||Article: Introducing the
It’s a question many novice
dog owners ask themselves as they look at their
new wriggling pup and the shiny new
Shock Collar they’ve bought with hopes
of transforming an undisciplined bundle of canine
energy into a well-behaved, well-mannered member
of the family.
According to veteran dog trainer
Rob Dunn of Triple Crown Dog Academy in Hutto, Texas,
the next step may
be the most important in the dog’s development.
Because an improper introduction to the training collar
can permanently affect a dog’s ability to respond
to training, proper initial use is a crucial step in
developing a mannered, disciplined dog that’s ready
for the field, competition or just to take on the role
of the family pet, Dunn said.
The first step in the introduction
process is to determine the correct level of stimulation
for your dog. To do
this, Dunn said, first place the collar on the dog with
the receiver securely below the dog’s lower jaw.
The collar should be snug enough to make positive contact,
but not so tight that it causes the dog discomfort or
restricts its movements.
Next, take the dog on a leash
to an enclosed area that’s
large enough to let him wander. Once his attention is
diverted, begin introducing the stimulation starting
at the collar’s lowest level. If the dog shows
no signs that he can feel the stimulation, bump it up
to the next level. Higher levels are then introduced
until the dog begins to respond.
Because response can be as subtle as a slight turning
of the head or scratching at the collar, the owner needs
to be particularly observant, Dunn said. If the dog responds
by crying out, whimpering or barking, the stimulation
is too high and should be reduced.
“You want to have it at the lowest level possible
without causing the dog to panic or vocalize,” Dunn
said. When the proper stimulation level has been determined,
you’re ready to begin training. No matter what
kind of dog he’s training or the age of the dog,
Dunn said he begins the training process by teaching
it to come to him on command. To begin this training,
he returns the dog to the same confined area he used
to introduce it to the collar. But this time, the dog
is outfitted with a 30-ft. lead as well as the remote
The dog is permitted to wander away and become distracted.
Dunn then gives the dog the recall command that he wishes
to use to get him to come to him while activating the
collar in the continuous stimulation mode and gently
coaxing him with the leash.
“What we’re trying to do is teach the dog
how to shut off the stimulation,” Dunn said. “Because
the collar is non-directional some dogs will just scratch
at it or start to walk away. That’s the reason
for the 30-foot leash. As soon as the dog starts to come
to me, I turn the stimulation off.” The dog is
then praised and rewarded for his response.
This initial training should take place in the same
enclosure until the dog begins to show a basic understanding
of the command and the leash is no longer needed. Because
this could take several days and many repetitions, trainers
need to be patient, Dunn said.
Once the dog is responding positively,
training should be moved to a new enclosed location.
Another back yard,
a tennis court or any other fenced enclosure can be used,
Dunn said. Because dogs respond differently in a new
location, the training leash should be reintroduced at
this time until the dog once again responds to the recall
command. As the dog begins to gain confidence, training
should be moved to three or four new sites to ensure
he fully understands the command, Dunn said. From there,
new commands such as sit, place, heel and down are introduced
to the training regimen.
The biggest mistake people make when training a dog
to return on command, Dunn said, is they assume the dog
somehow already knows what the command means prior to
the training. Instead, the owner should show and direct
the dog so they have a basic understanding of what the
“They tend to believe he already knows the recall
command, so they put the collar on him, send him outside
and call him back. When he doesn’t respond they
hit him with the stimulation, which is usually set too
high, and the dog takes off,” he said.
While too much stimulation at
the wrong time can be detrimental to a dog, Dunn said
there are times when
it’s alright to bump the collar up to the next
“If he’s jumping up and putting his paws
on the sliding glass door or getting into the trash,
then I’d use a little higher stimulation.” he
said. “But the amount of negative motivation needs
to be just enough to stop the behavior. The punishment
needs to fit the crime.”
While initial training is important
in a dog’s
development, Dunn said it isn’t permanent. As time
goes on, dog owners should be prepared to reintroduce
and revisit many of the same training techniques they
used during the puppy years. But if the initial training
was done properly this refresher will go much easier,
“Dogs aren’t like computers. Even dogs that
compete at high levels of competition go back for refresher
training,” Dunn said.
Rob Dunn is a Senior Staff Trainer at Triple Crown Dog
Academy. He has worked as a professional trainer for
nine years. He currently specializes in training dogs
for law enforcement as well as obedience training and
Kent Walton and Rob Dunn
reprint courtesy of Innotek Pet-Products
Note: SecurePets carries several
Shock Collars to fit every situation.