Saturday, October 24, 2015

You Use WHAT Kind of Collar??!

Have you noticed that the "instant experts" have decided that every kind of dog collar is the wrong one?

A flat collar, after all, does not stop the dog from pulling, while a slip collar can choke!

Surely no one would greenlight either one!

A pinch collar pinches, while an e-collar shocks.

Surely no one would greenlight either one!

What about a constriction harness or a head halter?

Good lord NO!

The former squeezes the dogs insides and does nothing to stop the dog from pulling, while the later can scrape against the eye and cause corneal damage and neck injury.

After hearing this, if you are terrified that you might "do it wrong," with your new dog, then the message has worked.

You see, so much of this nonsense comes from "click and treat" dog trainers who are intent on selling their services, their books, and their CD-roms.

Their main message is that you are probably incapable of training your own dog without their input.

If you go it alone with a book from the library, you might injure your dog!

Never mind that hundreds of millions of dogs have been trained for thousands of years on six continents without the advice of click-and-treat dog trainers.

The click-and-treat folks want you to know they are here to Save the Day ... provided, of course, you have a credit card.

Part of their pitch is fear.

You aren't an ABUSIVE owner are you? Because they want you to know they do not believe in ABUSIVE dog training.

You don't believe in OUTDATED training methods do you? Because they want you to know they believe in only the LATEST, MODERN methods.

Surely you want to be modern and non abusive?

All right then -- sign up with any of the trainers to be found in the directory!

Now there is nothing wrong with going to a dog trainer (all for it), and there is nothing wrong with click and treat dog training (all for it)

But do me a favor eh? Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining!

Example one is the simple slip collar. It's been used for a thousand years and it works.

I am past 50 years old and I have never seen a dog injured by one, and I bet you haven't either.

I have seen dogs injured by cars, fences, broken glass, hot tar, and nails, but never by a slip collar.

Now take a look at this pamphlet put out by an outfit in the U.K. called the "Association of Pet Dog Trainers".

The take-away message this outfit is promoting is that we are supposed to "lead them not choke them.'

That sounds brilliant, but take a close look at the picture in the middle.

How can you lead a dog if the point of tether on the harness is at the midpoint, and facing backwards?

You can't!

In fact a harness of the kind shown is what you might put on a sled dog or a horse hitched to a plow or wagon!

Harnesses of this type are designed to pull a weight from behind, not allow an animal to be lead from the front. In short, the harness shown does the opposite of what is needed!

What about the text on the side that says "Studies"? That sounds substantive, but guess what? No studies are actually cited.

What you get instead is text from an unknown canine opthamologist who warns that "91% of dogs with cervical anomalies experienced harsh jerks on lead or had a long history of pulling on the lead."

That sounds ominous until you think about it for 15 seconds.

Did you notice the lack of a numerator? Did you notice the lack of source? Who did this study? Over what time span? Did you notice there was no mention of how these "injuries" were defined? Was this a longitudinal study?

We have no idea. This could be 11 dogs over 50 years out of a population of 60 million dogs for all we know.

What we DO know is that in 2,000 years of dog training, no one else seems to have seen widespread neck injures in dogs from proper use of a slip collar.

William Koehler did not see it, nor Barbara Woodhouse. You and I have not seen it. And neither has your veterinarian, I will bet. Have you noticed that your vet puts a plastic slip lead on all the dogs before leading them to the waiting room?

But, of course, there's more. Did you notice that the text talks about dog injuries occurring when a dog has "a long history of pulling on the lead"?


A choke chain is designed to prevent pulling on the lead. It is not a tie-out collar; it's a training collar!

This is basic.

Also basic is how to put on a choke collar.

Look at the picture below, on the same pamphlet. The big choke chain at left is backwards!

And these folks want to instruct the rest of us on how to train a dog?

Who are these folks? Who or what is the "Association of Pet Dog Trainers"?

It sounds fancy, but in fact this outfit is nothing more than an umbrella click-and-treat dog training referral service which markets it members by demonizing other dog training methods.

Cesar Millan? Shoot him! His methods do not work (and never mind that you can see them working fine every night on your television).

Chain slip collars? Inhumane and out of date (and never mind they have worked for 2,000 years).

E-collars? Ban them! (and never mind they work fine provided you read the instructions, and never mind they put no strain on a dog's neck or an elderly owner's shoulder or hands).

To support their authority, this dog trainer referral service parades their logo. Apparently a bit worried that their logo alone might not be enough, they also toss on a dog food logo for added measure.

Surely a few logos are authority enough to criticise and demonize Barbara Woodhouse, William Koehler, and 2,000 years of successful dog training by experienced men and women on six continents?!

Now to be clear, I am not saying these folks cannot train a dog.

Of course they can.

But you will pardon me if I hold on to my wallet with one hand and my slip collars and leashes with the other.

You see, I am pretty sure about one thing ....

If someone comes along and tells you that everything that everyone else has been doing for 2,000 years in the world of dogs is entirely wrong, you should RUN (not walk!) in the opposite direction.

Nothing good starts with a lie.



Laura McFarland-Taylor said...

A-freakin' men. I'm not a dog trainer, but I love talking dog (and horse) training, but it's gotten so bad that I won't even engage in these conversations anymore, especially about Cesar Millan.

Oh, and you think dog training is bad? Horse training has it beat by a mile...

Karen Carroll said...

I point to the best example of excellent dog training (and sorting out the posers). Is guide dogs for the blind. Southeastern Guide dogs in Florida is an excellent organization. ( They 'screen' dogs for training. Some make great guide dogs, some just don't make the cut, but that same dog may be good as another level of service dog, So they tier the dogs and match with owners. And they have a waiting list of dogs that did not make the program, but have gone through the process. (Note NOT ONE pit bull is in the photos). Usually sporting breeds or mixes (labs, Vizlas), etc. When I have 'discussions' about training: I always refer to their site, especially when it comes to the use of pinch collars and choke collars for training.