Shocking Experimental Results.
I can say with some certainty that training Maui was starting to yield some good things. When I am feeding him, I always command him to sit and wait until I am done serving the food. I could never have my cats learn this as they seem to suffer from indefinite food aggression as if I don't feed them until they are full and in bliss. Such may be the plight of other pet owners with cats.
Maui now automatically waits and doesn't eat until I say "Go eat!" at him. Although he won't hesitate to chomp down on something that's right in front of him, even when he's told to stay. I recall videos of highly obedient dogs who could balance a treat on their noses and eat them on command. I don't demand that of Maui, but I'd like him to be obedient in crucial times like when there's a visitor, or if contractors go in to work on something inside the house.
My morning jogs with Maui were also quite fun, apart from times when he would suddenly swerve to investigate something that quickly grabbed his attention like a cat reflexively running away. He pulls hard too and often ruins the momentum of the jog. I remember reading that a prong collar is all about stopping this, but I am firm about my no-punishment ways.
The spin trick is coming along nicely, he doesn't do it on verbal command alone, but we haven't done any proper reinforcement yet apart from the usual positive reinforcement. Pretty soon though, Maui will and I will be communicating in a totally different and hopefully, effective way thanks to the shock collar that just arrived.
I opened the device and inspected each part and gave the manual a good read. Due to my overthinking, I bought one that I can use even outside of training, like some sort of signalling device, or at least something I can use as a normal flat collar.
After so much looking, adding to cart and removing, reading articles about electronic collars, discussing with my wife and such, I settled for the Pet Resolve Remote Collar. The budget was a deciding factor too, I wanted as much as I could get for my money, with quality in mind. I could have gone for much more affordable collars, but I feel like I would be sacrificing something important if I go for cheap. The collar also advertised that it can turn into an automatic bark collar, which I think could be useful in the future.
So far, the plastic-like collar is pretty tough, at least it seems tougher than the nylon harness. The receiver, which is the device that goes to Maui's neck is bulkier than I imagined, but not the gaudy kind of bulky. Without the receiver, it definitely could work as a nice regular collar.
Moving back to the parts, it has the remote control, the receiver, the collar, the pairs of metal prongs, the charger and cord, a strap for the remote, a flat wrench to put the prongs on, and a neat little tester. The receiver and remote had a charge on them, so I used the tester, and it worked. The little LED on the tester lights up and glows brighter when I increase the levels. The vibration was also pretty strong. I tried the beep and I could just softly hear it. I guess this is fine since it's not for me to hear anyway.
Then my curiosity got the best of me. I'm no scientist and I consider myself a bit of a skeptic, so I just had to see, or rather, feel for it myself since I'll be using these for aversive training methods. I set the remote to the lowest level and tested the device on my wrist.
Now, even though I tried this on myself, it doesn't mean anyone else should. Each person is different in their own way and these differences could dramatically change how the collar affects them. I would like to say that I don't encourage anyone to do the same.
When I pressed the button, I instantly learned a couple of things, and am reminded of a few other stuff. One thing I'm reminded of is the notion that women live longer lives than men because men tend to take bigger and less calculated risks. Another thing I'm reminded of is that sweat and skin moisture level plays a huge role in how much electricity is conducted. Dogs sweat mainly on their paws, so their skin is not as conductive as mine.
It did hurt a bit but it was more of the surprise that "shocked" me. I have dry skin, so that may be a factor too. Instead, I felt something familiar. My skin tingled, like when I touch my plasma ball, and the time I played with a Van de Graaff generator in a science museum, the one with the big metal dome that makes your hair stand up when you touch it. Another sensation is how my hand mildly "convulsed" on the continuous shock.
This was exactly like the electric back muscle massager my friend had. No, not the wand. It was a small cylindrical device with metal dots that you place flat on the skin with some adhesive plastic wings. It delivered pulses of electricity on my back, causing me to involuntarily, but mildly, correct my posture. I asked him to raise the power to the highest to see how well it actually works. Suffice to say, it actually did help my back despite the minute of involuntary twerking.
The shock collar felt the same but at a rapid rate. I raised the shock level to 5 and tested it again. It was a pin-prick of pain, just barely there. I felt confident and climbed to ten. My entire arm flexed. If you're bracing for it, it's bound to hurt since you're fighting the muscle contraction. The pain was like getting your finger pricked for a mild blood test, which I had plenty of before.
Another thing I learned is that the continuous shock (done by holding the shock button) was not a steady stream of electricity as I expected. It was more like 3-5 pulses per second and lasted about 10 seconds before the device stopped. It did not produce any heat on my skin either. If I had that electric measuring instrument electricians use (and knew how to read it), I'd love to see the numbers behind this electrical shock.
If I would rate the strength of the shock, I'd say it's like getting zapped by a prank static shock pen. If Maui feels even half of the sensation, it should be sufficient for negative reinforcement without causing stress.
Masochistic experiments in the name of skepticism aside, I know the shock collar is working well and the first thing I have to do is to let Maui get used to the collar, just let him wear it as if it was an ordinary flat collar. I placed the strap on the receiver, used the longest prongs since Maui had a double coat.
According to the articles I've read, I have to do the two-finger rule, where I place my two fingers flat between Maui's neck and the collar as I tighten it until it's somewhat snug. Easier said than done, but I got it. The end result was the receiver stayed in place until I repositioned it and it did so with some resistance.
There was a lot of dangling flat collar left and there's no extra strap to put the excess on, so I should trim a bit of the rest off. Now, this was how I knew the flat collar was good. It took effort for my sharpest shears to make a clean cut. I'm happy with the flat collar already, so I hope I'm pleased with the rest.
Maui doesn't seem to be bothered by it and looked at me with that adorably dumb expression of his. I got my phone and set a reminder. The goal here is to have Maui wear the collar for two weeks without any training, for a maximum of 8 hours a day.
I'd love to explore the other features but I had my fun for the day.