Category Archives: Dog Training General

Is It Better To Get A Puppy Or An Older Dog?

Should I get a puppy or adult dog?

At our dog training classes in Northern Virginia, we get asked this question all of the time!

Once you’ve made the decision to get a family pet, a dog, there is still one choice remaining. Are you willing to put up with the necessary training in order to break in a brand new puppy or would you much rather deal with an adult dog? There are several deciding factors that can help you decide whether or not a puppy or an older dog is the perfect fit for your family dynamic.

First, consider the dedication and work that is required by a newborn puppy. You will have to train them to use the bathroom outside, not to steal food from the table, not to bark at every passing car or person who may come to knock at your door, not to chew shoes or furniture and many more. This kind of dedicated training will definitely take up a lot of time and energy in the first few months that you bring the puppy home. Not to mention, this entire process will require lots of patience, puppies are prone to in the home accidents and regardless of the rigor and strength of any training program, at first it will be trial and error as they adjust to living in a new space.

Now, most people want a puppy for the obvious reasons, they are cute, cuddly and loving but most new puppy owners fail to realize that soon the cute and cuddly can turn into big and somewhat of a headache, if not properly trained in obedience, house behavior and given adequate food and exercise. This is the reason why when you visit a shelter, you see many puppies that are within the twelve to eighteen-months age range. These are the types of puppies who were purchased just for their cute and cuddly nature and then never trained, therefore leaving their faulty owners with the only option to leave them with a shelter in the hopes that someone will come along to train them properly.

If your heart is set on a puppy, just make sure you have the time and energy to give it the proper training it needs and you and your puppy will soon become best of friends.

One reason that an older dog is a great addition to a home is that older dogs can coexist in homes with a variance in activity level. Since they aren’t puppies anymore, senior dogs require less activity and are therefore easier to manage and take care of. However, if they have a bad habit, it may take more time to break than a puppy. Still, if you end up adding an older dog to your family, go through an obedience program with the dog to ensure a bond between man and dog. This makes sure that the dog understands its role as a member of the family.

In the end, there is no strict deciding factor that determines which type of dog is best for which type of family. If you have the time and energy for a puppy, go for it. If an older, more laid back kind of dog is what you desire, look for a more adult/older pet.

If you have anymore questions about training, please contact us at Off Leash K9 Training!

Reach us at: http://www.offleashk9training.com or 888-413-0896 or info@offleashk9training.com

Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

Do Dogs Have Emotions? Emotional Dogs in Virginia

Dogs Feel Emotion Northern Virginia

At our dog training business in Northern Virginia, we always get asked about dogs’ emotions.

Dog owners everywhere have been asking this question for years when looking at their furry friend: “What is he thinking about?”

Recently, two studies have shown that a concrete answer to that question may be possible.

A study conducted by the director of the Emory Center for Neuropolicy, Gregory S. Berns, may be able to provide tangible evidence regarding what a dog is feeling. After hearing the incredible story of the Navy dog that assisted in taking down Osama bin Laden, Berns was moved to see what was happening inside the canine mind. The dog was trained to not only endure rough conditions, but to enjoy working in them.

Berns chose fMRI to be the tool he used to look into the minds of dogs and see what they were thinking. With a dog trainer and an assistant by his side, Berns spent a year preparing the dogs to withstand the fMRI machine.

fMRI machines are fairly loud, so the dogs were trained to wear ear plugs during the procedure and to ensure the dogs remained safe in the machine, he also trained them to lie perfectly still as the scan was done. If the dogs were not still, the image would be ruined.

Berns’ study was successful and he was able to capture images of the dogs’ brains. When the dogs were shown a hand signal indicating they would get a treat, the reward center of their brains were activated and lit up on the image. That was not a surprise to Berns. However, he also discovered that dogs’ brains are considerably more responsive when the signal came from a human, and not an inanimate object.

Using the fMRI to map a dog’s brain will be able to answer the question of whether dogs can feel empathy or not in the future.

