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I just posted about videos for my new pup. I got several responses with most folks recommending Hillmann puppy video. Now for another question along those lines.

I do not plan on using an electronic collar. Is this a crazy idea or not? I am sure it can be done but it looks like most videos and trainers use them. I know one trainer that uses it too much. He is no longer a trainer.

I would like some thoughts about not using an eCollar and what videos are geared toward not using one.

I understand that I may have too at some point but for now I do not want to plan on it.

Thanks
Redcamo
 

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I'm not criticizing in any way, but can i ask why? Just wondering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My only experience with any dog training was when I was younger watching my father train his dog. He did not use one. Over the life of that dog we hunt with her along side other dogs with high dollar pro training with eCollars. What I noticed was that our dog had more heart and desire. I attribute much of that to my dad training rather than sending her off. She was no field trial quality dog but she had a great nose. She was very obedient and worked well close. The longer retrieves and hand signals were more difficult and not very polished, but she seemed to get the job done.

I am not critizing either. These collars are much more popular now than they were then. I may find that need to at some point. I am training myself as much as the dog I think.

Thanks
 

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You certainly don't have to use an e-collar to train a dog, but it's much easier and quicker to train a dog using an e-collar while following a proven training program.
Think of it like power windows in a car. Nobody had them 40 years ago, and when they first came out, most people thought they were a waste of money. Even today, you don't need them, you can roll down the windows by hand. But if you want to roll down the back windows while driving down the road, even if you can figure out a way to do it, it's a lot harder and will take longer.
I understand your reasons for being hesitant to use one, and I can appreciate the story about your dad and his dog. There's no question that in earlier times, the e-collar was misused and some trainers misunderstood the correct apllication and benefits of this tool. You maybe saw the results of that in your dad's friends dogs. But without a doubt, proper use of the e-collar with a proven training program/progression is the most thorough, most humane and best way to train a dog.
 

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I'm going to agree with minnducker all the way.

What are your goals with your dog?

If you want to play the dog games eventually getting to the highest levels, then, I'd say collar training is mandatory. If you want a good retriever it'll take a little longer without the collar but you can get there.
 

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It mostly comes down to personal preference moderated by your goals.

In US Field Trials it would be somewhere between very hard and impossible to compete without e collar training. To produce a first class hunting dog there is absolutely no need to use one. I take gentle issue with minnducker about the time difference, I've seen non collar trained Springers win Field Trials at ten months and be made up to FTCh at fifteen months. Nor do I find the training difficult; in fact it's an utter delight, largely because it's so easy.

If you have an aversion to collars as I do, and want a dog for the field, in no way will you be handicapped by going what used to be amusingly called "Amish" route. If you have no such aversion and want to compete at the highest level, go to it.

Modern "Amish" is constantly developing and changing particularly in the light of the ever expanding knowledge of animal training and Operant Conditioning and how they can be applied. It also has no great commercial potential for it's proponents; selling you a slip lead and a clicker won't make anybody a living. Collars and their supporting material cost many hundreds of dollars and are worth promoting.

The unfortunate consequence is that the non collar literature is always lagging behind best current practise; there isn't a video that shows training a puppy from get go to finished dog ferinstance, at least not that I've seen.

Pays yer money and takes yer choice.

Eug
 

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While I agree with minnducker and Howard that use of e-collars has come a long way, there is no reason you have to use one to train your pup into an excellent hunting dog. I may get blasted for this, but Richard Wolters wrote a series of books (Water Dog, Gun Dog, Family dog) that goes about training your pup into fine field dog without a collar. I used Gun Dog on 3 retrievers, all were very capable dogs in the field. My 4th pup didn't really "take" to Wolters methods, and I sent hm to a pro who taught me how to force fetch and collar condition among other things...and this pro was a big fan of Wolters methods, he just added the collar to the mix. For Chase, that was the ticket. Best field dog I'd had, and I got asked to go hunting a lot...as long as I brought my dog!

Wolters methods are available on DVD (at least Water Dog is). I have not seen it, so I do not know if it now uses e-collars or not. You may be able to rent it at http://bowwowflix.com/ and see how you like it compared to my previous recommendation of Hillmann.

But having said all of that, I have a collar, and intend to use it when the time is right with my new pup.

Good luck!
 

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I just posted about videos for my new pup. I got several responses with most folks recommending Hillmann puppy video. Now for another question along those lines.

I do not plan on using an electronic collar. Is this a crazy idea or not? I am sure it can be done but it looks like most videos and trainers use them. I know one trainer that uses it too much. He is no longer a trainer.

I would like some thoughts about not using an eCollar and what videos are geared toward not using one.

I understand that I may have too at some point but for now I do not want to plan on it.

