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Thread: Help--bad first e-collar session with "here"

  1. #1
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    Default Help--bad first e-collar session with "here"

    Hi--I'm training my first dog (6 mo old) and new to the forum. I've got a ton of questions, and I'm very glad to have found a place with knowledgeable people to ask.

    I am using Smartwork, and started formalizing "here" today. The dog did pretty well through the first couple levels of pressure, but then he started refusing to leave my side. Okay, I connected a second rope and looped it around a pole and used it to keep him in place until I was ready to call. Problem was, I couldn't handle two ropes and the remote all at once. Doing so resulted in the dog getting hopelessly tangled in the ropes, me getting tangled in the ropes, and general chaos (pretty much the opposite of useful training). So I changed tactics and removed one of the ropes, using only one rope wrapped around a pole to keep the dog far enough away. I gave the command, giving some friction on the restraint rope, and he came right to me even without a "here" rope to guide him in. Great so far. A couple levels later (3.5 low, and showing a head turn in response to the pressure) using this same technique, when I call "here" instead of coming straight to me like he had every other time, he wandered around confused, head turned sideways, until I could scramble for a piece of the restraint rope on the other side of the pole and tug him to me.
    a
    Now, this dog also has an annoying tendency of bouncing away whenever anyone tries to pet him (then bouncing back to force his head under your hand immediately afterwards), which I've been handling by just turning my back on him whenever he does it. At this point in the session, this annoying habit became suddenly much worse, to the point where providing positive reinforcement for successful reps became very difficult. Also, out of the blue, he started following me and play-nipping the back of my jeans, which he hasn't done for three months. The second time he nipped my jeans I gave him a "no" and a strong nick and it (mostly) stopped that behavior. I re-connected the "here" rope to provide more guidance and things went more or less okay. I didn't go any higher on the pressure and backed him down the levels until we stopped at 1-medium.

    While he appeared to understand what we were doing, I never saw the noticeable increase in devotion to task that's supposed to happen during this process.

    Edited to add: Some background on the dog. He is a 6 mo. old standard poodle. Very eager to retrieve, very birdy, very high-energy. He has been doing obedience with positive reinforcement since 3 mos. and understands "here", "sit", "down" and "cage" (kennel) very well. He has been wearing an e-collar since 4 mos., which we used correctively to stop a play-nipping problem that was fixing to get him an eviction notice from my wife if not stopped. (Believe me, we tried everything else, and he was incorrigible).

    I'm sure I did wrong just about everything that could be done wrong. So, a few questions for anyone willing to share some knowledge with a total newbie:

    (1) Did I ruin my dog?
    (2) Should I wait a couple of days and re-try this session (figuring out a way to manage all the ropes and the remote by myself in the meantime), or just go to reinforcement?
    (3) Should I worry about his sudden reversion to play-nipping?
    (4) Was the head-turning a sign of too much pressure?
    Last edited by JNG; 11-13-2012 at 09:28 PM.

  2. #2
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    Don't worry, it's pretty much impossable to "ruin" a dog in one training session. If you can't master the mechanics get a helper to hold the restraining rope for you. Remember take it SLOW
    Last edited by rbr; 11-12-2012 at 08:15 PM.
    Bert Rodgers

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    can be hard enough to not get tangled with one rope...do both of you a favour and get a helper
    Last edited by Newf; 11-12-2012 at 08:26 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JustinS's Avatar
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    Answers to your questions

    No you didnt ruin your dog. - Pretty sure
    Dont be worried about the nipping - still a pup- dont allow it but - probably dont give a Collar correction for it during this type of drill though
    yes wait a few days and act like it never happened that is alot of pressure I usually go every other day and do other yard work in between.
    No the head turning was not a sign of too much pressure it is a form of avoidance - During a Seminar he gave he said that the dog is trying to avoid the pressure. - I cant remember exactly what he said but it he gave a clear example of when the setting was too high.

    Quote Originally Posted by Newf View Post
    can be hard enough to not get tangled with one rope...do both of you a favour and get a helper
    X 2 always use 2 ropes -

    Evans CC to here is great I have used it with a few dogs and after a few sessions the dogs dont even think about not coming to you. Remember the higher the setting the longer you praise them once they are by your side give a few minutes and make sure that they know you are where they want to be at. Have your partner pull the rope and you walk with the dog back to the pole. you may have to hold the "here" rope tight so the pup doesnt get tangled up in the other rope going the other way - Ropes can suck during this drill but they are also what makes it so successful. good luck
    Last edited by JustinS; 11-12-2012 at 09:09 PM.
    Justin E Schneider

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  5. #5
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    ...and, you do not need to pet your dog to give him positive reinforcement. Use your voice to praise him (when he deserves it!) - good long-term habit to get into as it can be used during a variety of situations and does not interupt the training and/or the dog's focus like petting might. Some pats after the training is done for the day is fine of course.

