At Sit Means Sit we use dog obedience training and the remote electronic collars for dog training. In this article, we’ll go over some steps in teaching ‘attention’ heeling with an electronic collar. A remote electronic collar basically uses electrical stimulation to focus the attention of the dog. (If you are not familiar with this type of electrical stimulation, just google the term ‘muscle stimulators‘, and you will see many things that are similar and are used to stimulate muscle for health reasons..)
People are constantly wondering how you can teach commands like this without creating a negative association to the electric collar. The truth is that the Sit Means Sit dog collar that Fred Hassen’s Sit Means Sit dog training franchise owners use are adjustable to suit the dog’s temperament. Technology has come a long way in this day and age in all sorts of venues! They can be adjusted lower than most dogs can even perceive, and adjusted accordingly upwards as well. Sit Means Sit Franchise owners are skilled at teaching these adjustments, which has assisted greatly in making Sit Means Sit dog training the largest and most successful U.S. based dog training company in the history of the United States!
If you are introducing the electronic collar and the “attention” heel command at the same time, the easiest way to start is to kneel down next to the dog with a food treat. When the dog is looking away, lightly tap him with the collar until he looks at you and then give him the hotdog. Continue the tapping light tapping as you continue to feed the dog so that the dog links the tap with the food.
There are various other tools in dog training like a clicker where food can be paired to the sound of it, except that we find our Sit Means Sit collar to be much more versatile and able to do things
in a more timely manner, and at greater distances.
A Sit Means Sit dog trainer does not have any of the other numerous ways of training, all of which are successful in their own way, taken away from him. He can still use these tools if he deems necessary for any particular situation and depending on the particular trainer evaluation of the situation. We just have an extra tool, and very deep knowledge of it that keeps us light years ahead of someone that does not because of technology.
The purpose of the kneeling is that it makes communication with your dog easier. All you are doing at the beginning is making the link to the dog between the tapping of the collar stimulation, and the association of the food.
The biggest problem you may have initially is that the Sit Means Sit remote electronic dog collar can go low enough in it’s adjustments, that when you start at the bottom level it is very normal for a dog
not to even be able to feel it. You can set the collar on level 1 for yourself and it will be quite evident what I mean when you feel it. Fred Hassen has personally set the adjustments on the collar.
The Sit Means Sit collar also has a lifetime warranty.
Most clients first reaction is, “How is this supposed to communicate anything to the dog if he can’t even feel it?”. All dogs are different, and that is why it is adjustable to suit the temperament and situation
of the dog.
We would not suggest giving any command at this point. The reason for not giving the command is that the dog does not understand the remote electronic collar yet, and has not had enough repetitions to link the “tapping” to the treat. We are trying to elicit from the dog, the motion of turning to look up at you when he feels the tap. In other words, ‘tap’ means ‘look up at me ’cause there is food up here’, and then you will verify it every time. Being able to adjust and problem solve as things progress is best done with a Sit Means Sit Franchise owner assisting you. You can find them here.
The dog will quickly associate the stimulation to the food and the dog will be instantly rewarded with the treat. You can slowly raise yourself from the kneeling position, until the dog still associates the ‘nick’ with looking at you while you are standing, then you can cease the kneeling altogether. I would then start challenging the dog by ‘nicking’ at various times when he is not expecting it, and seeing that he knows to look up at you and get his treat.
Another good way to introduce this is to pack the dog’s dry food kibbles that are going to be his allowance at that meal, and take him for a walk. You can periodically tap him along the way, and as he looks up at you, give him a portion until he has had all of his meals worth. He will soon be looking forward to the tapping. Because of the distraction outside, you may find yourself going up a few notches because of the added excitement of the outside environment. In other words, the level that was working in the house may be completely ineffective outside, and remember that he is equating the stimulation to his food, so he needs to be able to feel it , and you have to adjust accordingly.
When your dog starts showing that he understands the tapping, and is looking up when it occurs on a consistent basis, we then suggest overlaying the “heel” or “foos”, or whatever dog training command at that time. You do not want the dog thinking that “heel” means, “Look around and try to figure out what that strange tapping is”, because we’ve laid the groundwork for it to mean look up for food to him. This is also why Sit Means Sit Franchise owners are able to show a demonstration with the collar being used, even when they are doing the RIGHT THING! It does not have a negative connotation to the dog in this particular setting, and other dog training remote systems just would have this HUGE advantage taken away from them if it was just negative to the dog.
Your dog will soon know that the tapping is not just a random act, and that he, and he alone is responsible for controlling it. The timing that you can achieve with the Sit Means Sit dog training collar is virtually unmatched in other methods.
Your dog has now had nothing but a pleasant initial association with the Sit Means Sit electronic dog collar. You will soon see that dog’s tail wagging like crazy when he feels that tap. We now want to establish habit with that behavior. The dog now has a choice, and will learn more responsibility with his behavior. Also, I would further layer learning on to this by establishing that the dog maintain the ‘heel’ position while you are stationary. In other words, while standing completely still, you should be able to say “heel” and the dog’s head comes right up into looking at you.
Remember that the Sit Means Sit remote electronic dog collar is doing a lot of work for you, so it is totally inappropriate for you to ever have to raise your voice while using our product. Yelling should not have more meaning of command than a regular tone.