It’s amazing that with our ability to literally tap into the collective knowledge of all mankind, so much misinformation can be spread about remote trainers. Call it “Fake News” or whatever, but I’m here to set the record straight, once and for all.
Here’s what e-collars are: tools. No different than hammers. In the hand of a carpenter with experience, a hammer is a beautiful thing. But give a hammer to a toddler and you’ll need to call that carpenter to fix the “work” your young child just accomplished on the home’s oak banister.
In the hands of an expert (or a novice willing to listen and learn) the electronic training collar is an excellent tool to help solidify what dogs already know — even at a distance. Ever tried to holler at your dog because it’s peeing on the neighbor’s bushes, and Fido gives you a sideways glance like, “Yeah, what are you gonna do about it, bud?”
Enter the remote trainer.
Let’s be clear, e-collars aren’t meant to dish out harsh punishment. As a tool to get a conditioned response, however, remote trainers build confidence. A dog learns how to turn pressure on and off depending upon what he does or doesn’t do. When the pieces come together between a handler and dog, it’s a thing of beauty.
At the beginning—say, 30-plus years ago—remote trainers were admittedly archaic. They were designed to get an immediate response. Nowadays, those old one-and-dones are a thing of the past. From tones and vibrations to stimulation and tracking, the list of features on modern e-collars are staggering.
Snag one of the models shown here, learn how to use it properly, and you can be assured of some beautiful field work in the near future.
LCS BIRD DOG TRAINER 800
Multipurpose tools have a permanent place in my life, and The Bird Dog Trainer 800 is case-in-point. Lion Country Supply built this e-collar after selecting a proven mid-range unit, then hot-rodded it with upgraded internal components. They also beefed it up even more by giving it the ability to operate accessories from the e-collar transmitter. What’s that mean? Choose the intensity level that’s right for your dog, then either send a correction, or operate the LCS Auto Backing Dog or Better Bird Launcher. Total field training confidence in the palm of your hand. $180 | lcsupply.com
SPORTDOG BRAND SPORTHUNTER 1825X
For a company, it doesn’t always make sense to reinvent the wheel. Which is why SportDOG took their Sporthunter 1825 series up a notch with the 1825X. The beauty is in the design. Even with up to six dogs on the same system, it’s intuitive. Seamlessly pick from 21 levels of static stimulation to correct any hound in your pack—and up to a mile away. Plus, the rechargeable Li-ion batteries top off in just two hours. So for any handler who burns the midnight oil, or just plain forgets until the night before training, the SportDOG 1825X has you covered. $290 | sportdog.com
GARMIN PRO 550 PLUS
As my first e-collar purchase, I have a soft spot for Tri-Tronics. So these days when Garmin improves on a proven line, it warms my heart. The PRO 550 Plus is the company’s latest rendition, turning this tried-and-true trainer into a tracker, too. A built-in LCD display near the base of the handheld provides directional and yardage readout every 2.5 seconds for up to three dogs. Other features include 18 levels of stimulation, tone, and vibration—as well as the ability to operate beacon lights on the dog device for low-light situations. $650 | garmin.com
D.T. SYSTEMS MASTERS RETRIEVER 1100
Duck hunters bring a ton of stuff to the blind, and sometimes a bulky transmitter can take up too much space. That’s why new this year, DT Systems made the Retriever 1100 on the smaller size, without sacrificing features. Decked out in standard black or camo finishes, it features 1,100-yard range, 16 levels of e-Stim, vibration assist mode and is, of course, completely waterproof. Dials make switching between modes easy, even in gloved hands, and the whole rig is expandable to two or three dogs. $210 | dtsystems.com
Getting the latest-and-greatest gear is awesome, but I love keeping a trusted remote trainer in good condition (especially when you can run it blindfolded). That’s why I send my very used and abused hardware to Collar Clinic to get back to factory fresh. They’re nice enough to also troubleshoot issues over the phone, and can even help pre-set multi-dog systems. Want a new unit? Send in your old remote trainer or tracker as a trade-in. This year they’ve also updated their website so it’s mobile friendly, and shipping is free on orders of $125 or more. collarclinic.com