Is a Pinch Collar Right For Your Dog?

jvolk0122 writes to me, asking about the pinch collar:

Hi I adopted a lhasa apso terrior mix which is about 20 pounds and have started to train her. I have a pinch collar and have it fitted correctly. The problem is that I think it may be to aggressive for her. When I give a pop she yelps the first couple of times and listens well. After the first couple of times she starts to get really submissive by rolling on her back, peeing, and laying down not making eye contact. When this happens I am not able to get her to listen any more. Giving a correction at this point only makes her more submissive. Is there another collar that I could try or do you have any suggestions how to handle this?

Adam replies:

Hi, Jvolk:

I need more detail:

Just because a car can go 100 mph, doesn’t mean you have to drive it 100 mph, everywhere you go, right? In fact, you may never drive it 100 mph. You can moderate how hard you press the gas pedal. Just like you can moderate your correction intensity with the pinch collar.

But I’m sure you’re smart enough to have figured that out, already — so, maybe you can explain in more detail what’s happening? Is it related to a specific exercise you’re teaching? The “attention-getter” exercise?

jvolk0122 responds:

I’m just starting to work on the basic dog training commands, of come, sit-stay, and down-stay. For the sit-stay. I’ll tell her sit, then push her butt down. When she tried to stand I corrected her with a pop and tell her to sit again. I’ll say free and let her get up with praise. With the correction she usually yelps and looks really startled the first couple of times. Say by the fourth or fifth time I correct her she starts to get really submissive from what I can tell. I’ll correct her and she’ll go immediatly down on her back, she has peed before, or she will lay down and not look at me in the eye’s and wine. If I try to coax her up she’ll usually not make eye contact with me and get up but then go right back down. I’ve tried doing a lesser correction because she is not that big of a dog and it shouldn’t take that much to get the point across to her, but it still usually gets the same result. I’ve thought of getting those rubber coatings for the prongs to make it less of a correction that way? Is this the info you’re looking for?

DPTrainer4 adds:

If you’re just starting out, you might be working her a bit hard. The concept of learning is to make it easy for the dog to connect the action with the command, resulting in a reward. When I first teach a dog to sit, as soon as the rear touches the ground, I’m happy. Then I work up from there, asking that the dog hold that sit longer and longer, and that’s when I start incorporating corrections as a means to teach the dog that Sit means “Your bum stays there until I tell it to move.”

She just might need to learn the command better. It sounds, from your description, more like she’s learning a military drill and shutting down, with the rolling on her back and especially the urination. It’s the equivalent of throwing a new worker in with the seasoned ones and then promptly docking the new worker’s pay because the immediate results aren’t up to par. You can make training fun without going over-the-top clicker-trainer sunshine-and-butterflies peppy, and there’s no problem with using some food treats or a favorite toy as a reward when first learning new concepts.

You can keep using the collar, but I’d recommend backing off corrections until she knows what she’s supposed to do and you’re beginning to proof her commands.

Adam replies:

That was my thought, too. That’s she’s not 100% clear about what the command means. And remember: You need to “reteach” the command in 3-4 different environments before the dog will start to do it, anywhere.

Teaching Your Dog the Off Collar “Come” Command

Elizabeth writes to me:

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. You helped me realize that I can trust my instincts with Mollie. I really noted your idea of the dog gaining “respect and trust” for the owner. I see that in Mollie as she matures. She is seven and half months old now.

Speaking of “collar smart” I guess I still don’t have the concept of how to avoid it. Mollie does well with her collar but since we keep her in our large fenced back yard, she doesn’t usually have it on when we walk out and interact with her on an informal basis. She definitely acts differently with the collar and I guess my real question is how to “off leash” train.
Adam speaks of never giving a command unless you are close enough to the dog (and the tab) to give a correction, but how does one accomplish this is you want to teach the ‘come’ command from a distance? I’ve watched the video of teaching “come” with the lunge line, and I’ve done that, but how does one move away from that to off leash? Maybe I just need to reread Adam’s directions but I can’t visualize how this is accomplished. I realize I’m repeating myself, but again, how can I teach her to come, off leash, from a distance, if I always need to be close enough to give the correction?

Actually, Mollie is pretty good with the command, but not perfect. I don’t fully trust her with this one yet.

Thanks again for the last response. I find the debate about training to be interesting. I am teacher and we have that same debate in education. Yes, positive feedback is always best, but sometimes we all need that “negative” motivation. I think it’s a law of nature.


