Avid waterfowl hunters alike understand the importance of a loyal hunting dog. There’s nothing quite like having your four legged pal swim through the freezing cold water to retrieve a duck you just shot. In order to make this happen, you must train your dog the importance of obedience at a young age. The use of an electronic collar is absolutely critical in order to make this happen. Before you purchase an e-collar, make sure you gather a bit of research to figure out what fits your needs.
Features to Look for When Buying an E-Collar:
The distance at which your transmitter is still able to send a signal to your receiver is referred to as the range. In order to get the full range out of your set up, nothing can come between the transmitter and receiver. Often times, while hunting, you will encounter thick terrain that weakens your signal range. Also, reduced battery life will decrease your e-collar’s range. Therefore, it’s recommended that you buy an e-collar with more range than you anticipate on needing. If your pointing dogs tend to stay within a 200 yard radius while hunting, you should consider purchasing a unit with a 3/4 mile range rather than a 1/2 mile range.
This is a manual setting that allows you to control the amount of vibration and static shock associated with your e-collar. Every dog requires a different stimulation level, so be cautious when fine tuning which frequency works best for your dog. The maximum stimulation level your dog can withstand varies depending upon their temperament, skin, and fur thickness. Typically there are 7 to 10 different stimulation dial control settings. More advanced units will even have low, medium, and high modes within those 7 to 10 settings. Through trial and error you will find 2 to 3 stimulation settings that work best for your dog.
The tone button gives off a quiet sound that can only be heard when you are close to the collar. Don’t confuse this with the beeper function, which is used to locate your dog while out in the field. Some folks like to use the tone feature as a pre-stimulation warning if the dog isn’t following a command. Others use it as positive reinforcement. Tone can be used for each of these purposes, but most dog trainers will tell you to use it as a silent command. For example, if your dog is outside the distance of “normal voice” you can use the tone feature to act as a voice command. Instead of yelling “come here boy” you can tap the tone button.
E-collar vibration is typically used as a “pager” to get your dog’s attention. It doesn’t pack the same punch as a stimulation shock, so if your dog is early on in training do not expect the vibration to grab their attention. It’s most often used when your dog is obedient and amicable which generally occurs further along in the training process. Some dogs may never respond to the vibration because they have a more aggressive, independent personality. However, do not rule out the vibration feature and give it a try with your dog at some point in the training process.
Multi Dog System
This functionality allows you to use the same transmitter to control more than one collar. All you have to do is purchase an additional collar that’s the same model. If you hunt with more than one dog, I highly recommend buying an e-collar that has the multi-dog feature.
If you are looking to use your e-collar out in the field waterfowl hunting be sure that it’s 100% waterproof. Your dog will encounter rain, wetlands, and puddles when hunting, so it’s extremely important that the e-collar still functions after being fully submerged in water.