November 17, 2009
How To Teach a Gun Dog the "Here" Command with an E-Collar
By David DiBenedetto
Recently, I wrote about buying my first e-collar. Afterward, many readers e-mailed to tell me that they were contemplating a similar purchase but were eager to hear how our first few weeks with the e-collar went. Here’s the report:
I purchased a Tritronics Sport Junior on the recommendation of a trainer. It’s a smaller unit (perfect for my dog), and is fairly idiot-proof (perfect for me). And after working with it for a few weeks I have to admit that often I wonder what took me so long to buy one. My first order of business (after testing the unit on myself) was to switch Pritch over from the Come command to Here.
Beyond the fact that Here carries better in the field and allows for a more forceful delivery, I had noticed Pritch beginning to ignore Come.
First, I determined the lowest level of stimulation, or nick, necessary to get Pritch’s attention. My unit has 7 levels, from ½ to 6. I started with ½, and Pritch was oblivious. Same result with level 1. At level 2 I noticed her lick her lips and give a slight shrug of the head, as if a bug had buzzed by her ear. That’s all I was looking for. You want to get the dog’s attention, not juice her.
We began by working on a short leash. I would command Here and give her a tug. I would then repeat and give her a nick immediately after the command. It’s important not to nick after every command. Mix it up.
We worked on this for a few lessons and then moved to the longer check cord. Again, I would let Pritch walk to the end of her check cord and then command Here. When Pritch was efficient at this we moved to off-leash work in the same fashion, introducing in distractions as necessary.
Honestly, the results were fantastic. And continue to be that way.