In Part 2 of this article, we will look at how to properly introduce your dog to a remote collar.
What I always tell people who purchase a collar for a dog who has never had one before is to put it on the dog for at least a week without turning it on. Then, run-through all the drills and retrieves you have been previously working on with the remote collar in the "off" position, so that your dog gets used to wearing it. If you do this, you will find that your dog will actually enjoy wearing it because it is an invitation to spend time with you, the owner.
If you do put it on and start using it right away, your dog may get to the point where it wants nothing to do with the collar. You are also avoiding the dog getting "collar smart." This is when the dog will listen to you when the collar is on, but the minute you turn it off, he does his own thing.
It is also important at this stage to keep either the check cord or leash on the dog. If the dog feels the leash dragging behind, he may still think that you have manual control of him. This makes your corrections with the remote collar more effective and the dog will learn faster.
Avoid Constant Correction
After you feel the dog understands how to shut off the pressure, you can then unsnap any leash or cord you have been using. When you are at this phase, try to be in an area where you have been working before to ensure success. Begin by letting the dog go and try to get him away from you. Use your "come" command followed by a quick correction with the collar. If he turns immediately make sure you praise him. If he continues to stay away from you continue the command with another quick correction. Try not to use a constant correction at this stage of training because it may confuse him if he does not fully understand.
Remote collars work for control in both upland and waterfowl settings.
If you have taken your time and used a lot of repetition, your dog should pick up the recall command with the remote collar in around four-to-six weeks. I am talking about totally understanding the recall command with any distractions. Make sure you expose him or her to distractions in the latter part of the training so that when it counts, like during hunting season, he or she is fully trained with the remote collar. Remember, in the duck blind or the field is not the time to introduce the remote collar.
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Jason Dommeyer has a lifetime of hunting experience and 15 years experience as a dog trainer. He has turned many pets into expert hunting dogs at Cannon River Kennels (http://www.cannonriverkennels.com/) In addition to training hundreds of hunting companions, he has trained dogs for premier pheasant hunting lodges in South Dakota along with duck hunting lodges in Mississippi and Mexico. His experience also includes both hunting and guiding for upland and waterfowl game from Canada to South America. If you have any questions, Jason can be reached at 507-663-6143 or visit (http://www.cannonriverkennels.com/) He provides dog training tips weekly.