Overuse of E-Collars


Hi Don Sullivan. I see a lot of people and trainers incorporating e-collars in teaching basic obedience commands like Sit, Stay, Down, etc. which I feel is unnecessary – just like clickers. Rather, I only use an e-collar as a corrective tool if Max is playing at a distance and needs correction. Any suggestion or thoughts?



Yes, that’s what I teach in my Perfect Dog system, so well done to incorporate that information. Although, I don’t even use an electronic collar for long distance work unless absolutely necessary. “Manual” corrections by the handler are always the best, so the dog knows – and learns to respect – where the consequences are coming from (you as the leader). Over-using an e-collar is a lazy way of training.

Also, here’s what I get my team to send to people inquiring about the use of e-collars:

Don Sullivan does not recommend the use of shock collars (electronic collars or e-collars) other than for very long distance work that exceeds the boundaries of the Command Collar with the longest Freedom Training Line. Hands-on corrections (as demonstrated in his Perfect Dog DVDs) using the proper training equipment are always preferable.

There is one exception: E-collars are particularly useful for working with deaf and hard-of-hearing dogs. The vibration mode on the collar is a great substitution for verbal commands. You can use the vibration option to get the dog’s attention, to cause him to pay attention to you, so you can then give the appropriate hand signal.

You can also use the vibration mode for long distance recall, to save your voice. First, you do some close-distance training using the “Come” command together with the e-collar vibration. You continue to do this, gradually increasing the distance, until your dog is coming from long distances using the e-collar vibration alone. This scenario is perfect for training gun dogs/hunting dogs.

– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”

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