Thanks
Redcamo
Like you, I wanted nothing to do with e-collars. Much of that dislike came from witnessing bird dogs who had been trained with collars and were completely useless unless they had a collar or a dummy on. I trained two dogs...not to a very high level but to the point where they would go get a duck for me pretty nicely.

I changed my mind when I saw a pro use one correctly and witnessed the level to which he could train a dog as well as the relative speed in which he reached that level. Before I go any further, I recognize that both level and speed are vastly different for each dog. My point is, however, that with a collar, you can give an instantaneaous correction. If a dog is doing something wrong and he's 60 yds. away, it's impossible to correct him until he returns and then it's too late. As far as being collar dependent, my dog, who was trained with a collar has received a HRCH title and a MH title and collars are not allowed at hunt tests.
 

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E-collars are NOT mandatory for training your Retriever, these dogs can certainly be trained to achieve all kinds of titles in the field the old fashioned way, and I'm sick and tired of hearing these so-called pro trainers use the term, 'burn your dog'. I have a beautiful Retriever who works beautifully in the field without the use of the collar, and I have a class-a retriever pup (6 months old)who is going to be trained the old fashioned way, taking my time,to become a great dog. If it takes longer.....so what, they are my buddies first and foremost, not an ego trip.
And that's my two cents worth.....and I'm going to stick by it.
 

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The "Wildrose Way" Retriever Training DVD with Mike Stewart might be what you're looking for.

Renowned trainer Mike Stewart, owner of Wildrose Kennels, along with Drake, the DU Dog, have appeared in over 60 episodes of the Ducks Unlimited TV show "The World of Ducks" demonstrating retriever training methods. Join them and 25 other gun dogs ages 3 1/2 months to 5 years as they present a low-force, natural program without using electronic training collars, designed for upland and waterfowl hunting retrievers, "The Gentleman's Gundog."
http://www.gundogsupply.com/wildrose-retriever-training-dvd.html


Personally I've read tons of articles about this tool and was utterly convinced to use it on my current dog.

You're not alone though. There are lots of folks, myself included, who were in the same boat. Our Dad raised a Duck Dog from reading Water Dog, and during that time the 'Shock Collar' dogs were being abused and rarely (it seemed) did a 'Shock Collar' dog ever seem to be able to outperform an 'Amish' trained dog.

Well they aren't "SHOCK" collars anymore. Now, some have more settings than you'll ever figure out. The lowest setting on mine can't even be felt on my forearm. They are now called 'E-Collars'. They are now used in most all training programs because over the decades the SYSTEM has been figured out(Collar Conditioning) and the results are undeniable.

Now it's common saying that the "E-Collar is used to Enforce what the dog *already* knows" or "You don't teach with it, you enforce with it". You can indeed curve undesired behavior with it as well as some folks subscribe to. I do not, well not yet....I'm not afraid to adapt so I'll leave that open.

How the Collar is used in Force Fetch is a teaching sort of way to use the Collar as well, but in a different way.

So that's how I came to understand this tool, how effective it is and how safe it is as well. Some view 'Heeling Sticks' and 'Choke Collars' just as brutal as some folks viewed the 'Shock Collars' back in the day. They are all tools and when used properly will be very successful tools.



/
 

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Vammy,

In a sense you make my case and in another way you don't!:confused: Wolters is pretty old hat by my standards.

And Dustin you're another one! ;) The Wildrose DVD is very useful, but a long way from being a complete training course; the basics of OB is very sketchy. Mind you I've seen some of the OB work on the collar DVDs and it's pretty rubbishy.

Eug
 

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Eug, you rock and you so get the difference between methods so succintly. You explanations and observations of dogs are so spot on.

What I noticed was that our dog had more heart and desire
Whether you choose to use the collar or not, I do not think if you use a modern collar correctly you will do anything to change the heart and desire of a dog. All one has to do is go watch a FT and you will see the dogs have as much desire that you will want. Back in the day with older collars, which were hotter, and people used them to teach instead of using them to enforce, you saw piggy dogs but there is no reason to see that today unless the handler is using the collar incorrectly. What I will say is once people try to train with the e collar for the first time they would not go back to Amish.
 

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This topic comes up regularly. If you want hours of reading material just do a search.

I would guess a significant percentage of the RTF community has trained a dog without an e-collar. Of those I would guess most now train using the collar. That is certainly the category I fall into. My first duck dog was trained using Water Dog and tennis shoes. She had a lot of shortfalls in her training due to my inexperience as a trainer. Her biggest problem was handling at a distance. She would handle beautifully the exact distance that I would run out and correct. That was 100 yards on land and 60 in water. After that Diva was completely self employed. She brought back many birds that otherwise would have been lost but would have failed all but the most basic hunt test. She met my standards but my knowledge of what was possible with a well trained retriever was minimal.

I also skipped force fetch because Diva delivered to hand. Also a tool that will be utilized with all of my future dogs. She had problems with switching and I never could fix that either.

