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Tried a choker last night

May 1st, 2005, 10:11 AM
My mal is starting to pull a lot. He was fine as a pup but in recent weeks he's starting to challenge me again. I know mals challenge the alpha male throughout their life.

I tried a 20" choker (which was way too tight) on him and it worked wonderfully. The 20" choker was the largest size they had but it was too tight on him. I had some trouble getting it off.

Is there a guide on the net for the proper size and usage of a choker? The pet store showed me how to use it a bit but I'm not sure how much experience they had using it because she was just going by what others had told her to do with it.

What size lead should I use with it?

May 1st, 2005, 10:23 AM
I have two Dogue De Bordeauxs and I take them for walks with me together. Their combined weight is around 300 lbs. My male is a complete gentleman and walks alongside me quite contently ( that is unless someone he is unsure of comes around or if he spots a cat) my female on the other hand will pull your arm off if she was allowed to.
With 300 lbs of dog in hand, I found that the best collar to keep Angel in check ( if used properly she will not get hurt) is a prong collar, when she wears it she walks along quite happily and does not pull, with a regular collar or choke chain she will continue to pull.
I use it with Zarr only when I know we are going to be anywhere where he may bolt ( we have a pedifile in our town as well as a convicted rapist............ not two of his favorite people..........not mine either and I am sure if my dog chewed them up no one would mind however, I am not willing to take that chance).
They look really menacing but when they are used correctly they are very effective and help your dog to learn not to pull.
I`ve attached a picture of Angel with her prong collar on, like I said it works like a charm on her, she is so strong!
The nice thing about them is that you can add links as your dog grows. I only use the collar on her when we go walking, it comes off as soon as we get home. I would advise asking a handler how to use it because if you pull really hard you can seriously hurt your dog.

May 1st, 2005, 10:51 AM
Chokers are supposed to pinch the skin. I was told that you're suppose to say a word like, "no", or "don't pull" (or whatever), and then jerk the leash and this will pinch the skin. So, whenever the dog pulls and you say "no", he'll realize, "hey, i think something painful is coming, i'll stop." Something like that.

However, when I used it, I found that Levi just kept pulling and pulling and after a few months, his neck was really pinkish/red, so I stopped using it. I then bought a halti and found it to be my miracle. :D

You could also try just teaching him not to pull by going for a walk and whenever he trys to pull, stop. Just completely stop in place. Then gently pull the leash back to you and say "near". When he's next to you, give him a treat and continue to walk. You'll end up stopping A LOT, but after awhile they start to get the hint that "near" means to stay next to you and when they pull, they don't get anywhere. :D

May 1st, 2005, 11:00 AM
You could also try just teaching him not to pull by going for a walk and whenever he trys to pull, stop. Just completely stop in place. Then gently pull the leash back to you and say "near". When he's next to you, give him a treat and continue to walk. You'll end up stopping A LOT, but after awhile they start to get the hint that "near" means to stay next to you and when they pull, they don't get anywhere. :D

Yup tried that. He's stubborn. I've been doing that for about 2 weeks now and he keeps pulling.

I tried the halti and he goes nuts. Jumps around the house banging into walls trying to get it off. He has no problem with me holding his muzzle but doesn't want anything else on his nose.

May 1st, 2005, 11:10 AM
Have you tried taking him outside with the halti? My dog did that when he first got it on, but once outside, he was alright.

May 1st, 2005, 11:11 AM
I always have treats in my pocket when I go walking.
There are a couple of reasons for this

1. Zarr loves his "candy" and because everything is a learning experience I use the treats when he does what I want him to. Not every time but enough that he knows how pleased I am with him. He has a one track mind sometimes ( being bull headed is a trait this breed has) and he knows which pocket has the treats. He usually jogs alongside me with his nose close to ( if not touching) the "treat pocket"
2. When most people meet Zarr they are very intimidated by his size. He is such a sucky baby though. Little kids LOVE LOVE LOVE him and have to touch him to believe he is real!!
If someone wants to get to know him, some other dog owners have treats in thier jackets and I would rather they give him the treats from my pocket ( when I approve) than accept treats ( or anything else to eat) from anyone else.
One little girl, probably around 3 years old walked up to him with a handful of grass. I looked at her kind of puzzled and asked her why she wanted to give him grass. She looked up with this goofy little grin and said "daddy says ponies eat grass!" I almost peed myself laughing. I let her give Zarr a "cookie" from my pocket and she sat and played with him for 15 minutes. (Drool and all)
One of my favorite tricks is to put a treat in my hand and have Zarr follow it. He zones in and I am sure he thinks about nothing else as long as it is in my hand.
Good luck with the walks, a dog pulling is no fun. I think Wal Mart carries the prong collars as well as petcetera. Petland has them as well.

May 1st, 2005, 11:23 AM
I just thought of something else. When you put a halti on him, you should try telling him to sit and try some other commands that he knows...because maybe he's not comfortable with it yet. Walk him around the house with it, even if he does go crazy. When he finally settles, give him a treat.

