Television, the internet and viral videos alike have made false promises of training protection dogs with ease through the use of electric dog collars. The practice of using an electric dog collar on your protection dog is both inhumane and ineffective. It is the layman’s way.
In many of my visits to Holland, I’ve seen, first hand, exercises performed by the K.N.P.V. program in which they train the dog to find a box in the woods. The dog is to indicate on the box and do a bark and hold. Because the dog is not to mouth the box, the box is electrified to administer a shock. I personally disagree with this method of training, and I would never subject my German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois to electric shocks. However, history has also shown the unpredictability and unreliability of using electricity in training. Detection dogs were trained during World War II to detect mines. Trainers brought the dog’s attention to the ground using electric shocks administered through wires just under the ground’s surface. It was an attempt to train the dogs to anticipate danger in the ground. However, this had the unfortunate side-effect of making the dogs extremely nervous, which shortened their service-life dramatically. To train a dog to anticipate any form of pain will cause extreme and undue stress on the animal.
In today’s world, for a handler to properly communicate with his protection dog is almost a dying art.