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  1. #1
    JacobAlthea&Tatum is offline Senior Member
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    Defaultquestion for those with training experience

    Althea and I are in an obedience class at the local AKC chapter. She is doing remarkable well, and has shown signs that she understands the concept of 'heel' and even has intermittent times in which she actually does it (on a loose leash). We have been using a martingale color, but the instructor feels that we would be more successful with a choke-chain collar for training, because I could give Aly a quick 'pop' with it she she deviates from a 'heel' position. I generally feel opposed to such collars, but since Aly is no longer dragging me around the room, I'm thinking that the choke would work now because it wouldn't be constant pressure on her neck as it would have been when she pulled all the time.

    What do you all think? Is there room for this sort of collar in a humane training situation, or would we be better off sticking with the martingale and just giving it more time?

    For those of you who don't know, Aly is 4 years old, and this is her first formal obedience class.

    Thanks!
    I'm Jenn. Keeper of two labs in my home and one forever in my heart.

    Throw the ball, damn it!

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  3. #2
    Dani's Avatar
    Dani is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: question for those with training experience

    Jenn, I think many people think that chokers are inhumane. If you look in this section under the thread "choke chain" or collar, there is 2 pages of personal insight.

    You have to remember that they are a training tool. When properly used, they can be great tools. Improper use can cause physical and psychological damage to the dog. The premise of the choker is the sound that it makes *before* the two ends meet at the dog's neck. That is the attention grabber. Working with the dog, you can get the zip before you "pop"...and get the same effect. I used a choker on Rider for training. I never had to hard hand pop him on it. THe sound of it zipping stopped him and had him correct himself. Obviously talking to the dog during that time helps.

    I am not real sure why your trainer is opposed to the martingale. It has *almost* the same effect as a choker, with the exception of not having that much chain for the desired sound effects. However, Ally could have gotten collar conditioned and she knows what she can, and can not get away with on lead.

    Dani, Rider & Rookie
    SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
    SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC

    Member Since 6/2003

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    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: question for those with training experience

    are you planning to compete? Martingales aren't allowed in the ring (yet the chain collars are.. go figure... ) - that might be the reason for the instructor's wanting to switch.

    If you're happy with your progress with the martingale, keep using it. It's YOUR dog.

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    Fallriver's Avatar
    Fallriver is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: question for those with training experience

    I would find a new trainer. Her methods are dated by at least 20 years. I would want an instrctor who stays current on training and would never put a piece of equipment on a dog that I felt uncomfortable with, regardless of what it is.
    If you are not certain about the equipment, you may not have the confidence to use it correctly
    Dana


    To err is human:To forgive, canine."
    - Anonymous

  7. #5
    Trickster's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: question for those with training experience

    Read the thread on chokers on this section of the forum...

    I don't have a problem with them if used correctly.

  8. #6
    Chester B. Dickens is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: question for those with training experience

    Quote Originally Posted by FallRiver
    I would find a new trainer.* Her methods are dated by at least 20 years.
    Again, I strongly disagree.

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    Trickster's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: question for those with training experience

    I would want an instructor who stays current on training and would never put a piece of equipment on a dog that I felt uncomfortable with, regardless of what it is.
    FallRiver, can I ask what your definition of "current" training is? just curious.

  10. #8
    JacobAlthea&Tatum is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: question for those with training experience

    Thank you all for responding.* I did read the thread on choke collars, but I was still confused about whether it was the right choice for this situation.* It sounded like a lot of the negative responses to the choke were associated with using it in an improper manner.* Since this is a controlled training situation with someone (me) who does have some experience training dogs (Jacob has been to obedience classes), I feel like the risk of real injury is much less.* In addition, she is not putting all of her weight into the collar as it tightens slowly on her neck - I'm sure you know what I mean - I'm thinking of all those people who you see walking down the sidewalk with their dog huffing and puffing at the end of the chain.

    Yet, I hesitate.* She IS making progress on the martingale, and I got her a thinner one for training, so that she can feel it tighten a bit better than the old heavy thick one she uses to play outside in (which she wears too loose to constrict her throat).* But, she still doesn't walk often on a loose leash.* She no longer is dragging me across the room, but the leash is still tight as she walks.* I have to jerk her back to heeling position.

    I don't want to use a choke.* I agree with FallRiver, that if I am not comfortable with it, I may use it incorrectly to the detriment of Aly.*

    She has SO MUCH fun in training class.* She spends the whole time with a smile on her face, eyes bright with excitement, staring intently at me.* I don't want to introduce anything painful into the process.* I do worry that she will never heel, however, and I while I don't plan to compete, my ultimate goal is to do therapy work with her, so she has to have a proper heel.

