Pros: great for allowing a dog maximum freedom but keeping control
Cons: short battery life, expensive, must be used properly
As a volunteer zookeeper, I must admit my first reaction to a remote training collar was that it was tantamount to electro-shock therapy as in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest!! It seemed barbaric and cruel. But after having a big dog who obeyed every command but OCome,O I realized that it was kinder to use this kind of device than to allow this beautiful, loving dog to be hit by a car or any of the other misfortunes that can befall a dog that doesn?t obey. After using every technique under the sun, my trainer suggested we try this. I bought a Tri-tronics remote collar 14 years ago for my German Shepherd mutt and now own this Companion model for my little Cocker Spaniel. I wouldn?t be without one (and sometimes wish they made one for kids!).
A remote training collar is a collar with a receiver and sensors that you place on your dog. There is also a transmitter which you carry. Pushing the button on the transmitter delivers an electric shock to the collar and to your dog. Don't evade that reality. If you find that unacceptable, don't use this product. Before I review the product, let me assure you that, properly used, this product is both safe and humane. It can be a safe and effective training tool. Like many other pet control products, a choke collar for example, in the wrong hands, it can be an instrument of a significant amount of torture.
Before using this product on my dog, my kids and I tried it on ourselves. The kids thought it tickled and I had to stop them from playing with it! (Kids, go figure!!) While the shock it delivers is not pleasant, it is not really painful, just really annoying. Sort of like sticking your tongue on a 9 volt battery. It doesn?t really hurt, but you don?t want to do it again. The unit comes with extensive instructions on how to use it properly; I strongly suggest you follow those instructions. Otherwise, your dog may get wise to the fact that you can only correct him when that collar is on, or you may wind up inadvertently causing your dog more discomfort than you intend. Still, if you can use other training methods on your dog, use them first; this should not be your first resort. It will not work on a dog that doesn?t know and understand your commands.
The Companion Model is made more for companion dogs. Tri-tronics makes remote collars for hunting and sporting dogs as well and this product can be used in that way. Not being familiar with that usage, I restrict my review to the use of this item for a pet dog.
The device is simple enough. There is a remote collar with a receiver that is strapped to the dog. The device is lightweight and a good size even on my little Cocker. The collar uses two photo type batteries and is waterproof. It also has a little LED that blinks constantly so reassure you that it is on. It comes with a number of OpointsO small screw in tips that allow you to adjust the intensity of the signal and adjust it according to the needs of your dog. You may find that a long haired dog requires longer tips or that a sensitive dog needs the smallest. Start with the least and work your way up. The transmitter is a small box about the size of a cell phone with a button on the side. The button controls the shock. There are two rocker switches on the back which control the level (High or Low) and type (Momentary or Continuous) of shock. This unit uses a 9 volt battery.
When I tried this on my German Shepherd mutt, it only took two hits to break her of the bad habit we?d been working on for two years. My highly distractible Cocker needs to have it reinforced every once in a while. For both dogs, I?ve kept the intensity set very low - a reminder tingle rather than a shock. I can up the intensity a bit from the transmitter if I need to, in an emergency for example. I live in an urban area but live near a huge wooded park. This collar allows me to control my dogs off-leash even when they have wandered beyond ear-shot or when there is distracting noise. There is a great deal of wildlife in our park. We also have people with very dangerous Pit Bull/ Rottweiller/ Akita dogs in the area (actually, it?s the owners who are scary, not the breeds). I love to let my dogs run free in the woods but I need my dogs to be absolutely perfect in terms of responding to my commands ? their lives might depend on it. An unanticipated benefit ? these remote collars are deemed acceptable OleashesO by both our local Park Rangers, city and state police who patrol our parks. That means I can let my dogs roam freely but still be in compliance with the city leash laws.