Training equipment is just that—equipment used for training. It is a tool and, as such, does not substitute in any way a trainer’s or owner’s ability to train. When used properly it aids you in teaching your dog to learn. It is not only important to understand how to use equipment correctly but it is important to use the right equipment. It is equally necessary that the equipment and be worn properly.
What’s in a name?
Slang names such as “pinch”, “choke”, “spike” and “shock” certainly tend to foster the belief that these collars operate by means of pain. These offensive names discourage many people from using them. Many tools are misunderstood and are misused.
To a professional they are, in fact, a genuine value.
Which collar should I use?
All collars are simply tools designed for specific purposes. Know what result you are looking for in order to help determine the best tool for the job. Make an informed decision and seek information from a variety of trusted sources.
Buckle collar: This is not considered a training tool. It is appropriate for carrying the identification for a well-mannered dog.
Gentle leader: It is used to guide or lead but is not a training tool.
Harness: this is a piece of equipment which is meant for pulling, similar to a harness tack for horses. Harnesses are useful for dogs who assist the disabled or haul carts and sleds.
Training collar: The difference between a training collar and the slang term, choke collar, is the person using it. Used correctly, it provides an effective correction to communicate to your dog to stop what he is doing. An appropriate correction is a quick “pop” and quick “release”. Less pressure is felt by the dog since it is distributed around the entire circumference of the dog’s neck. When used inappropriately it can tighten around the neck which has a choking effect on the dog and it may also rub the hair off the neck area.
Prong collar: It is designed to provide the right amount of pressure around the neck which requires a lighter correction. It has a menacing look but a quality collar should have rounded ends. The sensation is similar to how the dog’s Mother corrected him as a young puppy. The mother briefly grabs the whelp by the neck with her teeth. A correction with this tool psychologically has meaning to the dog.
E-collar/Static collar: The remote collar allows a trainer the ability to interrupt, shape and correct a dog’s behavior. It is important to find the minimum level that will stimulate the dog into action.
Improper use creates confusion for the dog and may reinforce unwanted behaviors. Do not be fooled by the slang name. Our own fear of electricity and the word ‘shock’ with all its connotations has created trepidation. At low levels it feels like a light tingle vibration and at higher levels it feels like a TENS machine which is used to relax muscles in athletes. There is no similarity in intensity or feeling to cattle fences or live electric home wiring.
How to handle those who oppose
Overwhelming when a friend or family member questions the training tools you use. It may seem worse when a complete stranger looks your way or catches you off guard with a comment about the collar on your dog. It is your decision how to handle the situation.
You may choose to ignore and walk away or teach and inform. We have a few suggestions to help coach you along:
- There are many levels of training; professional training is a higher level of training than treat training. The same results cannot be attained.
- I love my dog and believe what I’m using is appropriate.
- I’m using techniques that were taught to me by a professional and are safe for my dog.
- I train my dog this way because it works and the results are invaluable.
- These are teaching tools not controlling tools.
- If you knew my dog before training you would be applauding us right now!
- My dog works very hard and knows I love him. See, look at his tail wagging!
It is unfortunate that facts about training tools are obscured by slanted views. Many people proceed to offer hearsay and myths as supporting evidence.