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Thanks so much for the great advice you all gave me regarding Lexi's training. I am happy to report that since I started rewarding her with treats she has improved greatly! In fact, she will even do all her "tricks" without that stupid collar and leash, which is wonderful (I think she hates the choke chain and leash they make us use!) I have never seen a dog so eager to perform as she is now that I am rewarding her. She did everything several times in a row perfectly - sit, stay, down, return. The only thing I haven't been able to practice much is heel, I try it in our living room but the space is sooooo cramped, if I take her outside she is distracted big time and we get nowhere. But we'll keep working on it, we're going to basically take her to class for the socialization and do our own thing, if the instructor doesn't like it she can kick us out I guess! In the spring I'm going to contact the breeder where we got her and inquire about her classes, she's a way out from us and kind of in the boonies but she does several different classes - plus maybe I will get to see some of Lexi's siblings that way!!!

Thanks again and I will keep you updated on how she does at class tomorrow night!

By the way, what is your opinion on using choke chains?? Lexi really does not like it, but the instructor requires it. I've been hearing differing opinions on them and wonder what the "official" verdict is????

Beth
 

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I used a choke collar on my Sheltie once. He has a bad habit of pulling when we walk so I thought I'd give it a try. It lasted maybe 2 minutes. He kept gaging and well..choking. I didn't think it was worth all the trouble so I took it back. I just felt cruel using it.
 

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That's great to hear about Lexi!

I think it's odd that the instructor requires a choke collar. I tried one for about two days on my girl. And all she did was choke herself.

When I researched this, I discovered that dogs have an "opposition reflex." This is a natural instinct to push against pressure. This is why your dog will continue to pull even while choking.

I have had much better luck with the Illusion Collar. While still a choke, it keeps the collar at the upper part of the neck where you have the most control.

Maybe your instructor would let you use that?
 

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I don't use choke chains because:

1. A dog can strangle himself, even if you release pressure

2. Corrections damage your dogs throat, and dogs of certain breeds (bulldogs for example) can suffer trachea damage or collapse. Have you ever noticed someone with a choke chain on their dog, and the dog is wheezing? Either the chain is continuously tight, or the damage is already done.

3. There is a specific way to put on a choke chain, and many people don't know this, or mistakenly put it on wrong. When this happens the chain stays tight and doesn't release, choking the dog.

4.When the moving part of the chain comes from under the dog's neck, the chain doesn't release easily when the leash is slackened. And that means the collar is constantly tight, choking the dog.

5. Even if the collar's put on right, people still manage to use it wrong. A choke-chain collar is meant to be loose at all times except for the occasional split-second tightening to correct a dog's behavior. But more often it is used incorrectly.
Also, every dog is different when it comes to corrections. You will sometimes have certain dogs with very high drive or energy, that can take a very strong correction to get them to stop their behavior, and that is when you get physical damage to the dogs throat.

Opposite of the previous situation, are dogs that are of soft temperments, that are damaged emotionally by this collar. A dog that is fearful or nervous should not be trained with this collar in my opinion. (I wouldn't want to use them at all really)

6. If someone gets overwhelmed or angry, this collar can be very dangerous. And some people abuse it intentionally, or sometimes unintentionally when they lose their temper. This often creates lasting damage to the dog physically and mentally. As well as damages the bond between people and their dog.

7. I refuse to call the collar a 'slip collar' because if a dog panicks and tries to back out, what stops him from getting out of the collar? Strangulation. There are better ways to train and solve this problem, why not do it?

Good luck with your class and continue researching! You will get all kinds of opinions and facts, and it is important for you to make your own decision regarding your dog and how to train.
I am glad you have found success in a more positive method of training!
 

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So glad to hear that the positive reinforcement training is working!

Choke chains, to me, are an old school method. Any instructor who requires choke chains is an old school trainer and to me that generally means that their emphasis is on correction instead of teaching. I allow a lot of different collars in my classes but the choke chain is NOT allowed as it has been shown to create a fear response in the dog and has also been shown to cause injury in some dogs. I've seen it firsthand.

Personally I would not let any instructor tell me I had to use a corrective collar. While there are times when a corrective collar has its uses (I have a few here myself), you shouldn't be REQUIRED to use it. What would happen if you showed up with your dog in a flat collar and just told the instructor that you'd learned that your dog works better without the choke?

Hopefully you will be able to find a better trainer through your breeder. There are so many great positive reinforcement trainers out there who will help you learn how to use rewards efficiently and without making the dog dependent on visual rewards.

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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Originally Posted By: bethandglenBy the way, what is your opinion on using choke chains?? Lexi really does not like it, but the instructor requires it. I've been hearing differing opinions on them and wonder what the "official" verdict is????

Beth
I would not use them for training but if I was given no choice ... I would put the leash on the dead ring.
 

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Great news! Just seeing the change in her demeanor during training is all the evidence you need that the method that the trainer was having you use was all wrong, and that reward based methods are much better than leash corrections and praise.
 

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There's a deadring on a choke chain collar? Are we talking about choke or prong collars?
 

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Originally Posted By: bookjunky4lifeThere's a deadring on a choke chain collar? Are we talking about choke or prong collars?
Here is a choke collar:



The far right ring in the picture is the live ring. You hook up a leash to that ring it WILL constrict the the collar and choke the dog.

The ring on the left is called the dead ring. If you hook the collar up to that ring it will NOT constrict.

Or just hook it up to both rings and it's 'dead'.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I never knew that!!! The instructor NEVER told us about the dead ring, she just said to make sure it formed a "P" when you put it on! Gee whiz, I bet I was really choking my poor baby! I feel terrible!!!!

Thanks so much for posting that pic!!!

Beth
 

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The P thing is so that when you let the leash go slack the collar slides open.

Glad to help!

I prefer to use a martingale collar - like this:



Allows you to tighten the collar but only so much. It also comes in all chain - maybe the trainer wouldn't even know the difference.


Here is what I want for my guys (just not braided):



That way I don't have to worry about finding collars and leashes!!
 
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