by Tara Wilson
K-9 Action Dog Training
This has been a fun summer for dog lovers in the area. There have been plenty of dog events and activities to participate in. One particularly educational and fun event was a Remote Collar Training Seminar held in Reedley on June 12th and 13th at Pioneer Park. K-9 Action Dog Training and Boarding sponsored the seminar, and invited Robin MacFarlane from Wisconsin’s That’s My Dog, Inc. to come teach it.
Remote collars have long been used as a tool in dog training. Many people that have worked with hunting dogs or police dogs are familiar with the remote collar. It is sometimes known as a “shock collar” but that term is not correct. The stimulation provided by modern remote collars can range from imperceptible to very attention-getting. If you have ever been to a chiropractor or physical therapy and experienced the “tens unit” then you will know what the stimulation feels like. It is not a shock but rather a tingling feeling that varies in intensity according to what the trainer is trying to accomplish. Modern techniques for using the remote collar are very gentle and focus on communicating to the dog what you want him to do, rather than punishing him for not doing what you ask.
Approximately 16 dogs and their humans attended the two-day event, as well as several other people that came to watch and take notes. The weekend consisted of lecture type presentations and question and answer periods interspersed with plenty of hands-on training time with the dogs. Many of the dogs came to the seminar with issues ranging from fear to aggression to plain unruliness! By the end of the first day, those same dogs were walking nicely on the leash, coming when called and going to their crates on command. This was all done in close proximity to other dogs and people, with major distractions around. A highlight of the first day was the “follow the leader” game that had the dogs going up in the band shell, across benches, down the slide and other places. There were several dogs that would not have been able to participate in this exercise when they first arrived but — thanks to the remote collar — were happy, willing participants!
The second day consisted of more advanced exercises, such as sitting from a distance, going to a “place board” away from their owner and remaining there, and focusing on their human even with other dogs right in their space. It was amazing to see the difference in every dog that came to the seminar. The owners were also thrilled at the control and precision they were able to achieve in just two days, especially those that had very unruly dogs to start with. Everyone left with a renewed relationship with their dog, and a feeling that they could accomplish anything they wanted to with their dog. It was fun to see the smiles on everyone’s faces and the wagging of all the dog tails!
To learn more about the remote collar and other training tips, check out Robin MacFarlane’s blog.