"He usually jogs alongside me with his nose close to ( if not touching) the "treat pocket""

Levi does this too. Usually before we leave the house, I put treats in my pocket IN FRONT of him, so he knows I have them. Every minute or too, he'll look at the treat pocket and touch his nose to it.

heeler's rock!
May 1st, 2005, 12:05 PM
In my experience as a trainer, including training mals, treats do no good. I refuse to teach a dog anything with treats as treats are not reliable. When I train my dogs, I expect them to repect me and my voice and body language, not my pocket full of treats. Treats do work for a bit, but they don't produce consistant results. The dog can get full, you could forget the treats at home, so on and so forth. I've also seen numerous dog scuffles at our offleash park due to someone giving their dog treats, and all the other dogs wanting them too.

Also, halti's mask the problem of pulling. I wouldn't pull anyone either if my face was being controlled, but the second you put a regular collar on, the dog is pulling again. The objective of training is to stop the unwanted behaviours altogether and build a relationship on love, patience, and respect.

What I found worked the best, is a collar called a martingale collar. It's part choke, part material and it give a way cleaner correction. (I'll post a pic in a minute) A choke collar is good, if put on properly. The can have a tendency to get stuck and not release if put on backwards. What I did with the dogs I've trained, is when they start to pull, change directions. Walk in a square, a jagged line, things like that. Don't let them get their way. I also do obstacles. I take the dog and jog around a tree or a pole, opposite of the way he thinks I'm gonna go. Then he gets stuck, and I keep presure on the leash, and let him figure out how to get around it. Some dogs take a bit to go the way you went, but that's them being stubborn. Dog'e need to excercise their brains too, and this is a great way to trick them into doing it! :o After a few of those, you'll notice your dog watching you for direction. They may also think they're smarter than you and anticipate what way you're going if you start a pattern. So always change it up and make it like an obstacle course for your dog! Try getting him to go over benches, logs, things like that. Make your walks fun, and he'll have a blast and he'll think walks with dad are great. You'll notice watching you for the next fun thing to do! :)

heeler's rock!
May 1st, 2005, 12:19 PM
You can see a pic of one here:

That's the exact one my border collie is wearing right now! :) Also, I found this site and they use martingale training collars on their sled dogs during races. I thought that was pretty cool. :)

Anyways, however you decide to train your pup, I hope it works out for you. I know how stubborn mals can be, and consistency will do wonders with him! :o Good luck!! :)

May 1st, 2005, 12:57 PM
For the proper size, it should be the smallest possible size that you can get over the head. It should have a maximum of an inch or two of give when you pull the ring. I also prefer the ones with the rounder chain links because they slip easier and never get stuck. On a mal, I would get the thick ones too- those small ones from Germany they say are indestructible ARE destructible.

As for usage, when the choker clicks ONE link, you snap and release. If the dog is pulling and is already choking itself, snapping will cause damage. It's really the shock you go for, not the choke, you know what I mean? It's the suddeness that corrects the behavior not the actual choking. The choker should be at it's loosest at all times, and if it isn't, you give a quick snap . Two hands on the leash- like holding a hockey stick only overhand (palms down). The leash doesn't matter, as long as it's one that doesn't shred your hands apart. It's best to say "Heel" or whatever your command is before snapping so they better associate it to the behavior and they don't think you've just gone nuts.

If you're choking really often, you're doing it wrong and should move on to another method before you damage your dog.

The other thing is, chokers can chop the ends of the hair a bit, but it'll grow back when the dog starts behaving. :)

I know many many people here are against this method of training, but when used properly, it can be a great tool.

May 1st, 2005, 01:46 PM
I don`t believe that giving treats all the time is any way to teach your dog. I guess I just found with Zarr because of his history, the treats are a way of reaching him. ( Long Story on him but he does not respond to training like most other dogs would)
Zarr loves being with me, he cries when I leave the house without him. I take the treats along for occasions where he has done really well in a new situation, or behaved exactly as I wanted him to. He responds better to my voice and body language but can be really stubborn. If he even "thinks" there are treats in my pocket he will often touch the pocket with his nose. Most people who see me with the monster are shocked at how well he listens and behaves. ( Maybe because most people are afraid of him).
I suggested the treats in your pocket as a method of training just from my experiences with the dogs I have worked with and owned.
I am not a trainer, and I believe that you have more ideas than my own. It is good that there are so many different people on here with so much experience since newcomers often have exhausted every possible thing they know and need help.
My hope is that he can get this dog behaving as he wants him to, especially since they can get really set in their ways once they are adults.
Hopefully something someone suggests will help.
I`ve never used the collar you are talking about, maybe because I was never able to find one that would fit. Zarr`s head is 24 inches around at the largest point. I cannot even find a choke chain that will fit over his head, and the one collar he does have that fits was made for him, so that it would fit him for a while. I am going to have to get a new one made again since he has grown and his neck is getting thicker.
The prong collar I use I like mostly because you can add more prongs to it( I ended up buying two since the amount of extra prongs I needed was going to cost more than just buying two of the large collars and using the prongs out of the one to make the other one big enough.

May 1st, 2005, 02:55 PM
I know many many people here are against this method of training, but when used properly, it can be a great tool.
I don't think most people here are against any one "method" per se. I think it's because the majority of people who use these training tools (head halter, prong collar, choke collar, etc... - even treats, to a certain degree) use them without any kind of guidance, no training whatsoever, and with the intention of using them forever (as a solution to their training problem) instead of as a training tool. At least, that's my personal issue with these tools. I don't mind if you're knowledgeable and using them properly. It's the people with dogs straining at the end of a choke chain that bug the heck out of me.

