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Pac Collars dog training guide

Thousands of dogs’ lives have been saved, and tens of thousands more dogs now enjoy a quality of life and freedom that has been improved – beyond all recognition.

At the same time, the use of PAC’s electronic dog training collars has resulted in an enormous reduction in heartache and frustration for their owners and trainers. Furthermore and conversely, use of the PAC Dog Training collar has also prevented countless situations where dogs might otherwise have killed or painfully maimed other creatures, for example, sheep, deer and chickens.

In a recent survey of PAC clients, over 50% owned dogs that originally suffered from ‘selective hearing’. Again, 50% had had ‘chasers’, of whom 70% worried sheep. Over 90% of all clients claimed that their PAC Dog training had been successful.

An out of control dog is a danger to himself, a menace to others and a huge liability to his owner. Not only is he is at risk of getting shot or run over, but he could also cause accidents that, at worst, can be fatal. A dog that just cannot be trusted, or that is persistently disobedient, unruly, or plain anti-social, despite hours, days, weeks or months of attempted conventional training, is a threat to his own longevity. Thus he becomes a prisoner to the house or yard… and, if he is lucky enough to get ‘exercised’, he will also be a lifelong prisoner to the lead. That is no life for your dog and no fun for you.

If your dog is driving you to distraction… and driving himself to an early demise through sheep chasing, deer hunting or harassing any other animal several fields or gardens away… or simply being a nuisance to others in the park, then the powerful arm of the PAC Dog Training Collar should enable you to discourage him, quickly and for all time. Beside its obvious advantages to owners of miscreant pets, the AXT also brings new dimensions to farmers and to field-sports enthusiasts whose dogs are often working (and possibly misbehaving) at greater distances, whatever the terrain.

Although we do not normally recommend correction at ultra long distances, if you can still see your dog half a mile (800 metres) or more away, or if he can still hear your voice- or whistle-commands, then the Pac Dog Training Collar can extend your sphere of influence and control with confidence. The level of correction will not be affected by the distance, no matter whether it need be a mild ‘pins and needles’ sensation for minor disobedience problems… or a more appropriately powerful deterrent against life-threatening or anti-social behaviour.

Remote Dog Trainer is a wonderful aid to training where conventional methods have failed, but it is not intended either as a short cut to conventional dog training or an excuse for poor or shoddy dog training. It must also be stressed that it is a training aid… not a punishment tool. Furthermore, the unit is not itself a dog trainer. That responsibility lies in your hands. If you are of the school that believes that more gets rapid results, or you are of an impetuous disposition, it is very likely that this tool is not for you. For the sake of your dog’s welfare, never allow children to have access to this dog training equipment. Clearly, the same applies to anyone of doubtful or unknown temperament, and to anyone who is unaware of the electronic dog collar’s function and its recommended usage.

Why Use A Remote Dog Training Collar ?

It is utterly pointless attempting to correct a dog some minutes, or even seconds after he has ‘committed an offence’, since he will hardly be able to associate the punishment with the crime. Late punishment will make the dog believe that the trainer is cruelly dominant, and cause him to be reluctant in future to come back… just to be punished. Dog training then takes a giant leap – backwards! Corporal punishment can easily result in damage to the dog, both psychologically and physically.

Not all dogs respond to standard “compulsive” or “reward” training methods, and, until you encounter a difficult dog, it is hard to imagine the need for a Remote Dog Trainer. The use of such a tool, as a last resort, can be extremely effective in curing a comprehensive range of problems – quickly and usually pain-free. Correct use of the device will inevitably elevate the trainer to surrogate ‘pack-leader’ or ‘top dog’… and will allow him to be far less physical with his dog.

The enormous power of the PAC Electronic Dog Training system as a training instrument lies not so much with the strength of correction available, but more with the timing of the correction, either during or immediately following the deed. It is believed that a dog’s limited ability for logical reasoning will cause him quickly to associate his disobedience, or undesirable act, with the correction. The message gets home very quickly, and because the timing is so immediate, the level of correction needs most often to be no more than a slight discomfort. Since it Is possible to use low levels of stimulation, it will not inhibit the dog’s spirit. Indeed, the correction should not normally constitute a shock at all, being rather like a very long, invisible check-cord that tingles, but does not tangle.
Many users have found that their dogs tend to bond more closely when they have been trained with the Remote Trainer. This most likely happens because, after a correction, the dog comes back with the view that “There’s something quite scary out there… but at least you’re a friendly face”… And you can praise him for being so good!