Adam replies:

Hi, Elizabeth:

Think of it this way: The leash and collar are just a tool to help YOU teach the dog that he cannot run away from you, and that he cannot ignore commands.

I knew a woman in Missouri who did the following: She would take a young dog and put the dog in a small, enclosed yard. No leash, no training collar. Just a buckle collar. Every time she called, she’d go and MAKE the dog come. The dog learned that he could not run away, because she’d catch him– EVERY TIME.

With the long line, you’re playing a MIND GAME on the dog. You’re getting the dog conditioned to respond every time– just the same way you get conditioned to pay attention and reach for the telephone, every time it rings.

Once the dog is conditioned, you can take the long line off and sub the tab. But remember: Reinforcement is forever, so if you start to see the conditioned response get slower– that’s when you pull out the long line (or the e-collar) and brush up.

Make sense?

– Adam.

Train Your Dog to Avoid Accidents In Crate

Yorma writes to me:

Our 11 year old puppy obviously hasn’t read the dog crating rules and doesn’t know NOT to poop/pee in his crate. He does use wee wee pads when outside the crate and we give plenty of time to relieve himself before placing him in the crate. But after we leave him alone for 30 minutes to an hour…we return to a crate full of poop. We’ve made the area quite small within the crate, where he can barely turn around but it keeps happening. (little if any bedding). Something is in his head and we can’t figure it out. We also clean and disenfect very, very well after any accidents… ANY ADVICE WOULD BE APPRECIATED…but please do not simply send me to a site about crate training. READ THEM ALL and almost none assume the dog will poop repeadedly in. HELP PLEASE!!! Thanks.

Adam replies:

Hi, Yorma:

Is your dog 11 months old, or 11 years old? Please let me know. If he’s 11 years old, I’m curious why you’re crate training now, and if he’s displayed separation anxiety in any other contexts?

It’s very likely your dog is suffering from separation anxiety… which isn’t really a true housebreaking issue in light of what you’ve described.

This is what our local veterinarian recommends. The last time we were there, she told me that she’s had a lot of success, with a lot of different dogs using the DAP Diffuser:

Please report back (good results or not) and we can go from there.

Or, if you’d like to try two remedies at the same time: Ask your vet about a med called “Clomicalm” (or something similar that she might suggest?) It’s basically an anti-anxiety type med. It’s not forever, it’s just to get him over his issues.

Keep me posted. — Adam.

Train Your Dog to Stop Licking

DancingFlame writes to me: “Hello, I have a pug/chihuahua mix and I would like to thank you for the solutions you’ve already given me. My dog was whining in her crate and having a hard time learning the down command. We bought her a comfy bed and began feeding her inside the crate, and now she actually enjoys napping in it and will go inside at bedtime without being prompted. We’ve also got a good start on the “down” command.

I’ve looked over your games to play section in order and would like to teach her to locate hidden items. I started with smelly salmon treats, and she was unable to find them. Do you have any recommendations of tricks or techniques that can help us to develop her sense of smell? I would love to work up to her bringing me my keys (when I lose them).

My husband has a question for you. Our dog will often lick his hands, face, and arms while he’s petting her. He doesn’t like it and says he feels like a jerky treat, but hasn’t corrected her yet, as he doesn’t want to discourage her from feeling confident in our pack. Should we train her not to do this, or is it normal behavior for her place in the pack?

Thank you in advance!”

Adam Replies Hi DancingFlame:

Hi, DancingFlame:

Thanks for the feedback.

The trick with teaching her how to find hidden objects is to start by getting her excited about the treat, and then let her see you hide the treat — but pretend like you’re really hiding it. Tell her, “Go find it!”

Do that a few times, and then hide it in pretty much the same place, but don’t let her see you put it there. (She’ll go back to the same place! LOL).

After a few times, hide it maybe a 1/2 foot, and then a foot from that same location.

The rinse and repeat in two more locations.

Then mix it up, so that she goes to check the old locations, too. At the same time, you can help her out by saying, “Check here,” and snapping your fingers at the spot.

As for the licking: It could be from a vitamin deficiency. You might talk with your vet about changing food. If it is behavioral, usually the easiest way to fix it is to just say, “No!” and pinch the tongue when she licks you. (This licking behavior isn’t submission, because the submissive behavior does not continue for more than a couple of seconds, when it’s that!)

If pinching the tongue doesn’t work, you can use the collar and tab to give a LIGHT correction, and then offer her a toy to chew on.

Keep me posted.




Some Dog Training Links for Your Enjoyment

By Lynn –

Since it has been a very busy time for me, I haven’t been able to blog on a regular basis–although, it should be well-known that it’s not unheard of to see certain lengths of time go by whilst I try to convince my brain to spew forth some quality material worth sharing. I’m not sure of the readership of this blog, but since my creative capabilities have been lacking, I’d like to share some extremely well-written blogs from some of my colleagues and other trainers with whom I network on a regular basis. I have no doubt that I’ll have some more entries up within good time, but since I just completed a 6-quarter education for an Associates of Applied Sciences in Veterinary Technology, I’m just fine giving my brain a little bit of a rest before it goes on to the next grueling task.

Some of these links have to do with training, while others focus more on the human-dog relationship. Feel free to leave comments on the writer’s respective blog entry if you enjoyed reading them; most, if not all, of them, do accept anonymous comments, although the courtesy of a signature is appreciated. Please note that I do not receive anything other than their thanks for sharing these. These people are not lacking for readership, so this is not for advertising revenue. It is merely to share knowledge, experience and good writing about some meaty dog-relation topics.

That Dogma Won’t Hunt : a critical examination of one of the key studies many behaviorists point to when they insist that punishment is counterproductive in dog training

Conflicting Conclusions : a follow-up to the above entry that compares some conflicting findings within the scientific field regarding dog aggression.

Glock or Flexi? Which Would You Rather Carry? : Janeen compares the safety record of the popular retractable lead to that of a Glock handgun. You might be surprised as to her findings!

Remote Control : Ruth Crisler takes a look at some of the reasoning behind the e-collar ban in Wales, and why it might be barking up the wrong tree, for both scientific and humane reasons.

What’s love got to do with it? : In light of the recent death of a killer whale trainer, Ruth examines why love for our animals doesn’t go very far when it comes to creating a good relationship with them.

At least, Don’t buy this : A candid examination, backed by years of experience, of people who buy pet store puppies. Prepare to either be a little bit offended or nod your head in agreement.

Seized and Saved : With hundreds of fosters under her belt, as well as direct involvement with puppy mill seizures, Heather examines what must happen after the initial seizure of an animal in order for it to be considered truly saved.

Now we see the violence inherent in the system : A critical look at the timeline leading up to the acceptance of mixed-breed dogs for registration with the American Kennel Club, and why it actually isn’t quite as warm-hearted as you might think.

I’m not sharing all the good links with you now, just so I can have more to share at a later date when my brain again needs a hiatus. Enjoy these, and keep checking back for some original material!

Guarantees in Dog Training

By Lynn –

I know I’ve quoted it before, but I need to say it again just so everyone knows where I’m coming from. Remember that scene in Miss Congeniality when Gracie has her interview with the other finalists? She does a great job and then adds in her own addendum after the applause. Gracie’s coach (Victor Melling) states “One brief shining moment…and then that mouth.”
That’s pretty much how the next two years are going to be.

My mouth will probably get me into trouble and whoever makes blood pressure medication will probably ask me to make commercials when I start downing pills by the dozen.

Having graduated last May with a Bachelor’s, I’m just starting school (again!) to become a vet tech. And since vet tech school is not dog training school, I’ve agreed to keep my mouth shut (aka “Smile and nod”) whenever we go through the behavior segments, as well as do my job whenever I have to care for the dogs…who are required to wear headcollars. Gentlemen and ladies, start your bets as to when I blow a gasket.

Anyway, the chapter on animal behavior in the $88, 10-lb monster of a book is quite amusing. That phrase on “technicians should encourage owners to use [a head halter] as standard practice in place of choke chains or pinch collars”? Nope. They’ll hate me for it. I’ll begrudgingly walk their dogs on them (with a backup kennel lead), but you will not hear such recommendations coming out of my mouth. Maybe out of the mouth of the tech standing next to me. But not mine.

I’d also like to discuss something else in that chapter that makes training a little touchy. As you’ve probably guessed, when referring to dog behavior, everything is all behaviorism and “Punishment doesn’t work.” There’s also a section in here that I’ll dissect over a few blogs called “Guidelines for evaluating a dog trainer or behavioral consultant” with a subheading of “Finding and working with dog trainers.”

One bullet notes “Avoid trainers who offer guarantees about results. They are either ignoring or do not understand the complexity of animal behavior.”

The problem with this is that it puts you, the consumer and dog owner, in danger.

Dog training is both an art and a business with a little science thrown in for good measure. Behavior is something that is indeed complex, I’ll give them that. But to not offer a guarantee from a business standpoint is suicide for the company. Any good businessman wants someone to use his product and be satisfied with it, but if he does not back it up with some type of guarantee and money-back offer, three things will happen: unsatisfied customers, many of whom can be quite outspoken, can spread the word that some of your products are of iffy quality, others will sue you to get their money back since they have no other recourse, and unles he’s doing some deals involving offshore accounts, the business will most likely lose revenue.

In the sense of dog training, many trainers and training classes will outline what is expected during the course of the class. The dog will learn sit, heel, down, etc etc. But is this guaranteed? Will the dog KNOW for sure how to do those by the end of the session, or will it just know how to perform for a cookie? Everyone here knows the story after story we get of dogs who have graduated petstore training classes who act as if they know nothing.

This, in my opinion, is why guarantees are necessary.

The class has expectations of the dogs and a list of goals for them to meet, and I’m sure every person who takes their dog in there just wants a well-behaved pet they can take anywhere. And the truth is, every dog out there (physically and mentally able) is capable of being That Dog, which is why good trainers DO offer a guarantee on their services. Making excuses for why a dog cannot do a particular exercise gets you nowhere, and in fact sets the dog back, not because of its own limitations (real or imagined), but because the owner sets HER OWN limitations. Human limitations are not shared by dogs, and nor are excuses.

When I come out of a training class, I want to know that my dog can sit, down, heel, come, etc. on command, the first time, and with a wag in his tail and spring in his step. These results should be GUARANTEED in any training program, if nothing else, because they are the most basic things a dog should know. I can be a bit more lenient on other things: competition obedience isn’t for every dog, nor is Schutzhund or agility. Anyone who offers guarantees that my dog will break speed records in agility after taking a few classes is wearing a bumhat!

Simply put, money-back guarantees are necessary in dog training and should be required. Too many dogs are abandoned for behavior issues already, and to not be able to tell an owner “I CAN fix this, and if not, then my efforts are at no cost to you” starts up the big flashing neon warning sign in my mind that reads “This is a fraud.” Unfortunately, I am not everyone (let’s all give thanks for that!), but in this case, a word to the wise is imperative.

As for those poor sods who paid money for a course in cookie-bribery? Refund all expenses paid to every one of them. I know they worked hard to try and make their dogs understand what they want, but until each dog comes out of those classes on the road to knowing the most basic commands under the most pressing of distractions and any behavioral issues successfuly cleared up, don’t make their owners pay a cent. In the end, they’ll just spend the money they saved on a trainer who will actually help them with their dog rather than dispense feel-good advice on the guise of being “on the cutting edge of behavioral science” and “dog-friendly.”

Let me add also that this blog is applying the assumption that anyone who goes into training with a professional is actively working with their dog using that professional’s advice and seeking to get the most for their money out of that particular training program. Unfortunately, many people who go into a training class do it with the attitude that all they need to do is find that one magic moment when things just “fall into place” or apply that one “magic tool” and from that moment on, the dog will be perfect. This is where the guarantee falls apart, and as Adam describes in his book, the dog might work for the trainer…but when it comes to working for the owner, the dog all of a sudden turns back into its old self, responding inconsistently or not listening at all. Professional dog trainers can pretty much tell this type of owner, and they’re not fooled by the excuses that “But we worked on it!” when obviously, the lesson was neglected. This post then, is geared more toward the owner/handler who is actively seeking to make a change in his dog’s behavior and using all advice offered by the trainer.

Why Use A Prong Collar To Train A Dog? Here’s Why…

By Lynn –

In the midst of my horrible month-without-days-off, I was down at the flea market with the puppies as was expected. It’s rather relaxed down there, and my cohort and I will regularly just walk off and see what fun fleas we can find that are actually worth something and not Made In China. Found a couple of Kentucky Derby collectors’ glasses that I’d been looking for ever since my other one broke, so that made me happy.

When I returned from that purchase, I had no sooner walked back into our booth when I heard “Ah, there she is, she’d be the one to help you with this.”


Turns out the problem was a GSD who was fear-aggressive and somewhat dominant. We spent some time talking, and the owner agreed that she did need to change herself to have some progress. In a nutshell, I recommended they seek out the services/referral of their friend who happened to have a working K9 officer, or a Schutzhund trainer. I also explained the concept of the pinch collar to them and recommended they ask their friend/referral whether it would be appropriate for their specific circumstances (I don’t feel that qualified with FEAR-aggression issues as much as I do dog-/people-aggression). They went on their merry way, hopefully to some success, since I didn’t see them the next week.

Next case was someone who mentioned that their Lab just put on the brakes during walks. She’d tried just about every collar, but when I told them about the mechanics and psychology behind the pinch collar, she was suddenly interested (which perhaps explained why she wasn’t shocked when I brought it out). After some chatting, she too went on her merry way.

My co-worker stated “Hey, if you keep recommending those, we might have to start selling them!”

That really got me thinking: Why do I and others here recommend the pinch collar so much? We all know that some dogs do just fine without one, a few can do fine with just a martingale collar, but why do we recommend pinch collars for the majority with whom we cross paths?

My answer came to me this morning while reading an article about an obedience-school dropout who broke stays, ran to play with other dogs, marked the doorway and in general was just a victim of poor training technique and application.

Most people don’t know or don’t think to start basic foundation obedience when they procur a puppy. Either they think the puppy is so cute it doesn’t need it, or things are going just fine, who knows. So they have this puppy who grows up…and keeps growing…and all of a sudden, they notice things don’t become fun anymore: walks are a chore, having guests over is a disaster, preparing dinner is a three-ring circus, and friends are no longer allowed to show affection without the threat of a bite. THAT is when they seek help.

Way later than they should have. Because now, instead of being able to fix a small problem, they are deluded with a multitude of problems that are almost overwhelming. I’m sure you trainers have seen it, when someone comes in and just lets loose about all these problems they’re having, never mind they just want the one fixed! (you’d think all dog trainers would get a PhD in clinical psych just so they can learn to deal with these people!).

These problem dogs are usually so headstrong and belligerent that even subtle gestures won’t work with them, even the insecure ones. It is precisely this reason why we recommend the pinch collar, because it allows the owner to start light and gradually get heavier without “nagging” on the dog with choke chain corrections.

And then there’s the wonderful feeling of relief and hope that maybe things can be made better.

(I commented on the article, by the way, just a quick “I blame the pure-positive revolution, yadda yadda” thing. Someone else actually agreed! Go figure that he used to work for a trainer, so he seems knows his stuff…even said he’d go for the remote trainer if things got bad! :D)

Quick addition:

There was also a comment about my micro-prong that I carry around for demos: it just seemed “too much” for small breeds.

But when you look at the pinch collar in general versus the choke chain, people tend to understand why we like it. In fact, I would rather not even think of using a choke chain on a small/toy breed just because of the delicate necks in proportion to human strength and concentrated pressure on a slip collar. I’ve already ordered a micro for a Manchester/JRT mix and she responded beautifully. That quick, firm, distributed pressure did a heck of a better job than anything else the owner had tried before.

On Psychobabble, Dog Training, and Laboratories

By Lynn –

Found a day off, but I wasn’t wishing for one where I’d be home with a temperature. Oh well, whether I would have asked for the day off or this, I’m not being paid for hours I don’t work. Darn.
Anyway, before I found a second job and upped my work time to 55 hours per week, I’d spend a day just relaxing on the internet. It seriously is the ADD’s nightmare, as one thing can lead to another, and before I know it, it’s dinnertime and then the alarm goes off that tells me “Get to bed, you lazy sod!”

One of these day, I stumbled across some YouTube videos showing the fallout of pure-positive training by the APDT people in the UK. This guy was very straight-forward, even a bit scathing of pure positive, and introduced the dog, a 14-month old chocolate Lab, to a prong collar from a no-pull harness and got immediate results. I also found videos of him working his Doberman and other dogs on the remote trainer. I was intrigued with this man and the fact that he could get away with such things where OMG TRAINING COLLRS IZ CR00L runs rampant. So I went to his website (well, more forum-site) where he had posted some very real past abuses of the APDT, mostly in the UK.

Very interesting stories, he had.

And then, I made the mistake of Googling the guy’s name.

Mistake, you say? This man was doing such a wonderful job working with the dogs that I wanted to know what the general public thought of him.

I have never entered such a word of backstabbing and psychobabble-analysis as that of the Internet Forums for Dog Training Radicals. If someone’s not right, they’re wrong to the seventh level of Hell; if someone is even a little bit right, the person who admits that is then sent to the same circle; any mention of training tools (mostly collars) is to the point where they’re either the way to get to Heaven or said seventh level of Hell; ad hominem ran more rampant than unchecked rabbits in season; all debate in the name of reason was thrown out in the name of cruelty, coercion and abuse; and Skinner’s 4-tier reinforce/punishment radical behaviorism theory was analyzed short of saying what letters they were spelled with, and how those letters came into existence!

Dog training is not that difficult. In fact, the introduction of the [positive/negative] [reinforcement/punishment] scale makes it that much MORE difficult.

Sure, every living thing can follow the rules of behaviorism&in a lab. Seriously, if living in a cold, sterile environment is your current situation, being place in a box that has a lever, a bar, a strange floor, maybe has a small divider to jump over, and dispenses sugary treats of bliss is THE highlight of your day. You’ll just respond to just about darn near anything, and you’ll do it just as it’s been predicted. Why? Because you’re an animal kept in a lab, which is a rather boring environment. You’re not a pet, so you don’t have all those fun toys like wheels and balls to run around in; you don’t have a choice of seeds and nuts to choose from in your food; you aren’t given the option to chase anything or go on long walks; you can’t have scratching posts or plastic balls with bells in them to stimulate the mind. There are no dangers, no cars rushing by at high speeds, no packs to enforce structure, no raptors swooping from the sky. During an experiment, there is also little human interaction, no gentle petting, or scratching ears, or commanding in a firm voice. The almost-sacreligious part? There is no communication in the animal’s natural language. Posturing against an electric shock is useless, wagging the tail does nothing to make that treat any better, baring teeth and hissing is no use against loud noise or bright lights, and freezing is a more useless defense mechanism.

Oh boy, this makes me appear hard-set against animal testing. Well, I’m not. I’m just against some of the hard-set, “scientific” results that people have taken to heart in the name of progress. Does this mean that I don’t take any results from animal testing seriously? Of course not. Perhaps if we just didn’t use them as the be-all end-all of how things work.

Oh The Joy Of Seeing Your Dog Training Progress!

By Hexen –

Last night (Wednesday) was first night back to regular training since the competition (for 2 weeks before usually you proof for whatever up-comming test you are making).

We now have started to train at and learn the exercises for the VPG1 (Vielseitigkeitspruefung für Gebrauchshunde) or earlier known as Schutzhund 1.

The same “walking test” is performed, and added are the exercises of bringing a wooden barbell on the flat ground, bring over a stright wall and also over an A-Frame obstechicle along with bitting exercises.

Up to yeasterday we have been working Hella with not mouthing the barbell (holding it quiet) and the bark and hold which is sitting infront of the helper (the man with the arm on) and barking at him until he moves at which point the dog is allowed to then have a bite.

The “bring” for hella is slow going. She refuses to sit close to me and hold the barbell quietly.I started her off with the sugguestion of one master trainer “when she brings the barbell grab hold of it and try to play a game of tug so she learns to not let go”, For 3 years this has not worked. Second master trainer says ” her nerves build too much excitment so reward instead with a tug toy when she brings the barbell quiet. This is proving to work and help her to understand to hold the barbell quietly (however slowly).

The bark and hold is a new exercise we have been working at for 2 months now and finially last night the light bulb went off in her head and you could see that she finially understands the exercise! When you bark at the guy standing still with the sleeve on, you get rewarded with being allowed to bite. Her whole body language (demeaner) changed, She barked at the “man” then looked back at me real quick as if to “ask” is this correct Mom? Of course it was and I could not have been more pleased with her finially “getting it”.

I had worked and started to teach Hella to search in the “blind” for the bad man. However since trying to teach her “bark and hold” we backed off with pushing that so much. Well last night I wanted to try. Revier” means you circle around the tent (blind) to retrieve your toy! Then bring the toy “here” to me for a quick game of tug. She continued with this exercise as if we had not stopped practicing it. Silly Cow now if only the wooden barbell did not pose such a challenge….

Ulysses has also proven to be quite a little challenge. His walking heal is very nice but on advice of other “Boxer People” until I moved over to Germany I only played tug with him so not to “ruine” his bite until he could work with a proper helper.

When I arrived in Germany and first started to attend the new dog club, I was not very optimistic that his bitting would amount to anything. He had many problems like not bitting with a full mouth not leeping at the bad man to catch the arm.The Master trainer saw the logic in my thinking that he was running to the helper so fast and hard that when he went to grab the sleeve he was actually bouncing himself backwards then he would “think” to bite down, kind of like a “gag reflex”.

My first thought was to go backwards in training (so to speak) and treat him as if he were a 6 month old puppy, so back to the softer more angled bitting pillows and bitting sausages to help get him to oepn his mouth wider and get a firm bite. He has now after 12 weeks of practice moved up to a “young dog arm” to bite on! No more angled bitting pillows. The master trainer had me keep hold of the leash instead of just letting it go when sending Uly to the bad guy to bite, thus providing him with a bit of resistance so he would not rush in so fast and instead LEEP to catch the arm in the proper position.

Last night I could not believe my eyes! He was grabbing hold of the arm consistantly each time with a full mouth and each time I was able to just let go of the leash as he ran to the helper to bite.

On the Obedience front we started to work Uly with the barbell. but now I am confussed. His recommendations are exactly the opposite of what I am doing with hella. When Uly brings the barbell I am to grab hold of it play with him a bit then take his muzzle with both hands One over and one under on his chin area apply a bit of pressure force /help him to sit, as this sitting thing and holding something in the mouth is the most difficult for the dog to master. I think this exercise was the most difficult for me to grasp. But after a few trys I was able to get my coordination and timing better and Uly was not fighting me as much with having his “mush squsished” with holding a hard wooden object in between his teeth ( yeah OUCH).

So it looks as if the VPG 1 in the spring time is not too far out of reach after all. Of course this blog will be on going, so check back from time to time to find out if Hella ever learns to hold the barbell quiet.

The Top 4 Ways to Communicate With Your Dog

In order to become your dog’s pack leader, you must learn to communicate with your dog so he understands what you want from him.

Dogs have drives and instincts which are specific to their species. Forget about communicating with your dog as if he were a baby or small child. When you begin to replicate the way other dogs communicate with your dog, you will immediately begin making progress.

The Top 4 Ways Dogs Communicate

1.) Body language: Dogs can read subtleties in body language (in both animals and humans) with incredible accuracy. In fact, we humans can learn to read the body language of dogs pretty well, but still are no test for the dog’s ability to pick up subtle changes in positioning and carriage. When one dog wants to dominate another, he makes his body big, tall, and “macho”. The reason for this is that dominating means being on top, and the best way to be on top is to make yourself big. Dogs use dominant body language to say, “Hey! I’m higher up in the pecking order than you, so respect me and do what I say.” Dominance through body language can be exhibited during both play or confrontation. In both cases, the more dominant dog will put his body on top of the subordinate dog. Submissive body language is just the opposite. The submissive dog will make his body as low to the ground as possible. His ears will fold back, tail drop low between his legs, and his body posture may assume a “crouching” like position. The ultimate form of submission is when the dog rolls on his back and instinctively folds his legs up beneath himself.

2.) Vocal tonation and voice inflection: Dogs use a wide range of vocal tonations to add depth and meaning to their communications. When dogs bark or vocalize in high pitches, they are generally sending signals which communicate pleasure, playfulness, or lack of seriousness. A possible exception being the obvious high pitched yelp of pain. Dogs use low pitch vocalizations such as growling or aggressive barking to communicate seriousness and a “I’m not joking around” type of attitude. A possible exception for low pitch vocalization seems to be a certain stage some pups will go through when they are testing and learning what affect different voice inflections will have on the world around them.

3.) Touch: The sense of touch is used in two ways by dogs when they communicate; positive touch (such as pawing, playful wrestling, kissing or snuggling) and negative touch (usually a sharp, quick bite on the neck, ear, leg or flank– intended not to cause injury or damage, but rather to create a negative, unpleasant association with a specific behavior. Both of these can be very easily replicated once you understand the proper use of equipment and technique.

4.) Scent: Dogs use scent as both a form of identification and to communicate territory and possessions. Scent can be left via saliva, urine, feces, through scent pads in the feet, and by rubbing against the anal glands.