I no longer apologize for using this “shock collar.” Not only has it potentially saved our dog Jolie’s life on at least two occasions, but it has given us a measure of security and Jolie a degree of freedom that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
The system works like this: the collar has a receiver on it with two stimulation-delivering prongs that fit snugly against the dog’s neck or throat, depending on how the collar is positioned. The human carries a transmitter (about the size/weight of a deck of cards), which will deliver stimulation at a range of up to 300 yards.
The dog must first know the command you want. It won’t work if the dog does not know what you are asking of her. Once you are sure the dog knows what you want (we found that Jolie would “come” indoors but not outside), give the “Come!” command. When the dog doesn’t come, immediately say (shout!) “No!” while simultaneously pressing the “tone warning” on the transmitter. This will cause the collar to make a quiet beep the dog can hear. Again, try the “Come!” command. If the dog doesn’t come, immediately say “No!” while simultaneously pressing one of the stimulation buttons on the transmitter to deliver the shock. You can choose “momentary” to deliver a brief, pre-measured tap or “continuous” which delivers stimulation for up to 10 seconds. Call “Come!” one last time — either after the tap or during the continuous stimulation — and this should get the dog on her way. As soon as the dog starts to come, stop the stimulation and immediately begin to praise her. If she gets distracted on her way, she gets another “No!” accompanied with more stimulation. As soon as she complies, the stimulation stops and she gets lavish praise.
This sequence of commands and activations is fast. At the start, you will have more difficulty fumbling with the buttons and timing than your dog will have responding to the collar. The stimulation level (controlled by the transmitter) ranges from 1 – 7. It usually takes a 3 to reinforce the “Come!” command with Jolie. Only on two occasions did I have to go higher and that was when she was in hot pursuit of a cat. Imagine the relief I felt as she was heading full speed, headlong toward the street and was stopped in mid-flight by a jolt from her collar.
We adopted Jolie as a young adult and while she quickly learned “sit”, “stay”, “down”, etc., she would not respond to “Come!” in the park amid the distraction of scents and dogs. We tried everything: two series of training classes, a personal trainer, and an armload of dog training books. To no avail Jolie would NOT come. Her rescue group suggested an electric collar and loaned us the Innotek collar (one of its volunteers met with us for a training session). Within one afternoon, Jolie was coming when called – and it took only a couple of weeks until we no longer had to activate the stimulation on the collar to reinforce the command.
We’ve now been using the collar for 8 months. Only very rarely do we need to deliver stimulation as reinforcement. Almost every time, she comes on command. For those rare times she doesn’t come right away, usually a tone or “No!” will get her moving in the right direction. I’m not exactly sure how the dog knows to come when she receives stimulation, but I’m guessing it’s the quick, consistent, and proximal combination of negative stimulation and positive praise.
I have tested the collar on my wrist (not neck) on all levels (I also taste new dog food and treats). The collar goes up to Level 7. It’s hard to describe the differences in the shock experienced as I have no experiential gauge. I touched an electric fence once at the zoo when I was 10, but that’s about it. Level’s 3-5 give me an involuntary jump reaction. They are uncomfortable. But the discomfort or pain of an electrical shock is different from other types of pain. As soon as the shock stops, so does the pain. Level’s 6&7 are very uncomfortable, in a startling, well, shocking way. As I said, we’ve only gone to that level couple of times. It made her leap into the air. I’m sure it was painful, shocking. But when I compare it to the pain and trauma of getting run over (remember, she was in hot pursuit of a cat), or getting away from us and fighting with another dog (she’s a pit bull, she’d win) I’d do it again.
The loaner collar from the rescue agency was not working properly (it had been submerged in the ocean and would not consistently deliver a simulation – even though the collars are supposed to be waterproof). We decided to purchase the same brand and model due to its good reputation in the dog training industry and its low price compared to its main competitors (we bought ours on eBay for $100). Our collar has gotten fully wet and continues to work perfectly.
[Although the Innotek Training Collar is no longer available, the Petsafe PDT00-12470 is comparable. It has positive and negative tones, and a 400 yard range. It's also the highest rated dog training collar on Amazon. -- OH]