    *sigh*

    Thanks for reading my novel. ;D
    I'm Jenn. Keeper of two labs in my home and one forever in my heart.

    Throw the ball, damn it!

  11. #9
    Fallriver's Avatar
    Fallriver is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: question for those with training experience

    FallRiver, can I ask what your definition of "current" training is? just curious
    I believe I've provided the results of a whole bunch of research here that shows that coercion is a less effective approach to training.* There are many people who use coercion and use it well (I was one of them), but these are people who have been training since the beginning of time and are pretty darn good trainers, regardless of method.* An excellent book to read if you are really interested in increasing your skill as a dog trainer is Coercion and It's Fallout by Murry Sidman.*

    I will go on the record as stating that punishment based training does work and I haven't denied that.* If you read this book, you will discover that the unwanted side effects of punishment are the problem.* This work has positively influenced the infrastructure of corporations, penal institutions, education institutions, and is being touted by leading edge child advocates.

    One of the problems with coercion is that the punisher is reinforced for their acts.* For example, some learners—canine and human—become very solicitous to the person who provided the punishment after they’ve had some behavior corrected.* It is very common for parents who use spanking as a disciplinary technique to defend its use because immediately afterwards the child turns unbelievably sweet and cooperative.* This sweetness reinforces the parent’s spanking behavior quite effectively.* But at what cost?* Personally I’d rather reinforce sweetness and cooperativeness because sweet-seeming cooperation that follows punishment doesn’t always last.* Sometimes it turns into something sinister in a few years.
    Don't forget, that when we punish our dog with leash pops, we are reinforcing ourselves and that clouds our perception of the effectiveness of the method.* This is what makes punishment based methods so seductive.*

    In addition, the resultant sweet behavior that we see from our dogs is short lived.* It is akin to getting a speeding ticket:* you slow down for a few days, but speed right back up again.* Punishment doesn't deter behaviour, it simply stuns it.* If instead, we reward sweet behavior when we see it, then the effects of the reinforcement last much longer than with punitive methods.

    Reward based training works on the principle that the dog does what you want because the dog learns that by doing so the dog will get what the dog wants. The dog comes to want to do what you want it to do. Reliability is almost "built in," if the training is done properly.

    Clicker trainers teach their dog that a click means food.* Food is a primary reinforcer (something the dog will innately work for), and the clicker becomes a conditioned reinforcer (a previously neutral stimulus that when repeatedly paired with a primary reinforcer, becomes a reinforcer).* The first time we click, our dogs think "yeah, so what?", but then we feed them.* After several trials of this, the dog loves to hear that click and the sound makes him feel excited and good.* Now, the first benefit of reward based training is that when we pair an exercise with food enough (for example, loose leash wakling), then loose leash walking becomes a conditioned reinforcer, and the dog comes to actually enjoy walking on a loose leash!* they get what they want and I get what I want.* This can not happen with compulsion methods.*

    Another downside of punishment is that it is not usually identified with an event marker (a click for example). It almost always comes too late after the event and is rarely clearly connected with a specific behavior. In the animal’s perception, punishment is a random, meaningless event. It is, therefore, less effective than the combined use of an event marker and positive reinforcement in changing behavior.* In the long term, your dog does not learn to behave well, he simply learns to stop behaving.

    There are sometimes ethical reasons for avoiding conducive methods or coercion but that doesn't enter into it.* Top trainers are aware of the research that abounds in the behaviour field and it has been shown time and time again that positive reinforcement leads to more effective and more reliable results.* This isn't my opinion, this is fact and this is something that anybody who takes your money as a dog trainer should be aware of.* As time goes on, more and more trainers are switching methodology and the situation will change.* You will see that dog trainers who are from larger cities with more access to seminars and information largely teach reward based methods.* The further away you get from these resources, the more you will see trainers who rely on compulsion.* In between you have the old trainers with the track records who will continue to do a good business because they are choosy about their dogs, knowing that many can not take the stress of their training style.* We will have limited success affecting the old timers because they have a lot invested in what they do, but as time goes by and as pet owners become more educated, we see more and more of a permanent influx toward reward based training.

    In short, my definition of current training is somebody who is educated in the field and subsequently bases their methods on the vast amount of literature that supports one method over the other.* Enlightened trainers do not use force as they are aware of the unwanted consequences and subsequent unreliability in behaviour.
    Dana


    To err is human:To forgive, canine."
    - Anonymous

  12. #10
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    DefaultRe: question for those with training experience

    Just wanted to point out that martingales can be used in the ring. It is up to the judges discretion and I never had one tell me no when I was using it.

    Also, you can meet your trainer half way. They make martingales that are half chain and half nylon so you can still get the "zing" effect of a traditional choke collar and still use the martingale. ;D

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