May 1st, 2005, 03:30 PM
I am sorry but his is one of those threads that I need to put my two cents into. I know I have said it a thousand times and I will say it ten thousand more - gimmicks don't teach they control! I would not stand so tall on this soapbox if it were not proven to me every day that this is true. Yesterday, we taught a big clinic in Boulder and while Doug was talking to the crowd I worked different dogs in the background. I had these dogs changing before everyone's eyes in a matter of minutes - not because I am some great dog trainer but because I use effective methods that the dog understands. I didn't use a single device, but used my body language and attitude (I didn't even speak to these dogs) and they understood and did just what I asked. The people thought it was magic, but it isn't! It's relationship - I instantly let the dog know who I was and what I expected and even the 7yr old dog who had never had training got it in a heart beat.
We teach our clients that if you use a 'gimmick' as a means of control - you are relying on it and so is your dog. If you don't have your gimmick you probably won't have control, because your dog is not using his brain to choose good behavior he is being controled because he trying to avoid a force or is working for a bribe. None of which reflects his relationship to you, his leader. Controls don't teach.
I would smarten right up if you put a chain on my neck and snapped it tight to get my attention, but not out of respect or love for you - out of fear of you. I am hearing more and more about dogs having neck injuries from misused halter collars as well. Imagine how your neck would feel if someone walked you for an hour with a device that held your neck to one side (sometimes wrenching it very quickly) as you walked forward.
We trained a client who came to us with a 190lb giant Mal who had a halter, a choke chain, a martingale and a pinch collar on - WOW - and this dog still pulled terribly. In one session he stopped pulling and by the second session you could walk him past horses (his greatest challenge) and have him on a loose leash walking respectfully beside you.
My point is that getting the brain to make choices is what works and works for the life time of the dog. People are spending $35 billion in the US on training classes, gimmicks and treats for their animals, yet these animals are being rehomed or euthanized at the same rate as 10 years ago. So whats not working? Gimmicks just don't teach, they put a temporary bandaid on the problem, which doesn't last.
I am sorry to get all preachy - you can just ignore my future posts if you find me too ...... (fill in the blank, but don't be too mean). I have learned many things from all of yor posts but I am afraid I cannot soften when it comes to replacing a balanced relationship with cookies and choke chains. It's like asking me to ride my horse with a carrot in front of his nose, his head tied down, and a huge bit in his mouth when I know I can ride him without a bit or saddle and we can have a safe and wonderful time together. I know he trusts and respects me as I do him - that's a deeper relationship and the only one I would want to have.
When it comes down to it - do what works so long as you are not hurting or scaring the dog. But don't kid yourself that forcing or bribing are the same as teaching.
By the way - GORGEOUS Dogue! I really want one of those - they are such great dogs.

May 1st, 2005, 03:45 PM
I had these dogs changing before everyone's eyes in a matter of minutes - not because I am some great dog trainer but because I use effective methods that the dog understands. I didn't use a single device, but used my body language and attitude (I didn't even speak to these dogs) and they understood and did just what I asked.
Unfortunately, Tenderfoot, trainers like you are very few and far between. :( The majority of obedience instructors available to the mass market do teach us to use these types of devices/treats. I do have to say, though, that a good trainer will show you how to wean your dog off of these devices/bribes so that you're not relying on them for the rest of the dog's life. I can't imagine walking around forever with a bag of chopped up hotdogs in my pockets! :p

Cactus Flower
May 1st, 2005, 04:10 PM
Well, Tenderfoot? Will you contribute some tips that don't involve gimmicks? What do you do that works so well in a few minutes? Please share!

May 1st, 2005, 04:20 PM
I agree with you completely on the relationship between your dog and you and how the dog should be doing what you expect out of respect for you.
C`Zarr and I are developing a very close relationship but it will take a long time for us to be as close as we would have been had we gotten him as a puppy.
This poor sweet giant had no clue what affection was............ he had spent 18 months of his life on an acreage where he was left to do whatever he wanted. I don`t think he EVER spent a day indoors, and his contact with humans had to be very minimal. The poor soul was afraid of my family when they would walk over and give him a hug, or rub behind his ears or any of the normal dog-human things you do with your dog.
I do use the pinch collar on Angel basically because she will "lose it" when the town pedifile is anywhere near us. She HATES HATES HATES him and no other collar or command will keep her in control. ( He stood behind our fence one afternoon watching my girls playing in the yard and she damn near took the fence down to get at him). Can`t say that I blame her, when I see him walking on the road and I am driving it takes all I can to not swerve and take him out!! SICK *******. but ANYWAYS, we don`t often get anywhere near where he is but it has happened once where he came down the street and she went totally ballistic, she was growling and barking and lunging at him, it took all I could to hold her. Zarr just growls and the hair stands up on his back ( from his shoulders to his hip) and he has on occasion taken a step or two in this sick guy`s direction, but I can normally keep him in check.
Angel and Zarr also have a strong prey drive when it comes to cats, not sure where they learned this but it seems to be an instinct thing. A sharp "no" will keep Zarr in check but Angel wants to chase them and if she ever got loose she would probably kill the cat. I was told this was a trait of the breed and we found the same with Rottis when we had them.
I have had a lot of time to work with Zarr ( when he doesn`t go with Dad that is) and he has come a long way.
I don`t think that giving Zarr treats is hurting him any, I mean look at that sweet face, could you not want to give him a treat or two??

