Hey let's cut the bullshit. There are applications in which the E collar IS supposed to HURT. Look, I'm a balanced trainer, I think e-collars are one of the best training tools out there.
"Oh...So you like to hurt dogs??!!"
No asshole! I don't!
In the conditioning phase, they can be very low stress and will even increase confidence.
I'm not here to convince anyone to like or dislike a training tool, what I want is to inform people that we don't have to pretend the e-collar is something it's not.
There are different applications for the use of the e-collar:
TEACHING: Through the use of low and recognizable levels. This IS the Low to No-stress application. YES! you force-free fanatics, it can actually be quite a happy training session.
PROMPTING: Once the dog is conditioned to the e-collar through low-levels, meaning the dog understands this type of communication. The e-collar can be used as "tap on the shoulders" application. This is not typically your pet training use however, this is more of a technique used for sport training. These prompting levels are not low (barely recognizable) and they're not high ("ouch"), they're mid-range.
PROOFING: This is done once the dog fully understands the behavior expected out of it AND it has been properly conditioned to the e-collar language. This e-collar application takes the form of a correction you would give on a training collar, it's supposed to be uncomfortable, it's supposed to be used as Positive Punishment and Negative Reinforcement (at this point in the form of avoidance conditioning). This level is not mid-range, it's high, as in "Yeah that's uncomfortable"
UNCONDITIONED PUNISHMENT: Now we're talking about painful corrections. Yes I said it, in this application I want the dog to be incredibly uncomfortable. I want this dog to go "Oh my fucking God!".
"Dude, you're an asshole!"
No! well.... yeah I am, but not to dogs! Here's why I want the e-collar to be painful! I want an incredibly negative association to something that could put its life at risk or another animal's life at risk (Snake proofing, Poison proofing, Crittering).
And if you think it's still NOT WARRANTED, then who's the asshole now?
I know this "The-Ecollar-doesn't-hurt" is more of a marketing strategy, a way to "win people over". And frankly, I do see the point of doing so when talking to a client and explaining the conditioning process, which IS supposed to be low level. But I see youtube trainers preaching over and over that the e-collar is always "subtle", "just a tap", "Low-level training" over and over, yet I have seen these very same trainers and the dogs they've worked with, that look seriously stressed the hell out for the sake of a youtube view. So which is it? are you gonna do your 5 minute magic as you blast the dog into compliance? or are you gonna regurgitate your "low level-subtle-stress free-just a tap" BS? Because you can't really have them both.
Ultimately, I think Balanced trainers are just out on a mission to try to convince people that the e-collar feels just like a feather, and I kind of see their point. People are trying to get this tool banned so I get it. But don't take it to the extreme because it just makes the rest of us look like phonies. Be clear, be honest and transparent. If someone HATES the e-collar, let them hate it! I don't care! I gave up that fight a while ago. The best way I've found to get people on board with the e-collar is to tell them the advantages and disadvantages of its use; the low-level application AND the importance of the high level applications. This is the BEST way to get someone to think for themselves and choose for themselves.
And for you Purely Positive people, don't give me this quote anymore:
"To use shock as an effective dog training method you will need:A thorough understanding of canine behaviour.
A thorough understanding of learning theory.
And if you have those three things, you don't need a shock collar."
Dr. Ian Dunbar
God! this is like your gospel! You cannot show bias against a training tool UNLESS you're proficient in its use. It's just as ridiculous as when people say things like "Clicker training is just as stressful because you have to starve the dog" or "Treat training is bad because it doesn't address relationship and makes dog shallow"
FALSE! You wouldn't accept that from people who don't know how marker training works, that's why I wont accept bias against the e-collar from people who don't understand it or are not proficient in its use. I don't care who it is!
If you still think E-collars are abusive and shut dogs down, tell me why these dogs below look so happy.