What choice do I have in training collars?
Training collars are the hottest debate next to food in obedience.
Our ground rules:
- If you are going to put it on your dog, wear it!
- Prong/Pinch collars are forbidden, we will take our dogs back over this. They are marketed as training collars, but I see 2-7 year old dogs wearing them! Human laziness is no excuse for canine suffering. Under the guidance of a legitimate trainer, exceptions may be possible, but it would be very temporary and up to you to follow through with the over riding training to get it done!
- Train your dog well, and the collar and even leash, are irrelevant.
- Shock collars are also pain-induced training. Do not confuse this with remote training. However, even use of remote training requires the trainer to have experience and training themselves prior to use on an animal. No animal EVER in all of psychology/behavior research has ever learned a NEW behavior through negative reinforcement. Pain induced or negative training teaches avoidance and fear and is not part of the team effort you are trying to for with your pet.
- Slip collars are good training tools as long as your dog is not a lunger. The collar should be loose 98% of the time, with the occasional correction. Regular collars are great, of course. All dogs should have their regular collar on all of the time, with their rabies tag and identification tag attached.
- Martingale collars, Premier Collars, or greyhound collars, are also an excellent middle ground for a training/walking collar. They change shape for correction, but are made of nylon, so it is not a very harsh correction. These collars also prevent a dog from backing out of their buckle collars should they balk or jump backwards suddenly. This is a huge safety issue for dogs going into unfamiliar surroundings with new owners. Even with their loving owners, there are some places a dog just doesn't want to go, like the loving veterinary office. These serve as great safety collars to prevent back-outs and run-aways.
- Also, training is hard. Especially with big dogs. It requires raw strength and commitment and a great pair of shoes. There is no magic gimmick, food, collar, to train a pet. It is a relationship that is built over trust, work, and time. If you can't make the commitment for a lifetime of training and the initial sore muscle and loss of TV relaxation time, do everyone a favor a adopt a smaller dog or another type of pet.
Written February 2007 by Elizabeth Riddle, President of the Central IL GSD Rescue.