heeler's rock!
May 1st, 2005, 06:18 PM
Tenderfoot, I love you!! :) I know that you see martingale collars as a gimmick, but in my eyes, they provide a quick and clean correction when teaching a dog not to pull on leash. I use a lot of body language, praise, and respect when I teach. After the dog has learned not to pull, we never really need to use the martingale. Our dogs have them on, but we rearely use the choke part. It has another clip so it's just like a buckle collar and doesn't correct. everything you teach and your methods, except the flat buckle collar, I do too. It's great that more trainers out there are being educated on the ill effects of treats, clickers, halti's and so on. :o

Dogue, if you give Zarr treats occasionally, that's fine. I'm glad you realize the importance of a respect based relationship with your dog! You can still ahve that now, even though Zarr isn't a puppy. I agree with tenderfoot when she says to do what works for your dog without causing pain, but not to fool yourself into thinking treats are gonna work forever. they just won't Dogs get bored too, and need that mental stimulation just like people! :) He is gorgeous by the way!! :D

May 1st, 2005, 06:35 PM
How could you not want to give that gorgeous guy everything he wants? Treats in themselves are not bad - we just don't think they should usurp relationship. Don't get me wrong we love our dogs and give them bits of food on occasion because we love them, just not as a reward for doing as we ask. We use food in our program as a distraction and sometimes a lure for a distracted pup, but not as a reward.
I know there are lots of great trainers out there who are doing an amazing job with people and their dogs. I guess I just want everyone to be aware that there are other options and not to settle for something because everyone else is doing it that way or because it seems easy in the beginning.
Cactus flower, I would love to be able to outline the details of our methods, but the last time I tried to do it on an email I gave up after the first 6 pages. In it's way it is so simple, but for me to truly give you a full understanding I need to explain so much. I am terrible about needing to give you every detail (which is why our DVD is 3 hours long, though our producer kept complaining about the length). Our goal is to paint the whole picture for you so that you have a full understanding that lasts a life time - so that every animal you encounter benefits from your deeper knowledge.
Dogs are hard wired to challenge those around them to see who the leader is - they are also hard wired to submit to a leader after 3-5 challenges. So the dog will challenge - I meet every one with consistency and they submit - realizing it is a waste of time to challenge me. We use a system of 'pressure' and 'release' to accomplish this because it is how all dogs (all animals) communicate.
For instance this little 7 yr old American Eskimo had learned to pull with all of her might to get everywhere she wanted to go. I had her on the leash and simply stood still. Not going where she wanted to. When she would really put her shoulder into pulling I would pressure her on her harness by giving a non-stop series of 'pops' on the leash - always returning to a loose leash in between. Rather like a child jerking on your sweater to get your attention. It's not hard enough to hurt her (or even move her) but it is intense enough to get her attention. Pop, Pop, Pop......until she takes one step towards me, leans in to me or looks at me. Then I stop pressuring her and say "thanks, good job" in a super soft voice and soft eye contact. We will continue this game until she sits down ( or gives me any other calming signal) and starts to check in with my eyes more frequently. Then I take it to the next level and start tossing treats/toys outside of our little boundary and we start all over again - only this time she understands the game and starts to look at me even more to see if it's okay for her to get the distraction and I am clear about not letting her. Who’s in charge now? So she settles in and realizes that I am calling the shots and she needs to pay attention to me - not just react independently as she is used to. Now we are starting to understand each other and she is beginning to respect me. There are many different kinds of pressure that I can use to get her attention in different situations. If I use the same pressure al of the time she will get desensitized to it. We learn to communicate effectively and she starts to respect my role in her life immediately.
Often times we will work a dog for a few minutes and the person becomes upset because it seems that the dog has blown them off for years and suddenly the dog is staring at us all of the time and wanting to please us. It's just who dogs are - they love a good leader.
I am not sure if I have made anything more clear to you - heck I would have gone on for days if I thought it reasonable, but that's why we did the DVD and are now working on a book. If I wasn't clear enough please don't hesitate to ask - just remember I will go on forever with an answer and sometimes that's not a good thing. :o

May 1st, 2005, 06:43 PM
Hey Heelers Rock - how are you doing? Thanks for the warm fuzzys! :love:
I think I might have told you this before, but in a private conversation with the gentleman who invented the prototype for all halter collars - he does not use them on his dogs. He believes that some people might benefit from them (heck, he sells millions of them), but he does NOT use them himself. That spoke volumes to me.
I know I am fighting an uphill battle, but what else do I have to do with this life? I want to change dogs (& their peoples) lives everywhere and I guess I will keep trying 1 email at a time.
Please don't ever think I am judging anyone for what they chose to do (unless you are cruel - then you will get an ear full) - I am just trying to open people's eyes a little wider.
Good to hear from you! Hope all is well. Pregnancy going okay? Did you ever receive the DVD?

May 1st, 2005, 08:11 PM
Tenderfoot--When she would really put her shoulder into pulling I would pressure her on her harness by giving a non-stop series of 'pops' on the leash - always returning to a loose leash in between. Rather like a child jerking on your sweater to get your attention. It's not hard enough to hurt her (or even move her) but it is intense enough to get her attention.

