The Trouble with Tools

When selecting a training tool, keep the goal of obedience in mind. It is important to remember when selecting the training tool that the ultimate goal of the training program is to develop mental self-control within your dog. Tools or devices designed for physical control may be effective when taking a walk or preventing jumping but may be ineffective when developing mental discipline.

Choosing a collar. Every domesticated being has a natural control point. For the human, it is our arms (and hands). This is the reason why human control tools like the straightjacket and handcuffs are effective. The natural control point for the dog is the neck. For the activity of dog training we recommend a flat collar, leather slip collar, or prong collar.

Larger dogs (greater than seventy-five • pounds) may graduate early to a prong collar during the teaching phase, especially with HEEL. Alternately, a head halter might be the tool for the teaching phase or taking a walk in the park.

Medium-sized dogs (ten to seventy-five pounds) will probably start out training on a flat collar. During the reinforcement phase you will probably want to switch to a corrective device like the prong collar.With maturity and experience with the obedience lifestyle, you will probably be able to return to the flat collar.

Small dogs (under ten pounds) may use a flat collar or harness.There are many harness types on the market. We have trained dogs so small they required the smallest cat harness we could find. Not small enough? Try the ferret harness.

Our least-recommended device is the chain (choker) collar. The constricting action may cause long-term wear on the interior of the neck and may flatten or constrict the trachea if not properly used. The main problem is that the chain collar is a difficult tool to use properly. If the collar is put on the dog backwards it will not release, therefore rendering it useless. The construction geometry and link size for some models also makes it difficult for the collar to release properly.

A popular tool for positive reinforce-• ment is the clicker. The theory holds that with proper association of a food reward with the accompanying click, the dog can be conditioned to various responses. The click is administered in the same manner as vocal praise. When your dog performs the action you desire, click and treat.

Whatever tool you select for your dog, be consistent with how you use it. Your dog will learn to listen to you when he is wearing the leash and collar but not listen if they are off. The tools will become the source of the respect. If your dog is always on the leash and collar (leash and collar are always off when in the crate), the respect will eventually flow to you. At this point, when the leash and collar come off, the respect is still yours, and you and your dog will be a team.

Crate Training 101

Crate Training 101

Everything you need to know about crate training your dog or puppy, from what type and size of crate you should buy to how to set yourself up for success!

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment