Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Best Book on E-Collar Training

Hats off to Marc Goldberg and Brother Christopher of the Monks of New Skete.  They have cranked out a very good dog training book.  

Notice the unqualified nature of that sentence.  

Though the book is subtitled "how to gently teach good behavior using an e-collar," it is a very useful book for any dog owner, with or without an e-collar.

First, the good news:  this is not a doggy biography or a treatise on philosophy with vague instructions and colorful tales.  If you want that stuff, see Cesar Milan's first book, Cesar's Wayor read Karen Pryor's book Don't Shoot the DogThese are fine books, and certainly worth reading, but if you bought them expecting to get useful dog training information you might as well be milking a chicken.

To be clear, the basic dog training techniques and tools that Brother Christopher and Marc detail here are what actually work for the basic and most useful stuff.  If you look and listen carefully, you can find similar advice in other books. What Marc and Brother Christopher bring to the table is something  more:  Advice on how to integrate basic dog training techniques with an e-collar so that things move quicker and with less punishment than with non-ecollar methods.  

As the authors note (and I assure you it's true), 

Dogs learn faster, with more enjoyment and less stress, with an enlightened program of e-collar training.

Marc and Brother Christopher are quick not to over-sell the e-collar. 

They stress -- repeatedly -- that not all e-collars are the same and that the ones that actually teach, rather than punish, are going to cost you around $200.  They very helpfully detail makes and models.

Marc and Brother Christopher also note that:

The e-collar is not a magic wand.  Like any tool, if used in a crude, unenlightened way, it can have a harmful effect on a dog.

Yes!  How many dogs have been killed with leash and treat bag?  Millions!  Let us -- finally -- acknowledge that.  Over 40 percent of all American dogs are obese, and one only needs to go to the park to see a dog jerked and choked repeatedly as it strains at the end of a leash

Brother Christopher and Marc note that what the e-collar really brings to the table is the ability to break through a dog's natural predator-based Attention Deficit Disorder.

Or as I so often put it:  It's a tap not a zap.

Brother Christopher came to e-collars through my old friend Martin Deeley, a Florida dog trainer, originally from Britain, who was an early user of modern e-collars.  I myself bought my first e-collar at about the same same time that Brother Christopher met Martin and Marc, though in my case the collar was an Innotek Micro-trainer with seven levels of stimulation.  It worked great, at the lowest levels, to "proof" a recall, but it was pretty far from the modern collars we have today and (of course) no training manual existed. Fourteen years later and Marc and Brother Christopher (along with several excellent e-collar makers) have corrected that deficit.

Brother Christopher writes about attending his first e-collar dog training workshop with Martin Deeley and Marc Goldberg:

What I witnessed at the seminar was nothing short of astonishing:  a way to dramatically improve dog training in a manner absolutely consonant with the philosophical principles the Monks of New Steke stood for.  I saw two seasoned professionals share what they had discovered not just about e-collars but also how to use them artfully and how that could blend seamlessly with my own experience as a trainer.  Their methods were gentle and quite subtle.  Over the course of that weeklong seminar, I saw previously untrained dogs respond happily and with quick understanding to the training they were being given.  At the end of the week, I faced a challenge:  I now knew that using this method could be an even more humane and effective approach than the way I had been training for many years, so did I have a moral and spiritual responsibility to integrate it into the program I was running?  I believed I did... 

I could detail more, but why?  Buy the book!  

Two hundred and seventy-five pages are mostly delegated to teaching both general dog training and specific e-collar training technique.  The result is solid dog training made faster, with greater reliability, and with less stress or aversion, than ever before.

If Larry Krohn's 75-page book is the basic manual that should come with every e-collar sold (and it should be), this is the full e-collar training program that every dog-owner can -- and probably should -- follow.  


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