Harness or Collar?

Dog Food Advisor Forums Off Topic Forum Harness or Collar?

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  • #37326 Report Abuse

    I have literally walked out of training classes through the years that I have signed my dogs up for that have allowed the use of pinch, pronged or choked collars on dogs in class. I will not be a witness to abuse. To me there is absolutely no reason for it. Just as there are backyard breeders there are the same or more inexperienced people holding dog training classes. The have no license, no qualifications for training puppy or young dog classes nor have they a clue as to what they are doing. They put an add on line or in the local paper and call themselves trainers and run classes. It happens all over the country. People that don’t take the time to do their research on these people holding these classes assume that they are certified trainers. They are not. A good trainer, handler, a dog owner can be trained to walk with a dog using a harness. Yes, it takes longer and a lot of patience but it’s done all the time. The short cut lazy way is to put a choke collar or whatever else names they go by. The do hurt I don’t care where the collar is put on the neck. They are training dogs through pain and fear. That’s never been the way that I have ever trained or wanted to train any of my dogs. My dogs walk with me, heal and all the other things I’ve trained them all to do out of respect for me and, yes, for themselves. They don’t fear me or their leash or their harness. You would never be allowed to train your children to walk politely beside you with choke collars, or whatever, why is it that some think it’s okay for dogs? This is a subject I am as passionate about as I am invisible electronic fences, again, you would not be allowed to put shock collars on your children to keep them on your property and not to wander off, why is it okay to do that to a dog. To me it’s abuse, plain and simple. I would apologize for my rant, but I won’t. It’s my opinion and my way.

    #37333 Report Abuse

    Several years ago I signed Brooke and I up for a park district training class to give us something to do over winter. I called the park district and was assured that the training methods would be pos reinforcement. Imagine my surprise at orientation that there was a slip chain on the table. I naively thought they must be going over why you shouldn’t use that type of training collar…wrong. This was a “yank and thank” class. Hmm…what to do. I asked if I could use a harness in class… nope. They did allow me to use a flat collar but said after a few lessons I’d be wanting to use a choke as my dog would “get so far behind”. I stayed in the class and foolishly thought that through example I could get the trainers to “cross over” to R+ training. I talked to the trainers after class and before class. I brought them the AVSAB position statements and papers linking use of aversives in training to aggression and decreased reliability. Ian Dunbar was in town and I offered to pay for them to go his seminars to talk to other trainers who “crossed over”. While they acknowledged Brooke was the “top student” ( they frequently used us to demo… I never gave them the leash) they said I’d never be able to train another dog that way. They just weren’t interested in any of it. So…… I got them fired. Yup I went to the Park District Board plead my case there, relayed the abuse I saw and got their sorry selves fired.

    #37339 Report Abuse

    Dori, I entirely respect your opinion. I thank you very much for standing up for it as well. There are cases where I don’t think a harness would work – like a large dog who’s been spoiled for a bit too long. That dog already knows he’s stronger than me, and he’s gonna drag me around if I put a harness on him. Yes, I was in that situation. I was asked to work with a 100lb Rottie/GSD who was a freight train. I attempted the harness with him, got down to the end of the road (opposite end I was aiming for), reached up to hold his collar, and bring him back to the house to reassess. I ended up using just a flat collar on him since I had nothing else. Within a day, he was doing a great loose-lead heel on my cue.

    I definitely avoid the pinch/chokers whenever I can (I saw a gruesome pinch collar once….it was basically a leather slip collar. It only had 5 little double-spikes, but they were literally like sharpened nails! They weren’t that classic round blunt at all. I was disgusted to see it!). If I went collar-less for a big coo-coo dog, then I’d probably go with a head collar (yes, I’d let the dog get used to it….I hate seeing people who just throw one on the dog and immediately start pulling/scolding) or I might try one of those front-clip harnesses.

    The only reason why I don’t use a harness on my well-trained boy is because I’ve already engrained in his mind that when the harness goes on, he’s allowed (and encouraged) to pull. Quite useful when I’m going up a hill though!

    It’s also wonderful that you have the determination to teach a perfect heel (or at least somewhat at your side/loose leash) to your dogs with a harness 😉 we need more trainers like that out in this world.

    I’ve also seen some AWESOME methods to teach a show-stopping heel. The best part? The trainer didn’t even start with a leash, OR the dog at his side. He started by teaching it to keep it’s front paws on a target and pivot it’s hips around. Sounds pretty unrelated to heel, right? I’ll have to show you the video if I ever find it….it’s so cool!

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