E-Collars and Long Hair

By Tom Antion

When I got my first remote collar, I had a heck of a time figuring it out. I didn’t want to damage my dog. I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I studied like crazy. I read all about setting proper levels for my dog, all about continuous low level stimulation and nics. I also read about the pager and tone functions and how they are supposed to work. . . . But I still had trouble. Here’s why.

My dog has long hair on his neck. I was not getting a consistent contact on his neck with the receiver. This means that I would get no response from the dog when stimulating him so I would turn up the levels and then all of a sudden the receiver would make good contact and he would yelp (vocalize). I felt terrible.

Here are some things I tried:

  • Tightening the collar really tight
  • Buying extra-long prongs for the receiver for long haired dogs
  • Putting on two receivers on the same frequency
  • I considered trimming the dog’s neck hair which was kind of comical because I spent over a month conditioning the dog at meal times to like hair trimmers. I would hold them near his head two times a day during meal times with the clippers on. They buzzed away until he knew the sound meant meal time. He still wouldn’t let me trim his neck hair with them so that ordeal was somewhat of a bust.

When none of this worked, I finally called the manufacturer who put me in touch with one of their pro trainers. The guy told me that in over 20 years he never needed the extra long prongs and that he never shaved a dog’s neck.

He told me that the collar should be on tightly so I had that right. The main trick he taught me was to grab the receiver after it was on the dog and slide it back and forth so that the prongs would separate the dog’s hair and make contact with the dog’s skin. I make a big deal out of petting the dog around the neck so he doesn’t even notice I’m adjusting the collar. Ever since I started doing this, my use of the e-collar has been much more consistent and I get no more yelping meaning that I’m no longer causing pain.

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