Dr. Daniel F. Tortora
Anyone today using a remote trainer owes Dr. Daniel F. Tortora a debt of gratitude, because without his work, the modern e-collar might not exist as it does today. The principles he espoused: using the collar first as communication device and as a punisher last, using the collar as pressure rather than pain, controlling the dog's perception of the stimulation by controlling the way it's presented and using the collar to “build confidence” are the foundations of the modern e-collar methods used today. Tortora published a peer-reviewed paper demonstrating the effective use of remote training collars to deal with aggression .
He authored 3 books on training:
“Help! This Animal is Driving Me Crazy” 1977
“Understanding Electronic Dog Training” 1982
“Right Dog For You” 1983 now available in e-book format
A peer-reviewed paper:
“Safety Training: The Elimination of Avoidance-Motivated Aggression in Dogs” Study published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
He holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Michigan State, 1973.
Dr. Tortora retained by Tri-tronics for many years as a consultant and helped them develop more sophisticated collars allowing for lower correction levels. He was not only a practitioner of the use of the collar but was involved in the determination of what the levels should be.
Tortora was one of four people interviewed for the 1986 Atlantic Monthly article “Four Ways to Walk a Dog.” He was in good company. The other contributors were IACP Hall of Famer Bill Koehler, competitive obedience legend Bernie Brown, and Pete Jackson (a trainer for Seeing Eye). Of all the people interviewed, Tortora seems most relevant in today's training climate where the correct use of the e-collar has grown based on his work.
His comments regarding the use of the electronic collar are more insightful (even 20 plus years later) than many of those who are using the collar on a daily basis right now. But unlike other innovators in the industry, some feel Tortora has been swept under the rug by the dog training community as whole. His books are hard to find, and many trainers standing on his shoulders haven't even heard his name. IACP supports responsible and humane electronic dog training by honoring the one man who contributed more towards making that possible than any other.
Last Updated: Sunday, February 27, 2011