Across the pond, Deborah Custance and Jennifer Mayer, researchers out of London’s Goldsmiths College, began their journey to figure out if dogs are able to feel empathy – the ability to share and understand another’s emotions.

Custance mentioned that she has talked to a number of people who claim that their dogs try to comfort them in their times of need. Her own dog, Custance continues, has never offered her comfort. Even with her own dog not expressing these characteristics, Custance wanted to study whether or not dogs were truly able to care about their owners in the way we think they do.

To conduct their research, Mayer and Custance put together a group of largely untrained dogs. The group was mostly mixed breeds and contained an equally number of male and female pets. A scenario was set up where a stranger to the dog and the dog’s owner would alternately cry, hum in an unusual way, or talk. The dogs’ reactions were observed.

15 of the 18 dogs that participated in the study, sought out whichever person was showing signs of distress; it did not matter if the person was a stranger or not. Custance said it seemed as though the dogs were capable of showing empathy because they did not go to their owners to be comforted themselves. However, the study does raise more questions: Do dogs respond to anger or pleasure the same way they responded to distress? If children were included in the study, would the dogs react differently?

Dog lovers everywhere are rejoicing at the results of this study, because, to them, it proves they are more to their dog than the just hand that feeds them. Mayer and Custance have made it clear that there is still more research to be conducted and they aren’t surprised at the public’s reaction. They know that dog owners want to believe this data. However, Custance knows that dogs still have a positive effect on people’s lives.

The question: “Wonder what is he thinking about?” may be answered sooner than you think.

Are you interested in learning more about your dog’s behavior or training? If so, contact us at http://www.offleashk9training.com or info@offleashk9training.com

-Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

What Are Some Tips For Traveling With Your Dog?

Traveling With Your Dog
Traveling is already a stressful endeavor. Traveling with a dog becomes even more stressful. If you aren’t well prepared, traveling with a dog can become dangerous.

Designating and securing a spot for the dog in the back of the car is a must. Leaving a dog loose is a first worst mistake when traveling with a dog. A startled dog that is distracted by something outside the car or something else, could lead to the possibility of of the dog landing in your lap and possibility distracting you from your driving, placing all the occupants of the car in extreme danger. Also, a second good reason for securing your dog in the back of the car is that if in the case of an accident, having the dog secured will greatly increase chance of survival and prevention from death.

Also, traveling with a kit full of the dogs’ necessary medicines as well as a copy of their medical records is another necessary precautionary measure. If in the case of needing to use them, they will be right at your fingertips instead of possibly being a world away at home where they won’t be of much use to you or the dog.

Obviously, you pack for a trip. But also to remember to pack for the trip for your dog. This is probably one of the most important tips for when traveling with a dog. Be sure to include a food and a water bowl as well as enough dog food to adequately last the duration of the trip. This is especially important for dog owners whose dogs eat a special kind of food that may not be available at the place of your trip destination.

If you decide to travel during the warm weather months, make sure to pack plenty of bottle water to soothe the thirst of your dog. Packing extra water if planning, say a beach trip, is important in order to combat potential car breakdowns or traffic delays.

Another thing to consider, especially in trips that occur during hot weather is to allow for enough hair circulation within the car for the dog. This can be achieved by leaving windows in the back of the car open enough to allow such fresh air to enter. In tune with this, make sure that none of those open windows are open wide enough to tempt a dog to jump out of them.

Once you’ve made sure the dog is properly fed, given enough water and fresh air remember that like children, dogs will get extremely bored on long road trips. Include a favorite chew toy, bone or treat to distract the dog for a few hours during the trip. This will give him something fun to do and will also provide some comfort on the journey.

As much as possible, stop for breaks to allow the dog to comfortably stretch and walk around. This might require a leash, so don’t leave that necessary item at home. Also, giving your dog enough room in the backseat to move around a bit will ease the toll of the journey on the dog. Just like you prepare for your own trip, make sure you also prepare for your dogs’ trip, it will make the whole experience a better one.