Fast forward to my collar conditioned/force fetched dogs. They do not switch. Are reliable at any distance. The amount of pressure and force was greatly reduced to the dogs. My dogs understand my corrections and modify their behaviour accordingly. My stress level and frustration was drastically reduced. I am now fatter but no longer run all over the field screaming and giving ill timed corrections.

Is it possible to train a high level dog without a collar? The answer is YES!! My training partner has a non collar trained Hrch/Mh. Would he do it again? I collar conditioned his new pup so I guess not.

If you are committed to non e-collar training then enjoy the ride. You can accomplish a lot. If undecided then talk to those who have used both methods before you make a decision.

Sorry for the rambling,
Mark Land
 

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This topic comes up regularly. If you want hours of reading material just do a search.

I would guess a significant percentage of the RTF community has trained a dog without an e-collar. Of those I would guess most now train using the collar. That is certainly the category I fall into. My first duck dog was trained using Water Dog and tennis shoes. She had a lot of shortfalls in her training due to my inexperience as a trainer. Her biggest problem was handling at a distance. She would handle beautifully the exact distance that I would run out and correct. That was 100 yards on land and 60 in water. After that Diva was completely self employed. She brought back many birds that otherwise would have been lost but would have failed all but the most basic hunt test. She met my standards but my knowledge of what was possible with a well trained retriever was minimal.

I also skipped force fetch because Diva delivered to hand. Also a tool that will be utilized with all of my future dogs. She had problems with switching and I never could fix that either.

Fast forward to my collar conditioned/force fetched dogs. They do not switch. Are reliable at any distance. The amount of pressure and force was greatly reduced to the dogs. My dogs understand my corrections and modify their behaviour accordingly. My stress level and frustration was drastically reduced. I am now fatter but no longer run all over the field screaming and giving ill timed corrections.

Is it possible to train a high level dog without a collar? The answer is YES!! My training partner has a non collar trained Hrch/Mh. Would he do it again? I collar conditioned his new pup so I guess not.

If you are committed to non e-collar training then enjoy the ride. You can accomplish a lot. If undecided then talk to those who have used both methods before you make a decision.

Sorry for the rambling,
Mark Land
I totally agree with this. I also agree with the statement that "If you can't train a dog without an e-collar, you probably can't train one WITH an e-collar." Its simply a tool to re-enfoce at a distance what you have already taught them. But boy is it a great tool. Swimming out to correct a dog sucks.
 

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Vammy,

In a sense you make my case and in another way you don't!:confused: Wolters is pretty old hat by my standards.

And Dustin you're another one! ;) The Wildrose DVD is very useful, but a long way from being a complete training course; the basics of OB is very sketchy. Mind you I've seen some of the OB work on the collar DVDs and it's pretty rubbishy.

Eug
Eug, you rock and you so get the difference between methods so succintly. You explanations and observations of dogs are so spot on.



Whether you choose to use the collar or not, I do not think if you use a modern collar correctly you will do anything to change the heart and desire of a dog. All one has to do is go watch a FT and you will see the dogs have as much desire that you will want. Back in the day with older collars, which were hotter, and people used them to teach instead of using them to enforce, you saw piggy dogs but there is no reason to see that today unless the handler is using the collar incorrectly. What I will say is once people try to train with the e collar for the first time they would not go back to Amish.
Just observations and comments:

1) A poor trainer is a poor trainer, with or without e collar
2) If you can't train a dog without an e collar, you can't train a dog with one (It has been said)
3) I read on another forum that the number of pros who have trained without an e collar is probably a very small minority. Conclusion-Amish style is a dying system and since the pros don't do it and haven't done it, why should anyone else?
4) I have seen lots of handlers with e collars and somehow they give me the impression that they could be using it a lot better.
5) Train the way you like, you will be happier.
6) It can't hurt to know Amish methods and e collar methods. You have more tools in the toolbox.
7) Find an old timer to learn Amish style. It's not just about keeping a dog on a long line because there are lots of other "tricks".
8) BonMallari and Eug have a lot of "Amish Wisdom".

Finally-GOOD LUCK!
 

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I totally agree with this. I also agree with the statement that "If you can't train a dog without an e-collar, you probably can't train one WITH an e-collar." Its simply a tool to re-enfoce at a distance what you have already taught them. But boy is it a great tool. Swimming out to correct a dog sucks.
I agree.

Swimming, running, waddling, etc. The problem with all of these is they are a terrible misapplication of "indirect pressure".

To my mind, the number one benefit to training a retriever with an e-collar is the ability to utilize indirect pressure with immaculate timing.

The old Amish way, produces indirect pressure with terrible timing. I saw an article yesterday that talked about 10 misconceptions in dog training. The one that really stood out to me was the "guilty look" misconception.

