An E-collar is not only a last resort tool, in fact, it's my first choice!
If we go back to the 1980's we didn't have Internet (as we know it today) or smart phones. Today we are connected 24/7 and we have the world at our fingertips. Personally, I much prefer the use of the current, modern, technology than what we had back then.
It's the same with Ecollars. People keep saying that they are outdated and cruel, so let's mythbust the first one; Ecollars of today are NOTHING like they were back then. The first Ecollar was invented around 1960 and it was a horrible device for your average pet dog. It delivered pretty hefty corrections to the dogs and they certainly didn't have the range of levels that's available on today's modern Ecollars. I tried one in the mid 90s and it got tossed in the bin as soon as I tried it on myself. For a working police/military dog or a hunting dog, maybe. But for my soft, no drive, pet dog?! Nahhhh...
Modern, high quality Ecollars , (not the cheap £40 knock off stuff on Amazon or in pet stores, they ARE abusive!) used correctly, is the most gentle and most humane communication tool out of all dog collars and harnesses that I know of. That made you sit up straight, didn't it?!
Now, let's not fool ourselves, can I hurt a dog with it? Of course I can, but I can inflict pain with ANY tool, if I use it incorrectly. What is it you call that strangler rope that's so popular? Vets, groomers, shelters etc. they all use it? Oh yeah, slip lead, that's it. Anyone can kill a dog in a couple of minutes with that lead should they choose to, yet I see no call for a ban on them? Think about it...?! Why is it that people immediately assume that you're abusive with one tool and not the other? The tool by itself can't do anything!
(And while we're at it, I'd like to add "whiplash maker", "trachea collapser", and "gait-changer" to the tools that I believe are more harmful to your dog when used incorrectly, than an Ecollar. If you are in the dog training profession, you'll most likely know what tools I am talking about. If you're clueless, turn it into a family fun quiz night and submit your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll give you a present if you win!)
Modern Ecollars today, such as the ones from Dogtra and Ecollar Technologies, (which are the only two approved Ecollars here at You And Your Dog) is a tool that enables you to communicate with your dog at a level that suits the particular dog, at any particular moment, anywhere from right next to you, to a mile away. The other massive benefit is that the Ecollar feels the same to the dog, no matter who pressed the button, which makes it especially attractive to us pet dog trainers, as it's so easily transferable to the owners.
Just like any other tool, it won't train your dog. Training, trains your dog. Just like dogs don't have 'sit' in its vocabulary when it's born, the dog won't understand what the stim from an Ecollar mean. It's like teaching your dog a whole new language and that is why I will always recommend that you hire a dog trainer that has experience with the Ecollars, to teach you how to use it and what make to get.
Oh, and as the title says, it's actually my favourite tool. I can use it as a clicker for shaping, (yes, you read that right) counter and classic conditioning, teaching obedience, communicate over long distances, I can shout and I can whisper and I can use it for stopping dangerous and unwanted behaviour in a calm and fair manner. I use it on all dogs, not only the ones with behavioural issues. It's a modern tool, for the modern dog trainer/owner, who utilises modern and accurate science to train dogs, not just half of it... but that's another blog post ;)