Age for bark collar vs ecollar?

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Age for bark collar vs ecollar?

Post by woodford86 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:50 pm

Hi all, picked up a garmin 550 for a steal and had a couple quick questions. Puppy in question is a 17 week lab and my first dog. Goal is upland and waterfowl retriever.

1- I know you should wait a while to use the ecollar function (Dokken says 8-9 months, other guys say six months), but what about the bark limiter? My boy is starting to bark at some things randomly (like blowing snow, or his reflection, and sometimes when in the garage or kennel). I’d like him to be a quiet dog obviously so not sure what the best way/age to use bark limiter is. Ultimately I’d like to be able to leave it at the parents for dog-sitting and not have them worry about annoying the neighbors.

2- Are there any good guides/programs for the ecollar? I’ve only read Dokkens retriever book and he covers it a little, but nothing in depth. Would like a full program if possible.

3- Any reason I can’t use the tone function now and just leave the shock/vibrate for later?

4- What’s the best use for tone? I was gonna use it for reinforcement like a clicker but that could be a waste once he gets older, so my next thought is either recall or sit-stay. Any tips or advice to train that?

5- What’re your thoughts on when to start using the ecollar?

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Re: Age for bark collar vs ecollar?

Post by Sharon » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:08 pm

Lots of good questions there. Welcome to the forum.
Basic principle for an e collar is that it only used to REINFORCE a command the dog already knows.
example: If you've taught your dog to come when called , and he ignores you, the e collar stimulation can be used at your dog's age imo. At 17 weeks though I would only use it for one or two command reinforcements.
The lowest level should be used that gets the dog's attention/ compliance. Having a dog cry out or jump out of his skin is never acceptable.

I have a very noisy JRT. I use the bark eliminator regularly ; however all day in a kennel seems excessive to me. I use it for a couple hours when I am trying to sleep, have company or the neighbour's dog is encouraging a rucus. Been years since I ever had to charge the battery even as the dog knows.

( Personally , I have never found much use for the tone feature.)
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Re: Age for bark collar vs ecollar?

Post by shags » Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:20 am

I'd wouldn't use a bark collar on a young pup. I'm no PhD in dog psychology, but it seems to me like pups go through a few developmental stages just like human babies, and barking "at everything" is one of them. At my house, we use "Enough!" to let the pup know to stop; that lets the dog know that alerting to something odd is OK, but that *we* are large and in charge and whatever the supposed danger is, we will take care of it. All my dogs have grown out of that stage and we've never had a random barker. Except for one, who as an adult did that Bark Bark Bark just to hear himself. A bark collar helped with that.

As for ecollars, I condition my pups at around 5 months old and generally find the need for use at 5-6 months when they get independence and legs in the field, and ignore recalls or turn commands. Just a little tickle tap does the trick. I turn up the power only for trashbreaking. I would limit the ecollar use to one command at a time until the dog is mature and should be reliable on most everything. For instance, use it for recall, not recall and heel and hup and whoa all in a session. I saw a guy doing that with his lab, and the poor dog was a mass of quivering jelly. Every time it moved or didn't move, it got zapped.

Use the stimulation that works for your dog. If he is adverse to a vibrate, that might do the trick for you and the shock might not be necessary. Don't fall into the trap of nagging with the collar; use the lowest level that you know works the first time.
I've never had a collar with the tone feature, but I can't imagine that the noise would be pleasant to a dog for use as a marker. Folks I know who use the tone use it for recall when wind conditions etc put the dog out of earshot, or as a 'get ready' type alert.

Good luck with your pup.

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