SportDog FieldTrainer 425S SportHunter 1825 Dog Trainer
Major Pandemic 04.24.14
Around the Pandemic household, we have always been dog lovers. Whenever possible we attempt to adopt rescue puppies. Our late lab/doberman mix was a one-in-a-million terrific dog who was easy to train, understood and immediately responded to English and Japanese commands and hand gestures, and rarely did anything remotely aggressive or out of line. And then there are the two idiots, AKA the Doberman wonder twins, whom we adopted a little over a year ago.
These two poor dobermans were both severely abused, physically and mentally, over 30 lbs underweight each, and generally so full of energy they were horrifically destructive. They broke my wife’s knee, ran through a wall (because it was in the way), rounded most of the drywall corners off in the house, and barked at every bird, butterfly, and car in such a manner than you would think aliens were attacking. Oh yeah, I forgot that because of the beatings they had previously, if you tried to reach for them to correct them, they would submissively pee on the floor in terror.
They have come a long way and are now wonderful healthy dogs, but it has been a very long year and a half. Before these two bundles of steel wrapped in fur and powered by fusion energy, I had never considered a dog trainer (aka shock collar). In fact, my belief was that shock collar trainers were a bit cruel, but we were really having some behavior issues that a half dozen training classes still could not stop.
There was the deafening barking in the car, an instigated aggressive looking behavior which would escalate if left unchecked around any perceived threat. They also had a habit of charging/clipping people and children (the male Doberman’s butt at 30MPH is what broke my wife’s knee), and generally acting like jerks around other dogs. On the leash, these behaviors could be managed, but dobes are a stubborn breed and we would nearly have to throw them to the ground to get them to stop and focus on commands and then… ya know, they would pee. It was kind of like disciplining your kid in the middle of a grocery store for trashing a food aisle, and was quite the spectacle with little headway being made on training. We needed another solution.
The deciding factor for for trying out a training collar was when the now large 100 lb male broke out of the dog park and chased a truck for over a 1/4 mile. It put him in danger and of course was a pain for me, and the truck which was nice enough to drive all the way back to escort the dog in pursuit back to me.
While at SHOT show, I had a chance to look at many different dog training collar manufacturers, and I decided that SportDog was the leader in the industry for a reason. They have an expansive line of Dog training collars with loads of features to fit almost any need. They range from less expensive, short range, urban backyard trainers to GPS tracking trainers with a seven mile range for working dogs.
I opted for two models: the SportDog FieldTrainer 425S and SportHunter 1825. The FieldTrainer is the “S” Stubborn Model with a 500 yard range for the super extra stubborn female. For the male runner, the extended range SportHunter 1825 with up to a mile range was selected because he can cover a lot of range before I can even get a finger on the remote.
The General Idea of Shock Collar Dog Trainers
Many people mistakenly think that dog trainer shock collars are cruel because they believe they can only be used to shock/correct the dog, but that’s not true. The SportDog models offer a tremendous amount of training and correction options which, depending on model, include an audible collar beep, 7-99 levels of correction (stimulation/shock), and some models also can deliver a vibration.
Neither of my dogs responded to the vibration on the FieldTrainer 425S model, except to spin around and a circle to find the bug or alien that was bothering them. They did learn very quickly that a beep is followed by a correction, so they better respond to the verbal command. They now know that even off leash, the game of keep-a-way to avoid correction now does not work. They come when they are called, and for the most part they have drastically improved simply due to the seemingly magical beep and correction, which seems to occur only when they do not obey the verbal or hand commands.
Most dogs are smart and can figure out things quickly. Just as you don’t show how to open the child locks on the medicine cabinet in front of a kid, you should never point the transmitter at them and then push the button. Also, do not put the collar on just to discipline them, and do not shock them without verbal commands first. If you don’t follow this advice you will have a dog that runs every time you pull out the collar, or grabs the remote, or will only obey when the collar is on. Treat the collar as a leash extension, not a convenient babysitter. My two dobes actually get excited to put on their collars because this generally means they are going to play or going to the park. If your dog is not getting excited about putting on his collar, you are doing something wrong in the use of this powerful training tool.
