This is a
review of an Ecollar video, called "Electric collar Training for Pet
Owners," put out by Ed Frawley of Leerburg Kennels. To be specific it's
critique is pretty long so if you don't want to read the entire thing,
just get this part.
the entire thing could put somebody to sleep - even if they were in a
coma. It's hard to understand how Voodoo Louie uses about 4200 words to say nothing.
worst dog training video OF ANY KIND that I've ever seen.
amazing? Years ago, Voodoo Louie and Ed LEERKOPF™ Frawley were
than a waste of your money; it teaches and endorses abuse of dogs using
Voodoo Louie - YOU vomit up your "abuse" stories regularly. Maybe
this one is like the rest of your "abuse" fairy tales.
Frawley is a man who, on his website, brags that he stopped a dog from
fence fighting (this is just two dogs running back and forth on opposite
sides of a fence exhibiting aggressive behavior) by HITTING THE DOG ON
THE HEAD WITH A SHOVEL, THREE TIMES! Neither dog was in any physical
danger; and neither was Mr. Frawley.
Was it a
plastic shovel, Voodoo?
For those who want specifics, read on.
OK - I
suggest that the readers take a lot of LSD, wait 45 minutes, drink a pint
of vodka, and get INTO your "review".
"The Expert" and a Warning!
This is a review of a video put out by Leerburg featuring Ed Frawley as
an "expert" - just like Voodoo Louie.
of this video is "Electric Collar Training for Pets."
title. Isn't that a repeat from the first sentence?
Frawley intends that this will be used by people who have never used an
Ecollar and who have little or no knowledge of how to use the tool.
Frawley TELL you what he intends? Or did you just manufacture that?
A few years back Donn Yarnall (the founder of the LAPD K-9 patrol unit
and its head trainer for about 20 years) wrote a warning to police dog
handlers, SAR workers and pet owners about letting "just anyone" train
your dog with an Ecollar. A few of those warnings need to be kept in mind
as you read this review. They apply directly to how the use of the tool
is described and advocated in the video.
a pile of shit. Yarnell's "warning" was just another public attack
on Fred Hassen. The
pages prove it.
1. The “trainer” will never answer a question directly. He or she will
stick to their sales training and divert attention away from what you
originally asked. Do not let anyone that cannot explain his or her
training techniques in plain language put an Ecollar on your dog!
5. If the dogs he shows are nervous, anxious, and or suppressed, or
clearly anticipating control commands - do not let this person put an
Ecollar on your dog!
9. If you frequently hear vocalization or see overt reactions to the
stimulations it is a clear indication that the “trainer” is using high
levels of stimulation and strict compulsion. Do not let this person put
an Ecollar on your dog!
These warnings could have been written about the video now on the market
done by Mr. Frawley. There is so much about this video that is either
just plain wrong or so poorly done that I'll only hit the high points.
very thoughtful of you, Voodoo, because your mouth runs like the
Mississippi River. It just never ends.
news first; if you've spent money on this, you would have gotten a better
deal by flushing that money down the toilet. I didn't buy this video, a
dissatisfied purchaser sent it to me so that I could see just how bad it
bad, isn't it Voodoo? It's like a nightmare, isn't it? It
just keeps getting worse and worse.
Consistency is the Key to Successful Training
The narrator and main player, Ed Frawley (who is known as a breeder but
not a dog trainer and certainly not an Ecollar user) a few times
discusses the need for consistency in dog training and says never to give
a command that you aren't going to enforce.
damn good idea!
But it's a
"do as I say, not as I do" show. A couple of times in the video he tells
a dog to stay and the dog breaks the stay a few moments later. No
damn bad idea!
point he gives a dog a sit command and the dog downs. He actually rewards
the dog for this and says, "It's OK, you're not my competition dog."
There's no correction for the dog doing what he wants to do, instead of
what he's been told to do.
damn bad idea, too!
In the Introduction he says, "Electric collars have been around for 25 or
more years." Actually Ecollars have been around (in the US) since about
1968; that's nearly 40 years, not 25.
OR MORE could be 40. But it could also be 70 or 100.