If you have anymore questions about traveling with your dog, contact us at Off Leash K9 Training at http://offleashk9training.com or info@offleashk9training.com

Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

Social Referencing In Dogs! Dog Behaviorist in Northern Virginia

How often have we been placed in an ambiguous situation where we don’t know how to react. We take a cue from other people’s responses (in the hope that they are more experienced) and behave just as they do. This is called ‘social referencing’ and is very apparent in young children who are faced with a novel situation and don’t know how to act. Unconsciously they look around and do what the other toddlers and kids are doing. Fair enough, considering that no-one (even kids) want to make a fool of themselves.

Psychologists have observed that dogs too behave the same way as young human children do, when they’re unsure of how they have to act. When children encounter something new, they look at the parent or caregiver and at the new object of concern. The child takes a cue from the behavior or attitude of the person according to whether they react positively or negatively. Dogs too can apparently distinguish facial expressions and are rather sensitive to voice, and like humans, dogs cannot help but imitate what they see.

They look from their owners’ faces to the new object of concern back and forth, trying to attract them to it. Depending on the owner’s emotional response and vocal expressions, dogs would decide whether to react positively, negatively or ignore the whole thing.

As it was found that social referencing occurred only in an uncertain situation, researchers created one in the form of an oscillating fan with plastic streamers attached to it. When the fan was switched on, the streamers were blown by the air current and they flapped about in all directions. When a dog was made to enter the room, it stopped short and looked askance at the strange gadget. The sound that the motor produced and the flapping of streamers were something that it had never encountered before. Although the dog was free to move about the room, it just sat there looking at its owner and the fan alternately, trying to make sense of the new object by getting the owner’s response to it.

Dogs are extremely sensitive to responses from their owners and if the owner was vehement about the new object, the dog tended to stay put, but if the owner didn’t seem to mind, the dog didn’t either—it moved about cautiously but was apparently not very much put out by the presence of something strange. It did however look to the owner now and then acting as if it were mildly concerned.

All this seems to suggest that dogs are very much like small kids, who react to the unknown by looking up to their parents or whomever they are with to help them make sense of something they’ve never seen before. Dogs too take their cue from their owners and respond in accordance with their human companions’ emotional behavior.

In short, dogs like kids are watching how your react to everything around you and take their cue from the kind of behavior that they see and the kind of response that they get. Dogs trust their owners and do as they do.

The late Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.” that apparently includes dogs too as dogs can learn simply by behaving and copying humans.

If you are interested in learning more about your dog, their behaviors, or training; contact us at Off Leash K9 Training.

http://www.offleashk9training.com/ or 888-413-0896 or info@offleashk9training.com

Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

Where Did Dogs Come From? How Did Dogs Evolve?

Evolution of Dogs: Northern Virginia

Wolves have been associated with human beings for a very long time and studies show that man first used wolves for food. Their bones were found alongside humans as far back as 400,000 years ago. Not all of them were wild, some were timid and knowing that food would be near human camps, started moving closer to the campfires. Gradually some of the more docile ones began to move with humans as part of a group and over time evolved into tame animals.

The fact that wolf packs and the early hunter organizations were built on the same lines   fructified the existing relationship. Both the groups allowed themselves to be led by a leader and were willing to work together and cooperate with one another, unquestioningly. Humans started to adopt wolf pups and allowed them to grow and play in their midst and as a result, they were naturally tamer than their predecessors.

It was at this time that humans realized how helpful wolves could be; both worked together to hunt food and humans began to rely on wolves because they could detect prey easily. Moreover, because they were much faster than humans they were very useful in searching for wounded animals. Both became equal partners in these searches and the most cooperative wolves were favored by men—these were said to have puppy like characteristics.

Dogs apparently descended from wolves and they are said to be a product of “human selection rather than natural selection.” Scientists say that it was around the end of the last Ice Age—about 15,000 years ago, that this process actually began. As they lived close to man and associated with him- over time- their brains, head, teeth and body size evolved.

It was at this time (about 3,000-4,000 years ago) that humans wanted more specialized companions and different breeds began to emerge.

