The dog training industry is very polarized. You have pure positive trainers teaching dogs using food, minimal consequences, and some will not even use the word “no.” On the other hand, you have balanced trainers using positive methods, but also providing consequences so that dogs can learn both sides of the coin, what we want from them (rewarded) and what behaviors are not acceptable (punished). Both prong collars and e collars are subject to debate from these two opposite ends of the industry.
The goal isn’t to make the dog fear not listening, but understand that when they are feeling pressure, they are doing something that we do not want, and when the pressure is released they have done what we are asking of them. I would be lying if I said that this pressure wasn’t a source of discomfort, but it is extremely minimal and once understood (dogs learn quick!) the dog will learn that he is in control of turning the pressure on and off. Using too much force or pressure could absolutely cause momentary pain, and tolerances vary dog by dog (and not necessarily breed!). When using any tools, including food & affection, it is important to make sure that the tool is working for us, not against us. At first, some dogs may reject the prong and e-collar, before they understand exactly how it works. This is mostly found in stubborn dogs, and not necessarily sensitive ones. Once they learn how it works, this cautiousness around the tool typically goes away pretty quickly.
Before proceeding on your own or hiring a trainer, it is important to do a TON of research on balanced training methods and only work with a trainer you can trust and that is willing to address any concerns that you have.
With proper introduction of the prong or e-collar, you will learn to speak a language that your dog understands, and therefore he will understand the rules that you set (well, the ones you enforce), which will allow him to make better decisions aligned with those rules.
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Tips, tricks, and lessons learned from Everywhere Dog and their journey!
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