Me--- As for usage, when the choker clicks ONE link, you snap and release. If the dog is pulling and is already choking itself, snapping will cause damage. It's really the shock you go for, not the choke, you know what I mean? It's the suddeness that corrects the behavior not the actual choking.
What is the difference other than I said snap and you said pop? Just the choker? A choker doesn't hurt when it is used the way I explained. My doggies are certainly not afraid of me or of the choker. They slip into them on their own. Besides, if you're successful with a choker, you won't need to use it for the rest of the dog's life. :)

May 1st, 2005, 09:31 PM
I am playing devils advocate here.

It is 2 fold – 1) we don’t want to risk hurting the dog (as I am sure you don’t want to either) & 2) if I can get the job done with a feather why use a bat?

Is your dog respecting the choke chain or you?

Take a thin cord or chain and place it against the front of your neck and pull back – how does that feel on your trachea? Now take a wide scarf and do the same thing – how does that feel? Which would you prefer your dancing partner to lead you around the floor with?

Too many people seem to take 'choke' chain too literally and use it as a choker. If a dog doesn’t listen to the choke chain and pulls hard against it then great damage can be done. We use a wide collar that doesn't risk hurting the trachea, and if it is about associations and communication why is a chain needed? If it is about hearing the 'click' of the chain, why not just use your voice or tags on a wider, safer collar that would get the same result?

I can totally see why you would get caught up in the verbiage, and yes, the “snap” and the “pop” are probably similar actions, but maybe not as close as you think. I am trying to irritate the dog into making a better behavior choice and I am willing to gently nag him until he does. I think that often the choke chain gets used as a threat – a person will “click” the chain to get a reaction , but the dog often knows full well what will follow is he doesn’t listen to the “click”.

May 1st, 2005, 10:29 PM
I know they can be abused, but I also know there are ways of using them that don't cause pain. I guess it's better to err on the side of caution when you don't know people, but personally I find it a very useful tool. And yes, I believe my dogs respect me because I don't have to use the choker anymore and they certainly don't have anything to be afraid of. I don't escalate to violence if my dogs are not listening, I just move them to where they are supposed to be, and I don't move until they are there. Using a choker doesn't always imply that a person is always violent...

I understand your point of view though, and I really don't have a problem with it, but I don't have a problem with responsible use of chokers either... :)

Cactus Flower
May 1st, 2005, 11:33 PM
Tenderfoot, thank you very much for your informative post! I appreciate the time and effort you put into that.

Please, could you tell me (by pm, if you have a reason to not want to post here) where I could find information about your video?

I realize that methods vary, even between trainers. And perhaps what works best for one dog might not work best for another. But I hope that nobody here is taking anything on this thread personally.

I am very proud when people remark at how well trained my dogs are, but I'm always open to good advice and different methods.

May 2nd, 2005, 01:48 AM
i use a choke, but i must say to use a choke you need proper training from a trainer. it is no good getting the dog shop to show you, choke is a very specific instrument and needs very careful applicaiton to avoid injury, just like most tools.

ring around dog schools and find someone who wil ltrain you in choke methods, its great to use if used correctly. BE very careful though, if put on the wrong way (not P shape) it can choke your dog literally, make the problem worse and do immense damage.

also never ever leave a dog unattended with a choke on, it only takes a secound for your dog to jump up and it to catch, bye bye doggy. it really can happen in secounds.

it is also important to know when to apply it, i have seen some awful or unaware (not sure which) ppl cause really nasty cuts and such with them.

choke chain was very popular when i went to dog school 9yrs ago. charlie (GSD X) was trained with one and ever since will not walk anywhere without it, she has gotten used to the sound, the way it sits and its a comfort issue for her. i rarely pull it, it is mainly used if another dog attacks her trying to break the fight up (really handy in dog fights). i have tried other things and she is a real cow about it, but on her choker she is a very well mannered girl and happy. basically whatever floats your baot and is conducive to making both dog and owner happy.

just do it safely and have fun walking together :D

what did your dog school, puppy school or trainer reccomend initally??

May 2nd, 2005, 08:14 AM
Tenderfoot: We need a trainer like you up here. :D

My breeder actually recommended either a choker or martingale. I just saw a martingale last night at a pet store.

I'll try the choker for now. When he grows out of it I'll try a martingale.

heeler's rock!
May 2nd, 2005, 09:50 AM
Hey Elizabeth! :) I'm doing great actually! 1st trimester done, and now the joy of waiting to feel the kicks and movements. We get to find out what we're having on Friday! I'll post what it is in the off topic forum then.

Yes, we got the DVD, and I haven't been able to sit down and watch the whole thing, but from what I've seen, you and your hubby follow the exact same philosophy's and even use the same methods as I do. Only difference is I use a martingale, and you guys don't. I even do the post drill, which is so neat because I thought for a while there that my training methods were "unheard" of! Someday, I wanna come out to visit you guys and attend a workshop or something. That would be so fun!! :D

I know you're not judging anyone, and that's what makes your posts so informative instead of accusatory. I know I have a lot to learn from you. :)

Gripenfelter, if a choke is what you are going to use, I would take the advice given here and find a good trainer that knows how to use them properly so you avoid injuring your dog. If you're not wanting to do that, you can get just as effective results with a martingale, without risking doing it wrong. It's quite easy to use. IMO, a martingale is what I've seen work the best with my in-laws mal who I helped train 2 years ago, before he went downhill again.....that was due to them not sticking with it. They'd tried chokers, halti's, treats, you name it. It didn't work because he'd just pull anyways. It's just something to think about. :o

May 2nd, 2005, 10:23 AM
Hi Prin - anything used responsibly is hard to argue with and I don't doubt that you are doing just that - you sound very responsible. Unfortunately, the general public does not always have the skills or sensitivity to do things responsibly when it comes to their dogs. Heck, even the gentleman on National Geographic's "Dog Whisperer" is using aggressive means to illicit changes in the dogs - and he's supposed to be the guy who "whispers to dogs". I get rather flustered that they are allowing him to teach people how to work with their dogs in such a dangerous manner.
I would just love to see what you could accomplish with a flat collar and just see if you could get the same results and surprise yourself. I don't mean that in a snotty why - I guess I am just a "why use devices when you don't need to" kind of person. I think I will have to take a look at how stubbornly I hold on to things.