The Romans bred and trained hunting dogs and as breeding continued, herding dogs that worked with livestock, emerged. Hounds and sporting dogs for hunting were bred and another set of dogs also came into the picture—working dogs. This species performed many task such as guarding, hauling and even hunting rodents and vermin. Smaller breeds also made an entry and these were merely meant to be companions.

During the Civil War, dogs not only accompanied troops but were also used to stand guard. When world war I happened, dogs served many roles—they carried messages, searched for wounded soldiers, helped pull small ambulance carts, detected enemy forces and were a source of cheer and delight to soldiers in hospitals and at the front. Scout dogs were also doubled up to serve as security dogs, tracker dogs were used to hunt down the enemy and during this time, they were trained to detect mines also. The American war dogs helped expose hidden caches of weapons and in the early 1900s, dogs were also used to catch criminals.

Dogs and humans have such a long and varied relationship that each one began to depend on the other. These animals adapted so well to humans and proved to be such loyal companions that they cannot be apart. Dogs are man’s best friends and both understand each other well.

The wild, man-eating wolf was tamed, trained, became a domesticated animal and today the bond between humans and dogs is so strong that a man will do anything to save his dog and a dog will willingly stand by its owner.

Interested in learning more about dogs, dog behavior, or dog training? Contact us at Off Leash K9 Training.

http://www.offleashk9training.com or 888-413-0896

Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

Marker and Treat Training History: Dog Training in Northern Virginia

 

Clicker and Treat Training Northern Virginia

We’ve all heard of marker/treat training, clicker /treat training, or dogs doing detection; however, most people do not know that this is standard classical conditioning which was found by a man named Ivan Pavlov.

When you think of, you automatically tend to associate him with the theory of Classic Conditioning. Born in Russia in 1849, Pavlov was preparing to step into his father’s shoes and take over from him as village priest. However, he changed track and took up science, more specifically, he began studying the digestive process in dogs.

Incidentally, his work in this area led to the development of the first experimental model of learning- Classical Conditioning. This was very important as it later formed the basis of how humans too could be trained to respond in a certain way to a particular stimulus.

Engrossed in unraveling the secrets of the dog’s digestive system, Pavlov became rather interested in other related aspects and began studying why dogs salivate. You would think that dogs start drooling when they see food, but Pavlov proved that salivating had a much more far-reaching effect. He discovered that dogs salivated even when there was no food in sight– the stimulus that was supposed to make them dribble. On further observation, he found that the persons who fed the dogs used to wear lab coats and the mere sight of these lab coats caused dogs to react in the same way that they did to food.

Pavlov tried to figure this out and he conducted a series of experiments. Just before giving the dog a meal, he struck a bell and after repeating this process a number of times, he found that whenever a bell was struck, the dog started salivating. This meant that the dog started associating the bell with food in the same manner that it associated a lab coat with its meal.

This was what Pavlov referred to as ‘classical conditioning’—a neutral stimulus (like the bell and lab coat) eventually elicited the same response as that elicited with an original ‘unlearned reflex,’ which the scientist referred to as unconditioned or built-in.

In Classical Conditioning terminology, Pavlov noted that an unconditioned stimulus (US) elicited an unconditioned response (UR) —-in this case, the food is the unconditioned stimulus and the resulting salivation is the UR. Connecting a stimulus to a reflex is called conditioning. When he later added the ringing of the bell as a Conditioned stimulus for food, Pavlov found that after some time, only ringing of the bell would cause (salivation), which he referred to as a Conditioned Reflex (CR).

Pavlov conducted many experiments and conditioned the dogs using a flash of a light, a touch on the dog’s harness, and the use of different pitches of a whistle where the dogs had to learn to associate a specific pitch with access to food. The dogs thus learned to make new association between events in the environment. The scientist also found that the shorter the time between the stimulus and the response, the quicker a conditioned response was developed.

Pavlov’s experimental research gained him a lot of respect across Russia, America and many other nations. He summarized all his discoveries his amazing book, ‘Conditioned Reflexes’.

In 1904 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his pioneering studies of how the digestive system works.

If you are interested in learning more about classical conditioning or make your dog amazing in obedience/detection, contact us at Off Leash K9 Training!

http://www.offleashk9training.com or 888-413-0896

Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

The Evolution Of The Service Dog! Service Dog Trainers Virginia

History Of Dogs

We do service dog and therapy dog training in Northern Virginia, so we always get ask about these certifications. Many people do not know the history of the service dog.

Dogs have a rich history of interaction with humans. They also are known to have a sort of sixth sense when it comes to things like pending storms, human health, and finding their way home. It is no surprise that they have been considered some of most dependable amenities for disabled individuals. Besides completing necessary tasks, they form unbreakable bonds with their humans.

Early Contact
Early interactions with dogs are thought to have originated with wolves coming near living camps and residing around the edges while consuming leftover or offered food. Eventually they became protective of the camp and the people within, warning off predators. Over time they are thought to have become closer and closer to the humans, until they were domesticated. Dog remains have also been found in burials from ancient civilizations.

Military and early Service
Romans used dogs for military purposes, as well as in domesticated situations. There is artistic evidence of dogs leading humans around. European efforts to find soldiers that had been hurt were also an early service. Dogs in the 1700’s were also given the responsibility of bringing messages to soldiers in dangerous positions during battle. Ancient Chinese documentation presents pictures of dogs helping humans in different ways, as well. Modern service dogs are trained specifically for tasks such as guiding the blind, detecting and warning of pending seizures, and even to call emergency responders.

The Breeds
Certain breeds are more commonly used as service dogs in modern times. While it is a natural development for all bonded dogs to help and protect their owners, some breeds seem to be more naturally set up to complete training designed to prepare for specific tasks. German shepherds are commonly used in the police force and also as guide dogs. Labradors and Retrievers are also frequently seen helping disabled individuals. These breeds are often chosen or even produced by breeders for this specific purpose. They have certain personality traits that are applicable to their roles. There are sometimes beliefs that breeding produces a quality and predictable offspring. This is, however, contributing to the already excessive dog population. While these are often seen as medical necessities for many people, there is little breathing room for mistakes or unpredictable dogs. It may be quite some time before homeless dogs are fully considered for service dog use. There have been some new efforts moving in this direction, however. All breeds have their specific traits, and it is best for the owner and dog alike if a compatible pairing is made.

Dogs are already set up to help and serve. Their natural instincts to protect their resources help them bond quickly in a family environment. Even family pets, not trained for service, have been known to alert their families of fires, intruders, and illness. Dogs are so much more than pets. They can physically carry out tasks, calm anxiety, and they love unconditionally. Loyalty is a major trait of all dog breeds. Dogs have been in service for possibly thousands of years.

Are you interested in your dog becoming a certified service dog? Contact Off Leash K9 Training at http://www.servicedogtrainingvirginia.com/ or http://offleashk9training.com

Email us at: info@offleashk9training.com

Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

Diabetic Alert Dog Trainers in Northern Virginia

 

 

Diabetic Dog Northern VirginiaWe do diabetic alert dog training in Northern Virginia.

Diabetic Alert Dogs are lifesavers for type 1 diabetes patients, specifically when they are hypoglycemic unaware, meaning that they don’t experience the usual symptoms associated with low blood sugar (shakiness, sweating, etc.).  Research has shown that dogs can detect low blood sugar using the smell of sweat alone.  Dogs are typically very reliable and accurate when detecting this, with rates of up to 90% accurate. For people living with diabetes, this is a life-saver and takes away some of the stress and worry in caring for this illness.

How diabetic service dogs work Diabetes alert dogs are trained to notice when their owner is experiencing low blood sugar. They then alert their owner by placing their paw on their owner.  If sleeping, the dog may be trained to awake the owner, and in the event that they do not awake, the dog may awake another family member.  The cost of the training for diabetic alert dogs is quite high.  Many organizations now exist to help diabetics afford a dog.

