Training Collar Selection and Behavior

Judy writes: I enjoyed your website, but still need help choosing the right collar for my hard headed Jack Russell. She does go swimming to chase and catch my ducks in our pond, she chases cars, and she sometimes sneaks up behind visitors and bites them on the leg. She does not listen at all when she is so intensely concentrating on doing what she is not supposed to do…ignores us completely.

Other than being so aggravating 1/4 of the time, she is a good little dog. But, when she is bad…she is BAD! What collar would be best for such a small dog…she is not a fat Jack Russell…she runs to much for that. She is probably around 12 – 15 pounds, but I am just guessing. I want a collar that goes at least 1/2 mile. We live out in the country and she runs around our 10 acres.

Thanks so much,



Dear Judy, When choosing a training collar, the pinch collar is the best choice.

It communicates with the dog in it’s natural language, using the “teeth” of the collar similar to how an Alpha dog would correct a subordinate or a mother dog correct her puppies. The small size would probably work best for your Jack Russell terrier. By not listening to you, she is showing her disrespect of your Alpha position in the family “pack.” When you get the pinch collar, you must keep it and a leash on her all the time when supervision is available so you can correct any behaviors you don’t want.

By keeping up a regimen of tough love and obedience, you can correct her negative behaviors and don’t forget to praise her whenever she does something right. Mental stimulation is as important as physical and she will be glad to be working for you in obedience.

E-Collar or Leash Training

Dear Adam: I have read lots of your articles, and value your opinion. My dog, Chunk, is seven months old and we are looking for a training program for him. I met with what seemed like a great trainer yesterday, who uses the e-collar. I’d appreciate your advice on training my dog using this system.

Should I try group classes first that practice the leash, or go straight to e-collar?

It’s my understanding that this trainer offers strictly e-collar training, not leash training. It’s rather expensive, but I’ve always believed that you get what you pay for, and don’t want to waste my time going to group classes if they are useless like you noted. Please advise.

Thank you,



Dear Ami, To see what you are paying for, ask to sit in on some lessons, whether they are in a group or a private one-on-one instructional setting. Watch how the trainer interacts with both the dog and the owner; how the dog reacts to the trainer; and (if possible) how the owner works with the dog. This will give you a good idea of what you’ll be getting. Your only reason to hesitate is that this trainer uses only e-collars.

Be aware that a well-rounded professional has all kinds of tools in his kit for working with different dogs with different problems. If you like what you see and are willing to pay for results, there is nothing wrong with the e-collar approach, when applied properly and fairly. I have had a very good success rate with the e-collar. But they are generally used as ONE TOOL in a trainer’s bag of tricks, and not as the ONLY tool.

Update – September, 2011: These days there are many expert dog trainers who advocate a 100% e-collar regimen.  And they are very successful.  I still think it’s best to leave it up to the owner, as many dog owners do fine with a $15 pinch collar and a 6′ leather leash… never needing (or wanting) to get to the more advanced levels of training that the e-collar permits you.

Or for that matter, having to shell out the $200+ on a quality e-collar.  With my personal dogs, I prefer a blended approach.  And for good reason. Why? My e-collar’s battery started to fade this past week and I had to send it back to the factory for an upgrade.  Three weeks without a training collar would be a drag, if I didn’t have my trusty pinch collar to fall back on. Remember: Reinforcement is forever– whether it’s with an e-collar, a pinch collar or a buckle collar.

But I should also add: There are some dogs that I will go straight to the e-collar with.  Especially larger, more physical dogs with a hard temperament or dogs with extreme aggression issues.

Your mileage may vary.

What’s the Best Dog Toy for Your Adult Dog

As a professional dog trainer, people often ask me what dog toys I recommend they should buy and which ones I use for my own dogs. Here’s the answer: Your dog doesn’t need more than two toys. Rotate them, so he doesn’t get bored.

