Thursday, October 28, 2010

Remote Trainers Rock

A while back, I entered Luke into a contest on Facebook. The company, PetSafe, was doing what they called a "Best Moments" contest, where users were asked to submit photos and stories to compete for the honor of Best Moment. The prize was a $100 Visa gift card, which I believe was actually awarded to both first & second place.

Luke's story of being diagnosed with Addison's Disease and then coming back to get his NATCH less than a year later made the cut and was one of the top five finalists that moved on to voting. For a while, thanks to the help of all of my wonderful friends, Luke actually led the voting! We were beat out in the final hours, though, and we ended up third.

Laura from PetSafe contacted me to say that she was sorry I didn't win, as she was really touched by Luke's story and photo (I submitted our NATCH photo with the judge). She asked for my address to send me one of their new "Cinch-it" collars as a consolation prize.

In passing, I had mentioned that I was shopping for a remote trainer and wasn't sure which one would be best to buy. Laura never really answered my question directly, but told me to check my package for a surprise when it arrived.

Well, FedEx left me a package yesterday. I thought it was rather large for the expected Cinch-it collar (which is pretty cool, by the way!), so I tore right into it. I almost fell over when I saw the Venture Series remote training collar inside. HOLY COW. That is the best collar they sell! I saw it on the web site and was pining over it, but there was no way I could spend that kind of money on a training collar. One of the nice things about it (other than working from a distance of 1000 yards!) is that it gives you the option of adding a second collar to the remote. Always a nice option down the road!

My main use/need for a training collar is for Luke's barking in the car issue. And his barking in the yard at 6 a.m. issue.... Basically just his barking. I also have thought on numerous occasions that it would be MIGHTY HANDY to have a way to "reach out and touch" Secret in those times when she chooses to blow me off to go eat nasty stuff on our walks.

Today I got to put the collar to the test for the first time with Secret (it has already worked miracles with Luke, by the way). She was instantly put off by it a bit, but mostly just because of the long excess of flap that is necessary to make it fit both Secret & Luke. She got used to it and went on her merry way in no time.

I hate to say I was waiting for her to mess up so that I could use the collar, but well, I was.... Of course, it seemed like it would be a day where she would put no foot wrong! Maybe Luke told her about the collar's "power?"

As luck would have it, some critter left a nasty pile of poo in the middle of the trail. All of the other dogs listened to my "leave it!" command, but Secret did her usual routine of, "I'm going to scarf this as fast as I can and run away so that you can't catch me while I gobble it down!!"

The remote trainer was set at a paltry level two, as this is the level that has gotten a reaction out of Luke. After giving Secret appropriate warning, I pressed the button on the remote and got ZERO reaction. Quickly up to three and still nothing, as she ran off with her prize. I was losing my training opportunity when she didn't react to level four, so I pressed the "boost" button on the remote to quickly send it up two levels. All of the sudden Secret popped all four feet off the ground and let out a little squeak as her tasty poo treat went flying out of her mouth. I quickly followed up with praise and rewards. Good girl!

I had purposefully taken the route that lures Secret through the fence. As I figured, she took off towards the same spot in the fence on our way back. I called for her to stop and, of course, she didn't, because there is tasty cow poo on the other side! Right as her head went through the strands of barbed wire, I popped her with a short burst on level four. There was no dramatic reaction from her whatsoever, BUT, she stopped. She stood there for a moment, thinking, then looked back at me. I called her again and.... She came! Good girl! I won out over poop!

While I realize there are other ways to address this training issue (namely, making us both miserable by keeping her on leash or a long line, which I don't like since 99% of the time she is perfect), I am very appreciative to the folks at PetSafe for helping me get my point across in this quick and painless fashion!

I know I talk about Bethany & Rascal from time to time on this blog, so I just wanted to share what Bethany brought me as a gift! She is so sweet.


  1. Having experience with Field Trials and using shock collars...(and this is just my opinion) you may want to have the dogs get "conditioned" to the collar before using it further.

    By using it the way you described you have now taught the dogs the collar is the reason they got the shock and not the behavior.

    I'd take a dead/shut off collar unit and have them wear it for a few weeks before giving them any more stimulation. After 2-4 weeks of having them wear it, I'd bring back the stimulation... that way they learn the behavior was the reason for the correction and not just wearing the collar.

  2. What a treasure! Do they have one for husbands??

    This must be a really good one, since I have had no luck with the collar the society loaned me for foster dogs.

  3. That is AMAZING! Is the value of this gift more than the real prize? Secret must be tough to not respond to the level Luke did!

  4. Hi Karissa:
    Glad to see you have experienced the great folks over at Petsafe. I am fortunate enough to live in the town where Petsafe is headquartered so I get to enjoy their great hospitality. Not only do they have great products and sponsor dog parks in this area, they have Petsafe Village where Cooper and Stella (our labradoodle and goldendoodle) can go for things like boarding, grooming, and Doggy Day Camp. They love it!

    Maybe you could do a review of the Venture series trainer on Cooper's site? (We use the older version and it's great!)

    We're excited to watch your progress with agility training. We would like to do this in the spring - looks fun!


  5. Russell, I'd be happy to write up a review on the Venture Series Big Dog Remote Trainer. I may have missed it, but I don't see a place on your web site to submit a review?