Dr. Wolf A family physician and diabetic himself, Steve Wolf is a proponent of diabetic alert dogs.  After he experienced a hypoglycemic event while driving, the doctor looked into getting a guide dog and bought Kermit.  Kermit has assisted Dr. Wolf since then, keeping him aware of his glucose levels and cheering up his patients.  One day, Kermit displayed intelligent disobedience by refusing to get in the car to go home from work.  Dr. Wolf took the hint and checked his glucose.  He found it was low and was able to take measures to compensate it before driving.    Diabetic alert dogs work constantly and do whatever they can to help their owners.

Mark Reufenacht The first person to train a diabetic alert dog was Mark Reufenacht.  Reufenacht is a forensic scientist who also has type 1 diabetes.  He had the idea that if dogs could detect bombs and drugs, they might be able to detect blood sugar levels.  He researched extensively before training the first diabetic alert dog, Armstrong.  He founded an organization called Dogs 4 Diabetics and now works in his free time to run it.  His goal is to give diabetics a tool to help control their diabetes.  The organization gives dogs away for free to qualified applicants.  Reufenacht’s organization has a long waitlist of patients hoping to get a guide dog.

For families of diabetics, a diabetic alert dog relieves the worry and sleeplessness of living with a diabetic.  Sugar levels may drop suddenly while a diabetic is sleeping, meaning that they may simply slip into a coma without waking up.  Although glucose monitors that can be worn constantly may have the ability to alert in the case of dangerous glucose levels, their accuracy is not great.  They may also have delayed results, meaning that a diabetic could have a complication by the time the monitor shows dangerous glucose levels.  Furthermore, a monitor can beep, but it can’t get help, a glucose kit and food or paw the person’s chest until he/she wakes up.  Diabetic alert dogs are super pets and life savers for those living with type 1 diabetes.

Are you interested in making your dog a service dog/diabetic alert dog?

Contact us at http://www.offleashk9training.com or 888-413-0896

Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

Study On Electronic (Shock) Collars

Virginia Shock Collar Trainers

Since we are the best electronic (shock) collar trainers in Northern Virginia, we often get asked about the affects of electronic collar training. It is not actually a “shock” at all (as some people call it), it is actually a very low level stimulation, much like stim pads that physical therapists use.

Due to the ever increasing numbers of animals, especially dogs, that are being dropped off at shelters or abandoned in the streets, scientists have taken task to determine what and why so many of man’s best friend continue to wander the streets. Of course, all signs point to behavioral issues to many other scientists have begun to study causes and effects of bad animal behavior and also have created studies to investigate techniques to rehabilitate such less than pleasing behaviors. One such study was that of Dr. Steiss and her team, which focused on the effects of the usage of electronic collars to control barking.

Dr. Steiss and her team wanted to find out whether or not electronic collars had a lasting physiological effect on the dogs who wore them. The team also wanted to find out if the use of electronic collars would improve the behavioral tendencies of dogs, perhaps creating a sort of “cure” that would turn more people to try to train their dogs unruly behavior instead of just turning them over to the nearest shelter or letting them out onto the street.

What Dr. Streiss and her team concluded is that electronic collars, when PROPERLY USED, are an extremely effective tool in reducing and altogether eliminating excessive loud barking in dogs with unruly behavior. In addition to this, Dr. Streiss found no lingering or permanent effects on the physiological nature of the dogs they tested. They found that the amount of barking was reduced even by the first day that the test dogs wore the electronic collar. By the second day, the team had concluded that the learning effect of the test dogs was immense, that the dogs quickly learned to link the electronic correction with the barking, therefore correcting the behavior. The team did note that on day one of the two day study, the dogs registered increases in blood and salivary cortisol levels but the results were not conclusive enough to state that this rise in levels was only due to the wearing of the electronic collars.

