Stop your dog chasing sheep and animals
Posted on 17th October 2022 at 13:28
The vast majority of people who contact Dogtra UK to purchase an E-Collar do so in order to obtain a reliable recall and stop their dog chasing. Lets face it, the problem is not really that your dog is chasing. The problem is that it will not come back when you call it, during which time it is either sniffing something you would rather it did not, chasing something you rather it did not or running towards something you would rather it did not.
So people just like you and me purchase their Dogtra E-Collar not to be cruel but to obtain a 100% reliable, bombproof recall no matter what the circumstances. I really do mean no matter what!
A bit of history...
I used to breed and sell dogs to the police. A young Belgian Shepherd bitch was returned to me. She had good obedience and was attentive, but just not right for the police. At the time I lived on a farm and the farmer had put sheep in the field at the back to mop up some sugar beet. I walked her on a long line for 2 weeks to ensure she was OK with the sheep and she never batted and eye. So I thought I would walk her off leash. She walked fine, ignored the sheep for around 3 days and then on the 4th day she took off. She burst through the electric sheep fence and began flooring sheep by the throat, one after the other. She would drag one down and then let go and grab another. The whole flock were in panic. I had raced across the field, shouting myself hoarse, she was running within a few yards of me and I took to hurling lumps of sugar beet at her as I screamed in desperation. The whole thing was made worse as the farmer was sat on his tractor about 400 yards away watching the whole sorry mess.
After 10 minutes and countless sheep floored, I gave up. I began to walk back to the house to get my shotgun. I was going to have to shoot my own dog, before the farmer did it for me and before she killed any of the sheep, some of whom were lying on the ground transfixed with fear. She must have sensed what was going to happen as she stopped chasing and ran up to me, adopting a perfect heel position. I was not happy!!! But I did my best to mask it and praised her for coming back.
Now those sheep could easily have been rabbits, hares, squirrels, cattle, hens, ducks, other dogs or people. The desire to chase in some dogs is very strong, as is the desire to play. I don’t pay any heed to those who say that the failure of a recall is because of a poor relationship with a dog. I know from experience that you can bake as much liver cake, purchase the most expensive treats, change from red Leicester to Cathedral City Mature cheddar, if your dog wants to chase or engage another dog in play then love and kindness will not stop it! Even professional (household names) in the dog training world buy these collars from me to allow them the freedom to walk their highly trained dogs in the countryside without fear of losing them to a chase situation.
So how do you do it? Firstly you get this idea right out of your head. You do not use an E-collar as an arse kicking device!!!!
Your dog will learn nothing from punishment and associate far more towards a reward.
So let us assume you have accustomed yourself or your dog to your Dogtra E-Collar. You know what level your dog can just about feel it at. That is when your dog looks around as if a fly has just landed on him/her or someone has just touched it’s fur.Most dogs will respond within about 10-15 points of this level when distracted.
So, you take your dog out into an area where you are not likely to see many moving distractions and you give your dog an imaginary perimeter. Say 30 yards, every time your dog gets to the edge of that 30 yards you call it back, regardless of what it is doing. I am presuming here that you should have at least taught your dog to come to it’s name or recall command. If your dog comes back of it’s own accord then you reward it appropriately, lots of high pitched praise, patting, stroking, food rewarding or a game with a toy, whatever pleases your dog but it should be left in no uncertain terms that it is the most amazing dog in the world at this point.
So what if your dog does not come back of it’s own accord? Well, if it is just distracted, sniffing rabbit scent etc then use the vibrate button, if it does not respond to vibrate then use the nick button. It’s a bit like tapping your dog and saying “I really insist you come back NOW”. Bit as soon as your dog steps towards you then there should be lots of encouragement, verbal praise, the offer of food or a toy. Again, your dog should feel like it is the most amazing dog in the world, even though you have used the collar.
This needs to be repeated over and over for a few days, you perimeter can be shorter or longer depending on your dog. But I would say after 3-5 days, double your perimeter and repeat. Your dog MUST be lavished with praise and attention EVERY TIME it does the right thing REGARDLESS of whether or not you have used the collar.
I work slightly differently with dog chasing? This is where a Dogtra E-Collar comes into it’s own. Nearly all the Dogtra UK range of E-collars have three options for stimulation.
Page (Vibrate) This is a constant intensity and keeps going while ever you have your finger on the Page button.
Nick (40th of a second electrical impulse) It’s like the static feeling you get of a car or a supermarket trolley except you can alter the intensity of it. Useful for if your dog is distracted.
