Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this is Beaumont.
264479

264480

He's a very recent shelter rescue with extremely minimal training, which is fine, I know how to train a dog - but he's a big, strong handful of a dog that has absolutely no understanding of walking on a leash. Right now I'm using his collar to control his head/neck and a harness to control his body with a leash on each, with the view of transitioning him to only a collar when he's gotten better at walking. This is a dog that has NO IDEA - he's not being rude, he genuinely doesn't understand - so I really don't want to use a stronger tool, but he needs something he absolutely cannot slip out of.

I'm coming from greyhounds and have extensive experience using martingale collars, but I'm interested in other tools I might use. He CAN slip a harness, he's come bloody close. He has slipped a collar multiple times with the rescue. They placed him with us based on our experience with dogs that may not necessarily have had much/any training, so I'm not really seeking techniques at this point, just options for collars, harnesses, and maybe head halters - anything that might be easier for him to understand and harder for him to slip out of.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,500 Posts
For harnesses, I'd strongly suggest a model with a belly strap, like the Webmaster Ruffwear. These make slipping a harness significantly harder, especially in dogs who have defined chests, so it's virtually impossible to have the belly strap slip up over the chest. The Webmaster also has the bonus of having a handle on the back, which some people find useful for extra control when you need the dog to stay close to you, eg holding him in place as other people/dogs pass by. I have a friend who's also very satisfied with their Rabbitgoo harness, and this brand also has a three-strap style option. If he has a narrow waist with a big chest, there's also harnesses like the Spooky Dog that are designed to be escape-proof options for sighthounds and similarly built dogs.

Many people also add a safety strap that attaches the harness to the collar for their escape artist dogs, so in the case where one piece of equipment fails the other acts as a fail safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
259 Posts
I second the idea of the strap connecting harness and collar, the rescue uses those when they take the rescue dogs to their expos, and they've prevented a bad situation multiple times.
Could he use a slightly wider collar? Those are often harder to slip out of.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ManAndHisDog

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,640 Posts
  • Like
Reactions: ManAndHisDog

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,738 Posts
Second the Ruffwear rec - my poodle is a Houdini and he has yet to figure out how to get out of his. It's also really sturdy. Properly fitted they're also one of the few brands I've found that's cut right to not inhibit a free gait, but obviously that depends on the individual model matched up to the individual shape of the dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,738 Posts
Also, this might be a crackhead suggestion, but I personally have had better luck teaching my dogs to walk nicely beside me OFF LEASH (in an enclosed area, obviously) before adding the leash, rather trying to teach them not to pull. Pulling seems instinctual when on a tether so teaching the command without the leash, then adding the leash once it's learned, has been more efficient for me personally.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,427 Posts
Also, this might be a crackhead suggestion, but I personally have had better luck teaching my dogs to walk nicely beside me OFF LEASH (in an enclosed area, obviously) before adding the leash, rather trying to teach them not to pull. Pulling seems instinctual when on a tether so teaching the command without the leash, then adding the leash once it's learned, has been more efficient for me personally.
Something to be said for this. With a leash the dog pulls, we pull back, they pull harder. Oppositional reflex is very real with dogs, and that cycle of pulling just escalates.

I would start with an enclosed area, one collar he cannot slip and have him drag the leash. Object is to reward for focus (first) and then reward every time he is walking next to you. Build the behavior, avoid the conflict.

You can lure for a bit. We do this teaching puppies focused heeling (which, while not your goal, can help at the start).

When the dog learns it is rewarding to stay next to you when you walk (use s cue) THEN pick up the leash. Your job is to never let if become taught.

Time and patience should win this one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
He's getting a TON better already, but his recall might as well be nonexistent (he comes when he's called if he feels like it, but will completely ignore you if he doesn't) and he almost slipped his harness when we tried him on a long line.. we're doing some recall work this afternoon in a large fenced area (so completely loose but fenced in..) and will see how that goes. He NEEDS to run but he's too rough with other dogs for a fenced dog park even if we had one in my town.

If I knew he was just being a jerk about it I'd probably ecollar train him and be done with it but I think he just genuinely doesn't understand that he has to ALWAYS come when he's called.