All the other stuff, training with or without a collar can be done either way. The big issue to me is the ability to tap the dog on the shoulder or give a dog a tug on the leash when he's a mile away....and the leash can't wrap around a tree. And to give that tap or tug NOW - instead of after you hump, waddle, slog, sprint or crawl your way out there.

The "guilty look" that a dog has during a long distance tennis shoe correction. That's really the look of a dog that realizes he's going to get it again...but he's really not sure exactly what for. He just knows he better keep on sitting there until the boss finally gets to him.

I trained Amish for a long time. I finally decided that I WAS qualified to use a collar, and embraced an e-collar program as literally and by the book as I could.

It was a total game changer for me.

Chris
 

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Vammy,

In a sense you make my case and in another way you don't!:confused: Wolters is pretty old hat by my standards.

And Dustin you're another one! ;) The Wildrose DVD is very useful, but a long way from being a complete training course; the basics of OB is very sketchy. Mind you I've seen some of the OB work on the collar DVDs and it's pretty rubbishy.

Eug

Eug,

I ramble some, don't I? And, my reference to Wolters probably shows how old I am...but my point was it is possible to train a dog without an e-collar. However, now that I know what/how to use it as a reinforcement tool (as mentioned by several other posters) I will continue to use it.

I too was hesitant to use a collar once. And I really didn't need it with 3 of 4 dogs....then came Chase.

Chase (my last dog) was a very hard driving, shall we say hard headed, dog...but the biggest problem I had was inconsistency caused by a environmental situation. Simply put, I could not convince my ex and her kids what we needed to do...total inconsistency...and every training session was a "start over". Hence, I took Chase out of that environment to a pro, and was glad I did. I learned a TON, and Chase was a much better dog (and I a better handler) from it.

Today, there are a lot more tools; more how-to videos, quality information from forums like this, pro's willing to work with us amateurs, and internet sites with valuble info as well. It's certainly easier to educate ones self than it used to be!
 

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I agree.

Swimming, running, waddling, etc. The problem with all of these is they are a terrible misapplication of "indirect pressure".

To my mind, the number one benefit to training a retriever with an e-collar is the ability to utilize indirect pressure with immaculate timing.

The old Amish way, produces indirect pressure with terrible timing. I saw an article yesterday that talked about 10 misconceptions in dog training. The one that really stood out to me was the "guilty look" misconception.

All the other stuff, training with or without a collar can be done either way. The big issue to me is the ability to tap the dog on the shoulder or give a dog a tug on the leash when he's a mile away....and the leash can't wrap around a tree. And to give that tap or tug NOW - instead of after you hump, waddle, slog, sprint or crawl your way out there.

The "guilty look" that a dog has during a long distance tennis shoe correction. That's really the look of a dog that realizes he's going to get it again...but he's really not sure exactly what for. He just knows he better keep on sitting there until the boss finally gets to him.

I trained Amish for a long time. I finally decided that I WAS qualified to use a collar, and embraced an e-collar program as literally and by the book as I could.

It was a total game changer for me.

Chris
Very good comment ; as well as the ones above.

One point that I was thinking of and is reinforced in Chris's above is - timing of correction. The ecollar allows you to do that very well.

The other side - training seminar of Rick Smith's a number of years ago and Rick indicated that one of (if not THE) most common problems he saw was timing of corrections (tied in with 'reading' your dog) this was on lead . Multiply that by the distance he is away from you, if inexperienced , and ask yourself if you read your dog and time that correction at 100-200-300 whatever yards. If not , at least initially maybe e collarless might be an option for that first dog

This is NOT a knock, just an observation
 

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My dogs are all collar conditioned, but I rarely use a collar when training anymore. However, I NEVER hunt one of our dogs without an e-collar. This is purely for safety reasons. Suppose I'm on a Dove shoot next to a fairly busy highway, a bird that I've sent my dog for suddenly develops enough life to fly just ahead of the dog with the dog in hot pursuit. I'm not sure I could call him off of that retrieve if it was headed for the highway. Another example would be duck hunting on a large body of water from the shore (with no boat), dog goes after a cripple that barely stays in front of him and is swimming out to sea. It might be hard to call him in with no collar. This is why I would recommend collar conditioning your pup. JMO.
 

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Vammy,

In a sense you make my case and in another way you don't!:confused: Wolters is pretty old hat by my standards.

And Dustin you're another one! ;) The Wildrose DVD is very useful, but a long way from being a complete training course; the basics of OB is very sketchy. Mind you I've seen some of the OB work on the collar DVDs and it's pretty rubbishy.

Eug
Eug,

I know there isn't enough in Wolters to get a retriever even close to what he could become.

I don't know anything about the Wildrose training program.

What, if there is one, would you consider a decent non collar retriever training program?

Is there one that if you took a little of this, added some of that, and the obedience from another one, that would make a fairly complete program?
 
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