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    Thanks for all the great feedback here and over PM. It's a little painful to be new, but I'm glad for all the guidance and opinions. It's been suggested that some more background on the dog might alter some of the advice I'm getting. So I edited the above to add:

    Some background on the dog. He is a 6 mo. old standard poodle. Very eager to retrieve, very birdy, very high-energy. He has been doing obedience with positive reinforcement since 3 mos. and understands "here", "sit", "down" and "cage" (kennel) very well. He has been wearing an e-collar since 4 mos., which we used correctively to stop a play-nipping problem that was fixing to get him an eviction notice from my wife if not stopped. (Believe me, we tried everything else, and he was incorrigible). It has been used intermittently ever since to stop unwanted behaviors, but only after teaching that the dog that the behavior is unwanted using sounds the dog recognizes as verbal disapproval to teach him that the behavior is unwanted, then a progression of mild stimulation + verbal disapproval until we're sure he knows that doing the act will result in stimulation, followed by verbal disapproval + stimulation at a corrective level.

    So, I guess I have an additional (fifth) question based on some of the initial feedback I got: has this behavior-corrective use of the collar put the dog on the wrong footing to formalize obedience through use of collar conditioning? If so, opinions on how to get him back on the right foot?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
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    JNG,
    Welcome to the RTF
    Nope you did not ruin your dog.
    If you mostly train alone and do not have easy access to a helper, second rope and pole like in the smartplan.
    There is another way to CC and all you need is a working collar, 6 foot leash, healing stick, a Dawg and the motivation to get your self out the door and do it.
    "So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold

    "The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery is not Ignorance -- It is the Illusion of Knowledge" ~ Daniel Boorstin

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    Senior Member Charles C.'s Avatar
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    I may get flamed for this and sorry in advance to Evan Graham, but the way he collar conditions to here in his program is cumbersome and too easy to screw up for a newcomer (in my opinion of course). I think his program is fundamentally sound and would perhaps even recommend it, but I just don't see the necessity of using a continuous burn and a helper to collar condition a dog to here. Do yourself (and your dog) a favor and buy Mike Lardy's ecollar conditioning video to supplement Evan's program.

  9. #9
    Senior Member PalouseDogs's Avatar
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    If you haven't already done so, sign up for the Huntingpoodle yahoo group. Introduce yourself, say where you live, and you will probably find some other poodle owner that lives close enough to help you out.
    Kelly Cassidy (person)

    SR Maple Cassidy CDX JH RE (golden retriever)
    Alder Cassidy CDX RE (standard poodle chipmunk chaser)
    plus the "old ladies" (2 elderly mix-breed rescue girls)

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNG View Post
    Thanks for all the great feedback here and over PM. It's a little painful to be new, but I'm glad for all the guidance and opinions. It's been suggested that some more background on the dog might alter some of the advice I'm getting. So I edited the above to add:

    Some background on the dog. He is a 6 mo. old standard poodle. Very eager to retrieve, very birdy, very high-energy. He has been doing obedience with positive reinforcement since 3 mos. and understands "here", "sit", "down" and "cage" (kennel) very well. He has been wearing an e-collar since 4 mos., which we used correctively to stop a play-nipping problem that was fixing to get him an eviction notice from my wife if not stopped. (Believe me, we tried everything else, and he was incorrigible). It has been used intermittently ever since to stop unwanted behaviors, but only after teaching that the dog that the behavior is unwanted using sounds the dog recognizes as verbal disapproval to teach him that the behavior is unwanted, then a progression of mild stimulation + verbal disapproval until we're sure he knows that doing the act will result in stimulation, followed by verbal disapproval + stimulation at a corrective level.

    So, I guess I have an additional (fifth) question based on some of the initial feedback I got: has this behavior-corrective use of the collar put the dog on the wrong footing to formalize obedience through use of collar conditioning? If so, opinions on how to get him back on the right foot?
    I think you've already done your own version of collar conditioning by using the collar to extinguish undesirable behavior over the past several months. He's likely a bit confused.

    I think it may take a bit of time to help pup understand the application of collar stimulation in the context of formalized training exercises. I'd say you read of the head turning is accurate. He's anticipating the stimulation from the collar. Even in the "best" of training situations, the dog at your side does not perform quite like the one in the video doing the same step. You're going to see some variations...because there are some variations.

    Be sure to read the dog. If you think he's confused, use your common sense and don't let frustration or anger cloud stuff....easier said than done some times.

    Chris
    "Determining and applying the criteria for when and when not to use correction is the essence of the art of dog training. I make a distinction between a mistake and a lack of effort." - Mike Lardy - Volume I "After Collar Conditioning"

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