My female dobe is so stubborn that she has learned the progression of correction from verbal, to beep, to shock correction, and decides if it is worth the shock. You can actually watch her think about whether she wants to mind and then continues the behavior until the beep and then flinches expecting the correction even without the shock. I have no solution for total stubbornness, but the SportDog collar “therapy” has reduced her independent thought process considerably.
Fit, Feel, Finish, and Features
The SportDog collars are all molded rugged polymer designs that have sustained quite a bit of tumbles, crashes, scuffles, and water. They are not waterproof, but they are highly water resistant. Normal field use around water should not affect the collars’ function.
Generally, the longer the range, the larger the dog mounted receiver and handheld receiver. The SportTrainer 425S is about 20% smaller in size for both the transmitter and receiver than the SportHunter 1825 model, which is about the size of your average walkie-talkie.
Both models come with their own proprietary chargers. I was a little disappointed that the chargers were not interchangeable, but given the various run-times and power, I can understand the difference in chargers. The FieldTrainer 425S includes a simple wall charger with two charging ends that key into the receiver and transmitter. The SportHunter 1825 has a base that the receiver unit snaps into to charge while the transmitter plugs in similar to the other unit.
SportDog includes a highly adjustable, high strength polymer-reinforced collar with a buckle closure and adjustments every 1/2″ for a perfect fit regardless of the dog. The collar length can be trimmed to the length desired. The key to fitment is to assure the collar is not flapping around or the prongs will not make contact when they are jumping around. Initially, I did not have the collar tight enough and the collars were not delivering the correction because the prongs were sitting in a loose spot on the neck.
Both models are expandable should you have multiple dogs, but the SportHunter model allows you to specifically switch between each dog should they both be out and about together. My personal preference is to have two remotes, otherwise I found I inadvertently corrected the wrong dog.
Both models feature a side “beep” button, momentary correction (short shock), and a continuous correction (shock as long as you hold the button down). The FieldTrainer 425S provides seven levels of correction, plus vibration and beep. The “S” model delivers a higher voltage stimulation than the regular models, and in the case of my thinking female dobe, it has sometimes been as high as “5” due an unwillingness to mind.
The SportHunter 1825 provides eight levels of stimulation plus the beep. My male doberman has never been over “3”. My wife and I made bets who could reach the highest number and still hold on to the receiver. Dumb idea, but a great way to kill an evening after sipping tequila and experiencing the correction levels you apply to your dog.
The SportDog collars have been a Godsend. They have accelerated training and allowed for very fast correction of unwanted habits. Not that my dogs are perfect or ever will be, but I can now take them to a dog park with other dogs, take them off leash, and have near total control of them even at substantial distances.
The final thought I will leave you with is that we tried training the old way and it just didn’t work for these dogs. We didn’t need this option for our old dog. In fact my wife was pretty upset with me when I brought the SportDog training systems home because “that is just cruel.” That said, both of us are in love with the system because it has allowed us a training option to make our two sizable dogs behave and live a happy, safe life.
|SPORTHUNTER® 1825||FIELDTRAINER® 425S|
|DESCRIPTION||The SportHunter® 1825||FieldTrainer 425S Stubborn Dog Model|
|RANGE||Up to 1 mile||Up to 500 yards|
|EXPANDABLE SYSTEM||Expandable up to 6 dogs||Expandable up to 3 dogs|
|MODES OF OPERATION||13||7|
|WATERPROOF||DRYTEK™ waterproof and submersible to 25 feet||DRYTEK™ waterproof and submersible to 25 feet|
|BATTERY CHARGE TIME||2 hour quick charge||2-hour quick charge|
|CONTINUOUS STIMULATION||16 levels||7 levels|
|MOMENTARY STIMULATION||8 levels||7 levels|
|BEEPER COMPATIBILITY||Compatible with UplandHunter® Accessory Beeper SD-BEEP||Compatible with UplandHunter® Accessory Beeper SD-BEEP|
|KEY FEATURES||Select from 8 stimulation levels each within low, medium, or high setting|
|Ergonomic, slim-profile collar design|
|Compact Remote Transmitter|
|BATTERY TYPE||Rechargeable Li-Ion||Rechargeable Li-Ion|
|PART NUMBERS||SR-300, ST120-SA, SDT00-12494, ST-101, SDT00-11963, SDT00-12490, ST-101SA||FT-125, SDT54-13889, SDT00-13857, SDT00-13861, SR-225|