Dog Discipline – Pluses and Minuses of Control Apparatus
Occasionally the difference between training management and restraint/control is too quickly confused. Using commands and hand signals, with leads or food rewards, to entice desired action is training management and often uses positive reinforcement techniques. Using choke or ‘no-barking’ collars, electronic enclosures and comparable devices is for effective restraint/control and often uses negative reinforcement.
Constraint and the use of control devices isn’t unavoidably a negative factor. Dogs naturally have and look for a community hierarchy in which someone is the boss and in any human-dog pair the person has to take that position. Sometimes control tools are called for to establish that hierarchy. If not established, the result will be property destruction, potentially unhealthy state of affairs for other animals and humans, human disappointment and an erratic dog.
Choke collars were developed to lend a hand in securing restraint. Dogs, exactly like humans, can be very different from each other in make up. Some are by personality more assertive or perhaps slower to get the picture. For ones that don’t perform constructively to a regular leather or nylon collar, a metal correction collar can provide an additional hindrance to lurching ahead and jumping up types of behavior.
The potential drawback is that choke collars, when used clumsily – all too simple to do – can give you results you didn’t want and also be dangerous. Choke collars fit only one way and when suitably fitted should make allowance for a one to three fingers space between the neck and the collar – three for larger dogs, one for smaller. Ordinarily a collar two inches longer than the measurment around the neck will suffice.
Used crudely, though, choke collars can pinch the skin – resulting in lesions that scratching will make worse. They can also by mistake pinch the trachea. A fast yank-and-release does no damage; however by its construction it does cause discomfort. But for dogs that try to defy the tether this technique can be difficult to be successful with. Ordinarily, it is not recommended, chiefly for smaller dogs.
Prong collars are less hazardous than they appear, but have almost no positive characteristics -in this trainer’s opinion. The only good aspect of the structure is their limited diameter – they can only clinch down so far. Nonetheless, a critter with such a strong-willed tendency to pull that prongs do not deter him cries out for a re-thinking of his whole training regime. That animal requires persistent training and behavior modification manipulation.
Halter collars, which encircle the neck and the snout, but don’t hamper panting or impair drinking, can give further restraint. The downside is they don’t assuage biting if that’s a problem. If biting is not a concern an ordinary leash and collar, or perhaps a chest halter might be preferred.
For assistance with those dogs that carry on in barking long after the purpose of barking is gone, consider an electronic No-barking collar. Barking is an ordinary and natural response to possible menacing events and is also used to signal distress and gain attention when one becomes isolated from the communal pack. But, for reasons we don’t completely understand, some animals bark continuously or at the drop of a hat.
Electronic collars that prohibit barking come in two forms: noise stimulus and shock stimulus. Noise collars generate a brief, unpleasant sound that distracts and tends to discourage continual barking.
Shock collars generate a quick but discomforting electronic shock that can be sustained during lengthy or recurring barking. Evenhanded and objective experimentation to discover their effectiveness divulge mixed conclusions – they work with some dogs and not others. On the other hand, as with prong collars, any dog in need of one would profit if, in addition, he had precise, professional training using behavior modification methods.
At times the perceived quickest route to solving a problem seems attractive and doable… until they become an overused alternative to more appropriate (both to trainer and dog) long-term training. Putting in the time to comprehend how to gain your dog’s undivided attention and compliance without inordinate amounts of reliance on control equipment is definitely the better way to go. The results are happier dog handlers and more stable dogs.