Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Horrible Life with Training Collars

While laying in my sick (re: death) bed, I've been finding some interesting dog articles (of course....)

First up, http://flyingdogpress.com/content/view/54/97/ which explains what I've been seeing with dogs and typical head halters for years. Yes, they're good, no, they're not a replacement for just training your dog to walk on a leash.

With my own dog, this topic is near and dear to my heart. My dog IS the escapee from Iditarod. She believes her sole purpose in life, is to get somewhere, anywhere, 10 seconds faster than me. Very annoying, with the added bonus of years upon years of trying to work on this to no avail. We've tried the Gentle Leader. We trained with it first (she did associate the GL with positive, happy things, at first.) which was fantastic- then came the part where she actually had to walk with it on.

Not only did she still pull me (gee, that has to be great for her neck), she also began digging into her face. I would just continue walking, but many times she would just allow me to drag her, while her elbows scuffed the ground and she would relentlessly claw at the loop on her nose.

I finally stopped using the GL when she dug so hard on her face that she left two deep scratches on her muzzle. I had a few trainers tell me that you had to just keep going through the temper tantrum- that eventually, one day they would get the point that the tantrum doesn't stop the GL from being on your face. But this wasn't worth it. That's my final sign to quit.

So we switched to the Easy Walk Harness (still using positive reinforcement training while the training collars are on, mind you!) and it seemed better than the GL- she still pulled (......) but at least she wasn't stopping every five minutes to throw a temper tantrum.

Then a few weeks later, while she was on her back, getting her "Daddy loving" (all my husband has to do is approach Baer, going "woooo" or some cutesy noise, and Baer flops on her back and begins rolling around), we noticed there was absolutely no hair under her armpits, and that the skin was red and looked ....rash-y.

It had been properly fitted, but Baer's constant pulling made the straps continuously loosen. Which allowed it to rub her raw. Fun times.

So now, I just have been working on the Stop-go, stop-go training method. You pull me, I stop. You give slack, we go.

It takes about ten minutes just to get from the parking lot to work.

I think I am going to try this now: http://boldleaddesigns.com/shop/infinity-lead/

It has a different structure than the GL, with the clip being behind the neck. For the sake of not re-typing something that's already been well taken care of, visit this wonderful blog to read more: http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/12/03/a-head-harness-you-wont-hate/

Good luck to us!

And now...for my dog's big peanut head!

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