Hi Cactus flower - Thanks for asking about the DVD - you can get it at and it's on sale this month to help everyone get off to a great summer with their dogs!
Oh, and I have a Logan too! She is a teenage womancub (I couldn't say girlcub because she is 13 going on 30 in appearance). Where are you in New Mexico - we have a place in Taos. Is there a animal shelter there that might want to do a fund raiser and have us come out and do a workshop? I am always looking for places to teach and to help the local shelters.

Hi Melanie - thanks for the great advice and reminders about safety. I would add that you should never leave ANY collar on your dogs when you are not there to supervise. We have a client who was home with her two dogs and they were playing in the living room and one dog got caught in the collar of the other and through their struggle to free themselves the other dog was strangled right before her eyes. There was nothing she could do. So even when you are home bad things can happen. Our dogs only have their collars on when we put their leashes on.

Hi Gripenfelter - thanks for the kudos. I do wish we could come and do a clinic in Canada. I would love to see what everyone thinks - heck maybe you'd think we were nuts and all of my yammering on would be for naught - but it would sure be fun to find out. In all the years and thousands of dogs we have trained we have never needed a device. We believe that you should do as little as possible to get results and we have never needed anything more than a flat collar and leash. I hope someday we can all do a meet and greet.

May 2nd, 2005, 11:11 AM
Heck, even the gentleman on National Geographic's "Dog Whisperer" is using aggressive means to illicit changes in the dogs - and he's supposed to be the guy who "whispers to dogs". I get rather flustered that they are allowing him to teach people how to work with their dogs in such a dangerous manner.
I don't know why but everybody they put on tv (and gets popular) to deal with dogs is a moron. I saw this guy on David Letterman or Jay Leno and he was such a goof. He's like "See? Much better!" and the dog hadn't changed a bit. He was still jumping all over.

The only one worse than him is the lady they put on "Doggin' It". She uses mild methods but she always ends up submissive to the dog she is training. She was trying to teach a Boxer how not to lunge at horses and we were rolling on the ground laughing. She said praise the dog when he DOESN'T lunge but there was so little time between lunges that she would praise him during a lunge-- "GOOD BOY!!!" That'll teach him.

May 2nd, 2005, 12:04 PM
I've posted this before, but Tenderfoot's methods work well (we got the DVDs). Gabby's 1st training program was treat based, which worked well unless we were out of treats :evil: . She also pulled...even with a choker (although not as much).

Now we just use a flat collar and she walks fine...although I admit I'm not nearly as good as Elizabeth, and sometimes Gabby gets excited and pulls when she see other dogs, but she's only a year old...patience. She's getting better all the time!

May 2nd, 2005, 12:17 PM
I've posted this before, but Tenderfoot's methods work well (we got the DVDs). Gabby's 1st training program was treat based, which worked well unless we were out of treats :evil: . She also pulled...even with a choker (although not as much).

What DVDs?

May 2nd, 2005, 12:51 PM
Go to

They have a set of DVDs for those who cannot visit them in Colorado. They're $60 I think...which is cheap for dog training from what I've seen. They give their specific techniques, as well as very useful general information on how dogs interact...helps you understand how dogs think and interact, which makes you a more effective leader.

My only problem was that Gabby kept barking at the dogs on the screen! :D That or she knew what was going on and was protesting! :evil:

May 2nd, 2005, 02:19 PM

I'll have to check them out. :)

May 2nd, 2005, 02:29 PM
Thanks so much jjgeonerd - I am so thrilled to know you are still happy with the DVD. How is miss Gabby? I am sure you are doing a great job with her and yes patience is needed with a teenager. But sometimes it just means that you have to be more dilligent for these months. And when things settle down you will forget she ever had a bad day.

Hi Gripenfelter - I am not supposed to promote the DVD's here though I do mention them on occassion. We are here to help with the posts not be self promoting our business. I hope this is a sign that I haven't done so.

Hi Prin - Where is the show Doggin it? I haven't seen it and I would love to. We were offered a show on Animal Planet - gee, I hope that doesn't make us morons :eek: . The show fell through - as I guess happens frequently in the entertainment business, but we are praying that they will ask again. I would love to have our own show - WOW - to reach so many people at once. Of course I would count on you all to keep us in line and make sure we weren't coming off as twits! :p

May 2nd, 2005, 02:56 PM
I don't know if doggin' it only plays in the summer or something, but they say it's not cancelled... It's supposed to play Saturdays on Global.

