A training collar, is for training, not for the test. Don't become reliant upon it, but if you use the head collar to teach him not to sniff, NO SNIFF and then to OK SNIFF, it can be helpful I guess.
You cannot use a prong for the test either, so becoming dependent on that, correcting with that for sniffing, etc, can also be an issue, because dogs can become very collar-smart, and may blow you off when it is not on. Hard to say. Lots of people train with the collar and take it off for the test and do fine.
Have you considered using a statement like, We're Working to let the dog know that no interactions with other dogs will be tolerated. When I go to class, when I start out, I say to the dog, We're Working. I really don't think it does all that much, but it is my go to statement when the dog I want the dog to ignore other stuff and pay attention.
Dogs should not be so close during the test that they can have a sniff-fest though. The only time a dog should be close at all, would be reaction to another dog, and we walk toward another handler with a dog, keeping the dogs on the outside, and give the dogs the SIT command, shake hands, exchange plesantries and walk on by. Dogs are never close enough to sniff each other.
Heidi Ho, Odie
Joy-Joy, Bear Cub, Hepsi-Pepsi
Cujo2, Karma Chameleon
Ramona the Pest, Kojak -- who loves you baby?
Tiny Tinnie, Susie's Uzzi, Kaiah -- The Baby Monster.
Last edited by selzer; 09-17-2013 at 10:34 PM.