Sunday, August 14, 2022

How Do E-Collars ACTUALLY Work?

How do modern e-collars work?

No, not the mechanicals; I've read all the patents and know more about the mechanics than I need to..  

I'm not talking about tech.  

And I'm not talking about techniqueI know how to use a modern  e-collar. I've written on that, and used them with success.

No, my question is more fundamental.  How can the dogs FEEL what I cannot feel?

My dogs operate on a working level of 4-7 on a 100-scale collar.  

I cannot feel a collar at 10, and even then it's a tap so light it feels like a fly landing.

Is this what the dogs feel?  

All I know for sure is the only evidence the dogs "get the message" is that they stop a bad behavior or start paying attention to a command they know. At most, they flick an ear like there’s a flea under their collar. That’s it. 

And yet if you snap a leash on a dog and jerk on a flat collar or a slip chain, that's easily blow off -- why we see so many folks being pulled down the sidewalk by their errant charges.  

But put that same dog on an e-collar and leash, and a tap or two is all that's needed to get that dog paying attention and walking without pulling.  

So how's it work?  How can something I cannot feel get the dog’s attention?

I am not going to say I have an answer, but I have a theory.  

Here's how I explain it, though I do not know if it is true.

When I talk about e-collars to folks, and after they have felt the “fly landing on their arm” touch of a collar, I ask them how it’s able to break through the Attention Deficit Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that fogs up and riots through a dog’s brain.

And then I ask if I can do something to them.  It won’t hurt. 

When they say “yes,” I reach out and touch them, as lightly as possible, on the side of their nose.  I ask if they will soon forget it, and if it hurt.  NO to both questions is the universal answer.

I think the light tap of a modern e-collar works like that — a magical tap on the side of the nose, so gentle and yet so abnormal, and without understandable causation, that it brings the dog up short. 

Without being painful, it manages to short-circuit their psyche, same as if I gently  tap on the side of a human’s nose. 

I am not sure I am right about this, but the explanation seems to work for folks.

My theory is that the very light static charge in a collar is not enough for a human to feel, and may not be enough for the dog to feel, but the charge is strong enough to move a few hairs on the dog, and the dog can feel that.

I then ask if I can lighly tough them again -- moving a single hair near their ear.  

Did they feel that?  

They did.

And with that, the gentle action of the e-collar is normalized by presenting a parallel human experience.

Is this what’s actually going on with the dog?  I don’t know, but it fits what I see.

1 comment: said...

The dog's primary sense is that of smell, as most of us here know. Because that sense it the weakest in humans we tend to discount it and not study it at all as if it doesn't exist. Electricity has a scent, so do all electronic devices when in use. It may not be just touch they are sensing. We still have very few ways we can measure scent, we just tend to resort to using canines to do so for most applications.