May 2nd, 2005, 04:41 PM
so your answer is no, you ahve not had a reccomendation from your trainer, did you even go to a trainer or will you use books? proper classes are great and cheaper than buying books and dvds to help you. you also socialise your dog and establish a great bond, plus many many other benifits. i would not even bother trying to use a choke if you dont have proper training yourself.

May 2nd, 2005, 05:33 PM
I tried a 20" choker (which was way too tight) on him and it worked wonderfully. The 20" choker was the largest size they had but it was too tight on him. I had some trouble getting it off.

Please do not use it if it is to tight.How are you measuring him?To measure a dog for a choke(slip) collar is used by measuring around the head,which will make it looser around the neck.You should be able to get 3 fingers in between the collar.And should only have 3-4"'s of slack.But this is something that the people at the pet store should have already told you.If not,then they know nothing about choke collars.This is how it was done MANY years ago.When I first started to use it.BUT,If you do measure around the neck,then add 3".Example,if his neck size is 20",then you will need to get a size that will be 23 "..I used this collar for training.I knew exactly how to use it.My dogs never choked or hurt themselves.And it was definately not tight.Also,it should NOT be tight when going over the head.You should not have any problems putting it on or taken it off.And,if your dog is still pulling with this collar,then you are not using it properly.I would also teach him the "heel" command.A command I think is important for them to know.

May 3rd, 2005, 08:12 AM
Thanx Mona. I bought a 24" since he is still growing very fast. (4lbs a week)

May 3rd, 2005, 08:17 PM
Here's a couple of articles with very good information. A bit long to post so here are the links.

May 9th, 2005, 12:06 PM
Thank-you Doug and Elizabeth, after 5 years of Sable pulling like she was a pro sled dog, I can now walk her with ease, after people telling me there was no way to train a dog that has pulled for so long not to pull. I rarely took her for walks, as it was too embarassing, she would pull and gag, and people thought she was trying to get at them, so she could bite them. After reading a lot of your post's, I was able to get her out of pulling in a less than a half hour, I started in the back yard, we walked, stoped, She got a "pop" on the leash if she tried to advance without me, we just keep walking stoping, and correcting till we had it down pat, then I would move toward the gate, any pulling I would "pop" again, and stop, went the other way, back to the gate, and so on. Once she learned to only way out of the yard was not to pull, we did the same rutine in the driveway, no going accross the street if she pulled, I can't belive it's the same dog, Now I can't wait to get home after work and take her and Zena all over the neigberhood. You two should be on T.V, Thanks again :thumbs up
P.S The method Cesar use's on his show to stop pulling dog's did not work on Sable, But I sure that does not surpise you.

May 10th, 2005, 01:56 PM
Thanks Bluntman - I am thrilled that you had such great success so quickly. In fact we are going to be on TV (locally in Denver) all next week. We are so excited - maybe this is the beginning of something bigger :D
Did you see Cesar on Oprah yesterday? He is such a nice man and she felt like he really helped her. I wish it had been us, but I guess we'll have to get on the Dr. Phil show instead. :p

May 12th, 2005, 01:35 PM
Gimmicks don't work, period! My 4 months old puppy Diego even managed to chew off the halti!

Tenderfoot, I completely agree with you on this. I had doubts about the training technique because it sounds so simple: how could a simple technique correct a stubborn constantly pulling devil like Diego. However after yesterday's puppy class, I was completely sold! Within literally 2 minutes of working with Diego, this trainer from Forever Friends was able to make him walking alongside of her with even just a slight pressure on the leash, Diego would follow her and even look at her as if asking for more commands. I was simply amazed! No gimmicks, just a leash on flat collar and a small handful of treats.

heeler's rock!
May 12th, 2005, 04:34 PM
Diego would follow her and even look at her as if asking for more commands. I was simply amazed! No gimmicks, just a leash on flat collar and a small handful of treats

I hate to break it to you Nymph, but treats are gimmicks. ANY dog will work for food, but only for so long. Treats are some trainer's biggest money making scam in my opinion. The dog wasn't looking to her for more commands, he was looking to her for more treats! Even a 10 year old can get a dog to listen for some food. Sorry to be so blunt, but they're ripping you off..... :o

A good trainer doesn't need treats, just their voice, praise, and a good 6 foot leash. :)

May 12th, 2005, 06:52 PM
So in effect - it's even easier than what you experienced with your trainer. Sounds like this trainer is on the right track - but it can also be done very quickly without treats.
We don't like to rely on treats for many reasons - but one good one would be is YOUR puppy going to listen to someone else because he has treats? Or if someone else has better treats is he going to blow you off?
Dogs are hard wired to listen to the person in charge in the moment and to the one he respects the most - that should be you - always and forever.
Sounds like you got off to a good start - congrats.

May 13th, 2005, 09:11 AM
Heeler: Thanks for the heads up. I guess I was too excited to see a faint light at the end of tunnel. :p

Tenderfoot: Would you recommend that we start with getting Diego's attention, then leash-train him? He has very short attention span, it's hard to keep him focused on us, and he couldn't keep still for more than 2 seconds. Our biggest problems are:
-he's easily excited and hard to calm down
-he's always chewing on this leash
-he's always pulling

Also if you don't use treats, how do you motivate the puppy to listen to you?

heeler's rock!
May 13th, 2005, 10:19 AM
Heeler: Thanks for the heads up. I guess I was too excited to see a faint light at the end of tunnel.