But remember: We’re talking about an animal that eats the same food, day in/day out. And while your dog needs mental stimulation in the form of play and obedience training, they will be perfectly happy with chewing on the same toys, for years. (Much the same way young children can watch the same Barney movie 100 times without getting bored!) So& what are the two best dog toys in my opinion? – The Kong. Either in red or black. (Sometimes you need to play with your dog and this toy a bit, before your dog gets interested in it& but once they do& LOOK OUT.

The benefit of this toy is that they can chew on it for months and months, in most cases. You can also stuff it with doggie treats, cream cheese, peanut butter or whatever. – The rope toy. This is usually sold in either white or multi-strand colors. It is a thick piece of soft rope, tied in a knot on each end. Another great toy because–compared to the rawhide bone–this toy will last weeks or months.

Nine Tips For Choosing The Right Dog Toy

As a dog owner, you probably know from experience that the most expensive dogs toys are the ones your dog creates herself from your furniture, shoes and other stuff. You know that by correcting your dog for chewing on what is yours (and not hers) and then handing your dog a toy teaches your dog to chew on something more acceptable. And thus, dog toys are a bargain and a great way for your dog to relieve stress and frustration.

The last few years have seen an explosion in exciting toy design. Never before have such stimulating toys been commercially available for dogs. You can supplement those toys with equally stimulating homemade toys. Different dogs need different toys. Some dogs can only be trusted with the toughest toys on the market, whereas others will treasure fragile toys with utmost care.

Gentle dogs can play with squeaky toys; soft latex tends to be more dog-resistant than hard plastic. Gentle dogs can also have stuffed animal toys, but be sure to remove any plastic eyes or noses. You can buy bunches of these toys at thrift stores and just bring out a few at a time. When evaluating the safety of any toy, consider:

1. The toy should not be small enough to be inhaled or swallowed whole.

2. The toy should not have parts that can be pulled off and swallowed.

3. The toy should not have any sharp parts.

4. Avoid linear toys such as pantyhose, strings, ribbons and rubber bands that can be swallowed; such toys can be particularly dangerous.

5. Use chewable toys with caution and under supervision. If your dog can swallow a big hunk of it, it’s probably not really safe. Bones and hooves are responsible for many cracked rear teeth, resulting in expensive dental bills.

6. If your dog is obsessed with dissecting toys to remove the squeakers, only give him squeaky toys when you can supervise.

7. Avoid children’s toys stuffed with unsafe fillings, such as beans.

8. Never give your dog a container in which the dog’s head could become lodged. Dogs cannot pull these containers off and have suffocated when they became stuck.

9. Never leave a dog unsupervised with a toy that contains a battery. Some toys require a person on the other end. Balls, tug toys and chase toys are some examples. Don’t think you can hand your dog a toy that requires a person and expect her to be entertained while you’re gone. She will turn to a toy that doesn’t require your presence in order to be fun, such as the arm of your sofa.

Dogs And Their Dog Toys

By Scott Campbell

There are many dogs which are lost, put in the pound or killed because of the dog’s natural drives to run or chase.

All dogs were bred to do something and many of them were bred to chase or herd. These types of dogs would be your herding dogs e.g. Australian Shepherd, German Shepherd, Boarder Collie and so on.

Each of these dogs has very high drive and when not harnessed or channeled can be detrimental to the dog. Understanding drive The first thing one need to understand about herding dogs is their dog was bred to be a tool. Farmers and shepherds use these dogs as tool for their daily work to help herd their livestock. Now for a farmer to keep his tools working correctly he needs to keep them oiled, fueled and maintained. The same goes for the dog, it needs to be groomed, fed and exercised to work properly. I suppose you could even call the dogs crate a tool box.

I am by no means telling you to treat you pet as a tool but rather am telling you to understand your dogs drive. The natural dive which is either going to be prey drive or chase drive need to be channeled. Many people have seen dogs chasing cars, bikes, kids, cats, any other varmints or running up and down a fence line. This is un-channeled drive and is exactly what I am speaking of. You as the owner need to focus this drive on something like a ball, Frisbee, tug or retrieval work.

Toys: Getting a dog to chase a ball that has high drive is easy, it seems to be automatic. Sometimes getting them to come back is the bigger problem. This is why one should use this drive to coincide with their obedience training. That would be an entirely different article on how to use drive in obedience training. All I am saying is when you throw the ball the dog should retrieve it and bring it back.

If the dog does not you should be able to tell the dog to “come” or whatever you say and the dog should bring you the ball. When you decide what the dog likes or wants to chase make sure you buy something of quality and will not hurt the dog. Make sure after use the toys will not splinter, gain sharp edges or contains toxins which could harm the dog’s teeth or stomach. There are many routes one can take when picking the correct toy which complements the dog’s drives. There are retrieving balls, retrieving dumbbells, Frisbees, balls on ropes (my personal favorite), tugs and ropes. Now you are going to ask “How do I know what toy my dog likes best”?

The answer is quite simple, take the dog with you to pick out the toy. This is not a free for all where the dog can get anything but rather you pick out a few toys and see which one the dog likes. – Kyjen

Launch a Ball Dog Toy Launch-a-Ball is the ultimate dog toy for interactive play and exercise. Simply snap the 2 pieces together and you are ready for a fun and easy game of fetch with your dog. You no longer need to bend over or touch a wet, slobbery tennis ball. – Frisbee Dog Toys Super dog toys that fly, float, and glow-in-the dark. Try the Kevlar Frisbee, the toughest you can buy.

– The Classic Dog Training Dumbbell An essential tool for training your dog to retrieve on both land and water. o Obedience training dumbbell o Medium Sized o Great training aid o Durable and hardwearing o Great for fetch game

– Original Kongs Your dog doesn’t like to stay home alone? Give ’em a stuffed Kong! It’s the perfect toy to leave with your dog as you head off to work. Licking, chewing, throwing, and tossing become an art while your dog tries to get at the yummy treats stuffed inside. Stuff a few Kongs with anything your dog loves (daily food, peanut butter, cream cheese, treats) and freeze or refrigerate overnight. As you’re ready to leave for work, give one Kong to your dog, hide the others under the table or behind a favorite chair. Your dog will finish one and hunt for the others.

All that chewing satisfaction, then it’s time for a nap. Perfect for boring days without Mom and Dad! Perfect for keeping puppy busy in his crate, too! Dishwasher safe. – One handled and two handled tugs Made of the same material bite suits are made of — French Linen! Although slightly more expensive their longevity is a testament to their value. The padding material that goes into the tugs offers the highest resiliency, is lightweight and best of all it resists water. The high resiliency means your tug will maintain its shape where others have gone flat and lost their usefulness..

– Orbee Ball Rated Top Product of the Year by numerous magazines and called the “world’s best dog ball” by industry experts – this hyper-durable ball bounces, floats and has a peppermint scent that dogs find irresistible. It will become a playtime favorite. Guaranteed. – Orbee-Tuff, Non-toxic and recyclable. Rinses clean. Imported. 5 1/4″. Run a rope through the middle of one of these and you have an excellent fetching toy. – Canvas Training Dummies These dummies are great for training sporting dogs. Whether large or small, the realistic weight and feel will fulfill your training needs.

The central advantage to canvas dummies is the weight and feel, plus the canvas’ absorption strength. – You own the toys Many owners take the correct initiative to purchase the correct toy; they also give the dog a good amount of exercise but fail in the final step. You own the toys! You are the one who decides when you are going to play and you decide when you are going to stop. After you are finished playing the toys are to be put up. This will teach the dog that play time is when you say so and he should not be chasing things unless you say. The other thing which owning the toys will do is reinstating your dominance in the situation. Just remember all dogs need to play and all dogs have some sort of drive. Find what that drive is and nurture it, mold it, use it to make a happy dog.

It will make you life easier and happier and of course the dogs life longer and a sense of fulfillment. Scott Campbell can be contacted at: On Command Dog Obedience Training Director Duluth GA 30097 email: cell: (404) 488-9499