Do You Need Impeccable Timing in Order to Use a Remote Collar?
by Robin MacFarlane
"Ready. Set. Wait. Wait, Ready, Set. Okay, NOW!"Perhaps you've heard statements that suggest you need to have perfect timing in order to use a remote collar. I've seen that sentiment pop up again recently in a few debates regarding electronic collars.
Here are just a couple statements I remember reading:
"In order to be effective in using a shock collar one must possess impeccable timing."
"For effective shock collar training, perfect timing is needed, and even most training professionals don't possess perfect timing."
I am a continually perplexed by these sort of statements. In order to gain some clarity, I looked up the words, impeccable and perfect, in my dog-eared 2005 copy of Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition.
"Impeccable" is pretty straightforward in it's meaning: "without defect or error; faultless or flawless." However, there are numerous definitions for the word "perfect." I am drawing the conclusion that the author above intended the meaning as either: a) "completely correct or accurate; exact; precise" or b) "in a condition of complete excellence, as a skill or quantity, faultless."
Since the word "faultless" is a definition commonality between the two, I'm going to go with that as the underlying intent in both of the author's statements about the timing needed when using a remote collar.
And that led me to wondering.
Is it only a remote collar that requires faultless timing? What about using a prong or slip collar? Should they require faultless timing also? And how about when I use verbal markers and clickers in my training? Should I have impeccable or perfect timing then as well? Is there a concern when I am using a marker to indicate to my dog, "Yes! You've got it correct!" that my timing should be equally as faultless so that the dog can make the appropriate association?
I would think so.
After all, I am all for having as perfect of timing as possible when we are training our dogs.
It is a simple fact that the better your timing is, the faster your dog will learn. Dogs are in-the-moment creatures and we've long preached about the 2 second association rule when teaching them new behaviors.
But wait a minute, it just dawned on me -- if we all agree that that the 2 second rule is a pretty well accepted principle in the dog training world then we have a bit of room for error don't we? I mean two seconds is pretty generous, even for someone newly learning to work with a dog.
If you count it out, one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, I believe most average folks can get the timing of clicking a button within that guideline. And most dog training professionals worth their salt can find creative ways to teach their novice handlers decent timing before they have them practicing with their dogs.
Do you suppose that the statements above are so strongly worded so they can be used to scare the unknowing dog owner from looking deeper into the use of remote collars?
I'd have to say I'm led to that conclusion because to imply that only one tool needs flawless timing when it fact they all require good timing and none tolerate poor timing is a bit misleading in my book. I mean, gosh, "impeccable" and "perfect" seem like pretty intimidating qualities to achieve.
Here's the way I see it. Regardless of the tool you chose to train your dog, you need decent timing. The closer you are to "At The Moment of Behavior Change" the faster your dog is going to learn. You've got a 2 second window of opportunity to get it right. If you can't be within those timing guidelines, find a way to practice the skill without your dog before you proceed.
Robin MacFarlane is a professional dog trainer and owner of Thatís My Dog in Dubuque, Iowa. Her best-selling dog training DVDs, JUST RIGHT and JUST RIGHT 2 have helped thousands of dog owners teach their dogs basic obedience and fix problem behaviors through a system of training that you can easily work into your daily routine.
FREE or only a penny with the following collars:
Delta XC, Delta SPORT XC
SD-425, SD-825, SD-1325
and several more...
Here's Why You Should Train Your DogDoes Your Dog Know her Place?Teaching a Recall? Start Slow and Make the Dog SuccessfulTeaching the Down CommandHouse Manners"Pay Me!"How to Strengthen Your Dog's Understanding of "Stay"How Long Does My Dog have to Wear the E-Collar?Consistency Without an E-collarSkills Every Puppy Should LearnDogs and Doorbells -- Oh My!Stop Your Dog from Bolting to the Door!Use Food Lures to Shape Your Puppies Introduction to Sit, Stand and DownPuppy Training 101: Play Biting ProblemTeaching Your Puppy to "Kennel Up"Dog Tricks: How to Teach Your Dog to Walk BackwardsWant a Standing Ovation? Teach Your Dog to "Take A Bow!"Want Your Dog to Come to You? Try Moving Away from Him."Catch me if you can!"Tired of Fido Stealing Your Snacks?E-Collar, Leash, Treats, Toy, and the Dog. How to Manage it All!Dog Tricks: Teaching Your Dog to DanceBefore You Expect a Dog to Stay on a Place, Teach Him to get on Willingly.Adding E-Collar Prompting to your Place CommandImpulse Control Games are a Time Well Spent Playing with your Dog!Juggling All Your Training Equipment?
FREE Dog Training VideosProper Fit of E-CollarIs Your Dog Collar Wise?"How long does my dog have to wear the collar?"Pressure NecrosisUsing Treats in TrainingCan I Use an E-Collar on My Little Dog?I Need a Shock Collar!Dog Training: Keeping it Real: Training Your Dog Should be EasyWhy Would I Want to Use an E-Collar on My Dog?A Tired Dog is a Good DogThree Things You Must Know to Have a Reliably Trained DogAre Remote Collars Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, or Motivators?The Best Way to Rescue a DogIt is More than Just Pushing a Button: Part OneWhat About the Leash?Tennis Ball, Tug or Cookie? What do Rewards Have to do with Good Training?The More Important Tool: Part 4 of "It Is More Than Just Pushing a Button."Do You Need Impeccable Timing in Order to Use a Remote Collar?What Does Your Dog's Future Look Like?6 Essential Things to Teach to Have a Good DogThe Top 3 Reasons Your Remote Collar Doesn't Seem to be WorkingHow Long Does It Take to Train My Dog?Put a Plan Into Motion for Dealing With Your Dog's Behavior Problems!Why are You Grateful for Your Dog?Are You Struggling to Get Your Dog to Stay? Try This.There are Only 3 Levels on a Remote Training Collar?The One Thing You Must Know if You Want to Train with an E-CollarHow to Help Your Dog Understand What You WantPhotos: One Great Reason to Teach a Place Command to Your DogNew Puppy TipsSit? or Sit! -- The Case for Intonation When Speaking to Your DogNumber of CommandsSo Your Dog Knows Sit. Now What?20 Reasons to Teach a Place CommandE-Collar Use: Training vs. EnforcingKnow How to Train a Dog, Know How to Use a Remote Collar?5 Ways to Enhance Feeding Time"But my dog doesn't like it."Outwit Your Dogs if You Want Better BehaviorWeaning Off E-Stim: Tap, Tell or HelpProofing: How to Help Your Dog Really "Get It."Should Your Dog Sleep on the Bed With You?Human Body LanguageGood Health: The Missing Link for a Happy and Well-Adjusted Dog?Are You the Center of Your Dog's World?E-Collar Training: Be Sure to Do This Before You Go Off LeashWhat Behavior are You Rewarding the Most?The Importance of Routine Nail Trims for Your DogWhen is the Right Time to Start Training My Dog?Is it Important that a Dog Learn to Heel?3 Things to do Right Now to Avoid Separation Issues with Your Dog