The use of the tone facility in conjunction with, or in place of, electrical stimulation, enhances even further the PAC Dog Training system as the quickest, most effective and most humane training tool available (see Tone Function).

When should you not use an electronic remote dog trainer?

Before starting any training with the active collar, if your dog has a medical condition, such as a heart problem, it is essential that you seek the advice of your veterinary surgeon.

If your dog is of a nervous disposition be sure to check the effect of the electronic collar stimulation while the dog is on a secure line or in a safe area. Dog training should cease if there are any signs of trauma.

Do not use an electronic remote dog trainer on your dog less than six months of age for any reason. Never use it on a dog younger than about ten months old for obedience training, since he must first understand completely the command that you give, before you make any attempt to correct him using the stimulus. (See section on Tone Function)

The dummy collar familiarisation period

It is very important that your dog does not associate the correction with the collar. Otherwise you will have lost some of your advantage, since he will soon realise that when he is wearing the collar he will have to behave himself, and when he is not… he can do just what he jolly well pleases! As a result he will very likely have to wear the collar most of the time whenever he is out.

To avoid this realisation, you will need to familiarise your dog with the dummy  collar for at least 10 -14 days, before you enter the active training phase. An inexpensive dummy collar is available for this purpose.

The main aim of the dummy phase is to condition your dog to the shape, weight and feel of this strange, new collar. To ensure a good result, he should be made to wear it more or less continuously for the first two or three days… and certainly always when taken out for exercise. During the first week, fit the dummy collar loosely, so that it flops around and make its presence felt, deliberately making the dog aware that it is there. The dog then gets used to it and soon ignores it and forgets about it. Thereafter, for the next few days, each time you fit the collar, it should be progressively tightened till you can just get each of two fingers between the two probes and the dog’s neck**. That should be tight enough…snug… and comfortable, with the probes positioned centrally on the front of his neck. If the dog’s neck tapers, position the collar at the narrowest section (nearest his head). Most dogs will eventually associate the fitting of the collar with good fun and after several days you should have achieved this objective. A function of the weight of the collar box is to maintain the ideal position of the contact probes – at the front, centre point of the dog’s neck.

Despite all the above, there have been instances where some dogs also get to associate the correction with the presence of the handset. It is our strong recommendation, therefore, that you are very discreet when handling it (the handset). Ideally it should be kept out of sight; perhaps in a top jacket-pocket. But, just in case you are unable to hide it, carry it with you during the dummy training period to enhance the effect.

Progression to live training with a PAC Dog Training Collar

For a day or two before your first live training session, go through the same process with the active collar. As before, fit it snugly such that you can just get each of two fingers between the two probes and the dog’s neck**. Make him wear the active collar frequently, and take him out wearing it – at least once. In this way, he will also become familiarised with the smell of this new collar. Some particularly scent sensitive dogs might well be able to smell a difference between the dummy collar and the active collar.

If your dog needs to be taken out on a lead, or to be attached to a line, he should also wear a normal collar at the same time. Never attach a line to the PAC collar, as this might damage it. If you feel you might need to use a line during training with the active collar, give him complete freedom of the line.

Do not be in too much of a hurry to introduce your dog to a live situation. Ideally you should only do this after you have firmly established an appropriate intensity setting – for your dog – and that you are getting a positive response.

IMPORTANT!

Be careful not to over tighten the dog collar and remember always (at least daily) to check the dog’s neck for soreness before fitting it. In the event of any sign of irritation leave the collar off for a day or two, before progressing with your training programme.

Setting the right level of correction

The stimulation level (intensity) is controlled solely from the handset.

Irrespective of size, breed and type of problem, each dog is an individual. Before using the active collar in a live situation it is important that you establish the most appropriate correction level for your dog. While it may seem logical to assume that a small dog will need less corrective stimulation than the bigger dog, this is not always the case. There are many examples of large dogs, such as Great Danes, that are highly sensitive… and of some smaller dogs, such as Beagles that require a much higher level of correction. Further, among dogs of the same breed, and even among dogs from the same litter, there can be wide variation of reaction to a particular stimulus level. In addition, the insulating effect of the fur on longhaired breeds will often require a higher setting… or the use of different probes.