Constant (Continual Pulses) While ever you have your finger on the button. However at 12 seconds the collar stops pulsing as enough is enough, your dog should be under control by this stage.
The important thing about Nick & Constant is that you can vary the intensity from 0-127 levels. So back to the question, what if your dog is chasing?
Give your recall command at the same time as you press the Constant button, and whilst pressing the button keep increasing the level of the impulse gradually but as quickly as is needed to stop the situation getting out of hand. keep recalling, whistling whatever it is you do until your dog turns back towards you. As soon as it does this, take you finger off the button. At this moment you need lots of verbal high pitched praise and encouragement until your dog is all the way back in .Reward it with pats, strokes, verbal praise, food, toy etc. If you can let your dog go again, give your dog it’s freedom back, but you may want to enforce a perimeter, especially if you can still see whatever your dog was running towards.
If your dog were to take on step towards you and the pulsing stopped and then it began chasing again I would put my finger straight back on the button and continue increasing the pulse.
Your dog is learning a valuable lesson in that it can switch the collar off at lower and lower levels. This is very important, you want your dog to think about its training in a positive light, not be afraid of it.
EVEN IF YOU USE YOUR COLLAR YOU MUST ALWAYS LAVISH YOUR DOG WITH REWARDS FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING!
A final story...
Now I am sure the the anti E-Collar people who look at such training aids with a level of hysteria will still be saying that this is cruel and it is about hurting your dog etc. Firstly, if I did have to hurt my dog, I would rather I hurt it in a measured way for the right reasons than for it to be shot, run over or go missing and possibly subsequently stolen.
To illustrate this I would like to go back to the police dogs.
The police asked if they could bring a fully trained police dog back to me that they had purchased from me as a puppy, grown on trained and licensed as a police dog. The reason being that when the dog was tracking criminals he would veer off and track game. This made him unreliable to them but was a source of a large payday for me as personal protection type dogs do not need to track and this dog came with a full police history.
So, the morning came of the dogs return. He was called Shaggy (I changed it to Sharky) The police asked me what I was going to do with him, sell him I replied. But what about the game chasing issue? I told them I would train him on a Dogtra E-Collar. Now this dog had a very good standard of obedience, he had a full police licence, he knew what here and come meant in every circumstance, he just chose to ignore it.
The two police instructors asked me if they could watch me introduce the collar to Shaggy. I knew about half a mile from my house there was a spot in an open field where hares had been boxing each other and this would be a real test for Shaggy. We spent the half a mile finding Shaggy’s introductory level and doing a few perimeter recalls. Then we got to the point in the field that was laced with hare scent and he was off!
The two police instructors looked mortified, I had signed for transfer of Shaggy back into my name but the timing was too close for their comfort and at this stage it was fair to say that their backsides fell out. I asked them to tell me at what point they wanted him back. They quickly said NOW! Shaggy was about 600 yards away on an open field and heading towards a nature reserve.
I shouted SHAGGY, HEEERRRRRE and pressed Continuous at a very low level. He immediately turned, took my finger off the button, gave him loads of high pitched praise and encouragement all the way in and produced a ball on a rope for him to play with. We had a game of tug, I let him win and he was as happy as Larry. The two police instructors said “Was that it”?
I said, what did you expect and yep they expected shrieking, yelping, basically arse kicking from me or the collar. Neither of them could believe that they as police dog instructors had been banned by their senior officers from using E-Collars especially now it had been demonstrated how simply effective they are. Both of them realised that this only needed to be layered over and over in order to re pattern the dog into the behavior they desired. They were giving away thousands of pounds worth of police dog.
Now that could well have been your dog, out in the field or woods chasing rabbits, hares, pheasants, deer etc. You might have a dog that likes to play with other dogs or simply loves to greet other people by running over to them and jumping up. This may have led to your dog being labelled as viscous or out of control and you could have stopped it instantly had your dog been wearing an E-Collar. my only advice with your dog running towards dogs and other people is that your dog must never be more than two thirds of the way to making contact with the dogs or people (More about that later). It’s not an excuse to take your eyes off your dog!
If you have a dog that you simply cannot trust to come back when you call it and when it is distracted or your dogs chasing then give me a call.
Dogtra E-Collars really are very simple to use and rather than months of uncertain dog training lessons and psychoanalysis of your dog, get it under control quickly, stop your dog chasing, take the stress and pressure out of your walks. Give your dog it’s freedom to run and enjoy the great times you have together.
Share this post: