Choosing the right type of tools
to train your dog.


I am not going to overwhelm the newbie with a lot of unnecessary instructions or remarks that might bore him to the point of diluting his interest or of dampening his enthusiasm. I will,however, stress the several points of importance as they appear in the course of the lessons, and at the same time explain the reasons why certain pieces of equipment are needed. A correct outfit of course is indispensable for training. A mechanic cannot do a creditable job without proper tools: neither can a trainer achieve satisfactory results unless he has the right equipment for his dog. And by equipment I mean the correct type of collar, the right sort of leash, and all the rest of the trainer's tools which, expertly selected, may mean the difference between success and failure.

People often arrive at the training field armed with the strangest outfits; and sometimes it requires all my powers of persuasion to convince them that they are unsuitable. A harness, for instance, is totally unfit, especially for the large dog, which pulls on the leash until he well nigh paralyzes his master's arm. True, a special harness may be advised later for trailing, but for the beginner it is a hindrance because it does not permit the handler to keep agreen dog under control. The collar is the only means by which perfect control can be exerted. The thin chain, intended as a leash, also is incorrect and even dangerous--many are the hands burned and cut from using such a contrivance.

Another piece of equipment against which I warn is the plain choke collar. In order to obtain results with a collar of this type, the guide must pull on the choke to the point of strangling the dog until he loses his breath. I have seen dogs with necks strained and seriously injured from being trained with choke collars simply because of the strength that can be exerted when the guide brings the dog up short with a quick, hard jerk. But never have I observed the dog with the tiniest red mark on his neck from wearing the ordinary training collar. It is this training collar that I wish to explain fully.

Almost every conscientious trainer will recommend it, not only for the purpose of saving the guide the arm strain caused by the dog's constant pulling, but as a means of doing away with that worst of all punishers, the whip. The training collar is a well-thought-out, cruelty-preventing device, which at the same time, assists in systematic training. Its inside prongs, being blunt, cannot pierce the skin; in fact, no injury to my knowledge has ever been caused by this type of collar.

Unfortunately, hearsay and superficial knowledge has led to condemnation of the training collar on sight by many people unaware of its real purpose or of its actual method of use.Those who would endeavor to have these collars prohibited, I would like to convince of their error. The point is that this collar I recommend is the most definite help in the training of all dogs, refractory or otherwise; and once trained, the dog is forever removed from drastic methods of abuse like whipping which at times have been resorted to by the very people who deplore the training collar.

Some years ago I was offered a good price to train a certain shepherd dog to stop his attacks upon people. A shepherd man at heart, I considered this breed the king of working dogs, but the moment I saw this big fellow T knew the reason for the trouble. Due possibly to constant petting and coddling, this dog was as spoiled an animal as could be found. He considered everybody and everything fit subject for attack. Yet when I suggested that the owner start the dog on a series of obedience lessons in order first to get him under control, my advice relative to the training collar met with strong resistance. To speak plainly, I have never heard a more radical condemnation of the training collar than that given by this man in direct disregard of my own knowledge and experience.

A short time later I was called to the man's home where I found everyone in a state of great excitement. Following attacks upon several people, the police had shot the dog, and the owner asked me to act as witness against a neighbor and against the police who had killed the dog. This of course I refused to do. But, looking at the body of the poor dog, as he lay there mutilated with eleven bullets, I asked the owner this question: Who do you consider more inhuman? These men who killed your dog in order to defend others, or you yourself, the man who disregarded my advice when I told you how to make a real friend and companion of your dog through proper training? Reluctantly he admitted his mistake.

Another incident worth relating occurred several years ago. When he saw the training collar my own dog Bodo had been wearing for seven years, a man claimed that Twas cruel to the dog. The collar aroused his ire, and in ignorance of its true value, he asked me to wear it! Carefully I explained to him how wrong it was to compare a human being with an animal. I told him to consider that the skin of a dog, many times tougher than the skin of man, can be tanned to make leather while the skin of a human being cannot. Even would it be impossible for a man to wear a plain leather collar without consequent abrasion of the skin.

Jane Simpson is a freelance writer and regularly writes on matters related to pets. She writes frequently forTerrier Breeds.com, as well as Training Pitbull Dogs N Breeds


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