Although we cannot completely humanize a dog, we can, however, have successfully trained, well educated dogs, without making machines of them. To be thoroughly convinced of the truth of this statement, you have only to attend a dog training class, where you will be quite welcome and where you will see for yourself how admirably the dogs work wearing training collars.
Unfortunately, many join these classes only after they have gotten into trouble with an unmanageable dog, and sometimes they expect correction too quickly. For such cases, especially where the dog’s fighting spirit has been allowed to develop, the training collar is a necessity. It is always a pleasure when someone brings along a puppy for the purpose of asking advice about preparation for training when the dog has reached the proper age.
Much trouble can be prevented, and considerable work saved, if education is begun early. Naturally, however, it is not advisable to use the training collar on puppies. This collar can be used for another purpose also: by reversing it, it can take the place of a plain collar. Due to its very limited choking effect, it cannot do as much harm as the ordinary choke collar with its veritable strangling propensity.
Now that we know what a training collar is, and how best to use it, let us consider next the leash. A good, leather leash that is necessary for the purpose of keeping the dog under control before he is actually leash-broken, should be strong enough to hold the dog according to his size. Avoid the chain leash because of its cutting strain upon the trainer’s hands–even small dogs like fox terriers and dachshunds possess an almost unbelievable pulling power.
The whip leash, the kind made in the form of a whip with a snap hook at the end, I condemn unreservedly. You have only to use such a leash once as a whip, to find that the dog eyes it with mixed feelings whenever he goes out of doors. How is he to know whether he is invited out for fun and play or for a whipping! This bit of faulty equipment can lay the foundation for shyness, one of the most difficult things to conquer in all dog training, so by all means let us abolish use of the whip leash right at the start.
In addition to the short, leather leash, we will need the “longe” or long leash, no more than about ten yards in length and of flat material to prevent dangling. This equipment is not needed in the beginning, but it will prove of real service in later lessons; in fact, it would require too much space to explain the various uses of the long leash. Suffice it to state here that its chief purpose is for bringing the dog under control at a distance, for preventing him from chasing automobiles, cats, horses, etc.
Another necessity is the chainette or throwing chain, a plain chain, closed at both ends and devoid of any sharp edges. For necessary punishment or correction to be effective, we must keep our hands off the dog; moreover, the article used to administer punishment must not be visible. This of course is impossible when a whip is used. While holding a whip in your hand, call a dog to you. Fear of the whip will prompt him to approach you hesitatingly, his tail between his legs. And he will not come all the way, but will remain at some distance, out of reach.
The chainette produces an entirely different reaction, after it is thrown, the dog will turn to you for protection and, if encouraged by friendly words, he will approach you more quickly because he sees nothing to arouse his suspicion. Do not allow him to see you pick up the chainette. This whole procedure, even though of corrective intent, creates in the dog, the sense of being controlled by awakening him to the fact that we can reach him from any direction, from any distance. And we can get him under control more quickly and more effectively than by chasing him with the whip.
To attempt going after him sends him farther away. But hit him lightly just a few times and he will straightway associate the rattling of the chainette with the thing which struck him, and soon the mere shaking of the chainettc or a bunch of keys, even, will be sufficient warning against attempted or desired disobedience. He will come at once when called. In some cases a whistle will be found essential to the trainer’s equipment. Oftentimes in the woods and on large estates, or even in very stormy weather, the sound of a call or command is carried away
by the wind. In instances of this kind J advise a plain, sharp whistle, if possible different in tone or volume from the usual police whistle, which might confuse the dog if heard on the street. The same must be said of the so-called “silent whistles” now on the market: they possess the disadvantage of being heard by every dog and for class training they are of no use at all.
To complete the equipment a dumbbell is needed for retrieving. Many specialty clubs have standard sizes and weights according to the size of the dog. The main thing is that it should not be too heavy, and that it should have enough space between the ends so that the dog can pick it up without difficulty. The material should be of hard wood that will not splinter.
And now some suggestions to the amateur guide or beginner. Not infrequently the dress or suit of the guide is confusing. Do not, therefore, wear long skirts or coats during training for they permit the dog only a limited vision, and cause him to stay away from the guide or to follow possibly at too great a distance.
A perhaps unconscious fault of the fair sex engaged in training work is the wearing of extremely high heels. Often have I observed with six-inch heels, women scarcely able to balance themselves on the ground, trying to keep a dog following after them. And the dog … it looks as though he expects his guide to do a double somersault at any moment, and he keeps at a safe distance. Actually, it’s impossible to get him close to the knee for, apparently sensing this lack of sure footing in his guide, he feels himself in the path of a fall! May I add that the training field is no place for a fashion show and that this type of footwear should be eliminated throughout training practice!
Jane Simpson is a freelance writer and regularly writes on
matters related to pets. She writes frequently for
http://www.terrier-breeds.com , as well as
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