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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

I am new to this site so please forgive me. I have read threads very similar to this one but they were more of a group of people arguing and never had went to a definitive style or opinion.

So, I have a 5 month old purebred GSD named Axel and a 1.5 y/o Mutt named Ripley. I will attach a photo. Axel has the personality and behavior to either be a working SAR dog or some sort of service dog. I am curious as to what kind of "Tools" I should use to train Axel? I currently do all positive training with both dogs but took Ripley to a trainer who taught both of us (initially extremely against it) how to use a choker. Ripley responded immediately to it and is to the point now where it is hardly necessary anymore (it did its job). So I was initially going to go this route again but had a friend come out with his doberman to the park one day and noticed that his dog had an E-collar.

His dog not only responded more quickly but from an outsider stand point had a better "Presentation" than my choker.:confused: It really made me think and almost feel guilty about the way I trained Ripley.:cry: I spoke with his trainer who said that I should never use a choker as to it is in-humane and that the E-collar used properly is the best way to get a working dog.

Now Axel is only 5 months and I am at stuck on which methods to use. I have done research on Chokers, Prongs, E-collars and pure positive training and one thing is the same in all the "Research". They all have lies somewhere in them stating that theirs method or product was the best.

So from a real person to a real person...

Choker Yes / No and Why

Prong Yes / No and Why

E-Collar Yes / No and Why

Only Positive Yes / No and Why

Please help, I want my dogs to be happy, healthy and safe. :help:

Thank you

 

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I don't think there is one perfect method of training to be used for all dogs - it really depends on the dog and what the dog's handler is comfortable with. With my husky and aussie I did the traditional training with the choke collar and they responded well - like your Ripley. With my dobe at the advice of her owner (she was an adult) - she did not respond well to the choke collar so I used an e-collar - she responded to that well. My gsd who I had from a puppy on, did not respond well to the choke collar - - e-collar yes - but only for off leash and not to run deer - positive yes - until he wanted his way more than the treat - so it was a challenge -to keep him focused and motivated - for the walking - I had great success with the front ring harness and the Walk In Sync method. So - use your own judgement and listen to your dog and what works best with your dog.
 

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It really is up to you to research the methods and decide what you are most comfortable with. There are good and bad examples of dogs trained with all methods. There are good and bad trainers teaching all methods. I personally feel teaching is best done with positive, motivational methods, getting the dog engaged and building a great relationship. I'll use prong collars for dogs who pull or headcollars or no-pull harnesses, just depends on the dog. I use slip collars and martingales for walking but not for purposes of correction.

The tools you listed all have a very wide variety of uses and methods attached to them. Some are potentially damaging to your relationship with your dog, it's up to you to decide what tools and methods you are comfortable with. Specific tools aren't good and bad on their own but some uses of them are things I would never be comfortable doing to my dog.

Positive training is not a tool but a method. Not just a method but a lifestyle. There's a lot of simplistic ways of thinking about the method but the possibilities are endless. However, if you don't embrace the lifestyle the results are going to be more limited. By embracing the lifestyle, I mean you have to think of how your dog is getting reinforcement...not just during training but every day life. And you have to set up an environment where they can't practice getting reinforcement for things you don't like while building up appropriate behaviors, teaching impulse control and building good default behaviors.

Of course, many people use a mix of all different methods or different tools for different reasons. You can use different methods to teach life skills than behavior. You can use positive training methods primarily but still utilize tools for certain purposes that aren't generally thought of as positive (I use bark collars on my dogs and as I mentioned, a variety of tools for pulling). Actually I think very few people are purists when it comes to dog training, despite how trainers are portrayed on the internet. Different people have different philosophies and different comfort levels with things they will or won't use.
 

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I like Mary Beth's post. Find what works for the individual dog.

The problem with the topic is that there are "purist or semi-purists" for each type training. Some swear by positive only and others by e-collar or the others methods.

My personal opinion is to find what works for you and your dog/s.

If someone is opposed to any form of physical correction for example, that's their individual belief system and they will defend their position like a religion. Same goes for some of the other methods. Try to keep an open mind.

Sometimes an open mind is hard to find on anything dog related.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Okay thank you guys, I appreciate it., I just took them on a walk with Axel on a choker and it didnt go well. I think Ill be giving the E-collar a try.
 