"Electric Collar training is not the beginning of dog training." Actually
for many it is.
most, it isn't.
Frawley does not use the Ecollar to teach new behaviors with and in fact
has said that to do so is "abusive." Instead he teaches new behaviors
with conventional tools and techniques and only uses the Ecollar to
correct the dog when he doesn't comply.
that the Ecollar is used just like a long line and repeats this a couple
recommend that pet owners use the tool this way. If you do, you first
have to learn how to use a leash and collar to give corrections and teach
with them or you have to use some other method, such as anti-aversive
techniques to first teach the behaviors and then you enforce them with
recommend a leash and collar for everybody - even people with gerbils or
goldfish. They're always nice to have around.
quite time consuming and requires that you learn (at least) two theories
and how to operate two tools, instead of just one.
pity nobody has the time - there must be a deadline to meet.
only gives the dog a rudimentary knowledge of what the Ecollar stim
means. To Mr. Frawley it's just another way of causing discomfort to the
dog, like a leash correction, to get his compliance to a command.
crazy! But I have a question for you, Voodoo. IS ELECTRICAL STIM - AT ANY GODDAMN LEVEL - PLEASANT FOR ANY DOG?
IS IT COMFORTABLE FOR THE DOG, VOODOO?
discussions on his web board Mr. Frawley discussed using "low level stim"
to get the job accomplished. It's quite apparent that we have different
definitions of what "low level stim" is.
"low level stim"?
talk about it, it's the level of stim where the dog first feels it. This
is shown by such things as an ear flick, a furrowing of the brow, a
blink, or a scratching as if the dog is being bitten by a flea.
of people learned that the moment Tri-Tronics started selling the A-80
with variable levels. I think that was in 1979.
section on finding the dog's working level of stim Mr. Frawley finds this
same level but then says that "we're looking for a jerk of the head like
maybe you would get with a pop of the leash." He uses the nick mode only
and several times implies that using continuous is abusive. At the level
of stim that Mr. Frawley uses continuous might be considered abusive.
Heck, at the nick level that he uses, some might consider it to be
abusive. He says several times that if a dog vocalizes frequently when
the button is pressed that the stim level is too high. But then he works
at a level that makes the dog vocalize continually, not lowering it as
common sense and his own words dictate. In one segment a caption reads
"Stimulation is too high" and he says "That is the level we'd work this
Voodoo. You had your big chance. Since you're more verbose
than Irving Kanarek, (Charles Manson's spewing mouth lawyer), I'm holding you in contempt of the WFFCW. You're being held in
contempt, and your non-stop babbling insanity is now going into TINY print.
Nobody wants to read it anyway, and the jury fell asleep after your first
Incidentally, throughout the video Mr. Frawley's captions read "stem"
when he means "stim." The word "stim" derives from the word "stimulation"
a euphemism used in place of the word "shock." I asked Mr. Frawley about
his use of the word "stem" instead of "stim" and he got quite offended.
His response was to the effect that "as long as everyone knows what I
mean, that's OK." Truth is this is one of Mr. Frawley's many misspellings
in his captions. But he was too embarrassed when I brought it up to
simply admit that this was the case.
In the section on "Stem Levels" (sic) Mr. Frawley sets himself a hard
road to go. I have no idea why he does this but he uses a dog that has
worn a bark collar (which he uses with very high levels of stim) and
tries to find the stim level that he wants to use for training that dog.
The problem here is that such a dog may make a psychological connection
between the high level of stim that was used with the bark collar and the
lower level of stim that's used in training and he'll overreact. The
discomfort level of the "new" stim is nowhere near that of the bark
collar but the dog's brain may make the connection and you'll have a hard
time finding that dog's working level. Perhaps Mr. Frawley plans on using
a similar level of stim for training as he does for stopping barking. Mr.
Frawley tells the photographer to "zoom in on (the dog's) eyes" intending
to show us that the dog will do nothing but blink when she feels the stim.
