not training for the dog to react to the collar, but to respond to it instead.  A reaction would be considered too adversive, instead, we wanted to see that subtle response or indication the dog understood what we wanted.  Nor did we want to start out adversive so as to send a strong message to the dog, later to dial it down, but always wanted that more intuitive communication from the beginning.
   
I learned how to not only communicate with the dog through the electronic collar, but also learned how to listen to the dog, and feel what she was trying to communicate back to me.  Over the years some truly gifted e-collar designers have developed the most revolutionary systems, with wide ranges of stimulation up to over a hundred levels, and adding in new features, such as; the pager system, nick and continuous buttons, and much more. 

Traditional e-collars often required that the dog work at too high level of intensity, with little or no ability to dial down to a softer level.  For example, you may have been stuck training your dog on a level four, because, although your dog is not sensitive to level three he feels level four.  The problem arises when level four is too high of a level for him, causing the dog to shut down or show an adverse reaction to both the collar and training process. 

The main advantage of using a collar with a wide range of levels is you can continue to find the right working level for your dog, and as he becomes better trained that level may become lower and lower as your dog becomes properly conditioned and more responsive.  In addition, the nick and continuous bottoms give you further options to get softer with your dog; nick can be used for split second stimulation and with continuous a longer stimulation can be used if the dog needs a little more prompting to allicite a response. 

It is not a good idea to purchase a pet store brand electronic collar for a variety of reasons, the main reason is that they tend to be overly harsh on the dog and come with a low level range 1-6, or 1-10 stimulation settings.  At The Pack Way we are dealers of one of the best e-collar systems in the world, and are currently offering these collars for sale with training. 

These innovative little collars have become great training tools and are now being widely used not only for off leash freedom, but are also being used successfully to rehabilitate a variety of dog behaviour issues, such as; aggression, fear, hyperactivity, obsessive behaviours, and much more.  The training process has changed over the years, with many trainers moving towards what is known as low level remote collar training, a training process which resists causing undue psychological harm or shut down behaviours in dogs. 

The freedom this collar can give to dogs and their families is truly amazing, many dogs never get to feel the pleasure of running free as their families simply cannot relay on them to come when called.  In a modern word with busy roadways and potential liability issues having an off leash trained dog is crucial should you and your dog wish to enjoy the pleasures of off leash freedom.  This collar can be a life saving device as it greatly increases your dog's ability to come when called with proper conditioning and training. 

This tool does require proper conditioning training and families must commit during this period, but it is well worth the effort.  Dog breeds, such as; huskies, beagles, and hunting breeds which might otherwise never get to go off leash can now enjoy this freedom.  A major advantage of the electronic collar is that it does not require the owner to be physically agile or fit in order to use it, anyone can use it, but the most important thing is they are properly educated and trained on how it works. 

I look forward to offering Soft Touch electronic collar training to families and their dogs, showing them the intuitive way of communicating with their dog, one which requires not only talking but also listening!  We strive to always keep the goal of using the softest touch possible with the dog, and steer away from unnecessary use of force.  We also truly believe that the most important part of this conditioning training is that the dog is enjoying the training process as much as you!