E-Collar training is sweeping the nation! It looks like it works miracles, but what it really does is ruin dogs. In this article I will explain why.
What happens when you shock your dog? A jolt of energy is literally injected into your dog's nervous system. But from where? Of course we know it comes from pushing a button and transmitting a signal to the collar (or perhaps the signal comes from an electric fence). But what does your dog know about remote controls and invisible fences? Not too much. What your dog experiences is a force acting on him, the source of which he can't seem to find. Until... he locks his eyes on you, or another dog, or worse yet, a child. Now he sees the object that became the "source of force," and becomes emotionally and physically charged with the imprint of being shocked.
You have electrically charged the dog, when what we should be doing is magnetically grounding him. You want your dog to be soft, supple, and sensual, not electrical! You've created a literal "live wire" because the dog has no way of grounding that shock. He's been knocked off balance by something, but can't ascertain what, so he has no way of using his natural drive to regain balance. Now the charge that was put in must at some point make it's way out (since energy can neither be created nor destroyed).
The reason e-collar training looks so fancy and effective for some period of time is that your dog's mindbody is like a battery, both physical and emotional. And you can spend quite a bit of time charging that battery up, just as you would any electrical device. The problem is, you can't get the charge "out" in a coherent fashion (FYI, your dog is not an iPhone). The charge doesn't dissipate through obedience or exercise. And it's extremely difficult, if not damn-near impossible, to extract the charge via the dog's drive.
What goes up must come down, and what goes in must come out. And the charge always comes out the way it went in. In this case, the dog has no way to attack it's collar, or the remote, but he does have the ability to vent this built-up charge on his newly aquired target, which is whatever or whomever became the "source of force" in his mind.
So please beware of these techniques. Theoretically, there is a way to use an e-collar if the dog is completely chanelled in a natural state of drive, and first "mechanically" trained with physical corrections, not electrical ones. However, it takes a high level expert, perhaps even a jedi dog trainer to even attempt this. The average trainer or owner, in my opinion, should just avoid shock collars all together. It would much more preferable to "shock" the dog with a prong collar. Done correctly, you only have to give "corrections" when the dog is doing something right. Which in that case, the "correction" is actually just adding a stimulus, which technically makes it a "positive reinforcement" technique. Because again, you want to add energy to the dog's natural drive. So if he's already getting collected and learning to down while we're using food (to stimulate his hunger state, not reward) then you can give him a "shock" on the prong collar when he's already in drive and naturally collecting himself into a down. This adds energy to the down. Then when you need an emergency down, you can use the same "shock" and the dog is no worse for wear because everything is imprinted through his drive state.
Anyhow, no need to get into the particulars of training. Just wanted to make it clear that e-training has its dangers. I know this myself from having a dog damaged during a board and train by a trainer with terrible e-collar technique. So take it from me, just AVOID them.