One question I frequently encounter is whether I incorporate shock collars into my training methods. My answer is always a resounding yes. However, before jumping to conclusions about the use of shock collars, it's crucial to understand how they're employed in my training regimen.
When utilized correctly, a shock collar is simply an extension of a long check cord. The key is to first teach the dog the desired behavior through positive reinforcement and clear commands. Take the command "here," for example. We start by teaching our puppies to come when called using treats and leash guidance during walks.
As the dog progresses, we introduce a 20-foot lead for additional reinforcement during training sessions. If the dog hesitates to come when called, a gentle tug on the lead helps guide them in the right direction. This process reinforces the command and ensures the dog understands what is expected of them.
Once the dog reliably responds to commands with the lead, we introduce the shock collar gradually and responsibly. During walks, we continue to use the lead alongside the shock collar, providing a slight nick on the lowest setting to reinforce the command when necessary. This association between the command, the tug on the lead, and the mild stimulation from the collar helps solidify the desired behavior.
It's essential to emphasize that shock collars should never be introduced in the presence of birds or other distractions. Before utilizing the shock function, the dog must fully comprehend the commands and expectations without the collar's assistance.
When used in this manner, shock collars serve as a valuable tool for maintaining consistency and reinforcing desired behaviors. By incorporating positive reinforcement techniques alongside responsible shock collar use, we can effectively train dogs while ensuring their safety and well-being.