Today I was going to the truck with my pup (Cracker) when he decided to go across the street and urinate in one of the village dogs personal space. Well today the neighbors dog was not feeling to friendly and jumped him. Bit him in the back and got a good grip. No apparent damage Just some baffled looks by Cracker. Once he escaped the thrashing he was recieving he turned around loooked at the other dog as if to say what the hail was that for. I personally was happy he did not turn and fight. I plan on having him around other dogs and that is not a problem I want.
He is 21 months old and tips the scale at 90 lbs. Seems large for a lab! He is powerful and has drug my 250 lb frame into the lake on a practice retrieve when I was not set when I threw. He has an issue I need to get a handle on and that is coming when called everytime. If he did the situation this morning would have never occurred. When he is on a long lead 70' he comes immediatly when called. But when running free he comes on a whim usually running and sniffing everything around and sometimes not coming at all. I was thinking of an electric training collar I have never used one and am looking for suggestions on usage, brand and pointers of things to do when one is used. the pics are of him at my office/home here in Nuiqsut. Always under foot and wanting to be petted
All the top shelf training manuals (smartworks, Lardy, etc) have e-collar training programs. They all require that OB be reliable before you start pressing the button. The button does not teach the dog anything. You have to have already introduced force or pressure into the OB training using a heeling stick or pinch collar.
Smartworks does have a "return to here" section that I don't recommend to anyone that has never trained a dog with a collar before. I followed it step by step and in one day burnt my dog out on the whole e-collar thing and put the collar away for 4 months. I spent that time studying other training sources and working traditional OB with manual pressure. Smartworks is the only professionally developed training program that puts e-collars on puppies, but only for the return to here command.
I ended up using the "thats my dog" program for e-collar training pound rescue dogs. It is a low pressure repedative system that slowly gets the dog used to the sensation and is used with commands on lead. It worked out really well and the dog now does not fight putting the collar on. However the collar is on every time she is outside and off lead.
"Thats my dog" program uses Dogtra collars. I had all ready decided on this brand prior to getting the program. The only problem with this choice is that all the training sources use Tri-Tronics and are written using their functions. That makes it harder to use the Dogtra since it works differently for setting the power level.
The reason I chose the Dogtra is that it is small and after many searches on the dog training forums I noticed one thing about them: They don't break very often. Tri-Tronics has a great customer service program. Many people use it and get great results when their transmitters fail. The Dogtra customer service program is a mystery because it is not used very often. Several posts stated that they have both brands of collars and their TT collars have been back many times for service, but their Dogtra has never needed to be sent in for repairs. One trainer has had a Dogtra for over 10 years which is used daily and never a glitch. His TT systems have been to the shop several times over the same period. More use, less abuse? I don't know, but AK is not customer service friendly so I opted for the Dogtra. Had I known that nearly every training manual out there was written specifically for TT collars I might have changed my mind.
If you don't want to go with the e-collar then search for "reliable recall". There are several training methods available on line that will show the step by step methods to train an adult dog to recall.
It all starts while walking at heel.
In my obedience program dogs are taught to not only walk at my side but to change direction when I change direction. I will start by initially changing direction 180. Here's the sequence......Walking forward , command "heel". When you change direction command "here" one step before you actually change direction. When you change direction watch your dog. If he doesn't change in your direction to continue at your side you will give lead correction to get him back alongside with you.
You can turn away from the dog or into the dog. Same sequence though but you may need to check up on the lead some to turn into the dog and use the lead to turn the dog tighter or even use your knees to push the dog in the direction you are turning.
As a side note. You can use any command you want. Just stay consistent in what ever you start with. Voice inflection on your commands is also key. You don't want to sound like you are asking for the task to be done. "Command it".
For all you handling dog folks. I know you are gasping right now. RELAX Most regular obedience dogs I just use "Here" to change direction. Most folks aren't looking to develop a handling dog so using "here" is simpler for them to remember than to use two commands for direction change
Also, training for direction change for future handling dogs is a bit different. It is more complex to start. It still uses the same push into the dog to the left and pull the dog to the right (for left sided heeling dogs). The verbal command is different though. "Here" is still used for going to the right or away from the dog where you will pull the dog with you. "Heel" is used to push the dog when you want to turn to the left or into the dog.
In my non handling dog drill I use "here" in both directions because it is easier for the handler to remember if they don't want to develop handling skills. Over time and consistency in training you are making the command "here" a reinforceable command. If the dog doesn't change in your direction the dog is conditioned that it will get a correction.
Once "here" has been taught properly then you can start collar conditioning. The e collar is just another tool to reinforce obedience. The same as a leash, choke chain or a heeling stick. It is not used to teach it.
You must start off on the lowest setting and then move up in increments to the next higher level as you are doing the same drill. All this while still having the dog on the long lead. When you change direction command "here" followed by a nick from the collar followed by a leash correction followed by another command of "here". So you see your timing is important. You may want to practice coordinating all this before you actually try it with your dog.
You are conditioning the dog to the proper response on how to handle ecollar pressure. They need to know what they are asked. So that when they receive a correction they understand why they got corrected.
"Here", nick, "Here"
The command, pressure for a proper response, and a reminder command to show them how to get out of the pressure.
As you are going up incrementally with your collar. Be careful not to go to high. The dog vocalizing is not our goal and if he does go back down a setting. What you want is to find a level where the dog switches his head. That will be your dogs sensitivity level for that particular model of collar.
As you start let me know your progress. This is only to get you started. There is lots more in collar conditioning that what I have mentioned here.
Keep a close eye on the dog bite if it broke the skin. I was amazed at how quickly a dog bite became a raging infection on one of our dogs. If it starts to look bad, see a vet for antibiotics.