Therefore, Dr. Streiss and her team were able to confirm that the use of electronic bark collars in attempting to train dogs is an effective and safe method. Other similar studies including a study from German researched Dieter Klien came to conclude upon similar results. His study states that given the low dosage of electronic current, just barely enough to correct the dog and given that the electronic correction only occurs for such a short period of time, that the effects of the electronic collars could not possibility include any organic damage to the animal. These findings only exist to prove the correctness of the findings of Dr. Streiss and her team. So despite the overwhelming and sometimes falsified data that exists that advises against the use of what some call “inhumane” forms of training, it can be seen through numerous tests, including the one of Dr. Streiss, that the use of electronic training devices such as electronic collars actually have a positive effect on the dogs in that they achieve a faster learning rate in overcoming bad behavior like excessive barking (among other things).

Additionally, by being able to humanely and effectively correct these issues, these dogs are able to have happy lives with their family.  This is a much better alternative than getting rid of the dog, dropping it off at a shelter, or causing the dog to be put down.  Those are the “truly” inhumane things.

Please note that electronic collars should only be used by trained professionals.  If you do not have experience with using electronic collars, you should never attempt to you train your dog on your own.

Interested in world renowned electronic collar trainers?  Contact us at Off Leash K9 Training!

http://www.offleashk9training.com or 888-413-0896 or info@offleashk9training.com

Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

Does Using Shock Collars Hurt Your Dog?

Will Shock Collar Hurt My Dog?

We always get ask if we do shock collar dog training at our location in Northern Virginia.  We do not like the term “shock collar” and in fact, it’s incorrect.  The collars do not “shock” they provide a very low level contraction of the muscle, just like stim pads that physical therapists use.

Many people have their opinions on different training techniques; however, there have actually been numerous studies on on the usage of training collars and their affects (long term and short term).

Two separate studies on dog behavioral coaching techniques and their positive and negative effects was completed in 2001, both under the name Christiansen e-collar et al study (2001). To differentiate the two studies, one was “2001a” and “2001b”.

In the first study, Christiansen e-collar et al study (2001a) the study looked at three separate breeds of dogs when confronted with domestic sheep. The three breeds of dogs included in this study were Elkhounds, hare hunting dogs and English setters. There were a total of 138 dogs observed and tested in this study. There were two separate tests involved in this test study and in both, electronic collars were used to attempt to deter attacks on the domestic sheep. The first test, defined as a path test, involved observing each individuals’ dogs’ reactions. There were obstacles placed in the way of the path to the sheep, this test was designed to determine how a dogs’ behavior changed when attempting to “hunt” the sheep when confronted with a confusing path. The second part of this test was a “free-roaming” exercise. It was a test to determine that dogs’ reaction to the sheep in order to predict hunting motivation and attack severity. The results of the tests showed that younger dogs showed high amounts of hunting motivation and persisted in more frequent attacks on the sheep than did older dogs. Throughout the duration of this test, shocks were administered not to damage the hunting abilities of the dogs but to determine the learning capacity of the dogs when it came to observing their behavior.

The second study, Christiansen e-collar et al study (2001b) retested many of the same tests that were completed in study one, 2001a. The study also used the same dogs as tested before. In the exact same test to study 2011a, the free running dogs were again fitted with the shock collars to deter them once the test dogs came with one or two meters of the sheep. The results that were recorded showed the learning ability of the dogs over time. Dogs who had been shocked previously in the study of 2001a showed an increased hesitance towards hunting the sheep. This result was recorded numerous times in study 2001b. The study was able to conclude that through learned training with the electronic electronic collars, over the course of two years, researchers were able to significantly alter the observed behavioral patterns of the dogs effectively training them to not hunt the sheep without compromising their natural hunting instincts.

An even more important finding from the two 2001 studies was that there were no real documented effects on that of the dogs. While the corrections did cause cortisol level changes in the dogs, over time as the dogs were conditioned, this halted. The study then was able to accurately claim that electronic collar training is an effective and safe method that can be used to train dogs. However, at the conclusion of the study, the researchers do make note that electronic collar training should be done with care and that only trained and skilled professionals should attempt to have such effects on dog behavior and learning techniques.

If you are interested in making your dog amazing, fixing their behavioral issues, and building their confidence, contact Off Leash K9 Training!

http://www.offleashk9training.com or 888-413-0896 or info@offleashk9training.com

Nick
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training