We're looking at our 2" martingales that we bought for the greyhounds to see if any of those are big enough for him, because he already has a 2" standard flat collar and can slip that.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,500 Posts
A lot of dogs also need a strong bond with their handler before they really seem to 'get' recall. Awesome food or toy rewards can help (depending on what motivates him), but you'll really see a difference as his relationship with you develops and he starts to associate being with/around you with good things in general.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
UPDATE: found a check chain in my bag of tricks and that thing has worked miracles. He can't back out of it, it's aversive enough to stop him from pulling, and it won't pop open like prongs sometimes can. He's still A LOT of dog to handle but he's improving a whole heap. He's now neutered and that's also helped a lot. My goal at this point is to be able to walk him to the end of the street without having to correct him, and to that effect I'm keeping him at a strict heel because he thinks he can do what he likes on a loose leash.

He gets off-leash running time at a fully fenced dam. Walking is specifically for one purpose: to train him to walk nicely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
259 Posts
UPDATE: found a check chain in my bag of tricks and that thing has worked miracles. He can't back out of it, it's aversive enough to stop him from pulling, and it won't pop open like prongs sometimes can. He's still A LOT of dog to handle but he's improving a whole heap. He's now neutered and that's also helped a lot. My goal at this point is to be able to walk him to the end of the street without having to correct him, and to that effect I'm keeping him at a strict heel because he thinks he can do what he likes on a loose leash.

He gets off-leash running time at a fully fenced dam. Walking is specifically for one purpose: to train him to walk nicely.
Um, ok- look, I don't try to boss anyone around about how to train their dog, but this is one type of thing where I definitely will. Those collars can tighten to an unlimited extent. They have been known to kill dogs who get their collar caught on something, cause over-aroused dogs who ignore the tightness to pass out... and often cause irreversible damage to the trachea even of dogs who respect the chain corrections. I still encourage you to try an approach that does not put your dog at risk of injury.

Beyond that, approaches that use tools meant to punish the dog for pulling are not ideal from a training perspective, either.
First, a dog can't truly learn proper behavior just from being told what not to do, they need to also be told what to do. (one example I heard is: If I tell you not to think of polar bears, what do you immediately think of? My guess is that it's polar bears. In order to get that out of your head, you must first think of something else)
Second, this could cause the dog to become fearful or reactive on walks, because he will be slightly on edge, scared of a correction.
Third, while these approaches do solve the symptom of the problem, and the part that annoys the human, it does not truly solve the problem. The dog pulls because it is excited or has excess energy. Corrections stop that, but do not show the dog what you like or deal with the root cause. They have fast results, but don't truly solve the issue.

In general, the best training approaches focus on rewarding the dog for doing the right thing. In the case of loose leash walking, you have a huge reward and a huge punishment easily accessible that does not risk damaging your relationship with your dog or harming your dog, and still has excellent results when used properly and consistently. No tools or treats required. This would be, as you know, the walk itself. Pulling results in no more progress forward. Good behavior results in a continuing of the walk. Often, people will also give praise or rewards to the dog for doing well, as this helps the dog realize it is pleasing you, but not all people do this. Unwanted behavior, such as breaking the heel or pulling, fades out, because the dog does not get reward from you, and he no longer gets the self-fulfillment from it that he would have without training(from smelling things up ahead, going faster, etc).That behavior no longer serves his purpose, so no correction is necessary to stop it.
If you still like the check chain for security purposes, consider a martingale or limited slip collar. (I like the LupinePet one, but any one that is well made will work just as well) They will tighten to prevent escape, but won't tighten to the extent of causing pain or injury if fitted properly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: K9luv

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,640 Posts
It goes without saying that a choke (check) chain collar should never be left un an unattended dog. However, waking a dog on one is unlikely to kill it. If it's going to hit the end of the leash hard enough to do damage, it will happen whether it's on a slip, limited slip, or flat collar.

I would still recommend a martingale (limited slip) collar and a front clip harness using either two leashes or a double ended leash, though
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
He completely ignored a martingale, we have one that fits him and he couldn't slip it but it was completely ineffective. I really don't like front clip harnesses because of the way they restrict the gait and cause arthritis in the long term. Pretty much at this stage our options are prong or check chain, and the professional trainer we're working with is happy with him on a check chain at this stage.

He is naked at home, we never leave any collar on anymore. Both our dogs are microchipped and there's no requirement for rabies tags here (or vaccines at all, because Australia doesn't have rabies) so the risk of a collar getting caught on something isn't worth the benefit of having identification on the dog. For us at least.

Edit: and why do you think I train using only correction? I correct only when necessary, and he gets plenty of positive reinforcement as well, in the form of treats. I won't work without pay, so why should I expect my dog to?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,451 Posts
He completely ignored a martingale, we have one that fits him and he couldn't slip it but it was completely ineffective.
If he couldn't slip the martingale, then I'd say it WAS effective.

In my opinion, the end goal is not for the dog to heed the device, as one might expect with a choke or prong collar, but rather for you to embrace the fundamental principles of the training itself as a means to achieve success.

Or, I suppose in plain and simple terms, stop expecting the device to do the work for you. Train with your brain, as the old saying goes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
259 Posts
If he couldn't slip the martingale, then I'd say it WAS effective.

In my opinion, the end goal is not for the dog to heed the device, as one might expect with a choke or prong collar, but rather for you to embrace the fundamental principles of the training itself as a means to achieve success.

Or, I suppose in plain and simple terms, stop expecting the device to do the work for you. Train with your brain, as the old saying goes.
This. Exactly.
Training is not the job of any tool, even if you add actual training or reinforcement to the mix, it's still expecting a device to train for you. Which is not training. (besides, some dogs revert to previous behavior once the device is removed) And I still hold to the fact that they are outright dangerous, even if only worn with supervision. APDT, humane society, spca, and akc all advise against the use of these collars. Even organizations that promote other aversive, like front-clip harnesses, head halters, or prong collars, recommend that this specific device is not used. Perhaps this is a far-fetched example, but what happens if another dog attacks yours while you're walking, and in some way the dogs become tangled in the chain and your dog is choked? Or, here's a more reasonable one- what happens if your dog becomes so aroused by something that he ignores the collar and injures himself or passes out? Even with careful supervision and proper use, these tools are dangerous. Unforeseen circumstances will arise. Additionally, even proper correction with these collars involves tightening on the throat, which, done consistently, causes damage.

(Disclaimer- this may be a bit controversial, this is simply my opinion: ) "Training" devices, even of the safer varieties I mentioned above, are best left as management tools to keep the dog and the owner, as well as others, safe during the period before actual training has taken effect. This means NOT in order to train or help train the animal, and NOT as a replacement for training. If the dog cannot be safely controlled without these before it has been trained, one may start with something like a front-clip harness as a temporary management tool ( brief use is unlikely to cause arthritis, and a roman style harness with a front clip has almost no chance of this, even long-term. It is the ones with horizontal and/or tightening straps that cause problems). If this fails to have the desired effect, a prong or head halter may be used- again, though: this is a temporary management strategy, entirely separate from training. They are not used to train, or even to facilitate training.

@ManAndHisDog, I am sorry for assuming you did not use reinforcement. After re-reading your post and mine, I definitely realize my error. While I strongly oppose the use of the (aptly named) choke chain, I am actually happier to see this than I would be to see someone either just allowing the dog to pull or using the training collar to replace (instead of facilitate) training, as it is an effort to help the dog live in a safe, well-mannered, structured way, allowing him to live to the fullest. A flat collar could be quite nearly as dangerous as a choke chain, so I realize that this tool, properly used, is actually better than what many people do. However, it is still risky and potentially harmful, and therefore not ideal. (which is why I advocate properly fitted harnesses)
@LeoRose, upon doing research, I did find no circumstances of a dog being killed by a properly used choke chain while supervised. I'll edit my initial response- thanks for pointing that out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
This is a very big, very strong, very stubborn dog. He learns nothing constructive from training using collars (and harnesses) that aren't aversive enough to back him off because he can and will yank the lead out of his handler's hands to get what he wants. He's also pulled me over twice in a flat collar, which is why we moved away from them. The check chain backs him off just enough to keep him controllable.

Had I gotten this dog as a puppy that wasn't so big and strong, he absolutely would have been trained on a flat collar from the start. But he is nearly an adult and quite a large dog, and there's no sense in not using the right tool for the job. While yes a frozen banana can drive a nail, a hammer does a far better job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,062 Posts
He's also pulled me over twice in a flat collar, which is why we moved away from them.
The first dog I ever took from a shelter pulled me down flat on my belly in the parking lot (martingale collar). She wasn't big, a small Rottweiler bitch. I learned my lesson that day and never again took any dog from shelter except in a pinch collar. Sometimes potential harm to the human has to be factored in, but episodes like that carry a risk to the dog too. If I'd let go, who knows what would have happened. We were in a parking lot right by a road.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
259 Posts
This is my last post- you clearly aren't trying to harm your dog, and are trying to use this in the most responsible way possible, so I'll try to back off this. Just as a last thought- I'd recommend that you try to phase this tool out as soon as possible. The second thing is that perhaps a prong would be better. These are effective for controlling the dog, but are safer as they don't tighten to an unlimited degree. But regardless. This is your dog, not mine. I can tell you truly care about him, and I'm sure he's happy (he's beautiful, btw)
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top