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Canine Trauma

Electronic Collars???

by Fred Hassen & Brian Mowry
Published in DogBiz Magazine

First of all, I'd like to state that an electronic collar is no different than a leash-just much more versatile. In my seminars, I have the audience actually feel the collar stimulation - I even place it on my own neck. This alone seems to dispel a lot of myths immediately. With a leash, you have the capabilities of tugging lightly enough so the dog totally ignores it -- or jerking so hard (chasing a cat) that if you are strong enough, have good timing & good technique -- you may stop him in his tracks. An electronic collar is no different. Modern technology has evolved these collars to the point that you can match any dogs temperament. Most people view electronic collars as a last resort for a very problem dog. Yes, the collar does well in that instance, but it is also very effective on the shy timid dog and everything in between.

Some of the advantages of an electric collar are:

  1. Your dog is always under control whether you unsnap the leash or not.
  2. The dog comprehends his mistakes the instant it occurs.
  3. Eliminates fighting with your dog - you are always the good guy.
  4. Distance work becomes much easier.
  5. Off-leash training becomes feasible from the first day.

The list is endless.

I have yet to see something that the collar is not good for. However, I have seen people that do not know how to use them. A collar is no different than a leash -- just more versatile. Just as buying a leash, choke chain & cookies does not give you a trained dog, neither will just buying an electronic collar. Many people have choke chains, quite a few owners have cookies also - few people have a trained dog. An electronic collar is no different than a leash -- just more versatile. People that abuse their dogs in training will find a way to do it no matter what method is used. As in all fields of endeavors, legislating idiots is extremely difficult.

Years ago electronic collars only had extremely high levels to stop hunting dogs from chasing undesirable game. They have come a long way since then. Modern technology has evolved in this field, just like it has with computers, stereos, cellular phones, fax machines etc. I find electronic collars to be the safest, most effective, and most humane way to both stop unwanted behavior, and to motivate wanted behavior. Dogs have been, and always will be trained in a variety of ways. An electronic collar is a great beginning and a great ending to whatever method had been previously used. The collar is used to enforce a command that the dog already knows. If I asked you to do something in Chinese & you didn't understand Chinese -- putting a choke chain, pinch collar, electronic collar, yelling, hitting you, or giving you a cookie, is not going to make you comprehend it any better. People in China do have electronic collars though, because their dogs understand Chinese!!! They do not get the collar though until basic training has been completed & they are trained in how to use it. This eliminates misuse of the collar.

I use an audio monitor so I can hear how well the client is progressing. I also find that my clients are able to be responsible for their own dogs and do not need to take my course more than once.

The collar is no different than a leash, just more versatile. The joys and freedoms that an electronic collar bring to your dog make life much easier. Being able to let Fido run around in the park knowing you can call him back. Sitting in your living room & letting him mingle with company without being a nuisance or jumping on people. Taking bike rides with him, not waking the neighbors up with his incessant barking - enjoy your dog & let your dog enjoy the freedoms that an electronic collar can bring him. In closing, I'd like to say that I allow no yelling, no raising your voice, and no fighting or yanking on the dog!!! You only have 2 jobs. Praising him & helping the dog learn to shut the collar off. You've finally found out where the collar is different than the leash!

Fred Hassen is the owner and Master Trainer of "Sit Means Sit" Dog Training in Las Vegas, NV. Fred has numerous titles and awards to his credit which are viewable at Fred has many years experience in the K-9 training field. He is also available for seminars. You can reach Fred at

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