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Thread: Training Collar- or - Hunting Collar????

  1. #41
    Senior Member KwickLabs's Avatar
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    Hunt'EmUp said:
    However, I have been hunting with a great many poor mannered dogs that absolutely need an e-collar to be controlled on a hunt, or be semi-mannered companions in a duck blind at all. I'd hazard to say the vast majority of dogs I've hunted with, if the e-collar must be used to control a dog it is absolutely a crutch covering up either poor or inadequate training and not simply a personal bias.
    Yep, that's true. At my duck camp NONE of the dogs wear an e-collar. And I often hear things like we couldn't find one of the two ducks we knocked down, but I took Fido out near the last one and we got it. So it cuts both ways.

    As far as "hunting with a great many poor mannered dogs that need an e-collar often for control", you must be a very tolerant hunting friend. I solved that problem a long time ago by duck hunting mostly alone.

    Gooser said:
    I don't want to burn dogs when upland hunting, especially when the dog is "hot" on scent and tracking a bird/birds. I don't want any negative association with finding birds.
    This is a huge issue with upland hunting. Many just don't get it. However, the approach that someone might misuse an e-collar in the uplands is not a valid reason for thinking about not wearing one at all. Playing it safe is a comforting way to avoid an issue. However, this tactic generally needs to be reinforced with justification.

    I did quite a bit of upland guiding at a game farm in Wisconsin. My dogs ALWAYS went out wearing an e-collar. There was one area that had a 20 foot drop-off into a limestone quarry. If you hunt upland and have a dog hot on the trail of a running pheasant, instincts and adrenalin can easily over-ride the best of established standards. In reality, hunting can turn risky in the blink of an eye. For me the e-collar is not unlike the safety net used in a circus trapeze act. Sometimes there is a fine line between being brave and being naive.

    This leads into the second “story”. One day I was guiding a group of four. We were hunting a vast area of waist high sorghum. On days when there is very little wind, you can keep track of a dog by watching for movements on top of the stems (kind of like the small predator dinosaurs in Jurassic park).

    However this day was the exception....high winds. Taffey was suddenly just gone. We walked all over trying to find her with no luck. I tried calling her and avoided doing the “stupid” thing - enforcing “here”. This a mistake inexperience upland hunters fall into (as Gooser mentioned). She was either hot on trying to pin down a running pheasant or on point. "Juice" was the very last thing I wanted to use.

    However, she was wearing what I call the “Ace in the Hole” - a beeper/e-collar collar combo. I really find having the beeper turned on all that time annoying and often times it seems to be kind of sonar beacon for the pheasant to move away from. So it was off. I returned everyone to the area we had first lost her, positioned them carefully and turned on the beeper (remotely). When the beeper went off a big rooster flushed up with a loud cackle. Taffey had pinned the rooster on point the whole time we were searching. The rooster “just lost it” when beeper went off. As I said, it is an irritating noise.

    An e-collar....used properly....when hunting is nothing more than just another useful part of my gear. I know what my dogs are capable of doing....trained skills. I understand the limits of those skills and often times amazed at how much more they can do.

    I, also, realize that when truly hunting there are intangibles lurking which may require all my tools. Canine instincts in the real world can be unpredictable (even for the well trained) and reality is very often unforgiving.
    Last edited by KwickLabs; 01-23-2013 at 09:42 PM. Reason: grammar
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  2. #42
    Administrator Chris Atkinson's Avatar
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    Hi Randy, (If you're still reading the thread)

    I'm actually in a hotel about to go hit Rendezvous for ribs then Beal Street for a little live blues. I'm just coming back from a wonderful couple of days in the Stuttgart area timber hunting stale January ducks. It was absolutely awesome. No, we didn't shoot many birds, and didn't even see all that many. But it was awesome.

    You were one of my mentors and folks that I always looked up to back when I was trying to figure out how to train an MHR level retriever - and I was 100% Amish at that time. I said I'd "never" run a Field Trial and I'd "never" use one of those shock collars.

    I try now to never say "never".

    I think the same applies with hunting and an e-collar. It is totally cool for anyone training Field Trial dogs or any other level of dog to decide that hunting is the dog's "day off" and therefore they can do XYZ. XYZ can be anything different from a normal "work day". One thing that may make guys like me different from retriever pros who want a "day off" is that dog training for me is therapeutic and fun. I have another job that keeps me awake at night. This dog thing is for fun (for me).

    I like to think of a seminar I went to in my later Amish days when I thought I knew it all. I was a new local member of the SWPA HRC and we flew in Andy Attar to do a seminar. This was 1999 I believe and the lovely Angie Becker assisted and handled many of the dogs in the workshop. One thing that has always stayed with me was Andy Attar's comment that:

    "There is no such thing as a collar-wise dog. There are only trial-wise dogs." What he meant by this was that it was just as easy to just always run your dog with the collar on unless he's under judgement at a trial. I remember that I spoke up at that time.

    "Well I never" (there's that word again) "put my dog in water with any kind of collar around his neck."

