Dog Training Tools

by OSU Intern, Brittany

Coming into Acme Canine, I had some ideas of what I would learn and, as I thought, I’ve acquired some of the very basics of dog training. As a dog owner myself, I am lucky enough to have had fairly well behaved dogs and, except for the training collar, I was unfamiliar with most training methods. Before I start explaining some of the techniques and tools I’ve learned about, I want to stress that every dog is unique, so while some methods may work for one dog, another dog could need a different method.

The collars that I will describe are only a tool in training a dog basic obedience. An important addition to the collars is a verbal correction.  When teaching the “sit” command, if a dog does not obey the command when first given, the next step would be to say “no, sit” along with the correction with a physical pop on the collar. The ultimate goal is to only use these verbal commands without the necessity of the collar correction.

To begin, the training collar (chain or slip collar) seems to be the most popular tool to perform a correction on a dog. By correction I mean a short pop on the collar to help the dog focus on a command. The idea is that, by using the collar, any type of physical contact with human hands will be avoided, as this is a form of reward. The training collar is a simple chain collar and is effective in most situations. The way it is situated on the dog differs depending upon which side they walk. If the dog performs a heel on your right side, it should be placed over the head in the shape of a 9, while if the dog heels on the left, it should be slid over the head in the shape of a P. This is to ensure the best correction when working with the dog.

The prong collar can be considered the next step up in collars. The collar is like a pinch on the neck, simulating what a mother would do to correct her babies. The prong collar is most commonly used in addition to a training collar, as it is not always reliable in staying on the neck. The prong collar is detached at one of the links and then reattached once around the dog’s neck; very similar to putting on a necklace for a human. It is important to remember that it should not always be taken apart at the same link, as this can loosen the prongs and make the collar less effective in performing a correction. There is also a portion of the collar that is just a chain and does not have prongs. This area should be placed near the base of the dog’s neck over the trachea. This will prevent any possible damage to the throat during training.

The most aggressive collar is the e-collar. The thought of an electric shock can be very hard for people to accept. I myself do not agree with the e-collar in most situations, although I have seen cases where it is necessary, such as with dog aggression and when the other collars simply do not work with a particular dog.
As I stated earlier, however, every dog is different and that should be taken into account when considering what methods are best for training a specific dog. In regards to different collars, it is worth looking into their uses and effects before denying any one of them as a training option. It is also important to remember that while the collars are effective in initial training, they should not be relied upon forever, as the ultimate goal is to be able to use only verbal commands and corrections.
Acme Canine has a brochure available about proper use of collars, as well as pictures on how to properly apply these different types of collars. The brochure also covers correct leash usage as this is also very important to use along with the collars and verbal commands.

 

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