Instead we see the typical nervous reaction of a dog that's getting too
high a level of stim and has no idea of what it means. Seconds after he
tells the dog to "stay;" the dog stands up, sniffs the ground and moves
around quite nervously. The dog's tail is tucked between her legs and
she's very nervous. The dog is put into an extremely shy mode by too high
a level of stim. Mr. Frawley tries to bring her back with some praise,
but it's too late, she doesn't recover. He refers to dogs being stimmed
throughout the video as finding "land mines!" Indeed, at the level of
stim he uses, the analogy is appropriate!
Use of Low Level Stim
At one point, he describes that the setting is on the "lowest level of
low." What he means is that he's using an older Dogtra 1100 or 1200
Ecollar that were marked with "low - medium - high" on their dial. The
newest ones are marked 0 - 100. When he makes this statement he's on the
"L" of "low." That translates to about a "20" which is where most dogs
(and most humans) first feel the stim. That's his STARTING POINT to find
the dog's stim level! He should be starting from the "0" setting, not the
20 setting. Quite a few dogs feel a level 8 or 10 stim and starting at 20
will just cause them needless pain. He says that he's going to give us a
"close-up" so "we'll know exactly where we are" on the dial. The close-up
that follows shows three Ecollar transmitters but does NOT show the stim
level that he has set on any of them! A moment later he presses the
button, the caption "stimulation here" appears, the dog sniffs the ground
in a classic display that shows he's felt the stim. and Mr. Frawley says,
"There's nothing there." A moment later he says, "She felt it but she
didn't know what it was." Of course she doesn't know what it is Mr.
Frawley; there's nothing in a dog's life that prepares him for stim. A
dog doesn't know what stim is until the trainer teaches the dog what it
is. Even the rankest beginner should know this.
Classic Newbie Mistake
In any case that's the level that I work at. You can clearly see that at
that level the dog is not stressed, not in pain, and not afraid of the
stim. He repeats this level several times demonstrating this. But after a
few stims the dog isn't reacting at all. Mr. Frawley has made the classic
"newbie" mistake, the collar strap is too loose and when the dog sniffs
the ground it slipped up towards her head and the necessary contact
between the dog's skin and the Ecollar's contact point was lost! This
isn't done for the purpose of illustrating the point that the strap needs
to be snug, he discusses this in another section, it's just a mistake on
Mr. Frawley's part. The magic of video is that such mistakes can easily
be edited out. Why Mr. Frawley chooses NOT to do so is anyone's guess. He
makes no mention of how to determine how snug the strap should be. This
is probably the most common mistake made by novices with the tool and
results in erratic performance, one of the major problems with Ecollars,
yet he doesn't say a word about it.
After he's tightened up the strap he presses the button again at the same
level (the "L" of "low") the dog displays the overt signs of a "too high"
stim level. Her head jerks, she runs behind his leg, her tail is tucked.
The caption "stimulation here" comes on. Mr. Frawley says, "in the
beginning that would be the level that we would want to start to work
this dog on when she wasn't faced with a lot of distraction." He adds
when discussing the stim level when distractions are present, "But not a
level that sends the dog into yelping and avoidance." It's too late to
steer away from "avoidance" with this dog, she's already well into it.
She has no idea of what the stim means, he's just hurting her so we can
watch. This isn't dog training, it's abuse.
Is There A Difference in How to Work With Young or Soft Dogs?
Within that section he has another section called "Determining the stem
(sic) level on a young soft dog." Interestingly during the review, a few
minutes later, he says that the level "has nothing to do with a dog's
age" in exact opposition to the title of the section of the video. If you
use the proper technique to find the level at which the dog first feels
the stim, the age of the dog makes no difference and the "hardness" or
"softness" of the dog makes no difference either; again in exact
opposition to the title of this section. I've had "hard" dogs that worked
on an 8 and "soft" dogs that worked on a 25.
He moves the dial to the "L" of "low" and presses the button repeatedly,
the dog feels nothing. He turns it up a bit, and says, "To the zero (he
means the 'O') of 'low.' " the dog feels nothing. He moves it to the "W"
of "low" At this point he praises the dog (for doing nothing) and then
presses the button again, repeatedly. The dog moves his head from side to
side quickly and then sits and scratches. Mr. Frawley completely misses
the first sign that the dog is feeling the stim and it's only after she's
been scratching for a moment that he announces (and a caption appears)
that she's feeling the stim. Then he says, "Now we're going to bump it up
to the "M" of "medium." He says "Now, now now now" and the "stimulation
now" caption appears indicating that he's pressing the button. The dog
does not react at all. "Nothing." Mr. Frawley says. He raises the stim
level to the "D" of "medium" and presses the button again. The dog sits
and scratches. Next time he presses the button at the same level, the
dog's head jerks abruptly. The dog accepts this stim without any overt
reaction beyond the head snap. But Mr. Frawley presses the button again
and this time the dog goes into a typical fear reaction. Her head darts
from side to side, fearfully trying to locate what's hurting her. A
caption appears that says, "stimulation is too high." The dog tries to
move away from Mr. Frawley and it's easy to tell that she's afraid of
him. He calls the dog to him a few times but she doesn't move. Then he
hits the button again for no apparent reason. Perhaps he's correcting the
dog for not coming, (he doesn't tell us whether or not the dog has been
trained to recall or not). He then says, "That's the level that we would
use with this dog; or . . . maybe - maybe back off a little." This, in
spite of his caption that says that the "stimulation is too high." He
then backs it off to the "E" of "medium" and presses the button again.
The response from the dog is the same, she jumps, and her eyes dart
around trying to find what's hurting her. He backs off to the "M" of
"medium" and the response is the same. BTW the "D" of "medium" translates
to a 60 on a transmitter that's numbered! And remember, this is how he
works a "young, soft dog." Near the completion of this segment is a
caption that reads, "This is a soft female puppy that would need the
lowest setting on medium." This means that he'd work her on the "M" of
medium." That's about a 50! Remember that this is the guy who called my
methods "abusive." The highest level of stim that I use when teaching new
behaviors is a 25- 35, depending on the needs of the dog! I work where
the dog FIRST feels the stim but Mr. Frawley works at a considerably
Next he bring out a "young hard dog" works to find this dog's working
level. He presses the button a few times and then decides that perhaps
it's too loose, so he tightens it. A caption appears and Mr. Frawley says
that you can "Mark the spot on the collar where it fits your dog." (This
works for some dogs but not all, but he doesn't make that distinction.
With many dogs their necks expand a bit while working and the strap will
soon be too tight.) The "stimulation now" caption appears and the dog
sniffs the ground. Mr. Frawley correctly realizes that the dog has felt
the stim. He pushes the "continuous" button (remember that he's been
using ONLY the "nick" button up until now) and the dog does not respond.
He moves the dial to the "W" of "low" and pushes the "continuous" button
again. Nothing. He moves the dial to "halfway between 'low' and 'medium.'
" The dog's head jerks abruptly. He says, "THAT'S the level that we will
use for this dog." (That dial position is about a 35-40).
Now for reasons only Mr. Frawley knows he says, "I'm going to give her
'continuous' right now." Nothing. He moves the collar around on the dog's
neck and says, "And I . . . I am not 100% sure that we have contact.
Although I think we do" It seems to me that as the "expert" the one
supposed to be teaching others how to use the tool, that he should know
whether he's got contact or not. But he makes no effort to tighten the
Now he pushes the button on continuous and the dog jumps a bit. Now he
puts the dial on the "M" of "medium" and presses the "continuous" button.
Nothing. The caption, "stimulation now" appears. Now he puts the dial on
the "D" of "medium" and presses the "continuous" button. The dog yelps
and displays a fear reaction. The caption reads "Stimulation is too
high." Mr. Frawley says, "The 'D' for 'medium' is too high for this dog."
