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)
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.