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The Correct Timing of Stimulation

From Tri-Tronics Retriever Training Book, By Jim and Phyllis Dobbs with Alice Woodyard
Reprinted by permission of Tri-Tronics Inc.

If the dog can perform the command quickly, stop tbe stimulation as soon as it completes the command.
The success of training with the Tri-Tronics collar depends upon your ability to choose the right moment to apply electrical stimulation, the right moment to turn off stimulation, and the right time to increase it. In the lessons that follow, the symbol “!” will be used before the command to signify the times when electrical stimulation should be applied.

When to Start Stimulation
Ideally, the dog should feel the beginning of electrical stimulation simultaneously with hearing the command. However, it is difficult to achieve this "ideal" when you start retriever training with the collar. So, in the beginning stages of the dog's training, the rule is this: It is better to be too early with stimulation than too late.

If you are late with the stimulation and the dog has already begun a correct response, you could confuse the dog. Therefore, during the escape training phase, press the button an instant before you give the command.

When to Turn Off Stimulation
During the escape training phase, the stimulation should cease when the dog responds correctly to the command. In this stage the dog learns to turn off, or escape stimulation.

During this process, you want the dog to feel successful. If it can complete the command quickly (such as "Sit" or "Down"), stop the stimulation as the dog completes the com- mand. However, if time elapses before the dog can complete the command (such as "Here"), turn off stimulation the moment it starts to comply.

When to Phase Out Stimulation
At first, you should use stimulation every time you give the command, so that the dog will have enough repetitions to learn how to turn off stimulation. When you see your dog obeying quickly, you will stop the stimulation an instant after the command is given. Now the dog is almost avoiding the stimulation through its prompt response. After several such sessions, you progress to the second and final stage, avoidance training.

In this stage, give the command without applying stimulation. Give the dog a chance to find out that it can "beat the system" and avoid stimulation entirely if it obeys quickly: When the dog has reached this level of compliance on a particular command, you should apply stimulation only when you have to repeat that command. This procedure will encourage the dog to obey the first time it hears your command.

When to Increase Intensity
Sometimes you may find that even though the dog has learned to turn off low-level stimulation, it may regress and not respond because it has decided to resist your control- not because it's confused. If this should happen, increase the level of stimulation each time you must repeat a command. If you find that you are using the medium and high levels very often, you should change the intensity plug in the electronic dog training collar to the next higher level. When the dog has gotten over this phase, you can lower the intensity level again.

If the dog needs time to finish performing the command, turn off stimulation the moment the dog starts to comply.
Also, you may need to increase intensity when your dog is strongly distracted or very excited. Under these conditions, it may not respond to the lower levels.

Use of the Timing Monitor
The timing monitor gives the trainer audio feedback when the transmitter turns on and when it turns off. By using it, you will become more aware of when you press and release the button on the transmitter. This awareness will help you develop the correct timing that your dog needs to make it easier to learn.

The timing monitor will also let you know if your transmitter has timed out. This happens when you use continuous stimulation for longer than ten seconds.

For some models that have both continuous and momentary stimulation, the timing monitor also acts as a mode indicator, giving an audible reminder of whether your collar mode is set for continuous or momentary stimulation. The timing monitor is a useful option for anyone wanting to master the use of the Tri-Tronics collar.

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