Certainly, since a dog has an adrenaline rush, whilst he is chasing a quarry, it may well be necessary temporarily to increase the stimulation level. It is also worth bearing in mind that a dog’s pain threshold is mostly, significantly higher than that of a human. Testing the stimulation level on yourself (e.g. on your arm) is not likely, therefore, to be very meaningful… but it is as well that you should be aware of the sort of correction that you are administering.

To find the appropriate stimulation level for obedience training, for your dog, set the electrical stimulus initially to its minimum position. See the operating instructions for your PAC Collars model and settings. When you press the button you should see a mild but positive reaction. This will take the form of a slight movement of the head and might cause him to be startled, but should not produce a greater reaction than this. Such a mild reaction should be sufficient in most cases to correct your dog’s disobedience.

Beware, however, when you press the button for the first time or two, he might well overreact – not necessarily to the strength of the stimulus… but to the surprise of it. Thereafter, he should he should no longer be so astonished at the stimulation.

Most dogs should change a persistently disobedient behaviour within a couple of training sessions… at a level hardly more uncomfortable for him than a pins and needles sensation. For some of the more determined, headstrong dogs, however, the setting might have to be increased after a period of training as they become more tolerant to the stimulation… and begin to ignore the low-level effect. On the other hand, however, if you notice that he is overreacting, you have clearly increased stimulation to a level that is too high. This must be reduced progressively, till it is just enough to get his obedient attention.

If your dog enjoys plunging into water, this will increase his sensitivity. Although you can compensate for this by reducing the stimulation output, we would recommend that in the early stages most of your initial training be effected away from water. But in any case, the collar in your AXT system is waterproof to several metres, and should not be affected. Do not use the collar in salt water.

For correction of serious anti-social habits, such as sheep chasing, the intensity level should be set at least half way… and if necessary, be prepared to increase it near to maximum. Correction at such high levels only need normally be one-off!

Your first dog training session

For your first session, make sure that everything is ready to work…

• Ensure that the collar and the transmitter are sufficiently charged
• Check that the collar is turned on and tuned into your handset

• Fit the collar and check that it is a snug fit.
• Set the intensity to an appropriate level
• In the case of dogs endowed with a thick coat, it might be necessary using a hair trimmer to remove some of his “high insulation” fur from under the neck, to allow better probe contact (NB trim down to the undercoat – not to the skin!). His fur will grow back to normal in a short while. Alternatively, you might need to change over to the slightly more pointed probes (supplied with your kit) that should enable better contact with your dog’s neck.

• Conductivity can be enhanced using an aqueous gel, like that used by physiotherapists.

• In most cases it should now be time to let the dog off his lead…
• But… if you are training him against other-animal-chasing (e.g. sheep), since you will have no clear idea how your dog will respond, you might like to attach a long flexi-line as an additional fail-safe.

Note… If, during an attempted correction, no reaction is observed…

• You might need to increase the correction level (this should be done gradually).

Dog Training Styles

There are two distinct training styles (or strategies) that are normally used with your PAC remote trainer.

1) Enforcement of obedience… where dogs are wilfully hard-of-hearing or plain headstrong – running away, refusing to
respond to recall or running-in on birds and other game…

or…

2) Aversion therapy… to create an aversion to his anti-social behaviour or activity – such as…
• Chasing or worrying sheep and other stock
• Chasing other animals (squirrels, dogs, cats, rabbits, foxes and birds, such as pigeons and gulls)
• Jumping up
• Eating unpleasant deposits, such as other dogs’ faeces, or eating stones
• Stealing food from the work surface
• Escaping through a particular gap in the hedge or fence

Enforcement of dog training obedience

If, for example, you were trying to correct a recall problem, establish the base level, working from the minimum intensity-upwards. Call him in a normal command tone. If he responds without correction then praise him. If he does not respond, call him again in a manner that suggests your displeasure. If he then comes, praise him. If he does not obey, use a trigger word such as “come!’… and press the correction button for about 1/2 second, initially, thus enforcing your command.

Your dog should return to you, encouraged by your praise. If appropriate, you may also wish to use a reward such as a titbit. More often than not, the one correction should cause your dog to obey your command to “come”, to “sit”, to “lie” or whatever. Check that you have achieved your obedience objectives over several more training sessions before gradually reducing the number of times he has to wear the collar.

Aversion Therapy

Where dogs exhibit anti-social behaviour such as eating their own-, or other animals’-faeces, swallowing stones, chasing bikes or cars etc. and often in the case of animal-worrying, the technique known as “aversion therapy” is used. For this therapy it is even more important that the dog has been properly trained to the “dummy effect” so that there is absolutely no association with the equipment.

In this strategy, it will be your objective to encourage the perception that there is some sort of “magic ring” around his quarry. You must appear not to notice what he is doing… and to appear to take no part in the correction. You give no commands. In this way, he will be conditioned to believe that his action alone is the cause for his discomfort. In other words, he must believe that the act of picking up faeces or stones, or chasing bikes or cars actually causes the unpleasant sensation. He must not be given any indication that you have had anything to do with it, although, having just been corrected, he is very likely to come back to you for comfort. At this stage, of course, you should be prepared to make a fuss and praise him.

This technique is also very successfully applied to dogs that are worrying other animals such as sheep, deer, cattle, cats, chickens etc… But should not normally be applied in cases of aggression towards humans or other dogs unless specifically advised by a qualified trainer or behaviourist.

We would point out at this stage that while your dog might have responded well to the line during conventional, obedience training… when teaching him to leave sheep, for example – his desire level will almost certainly increase dramatically when in full flight. You should therefore be prepared quickly to increase the stimulation level to counter-balance this. Just one zap at high level should be sufficient to stop him in this adrenaline-assisted rush. After one or two further attempts, he should have got the message… and sheep should be off the menu, once and for all.

For a dog with a history, for instance, of persistent sheep chasing/worrying, some trainers would prefer to take him into a field with sheep and to give him a significantly high stimulus whenever he turns his head to “eye” the sheep. Others prefer to let the dog chase and get near to the quarry before administering a zap. Both approaches are extremely effective, but remember – no command is given in these cases. You should appear neither to have taken part… nor even to have noticed the sheep or your dog’s reaction to them. The use of a long flexi-line can be useful here, as a safety back-up – just in case something goes wrong… like…

• The collar has not been fitted properly or set correctly
• The dog is sufficiently aroused to ignore the stimulation
• He is too well insulated (electrically) – trim his fur a little (see earlier section)

Tone Function

Although most users prefer to use the tone, some trainers choose to start training using voice commands (that have emotional value)… followed by stimulation… then gradually to introduce the tone option at a later stage.

The tone facility on your PAC AXT should prove a valuable asset. Used initially in conjunction with stimulation, this mode of correction can have many advantages over stimulation alone. It should be seen quickly to be the preferred solution to long-term obedience training. If, following a disobeyed command a tone warning were to be given, followed immediately by a mild electrical impulse, the dog would soon perceive the tone to be a precursor to the stimulus. He is then likely to defer quickly to the tone without waiting for the second, less comfortable, stimulation-stage of correction. Training should then progress till he begins to defer to your command… without waiting for the tone warning. All that remains thereafter is to wean him off the collar altogether.

Beside the above, super-humane, progressive, training method, the tone facility can be used effectively…

• with hard-headed, younger dogs
• with highly sensitive dogs
• with older dogs or dogs suffering from a suspected medical condition
• silently to warn the dog that he is pushing his luck
• in situations where a loud command could unnerve others in the immediate vicinity (e.g. joggers, cyclists and children)
• where your command could affect the behaviour of other dogs
• where it would be undesirable to alert others to your presence… or that of your dog
• to alert a dog to your signal when he is some way off
• to attract your dog’s attention where there is a high level of extraneous noise…

and, not the least.

• in the final stages of training, where the collar need not be so snug a fit, since close, physical contact of the probes with the dog should no longer be so important. This is an ideal situation for the long-term control of obedience.

Warnings

1. When alternating between tone warning and stimulus correction on single-button-per-dog systems (i.e. AXT1 and multi- dog settings on AXT2, AXT3, AXT4 and AXT6), you should practise (without involving the dog) your ability to change accurately from tone-only… to the correct stimulus level for any particular dog. Timing is very important. You should aim to switch between the minimum setting (i.e. tone-only) to the correct stimulus intensity level in less that one second. If you have any doubts about your ability to do this, restrict your use of the collar initially to stimulus correction, where the intensity level can remain in the ideal position for the dog being trained. As the training programme progresses, your dog should respond more readily to your commands and your use of stimulus should reduce, thus allowing you to use tone signals, with little need to change to stimulus.

2. If during training your dog is confronted with another animal (e.g. an aggressive dog or stroppy cow) be careful in the use of either the tone or the stimulus. If your dog is distracted during the confrontation, it might just give the other animal (the aggressor) a moment’s advantage… to your dog’s disadvantage. Try to anticipate the situation by getting your dog’s attention… and recalling him in good time.

3. We also suggest that initial training be carried out in an area of high visibility in order that you may interact with your dog correctly. It would be wrong to attempt a correction if you cannot see the dog or what he is doing. At the moment you press the trigger button, your dog will form an association with it. If, for example, he were on his way back to you at that time, it would create a negative effect in your dog’s mind. Similarly, if you corrected him when picking up game he might well associate the stimulation in a manner that might put him off retrieving. Again, we stress “Timing is of the essence.”

4. Some dogs with behavioural problems on-the-line will respond in an altogether different manner off-the-lead. In this case, the initial training of such dogs off-the-lead should ideally be carried out in a secure area such as a tennis court, enclosed garden or well-fenced field.

Reversion

Reversion to old habits (recidivism) can occur, particularly with headstrong or very intelligent dogs. It is your responsibility, as trainer (and owner) to make sure this does not occur.

When you have completed your dog’s obedience training with the collar, remember that he should, ever after, regard you as top-dog. Be sure, therefore, before giving a command, that the command is necessary. And when you do issue it… make sure it is obeyed fully. Otherwise, your dog could start to slip back into his old ways, since he might start to view your stewardship of the top-dog’ position as doubtful. So we repeat… Training collars are wonderful aids to training where conventional methods have failed, but they are not intended as a short cut to conventional training or as an excuse for poor or shoddy training (or control).

In the case of anti-social behaviour, the strength of the instinctive and inherent genes of the dog is often strongly embedded. A fully trained dog, left to his own devices, in some cases, might sooner or later revert to ancestral instincts no matter how well trained, especially if he is continually confronted with unchecked temptation. Guard against this on a continuing basis. If necessary, a regular refresher programme of correction might be required.

And Finally…

Your PAC AXT will be an invaluable aid to training your dog. Please use the system kindly, with care and sensitivity. If you have any doubts, think hard before pressing the stimulus button. Limit sessions to three or four corrections… and be ready, if necessary, to call the training session to a close for the day. Remember… dogs have ‘off-days’ too!

Always be prepared to seek advice from your PAC agent, qualified trainer or behaviourist.

Once your dog has been cured, he should be safe off the lead and, provided he has not been presented with blatant temptations, or slack or sloppy instructions on your part, he should enjoy an unfettered freedom for the rest of his life (but see previous section on Reversion).

Good luck with your training!… and please let us know how you get on.

Dog Training Tips

• Put a Name & Address sticker on collar and handset, in case of loss in the field.
• Stick fluorescent strips to the collar webbing to make it easy to find if lost in the grass or undergrowth.
• The collar catch (with the quick-release buckle) is designed to pull apart in the event of the dog getting caught up in the undergrowth. If you are confident that he is unlikely to get his neck stuck down a rabbit, fox or badger hole, for instance, fix a linkage like a safety chain on a lady’s bracelet. A short length of something like fishing twine will hold the collar loosely on the dog’s neck, hopefully, till he returns. Alternatively, a conventional, buckle & strap is available from PAC.

• Check the probes each time you use the collar. If they become loose, tighten them, using the small, plastic spanner, to just beyond a firm-finger-tightness. DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN THE PROBES.

• If you plan to carry the handset, say, in a jacket top pocket, reduce the chance of it slipping out inadvertently by wrapping a wide elastic band around it… Or wear the supplied lanyard around your neck.

SUMMARY

• Read the OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS.
• Go through the dummy familiarisation process to avoid your dog’s awareness of the collar.
• Determine the ideal correction level for your dog –

a) for obedience… and/or…
b) for aversion.

• Make sure the kit is appropriately charged and ready to use before each training session.
• Fit the active collar snugly… but check daily for neck irritation.
• Be sure only to correct when necessary… and with good timing. If in doubt, avoid a correction.
• Limit your training sessions each to three or four corrections, maximum.
• Try to limit correction time, by pressing the button for between half to 1 second – or by setting the stimulus mode to momentary’ (see OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS).
• Use the tone warning facility, where possible, in place of the stimulus.
• Wean your dog gradually off the training collar
• If in doubt, ask for advice.