Hey, no worries! :o I might sound like a downer, but I really just hate seeing people waste money on training that may not neccessarily work for that long. Good luck to you and Diego!! Cute name for a puppy by the way! :)

May 13th, 2005, 11:30 AM
Leash training is what helps get his attention. It empowers your word. One of the best things you can do is have the pup on the leash in the house attached to you as much as you can stand it. This creates a leader/follower relationship - he naturally starts to look to you for the answers. If he pulls in one direction you go in the other direction. Its not where he wants to go its where you want to go.

Puppies are babies and they have short attention spans - but if you make it fun he will last much longer. He can play for hours with other dogs because its fun.

Don't think you are teaching your pup anything he doesn't already know. He knows how to physically sit, run towards you, lay down - it's really about you learning to communicate effectively (not too much energy or too little) and him working for you out of respect.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is giving them too much recess - time to do as they please. This creates independence and disconnection and can lead to insecurities, aggression or protective behaviors, as well as contributing to lack of impulse control. So the more you are connected the better. I just attach the end of the leash to my jeans belt loop and we're off.

I will add our 'no pulling drill' to this post for you as well. This starts him naturally looking to you for the answers and helps him to learn impulse control. Also the more you ask of him through out the day the calmer he becomes - naturally. Everytime you ask him to do something and he does it there is a release of calming chemicals - wow, great benefit to you and him!

Being a Post - The stay close and don’t pull drill.

This the first drill that we teach. It is about using pressure and release of pressure to get your dog to choose his behavior according to your wishes. In this case he is to stay close to you and not pull on the leash. This is the beginning of controlling your dog's boundaries and teaching him to submit to your pressure. This teaches your dog that he can go anywhere on the leash, whether it is two feet long or twenty feet long, but he cannot pull against it.
On leash this drill is about no pulling on the leash – no matter how badly the dog wants to get at the distraction. When this drill becomes an off leash instruction – it is about staying with in a boundary that you have set. Perhaps I don’t want my dog to go a certain distance away from me in the park or at a camp site. When he gets to a certain distance away from me I will say “Close” or “Stay close” to let him know what the boundary is.

Teaching your dog not to pull
Stand or kneel in one spot – you are a solid post in the ground. Your dog is on the leash (with a flat, wide collar). You need to catch him before he starts to pull and ask him to “stay close” in a firm tone as he nears the end of the leash. If he doesn’t respect your words then you start to pressure him with little irritating ‘dinks’ on the leash. These dinks are not hard enough to move your dog, but they are intense enough to stop him in his tracks. (see Pressure & Release chapter to understand the dinks). Every time he begins to reach the end of the leash start 'dinking' the leash to irritate him. You want him to think ‘wow, this is irritating when I pull against this leash, but if I just take one step towards mom then it stops and feels much better”. You are asking him to pay attention to you and gives him the chance to choose not to pull. When he looks at you, leans in to you or takes a step towards you, reward him with a "Good, close" in a whispery tone and stop ‘dinking’ the leash. This is the release of pressure and where the learning takes place.
This will go back and forth many times until he begins to understand that you just don't want him to pull. He should look at the distraction and then check in with you (eye contact) to see what you want him to do.

Working with distractions.
Do this exercise in four locations in your house until you both have it down really well. Then do it with increasingly tempting distractions.

First establish your boundary, and then toss a treat outside of your boundary as you say “close”. He should look to the treat and then to you – that’s a perfect ‘check in’. If he starts to pull or lunges at the treat then begin your pressures. If he doesn’t listen to the dinks you have some choices – you can stomp your foot, slap your hand on your leg or say “hey” in a firm tone. These are startles to get his attention so that you can help correct his lack of respect and guide him in a better direction. When he looks at you then praise him.

When he sits, licks his lips, yawns or lies down – these are calming signals that tell you he understands and will not argue anymore – he is gaining respect for your wishes. However if this is an impatient dog or a puppy then he might only hold it for a second and then go right back to challenging you. Be ready to start again.

Repeat this drill several times until he stops challenging.

Working outside – release of adrenalin
Begin by working just outside of your back door, when you are successful then move to the front yard, then down the block a few houses and then to the park. Always work toward success – try not to move beyond your dog’s abilities too quickly or he will fail and lose confidence. If you move successfully and quickly through the distraction phases then you will both do great.

Then start working on a longer line – to help you in get off leash. Set your boundaries further away from you and try to use the leash as a back up tool. Use your voice and body language more actively and then use the leash only to back it up if he is not listening. Soon you will notice your dog not wanting to leave your side – he will naturally just stick close to you.

I hope this makes sense - let me know if you have questions.

May 13th, 2005, 02:16 PM
Thank you so much Tenderfoot! :thumbs up

Cactus Flower
May 13th, 2005, 02:41 PM
Tenderfoot, there should be an award for people like you who care enough to share their tips and advice, take time to write a post like that in great detail- and aren't simply saying "Buy my book/video- all the info is in there" (in other words "I'm not telling, unless I'm paid").




May 13th, 2005, 06:20 PM
Thanks Cactus Flower - The times it gets harder to share advice is when I would be writing for days to explain something I could show you in minutes - then I am so tempted to say - "just get the DVD", but I really hate how that sounds.

May 13th, 2005, 11:39 PM
I was going to reply to this thread but its just making me miss my old dog Timber, I know hes probably happy running around on a big farm acreage but its still hard not having him around. :(