Balanced Trainers Logo

Community driven site dedicated to intelligent exchange of ideas and experiences between both dog training professionals and enthusiasts. We apply principles of critical thinking and peer review to the often controversial and provocative topics on dog training.



eCollar Pitfalls

eCollars, just like any other tool, have their pitfalls and "gotchas". This article has a list of common problems that people face. Please check back regularly as we will constantly update it in the hopes of helping more people train their dogs safely and humanely.

If you have a problem or issue of your own which has not mentioned here, feel free to join the forum and ask for help. We usually update our content based on forum posts, besides personal experience.

The incredibly sweet Dalmatian on the picture to the right is Radar - his owner is Laura Kandall, a member of our forum.

  • 1Dog stays near owner naturally Some dogs stay around their owners naturally because they are very laid back. These same dogs will not recall on command under distraction. This is a typical training problem for many other eCollar systems. The methods described on this website suggest creating a training opportunity via movement. This is discussed in the recall article.
  • 2Dog velcro-ed to owner after small amount of work You simply have stimmed too high or did not do your leash pressure properly. Some trainers and even popular websites promote the concept of a Velcro Dog. Some of these trainers like this because it makes it appear as if they have performed a miracle. What they have actually done is created a superstition.
    Our goal is always to create understanding with the dog. By being patient we can avoid the superstitions and avoid unnecessary stress. Read the paragraph under the diagram in the recall article.
    Once the dog understands how to shut the eCollar off please give the command every time before a stim is given. Don't try to turn your ECollar remote into a TV remote. Now that would be lazy and unacceptable.
  • 3 The dog runs off when stimmedThe dog is confused about how to turn the stim off. The process was rushed and now both the dog and owner pay the price. A greater amount of time spent on the longline is always preferable to cutting corners.
    Again, a proofing phase should also occur on a longline. Please read the recall article. Never stim your dog unless you knows where you are at. If you stim and your dog thinks that you are in the opposite direction that is where he will run.
  • 4Dog looks demotivated This suggests that the trainer has either stimmed too high or trained in a very robotic manner. Every dog is different. One has to discover what makes an individual dog tick and then add the fun back into the training. As in the other 3 points this is covered in the recall article also. Another cause of this is stimming too often. The dog feels as though he can't win the game. There are high drive working dogs with which the collar is used to increase drive and motivation. The pet dog is a very different case though. Our goal with pet dogs is to get quick compliance where the rules are understood thereby minimizing our use of any sort of aversive. eCollars are a fantastic tool for accomplishing this.
  • 5Dogs ignores stim while sniffing and then acts as though he stepped on a bomb This is a common Novice mistake. Dogs are heavily oriented around their sense of smell. When a dog sticks his nose into a scent, a large portion of his brain turns off. The novice eCollar trainer might increase the level of stimulation thinking the eCollar is broken or the dog has become extremely insensitive. When the dog finally lifts his head his brain re-engages the other senses. The dog now feels like he is being hit with a very high level. Everything is relative, with dogs. Medium levels might not be felt when a dog is in drive while very low levels are easily felt when the dog is relaxed. A hard dog will be over this mistake in about 10 seconds. A soft dog could take a couple days. The fix is easy though. Put the remote away and play with your dog. Put the collar on multiple times per day, leave the remote in the drawer and play with your dog. You can also put it on right before feeding.