The dog makes some serious attempts to get away from Mr. Frawley. If he'd
have dropped the leash she would have been gone! She's well into
avoidance behavior. He moves the dial to between the "E" and the "D" of
"medium" and presses the "nick" button. Nothing. He fiddles with the box
on the strap but makes no adjustments to the tightness of it. Then he
says that he's "going to back this up a little bit" so he sets the dial
on "D" because he "wants to see that reaction again." By now things are
so confused that it's hard to tell what reaction he wants to see. He
presses the button (although he doesn't say anything and no caption
appears). It's obvious though because the dog jerks her head abruptly. A
caption appears, "The reaction that we want." Mr. Frawley praises heavily
as the dog simpers around him and offers many submissive behaviors. The
dog is obviously badly scared and in pain!
At the end of this section there's a "Review of stem (sic) levels." Mr.
Frawley says that "there are three different basic levels of correction.
The first one is as high as you can turn it . . . all the way up. . .
When you use it at that level, the dog screams. We use that level in dog
aggression. The second level is really low. If you put the collar on and
the dog just blinks, or closes his eyes a little bit or looks down at the
ground . . . a lot of times that's too low. The correct level for a
correction is . . . it jerks just a little bit (he demonstrates this head
movement himself) think of it like a leash correction."
The difference is that a leash correction physically moves the dog's head
because of the pressure and movement of the leash. When a dog moves his
head in response to an Ecollar stim, it's because it hurts and the dog is
trying to get away from it, just as you'd recoil from touching a pot of
boiling water on the stove.
Instead of using some kind of a "noisemaker" so we know when the button
is pressed on the transmitter, Mr. Frawley uses a caption, "Stimulation
here" on the screen. But it's not consistent. Sometimes it appears and
sometimes it's obvious that a stim has been given but the caption does
NOT appear. Since he's using the nick mode and that's on and off in about
1/40 - 1/2000 of a second, depending on brand of Ecollar, (he mistakenly
says that the nick lasts for about "1/2 second") there's no way of really
knowing just when the button was pressed. But he works at such a high
level of stim that even a novice can tell by the jerk of the dog's head,
his vocalization, and his jumping in pain that Mr. Frawley has pressed
Most Dangerous Advice Ever Given
But by far the worst AND MOST DANGEROUS advice ever given on a training
video of any kind, is the advice on dealing with dog aggressive dogs. He
says it's "beyond the scope of this video" to show this work. I think
that since it's one of the most common problems that pet owners have that
it's vital that they see this work. But using the tool the way he
describes, (turned all the way up) it's no wonder that he doesn't want to
show it. He uses the same technique for dealing with human-aggressive
dogs and dog-aggressive dogs and the results can be disastrous for both
kinds of aggression. For this training he uses the highest level of stim
that an Ecollar can generate. With the aggressive dog behind a fence or
in a kennel or even a crate he has a non aggressive dog brought into the
area until the problem dog shows aggression towards it. Then, using
continuous you press the button repeatedly until the problem dog stops
This can create a highly dangerous situation in which all you've done is
to stop the dog's display of aggression but you haven't done a thing to
change the aggression that's in his brain. All you've done is to shut off
the display, the lunging, growling, the curled lip, the "showing of
hair," the barking, etc. What you can get by doing that is a dog that
doesn't show any signs that he's about to become aggressive, the warning
signs that you should prepare for a lunge. Instead you get a dog that
goes from calm to murder without any warning whatsoever! He'll sit
quietly until the other dog is within range and then he'll bite. You
can't read such a dog because you've trained him not to show any signs of
aggression. I think that you've made the problem worse. Every
manufacturer of Ecollars says that this is NOT a good way to treat dog to
dog aggression and they warn against it on their websites because of the
problems that it may cause. Yet Mr. Frawley says that it's the way it
should be done! Such advice is not only wrong, it's DANGEROUS!
much better. If Judge Older was here, he'd
congratulate me for muzzling you. Now that you've been warned, let's continue with your insanity.
There's a lot more that's horrible with this video tape but this is
already longer than most people will read.
You got THAT right!
Mr. Frawley is a breeder who makes videos and sells training equipment.
Frawley claims to be a retired breeder now. He claims he's
all done with the "puppy mill" business.
He should leave the training to trainers.
damn good idea! For that matter, so should Voodoo Louie.
An excellent review,
Voodoo Louie! Have you thought of a career in concise writing?