I am debating on whether or not to use a choke collar with Bailey. I used it last night just in the drive way. I had him sit next to me on my left then would lead with my left foot and say ok let's go. He tried to pull and andI would jerk short and fast and say heel bailey. He got the hang of it, but looked like I had hit him or something. He's not used to me asserting domiance over him. Probably not good either My hubby is good about that. But our walks are not that fun either. He will run out to the end of his leash and jerk me around. That gets frustrating as well. I really need some adivice. I want to enjoy walks with him. Oh and for reference he was 5 months on September 28th. Maybe I am expecting to much?
Please don't take offense to this but did you get a trainer to show you how to use the choke collar correctly?
Personally I would never feel comfortable buying a choke/prong collar and using it without some training myself on how to... including the amount of correction and such... not to mention fitting it correctly.
Ender is 9 months old this week and we are using an Easy Walk Harness to train him not to pull... it's sort of working in that when he does pull, the harness takes most of the force out of it so he doesn't drag me down the street... but it is really up to me to be consistent and teach him the proper way of walking instead of correcting him all the time.
I wondered about the choke collar, but decided instead to use a training collar that has a regular collar that goes around the neck, and a chain hooked to that. Since the noise from the chain is what they react to, sort of like a clicker. How it work's for me, is that with the correction, such as heel, I give a quick pull and release, the chain makes noise, sammi stopped pulling very quickly. I"m sure I am doing a really bad job at explaing this, but you can find the collar on pet smarts web page. Sorry this is clear as mud. Just know it worked well for us.
Although I never use choke or pinch collars on my dogs, 5 months is certainly too young for a choke collar.Why is that not good? I would want my dogs to know that I would never harm them. If I am somebody to be feared, then why would they want to stay beside me? I want my dogs to be with me because they want to be, not because I coerce them into doing so. It is simply not fair to jolt a dog around on a chain collar as a method of teaching when there are far simpler and less damaging methods to teach loose leash walking.He got the hang of it, but looked like I had hit him or something. He's not used to me asserting domiance over him. Probably not good either
Here is a way to teach loose leash walking humanely, from a previous thread:
Well, dogs do what works. Like it or not, your dog is a product of your training skills, so if you don't like the behaviour she is currently displaying, it is time to work on your training, not hers
Always think of dog training as providing consequences to your dog's actions. Actions that are rewarded will strengthen or happen more often, and actions that are not rewarded will extinguish. If we can contol the consequences to our dog's actions, we can control our dog.
You could put a prong collar on your dog, but really, why punish your dog for your short comings as a trainer? Please put the responsibility firmly where it lies and instead of punishing your dog, train your dog. Never forget this: IT TAKES TWO TO PULL! So stop pulling on that leash and start teaching your dog!
I will tell you first hand that most methods of loose leash walking are not based on good training. You see, a good trainer tries to make sure their dog never rehearses behaviours they don't want. If we play the Red Light, Green Light game or Penalty Yard game when teaching loose leash walking, we allow our dog to pull on leash and then provide consequences. the limitations are 1), we allow our dogs to pull on leash, even if we don't reward it, so it remains high on the repertoire of behaviours they will offer on leash and 2), our criteria for stopping or moving backward are usually too fuzzy for our dogs to understand. Depending on our mood and the situation, the amount of leash tension that we consider excessive will change and it becomes difficult for the dog to understand why we are stopping or backing up. I will say this method works well with young puppies without a history of pulling, but is really not that effective for other dogs.
Now, I will tell you up front that I am a clicker trainer. I am also a professional trainer, behaviour and training consultant for the Nova Scotia SPCA, service dog trainer and competiton trainer, and with about 100 students a week, I have been able to experiement with many methods of loose leash walking. Of course, with service dogs, their on leash steadiness must be extremely reliable, so this is a matter with which I have struggled for some time.
So, getting back to dogs doing what works, we want to arrange things so that loose leashes "pay off" and tight leashes don't. I will outline Karen Pryor's method for loose leash walking and I will tell you it is the best method I have come across.
The following method requires first, that all or most reinforcement will come from behind you and second, that you will toss the food to the ground -not far- so the dog has to look for it.
Loose-leash walking is going to begin as a game. Here are a few simple steps you will train BEFORE you do any walking with your dog:
Put your dog's leash on and just stand still. When your dog releases the tension on the leash, click and show him the treat in your hand. Let him see you place the treat on the ground by the outside of your left foot. Once he's eaten the treat, move to the end of the range of the leash so it is taut and stand quietly. When he moves to release the tension, click. Show him the treat and place it by your left foot. You don't care about eye contact. What you are teaching is that releasing the leash tension gets clicked and treated. Do this a number of times.