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it is not the equipment , not the collar , not the leash, it is the relationship that you have with the dog.
You have to know how to use an e-collar , timing , and anyway you can't train by constantly pointing out the errors , eliminate the negative .
e-collar? you can do a lot of damage , stress, confusion , send a dog into avoidance, shut them down , unless you really know what you are doing.

working dogs, SAR dogs , need a great deal of ability to work independently and ye have a flow of responsiveness to the handler's directions. -- no tools -- aptitude , drive, and creating a reward system.

Oh, and having two dogs that chum around with each other all day long is going to make training more difficult . The relationship is basically with the other dog .
 

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I hope you have or get training if you use an e-collar. You don't just throw it on and zap the dog.

Fitting the collar and adjusting the level of vibration, plus timing is critical.

5 months is very young for an e-collar.

I don't know what you do or don't know but please get training on an e-collar.

Look at Lou Castle's site it will give you good info..
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No I definitely will not be getting the collar with out the training. I misspoke. I should have said that I would be pursing a trainer that could instruct me in the proper ways of using an E-collar if necessary.

And to clarify I do positive reinforcement on everything we do, but Axel is a very persistent dog and has difficulty focusing at times to the point where he wont acknowledge his name. It's only every now and then that he does this. Example on leash this evening he would not focus on me or any command that I had given him despite the treats I had. I know he knows the commands since he has done them several times before without flaw and by no means were they difficult.

Practice makes perfect!
 

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Should I be telling my friend who has the Doberman to switch trainers? His Doberman is 7 months old and has had the E-collar since almost 8 weeks per his trainers orders. See this is what has me concerned. My old trainer said that the choker can be used at 5 months and that the dog won't be hurt by proper use of it. Axel does not respond to the choker (cries and pulls) what so ever and looking at it now seems not only too young but not a good method for Axel given the outcomes. At what age can Axel be put on an Ecollar (with training of course)?

These posts make axel sound like a little monster, he really is not but I have seen what happens if the "little things" are not corrected.

Thank you all for your input.
 

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Generally speaking** the advice I've gotten from trainers AND from reading on this forum is that you shouldn't be using much correction (if any) on dogs under 6 months old. :confused:

The trainers I work with were both experienced in training GSDs and protection breeds for sport and LE.

(** there maybe limited circumstances for correcting puppies but usually people advise to redirect bad behaviour not correct it..corrections with ecollars/prongs and such usually come later)
 

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When I was learning archery and then pistol shooting I was taught a foundation using the basic equipment so for archery fingers versus a release and simple pin sights. For pistol it was iron sights, production trigger etc. the idea is if you can become good with the simple equipment, then when you step up and tweak the fine points using more sophisticated equipment you will be even better. However, if you start with all the aids where do you go from there? You haven't mastered the foundations and now you are stuck.

In horses and dressage, I was told that draw reins were for people who can't get the head in, jaw relaxed via their hands; so they can be considered an aid for riders with bad hands.

I think these analogies work for dog training too. Build your relationship and introduce aids later as needed. And be aware, using some tools improperly can erode your relationship and create bigger problems.


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Draw reins are excellent tools in the right hands.

Interestingly the draw reins are somewhat similiar to the prong. They should only be applied as a momentary correction. The rest of the time the reins should be 'light' in your hands or the leash loose.

I was watching my little neice take a lesson on a rather naughty pony who would snatch the reins out of her hands, pitching her forward. She will develop a good seat. ;)

When I was learning archery and then pistol shooting I was taught a foundation using the basic equipment so for archery fingers versus a release and simple pin sights. For pistol it was iron sights, production trigger etc. the idea is if you can become good with the simple equipment, then when you step up and tweak the fine points using more sophisticated equipment you will be even better. However, if you start with all the aids where do you go from there? You haven't mastered the foundations and now you are stuck.

In horses and dressage, I was told that draw reins were for people who can't get the head in, jaw relaxed via their hands; so they can be considered an aid for riders with bad hands.

I think these analogies work for dog training too. Build your relationship and introduce aids later as needed. And be aware, using some tools improperly can erode your relationship and create bigger problems.


Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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I think these analogies work for dog training too. Build your relationship and introduce aids later as needed. And be aware, using some tools improperly can erode your relationship and create bigger problems.
This is great advice!

I believe the manufacturer's instructions on e-collars say to not use them on puppies under 6 months. There is a franchise e-collar training business that is popular in some places that uses them for all dogs and all things starting with young puppies.
 
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