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Review of the Illusion Collar (for chronic pulling)

Chaser
August 16th, 2008, 11:55 AM
I recently had the opportunity to try the Illusion Collar on Chase, since Sylvie lent us one to try with Kailey. For anyone who doesn't know, Chase has been a severe chronic puller who began pulling so hard before he was even four months old that he hurt my arm! We have made a lot of progress with a Halti and a tonne of hard work, but I thought i'd give the Illusion a shot and see if it is worth investing in one for him.

It did NOT go well! As soon as we walked out the door, he started his pulling, trying to get to Daddy and Kailey who were ahead of us. The collar tightened, and then he panicked, trying to get away from what was hurting him. All four feet were running in place (I'm lucky he didn't scrape up his paw pads), he was choking, and then starting gagging/near vomiting. I got him calmed down, tried one more time, and within a quarter block it happened again. Fortunately I had the foresight to put his Halti in my pocket, so I immediately put that on instead. Isolated periods of mild pulling are far better than seeing my dog gag! :sad:

So, I don't intend this review to trash the Illusion Collar, BUT I would not recommend it for dogs that are chronic pullers. If your dog sounds like a similar personality to Chase, I would avoid it. He has a chronic "I am SO excited I just HAVE to get there first!" mentality, a very low pain tolerance, and is pretty jumpy and can spook easily. NOT a good combination. I'm going to stick with the Halti, and pursue clicker training for loose-leash walking as allymack shared some great information on that a little while ago on here.

We'll be trying the Illusion with Kailey tonight and I'm expecting much better results. She is a reactive puller (mainly with other dogs), and responds very well to leash corrections, seeming to be mildly irritated by them at worst. For her a correction works well to bring her focus back and remind her what is expected when she freaks at another dog and forgets herself. For Chase, a correction seems to be the equivalent of the end of the world and I will definitely continue to stay away from corrections-based training with him. I'm glad I tried it once, but it turned out to be a pretty upsetting experiment which I won't be repeating.

I'll post later re: how it goes with Kailey.

angeldogs
August 16th, 2008, 12:22 PM
We have tried the one the Global pets sells that is to be like the Illusion collar and we got the chocking and gagging and put the halti back on.we weren't big on it at all.

rainbow
August 16th, 2008, 01:23 PM
Interesting and thanks for the review. I'm going to post this thread in the Dog Review Products forum in case someone looks for information about it there. :)

allymack
August 16th, 2008, 02:51 PM
hmm, I think i will check out the one at the Global pets, i have wanted to try this for a long while now...

Chaser
August 16th, 2008, 08:03 PM
Well we found the Illusion MUCH more effective with Kailey. It doesn't work miracles, and she did still react to a couple dogs. But it was much easier to correct her and I liked how the collar stays up behind the ears where it is supposed to. She has a really fat head and tiny neck so collars have been awful for sliding down too close to her chest and giving her too much power. We felt we had more control with this collar.

I would definitely recommend it for reactive pullers for whom an owner is finding positive training isn't working very well. Kailey zeros in on dogs and it is incredibly hard to break her focus, and a quick correction with this collar works really well to help us get her attention back on us.

I think Chase's horrible reaction to the collar is likely the exception and not the rule. Kailey certainly paid attention to the leash corrections, but showed no distress whatsoever and a quick correction didn't cause any gagging or loss of air or anything else that would be upsetting to dog or owner. But I do stand by my thinking that a chronic pulling problem is not best solved with the Illusion.

kigndano
August 18th, 2008, 07:52 AM
good work on the distinction between chronic pullers and reactive dogs.

i will definitely not use this on any dogs i get in the future that are chronic pullers.

4LeggedCircus
December 18th, 2008, 10:56 PM
Does anyone have a suggestion on what to use for a chronic puller? I tried the Illusion months ago but had to stop using it bc it was chaffing my dog's neck since he pulls so much. I've been using a pinch collar, but only bc I don't know what else to try and I don't really like it even though it works well enough.

Chaser
December 18th, 2008, 11:42 PM
Does anyone have a suggestion on what to use for a chronic puller? I tried the Illusion months ago but had to stop using it bc it was chaffing my dog's neck since he pulls so much. I've been using a pinch collar, but only bc I don't know what else to try and I don't really like it even though it works well enough.

I'm having good success with the Easy Walk Harness made by Gentle Leader with my chronic puller. :)

http://www.buygentleleader.com/View.aspx?page=dogs/products/collars/easywalk/description

Stacer
December 19th, 2008, 09:18 AM
We use the Gentle Leader as well. We also use the NewTrix Easyway head collar, but I don't find that I have quite the same control, although I think Skylar finds it more comfortable with it's fleecy lining.

angeldogs
December 19th, 2008, 01:31 PM
I had success with the halti harness and the sensable harness.the halti is padded and cheaper

MIA
December 20th, 2008, 08:22 PM
The illusion collar or any other collar out there isn't supposed to correct the problem, it's to assist you in training your dog, so really the only solution to a chronic puller is to take time each day and work your dog and teach it how to walk nicely on leash. Training is the only way to change your dogs behavior, there is no magic pill, harness, collar, leash etc that will do it for you.

reckon
December 28th, 2008, 05:26 AM
The illusion collar or any other collar out there isn't supposed to correct the problem, it's to assist you in training your dog, so really the only solution to a chronic puller is to take time each day and work your dog and teach it how to walk nicely on leash. Training is the only way to change your dogs behavior, there is no magic pill, harness, collar, leash etc that will do it for you.

+1

99% of the time THE PEOPLE NEED THE TRAINING, not the dog.

the illusion collar is a TOOL to assist you in not only WHERE the collar sits on doggies neck, but also so when you correct for pulling (A STRAIGHT UP TUG), the collar delivers the "nudge" in whats known as a "control spot", making things easier for the dog and handler to understand one another.

I personally LOVE the illusion collar, but as the above poster said, it's not some magic pill you pop on the dogs neck, and all of a sudden he's no longer pulling, you still need to use it correctly,....just like a choke chain that 95% of dog owners do not use correctly.

reading these forums everyday makes me realize just how badly the world needs dog behaviorists :thumbs up

R. Bear
January 4th, 2009, 10:49 AM
Personally, I've had a lot of success with the Gentle Leader head harness. I have never used the Illusion collar, and I'm not really sure what it is, but I'm guessing it sits right behind the dogs ears which gives maximum control? I tried a nylon choke (which sits high as well, but has a tendency to slip down) but my little monster continued to pull, bark and basically choke himself silly when anywhere near another dog. I love the Gentle Leader - it has given me calm, quiet walks with my dog and the opportunity to get him to focus more on me than on his surroundings. I adopted him 2 months ago at the age of 9 years - he had never been on a leash before in his life and didn't even know "sit", and was just neutered prior to adoption! He is also very dominant but not aggressively so. I guess it's best for people to try what works best for them and their dog. The trick is - NEVER give up!!

Mgue
January 8th, 2009, 01:55 PM
I also have a chronic puller and I've been working really hard for 4 months to train him to walk nice. We did obedience classes, I tried using treats for positive reinforcement, walking the other way, stopping in my tracks. It just wasn't working.

Finally I was at my wit's end with it and stopped looking forward to walks because I just couldn't get him to walk nice. Finally, I decided to try the Premier Easy Walk harness and no word of a lie, my dog immediately stopped pulling. As soon as he starts to get ahead, a quick light tug drops him right back at my side.

I'm hoping I can use this harness as a tool to help me teach him that he belongs at my side, and then eventually stop using it. Because it goes around his body instead of his neck, it doesn't put any pressure on his neck. I've gotten great results and I'm very happy with it.