    Andy smiled as I recall and said something like. "Well, you can train a collar-wise dog if you want."

    My current view is that a finished/trained dog wearing a collar is a dog that has an enhanced set of communication capability with me. Sometimes there are things beyond our control that are just too tempting or otherwise ouside the norm that create huge distraction. I'm going to be hunting at times with several other guys who are also there on their day off.

    I'm envisioning a swimming muskrat going East and a banded greenhead cruising through the timber headed West. My dog wants the muskrat and is convinced he's on it. I blow a whistle and cast away. He refuses and continues to chase. This continues on and I want to get back to my day off and hunt. I can draw attention to it and start yelling "no" and all that. Or I can simply give an indirect pressure nick on my whistle stop and cast him again.

    I'm not trying to sell you on using a collar when you hunt. I'm just telling you that I've come full circle on this thing and my current retriever honestly considers the collar part of his uniform for fun. When I do a dog session, I pop 4 TT receivers and collars off the charger. I have 4 dogs bounding after me to get suited up so they can go have fun. 2 months ago, I had a recouping TPLO dog in a wire crate get so amped up, she bent the crate door open and broke out, all because she heard the buckles rattling and saw her peers getting collared-up.

    For me the strapping up of a trained dog with a collar is part of the fun and part of the routine. It's not a crutch. It's not a sign of weakness. It's not a statement that the day is going to be un-fun. It's just a way to allow me to tap my dog on the shoulder and say "Hey" when it's needed and not fall into any "collar-wise" stuff.

    It's all good my brother....

    Chris

  3. #43
    Administrator Chris Atkinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copterdoc View Post
    I think you are completely nuts.
    If the dog is advanced enough to take hunting, it's advanced enough to regress. Especially in areas that are situational. Like hunting.

    So much of hunting, undoes what we work so hard to get in training. Even if the dog is wearing an e-collar.

    My dogs are supposed to be trained, when they get to a test too.

    But, if I could have a collar on them, you can bet your ass I would have a collar on them!
    And if I could run tests with a collar, I'd be able to run a whole lot more consecutive weekends without having to take a break.

    Dogs learn things in tests and while hunting that we DON'T want them to learn.
    Having an e-collar on the dog, allows us to maintain quite a bit more of the training that we have worked so hard to put in.

    It has nothing to do with the dog being trained, or not being trained.
    If anything, the higher the dog's advancement level, the more important it is that you have a collar on the dog while hunting.
    I think the part in bold is disrespectful and uncalled for.

  4. #44
    Senior Member Keith Stroyan's Avatar
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    Well, I should not reply, but...

    I used to feel the same about hunting with a collar that someone might about running the National Open with a collar. Hunting is WHY is train and that's my National Open. I want to concentrate on hunting and shooting and let the dog do her job.

    Well, I've regressed (even tho I Never said NEVER....) (And I suppose the dogs with the implanted eCollars do better at the National Open... .)

    The hunting has been so meager that the dogs get so few chances to make a mistake and still get a bird that I do often use a collar hunting and I tied my one dog to the layout blind... (because the collar wasn't doing it.)

    For me it's not about letting them "get away" with things, but doing what we train for in the best possible way.

  5. #45
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    Chris, thanks for the comment about being "nuts". I am but I like to think it is a closely guarded secret. I don't hunt with a collar because in my 50 plus years of hunting I have had dogs to get hunt up wearing collars. Hunting in the thickets in eastern North Carolina can be dangerous for a dog wearing a collar. I would even take the collars off of my pointers while quail hunting. I saw my Dad's dog die from a rattlesnake bite in the neck because she was wearing a collar and my Dad couldn't get to her in time to get it off. And she choked to death. I was ten at the time and it made a lasting impression. Having said that I do not hunt my three hunt test dogs with a collar because it is absolutely not needed as well as dangerous. My feel trial dog on the other hand I hesitate to air without a collar. I guess bottom line how well the dog is trained. And I can't resist this---as Eastwood said "A man (dog) has to know his limitations."

  6. #46
    Senior Member Hairy Dawg's Avatar
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    I'm in the camp that always puts the collar on. I very rarely use it while hunting, but my dog will not flip me the finger, & get away with it, while out either. When I get his collar out, he gets excited, & loves it. We do relax while hunting, & have a great time. Our training is pretty dang solid, but Reese is a dog & he always will be. We've hunted several times where I've forgotten to put his collar on, or I've forgotten to bring along the transmitter, and every time things have worked out smoothly, but every time I go out, I intend to have it around his neck.

  7. #47
    Senior Member Rnd's Avatar
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    Hi Randy, (If you're still reading the thread)
    Yes Chris, still reading the thread.

    I Started this thread after noticing pictures and posts of folks using the collar when hunting. I was curious as to how many hunted their dogs with/without the collar.
    After somewhat spirited and passionate responses in the beginning I was going to let it die a quiet death and go away... But I couldn't

    I watched the replies to this thread and didn't know how, or if, I should respond.
    As Ron White said: "I had the right to remain silent but I didn't have the ability"

    There were very valid points made on both sides of the issue.. As someone put it (Kwick I think) there can be no right or wrong position in an either/or proposition.