Continue to stand now that your dog is not pulling. Now you will click for eye contact. After the click, treat by your left foot. Remember after he has finished eating the treat to move to the end of the leash. Click and treat three times for looking at you while on a loose leash.
Again, just standing with your dog on a loose leash, looking at you, toss your treats right past your dog's nose to about three feet away. When dog eats the treats and comes back to you looking for more, click and treat by placing the food by the outside of your left foot. Move and repeat.
Again toss the treat right past your dog's nose. When your dog finishes eating it and turns around to come back to you, you turn your back and start walking. (Just take a few steps in the beginning.) When you dog catches up to you, but before he gets past your pant leg, click and treat. Repeat.
Note: Make sure when you toss the food it goes right past the dog's nose. This is the warm-up. Now that you have the dog following you for a few steps it is time to start walking and reinforcing behind or next to you.
Continuing the training on the move:
Your dog is on leash. You turn away from him and start walking. Your dog follows. As the dog catches up to you and is coming up next to you - maybe even makes eye contact - mark (click) and drop the treat next to your left foot. Don't keep moving and be sure the first few times that you let the dog know that you have food in your hand. Once he's finished his treat, start again. Show him the treat and then turn and take a few steps away from him, walk till he catches up, drop the treat next to you or a little behind.
Note: Dropping food next to your side or a little behind helps the dog to stay close to you. It prevents the dog from anticipating and forging ahead. So drop the food behind you or you can even let the dog take it out of your hand behind your back. Don't drop the food so far away that the dog has to drag you to get it.
Start again. Begin to walk in such a way that the dog is at an angle beside you or is behind you. As the dog catches up, drop the food behind you (or next to your pant leg). Once the dog has eaten the food and is coming back toward you, start walking away from him again. Try for more steps before dropping. Timing is everything! Don't let the dog get in front of you. If he does, pivot away, wait till he catches up BUT is next to you or slightly behind you (or his nose is at your pant seam), and drop the food.
Now it's your job to increase the number of steps before dropping the food behind you. Never drop food if your dog has gotten in front of you. Work towards walking more steps before rewarding. You can vary this and reinforce while he is next to you if you wish, or toss the treat way behind you so the dog has to hunt for it and then reinforce him for catching back up to you.
As your dog gets better and you can now walk quite a distance without forging and pulling, don't fail to reward intermittently. For your dog to walk without pulling he has to believe (because you rewarded him) that there is a better chance of good things near you than in the wide world.
If at any time, your dog begins to pull or lunge at distractions, simply go back to the stationary exercise until he is ready to progress to moving again.
To err is human:To forgive, canine."
I have a 6 month old lab (60 pounds appx) who loves to pull. We tried the gentle leader face leader which worked but my dog was more focused on trying to get it off so we switched to the gentle leader harness. It is so much better! I don't feel bad about correcting him and it is really easy to use. The choke chain, etc. are a step above those and do require some training so you don't hurt developing muscles and/or cause spinal damage. I hope that helps a little. We did put a prong collar on our dog at the store just to see, but he hardly responded to that and I hated the thought of using it although I know it is useful for some. Hope my little piece of advice is helpful.
I'm in the middle of Karen Pryor's book and absolutely love it. Our trainer has been telling me to read this book for a while now, and, boy, I should have done it sooner. The learning by using the methods from the book progresses at light speed, and your dog is happy to learn.
Thank you for all your advice. We did get training on the choke collar before we ever used it on Bailey. It was just that my hubby wanted to do it more then I did, so that was the hesitation on my part. Our trainer did show us how to use it, and we have been through training with Bailey which is really more on how to train the owner to train the dog. That is probably the biggest hurdle is learing how to train your dog. At least it was with us! I think that I'm going to get that book. Karen Pryer is that correct? We do have him on a harness is that different then the ones that you were talking about? It is much better then just his collar and he doesn't choke himself when we walk. I am going to start with the traning that you mentioned. It's just remaining consisitent and not getting frustrated Thank you all!!!! You have been a big help....
You can cause permanent damage to the trachea with a choke collar...this is why they should not be used, especially with younger puppies.The choke chain, etc. are a step above those and do require some training so you don't hurt developing muscles and/or cause spinal damage
Good luck with the training...stick with it and you will get there
To err is human:To forgive, canine."
I don't use a choke but I use something similar...a rope lead. They work pretty much in the same way but the rope is kinder on the neck. Almost all gundog trainers/field trialers in this country use them. Positioned correctly (up against the ears) they can be a useful training tool. My dogs have all been taught to walk to heel with one very successfully.
Bailey is going to be a hunting dog. My husband uses a rope with him that he attaches to his existing collar when he throws and otherwise trains him in the field. Is this different that what you were talking about. I think that we are going to abandon the use of the choke chain. Hopefully we can find something else that works. He is a tough little bugger and can pull me if he gets out to the end of his leash!