    The manure spreader was appropriate as well... (The fact that it was an AMISH manure spreader was not lost on me either lol)

    Some light internet bantering can be fun.

    Back on topic: After this little discussion I think it is safe to say that the dogs in the field today are better trained than they were 20-30 years ago... Weather they wear a collar when hunting or not. It truly doesn't matter why/if your dog wears a collar when hunting as long as both human and canine are enjoying themselves.. IMO

    My personal thoughts on my dogs wearing a collar when hunting are similar to a man wearing a necktie or a woman wearing pumps. They have a purpose but they sure aren't comfortable. I feel that when the weekend (read hunt) comes my dog should be able to wear a t-shirt and flats... (while still acting like a gentleman or lady)

    After awhile somethings in life are more important than others:

    Never being a true purist:: I do enjoy the ringing of a bell hanging on a roll-off type of collar when upland hunting.

    I also prefer to use a twenty gauge when doing it.

    When I shot a bow I used a re-curve. (yes the compound was invented)

    When I was crow hunting, I used a hand made mouth call. Not the electronic callers.

    When my dog is water-fowling in the marsh (timber,weeds saw grass stumps) They wear no collar. I think wearing any collar in those conditions is a unsafe.

    I wasn't trying to impose my beliefs on anybody nor was I looking for validation.

    Sometimes it's not what you do but, how you do it......Life is short enjoy it.

    Randy

    P.S. Somebody thought I was crazy and my dog was a wreck....I am crazy... But my dog is just fine....
    May you pin all the marks and line the blinds!!

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  8. #48
    Senior Member shawninthesticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gdgnyc View Post
    Shawn White Post #27

    Shawn, do you think that maybe you shouldn't have sent the dog? Would you consider going out in your boat and sending the dog from a shorter distance? Also, how would you have handled this if your dog wasn't wearing a collar?

    I was hunting with a friend one time on Fire Island when we dropped two geese, one cripple and one strong swimmer. My dog picked up the dead bird but my friend's dog went after the cripple. The bird swam at least 350 yards, maybe 400. The dog went out, got the bird, came back but at about 100 yards started to falter. This is open water adjacent to the salt marsh. We had no boat. I actually waded out and met the dog and helped him back. Bottom line---dangerous retrieve.

    The question now is how are you hunting your dog differently than if it weren't wearing a collar? I think that knowing that you can always correct the dog allowed you overlook conditions to send the dog on an unsafe retrieve. You know that there is such a thing as collar failure---battery fails, current leakage, lost transmitter (do you carry a spare?), etc. I think one of RND's point is that for many the collar can give a false confidence as to how reliable the dog's trained behaviors are.

    For the record---I have trained with and without and I have hunted with and without.
    I was a complete fault for sending her, but when I made the initial send the bird was face down ...what out intentions where was to pick the bird up as we left but as we got to the far shore to pick it and decoys that broke loose the wind made it impossible to control, 3 guys and gear in a 19 ft G3 is no where close to the weight limit, but the waves where wild and we took water over the back of the boat and the pump couldn't keep up, the boat was close to being swamped,and it was a safety situation for all ...we left the duck and 6 Dakota decoys. ( notified water patrol of the lost decoys) .. I don't think if she would have been without a collar I would have still sent her as I don't use it as a leash, I sent her quickly due to the waves. If it would have landed head up I would have handled it different. Hind sight is 20/20
    Shawn White

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  9. #49
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KwickLabs View Post

    As far as "hunting with a great many poor mannered dogs that need an e-collar often for control", you must be a very tolerant hunting friend. I solved that problem a long time ago by duck hunting mostly alone.
    It comes when the majority of hunting in your area is Govt. regulated draw rest. or private duck-clubs/leases and you don't always get to choose your blind-mates nor neighbors. It's when you pray for your neighbor to have quite dog you have to throw rocks for over a e-collar semi-controlled demon, who breaks into your decoys, I hunt in southern CA mourn for me
    Last edited by Hunt'EmUp; 01-24-2013 at 03:13 PM.
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  10. #50
    Senior Member gdgnyc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn White View Post
    I was a complete fault for sending her, but when I made the initial send the bird was face down ...what out intentions where was to pick the bird up as we left but as we got to the far shore to pick it and decoys that broke loose the wind made it impossible to control, 3 guys and gear in a 19 ft G3 is no where close to the weight limit, but the waves where wild and we took water over the back of the boat and the pump couldn't keep up, the boat was close to being swamped,and it was a safety situation for all ...we left the duck and 6 Dakota decoys. ( notified water patrol of the lost decoys) .. I don't think if she would have been without a collar I would have still sent her as I don't use it as a leash, I sent her quickly due to the waves. If it would have landed head up I would have handled it different. Hind sight is 20/20
    Thank you for an honest answer. Scary, isn't it?
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