Friday, September 25, 2009

...a good start




on Thursday, Molly & I finally made it to see the dog trainer...
this kennel has won numerous awards & came recommended by MM...



driving up the long sycamore lined driveway, gave a sense of peace...
there were no noisy, barking dogs, crowds of people or other distractions...
just grassy enclosed dog training areas, B-I-G buildings...
and lots of country quiet...

we parked & Molly used the "potty area" while we waited...
finally I opened the door to let M, the trainer, know that we were there...
an older couple, with their 2 Fox Terriers came out...
we stood back for them, but since they didn't bark, neither did Molly...



M, the trainer, had her 2 Golden Retrievers resting inside in pens...
Molly was alert to them , but didn't bark or anything...
because they didn't react to her presence...
[this picture is of her with the younger of the 2, beautiful dogs !...]

M was pleased with Molly's lack of aggression towards the terriers & her dogs...
we chatted a bit about Molly's past, what my issues were, etc...

then we discussed training techniques & equipment...

she proceeded slowly, because some training equipment...
if used improperly, can & will hurt or injure the dog...
and she didn't want to freak me out when she wanted to try this...



we discussed both the prong & choke collars...

[here are descriptions of both kinds from a web site...
which follow the same basic pros & cons we discussed...]

Prong or Pinch Collars
# Prong or pinch collars are designed along the same lines as choke collars. Instead of choking the dog, however, they pinch or poke the dog's neck. They look like torture devices: a circle of chain links, with long, rounded protrusions on each link. However, they are actually more humane than choke collars, because dogs are less likely to become seriously injured from being poked than from being choked, especially if the prongs have rubber tips. Make sure that the pinch collar is not too tight. As with any collar, you should be able to fit two fingers in between the dog's neck and the collar.

Choke Collars
# Choke collars are the most common type of training collar. Made up of a series of chain links, they remain loose against a dog's neck but tighten up when the dog pulls on the leash. In this way, the dog is corrected when he fights against the owner's commands. For example, if the owner is trying to get the dog to heel and the dog suddenly takes off running, the choke collar will tighten up, cutting off the dog's wind and bringing him up short. Some dogs might even cough and gasp if they are choked particularly hard, so it's important to use choke collars carefully.

Molly always chokes herself with the choke collar...
pulling me down the street, coughing & gagging all the way...
which could seriously damage her trachea...

the Halti collar has been great as a deterrent to the worst pulling...
but Molly gets used to the pressure and the head swerve...
so I'm constantly having to keep the leash fairly taut...
to keep her under control, which is hard on my arthritic joints...
and creates balance problems for me...

M wanted me to at least "try" the prong collar...
her point was that it could train Molly more quickly...
than the Halti collar that I was using...
the choke collar was more dangerous to a "pulling" dog...
and if Molly responded quickly to the prong collar...
it would be the gentlest for her, which is always the best idea...

I took these Prong Collar Instructions from a web site that evaluates collars...
and adjusted them as per M's advice...

Prong Collar Techniques

1.
Step 1
To stop pulling behavior, the pinch collar can be utilized.
2.
Step 2
Pinch collar should not be tight on the dog's neck.

3.
Step 3

The trick of the pinch collar is a quick jerk and release. Holding it taut will cause pain to the dog. Think of the collar as a brief distraction which signals wrong behavior.You stop when the dog pulls, there is a quick tug on the collar which gets the dog's attention.

4.
Step 4

Once the dog stops pulling, turns around & comes back to you, praise it. Then start again.




here you see Molly being fitted with the prong /training collar...
because of my dexterity/hand strength issues, M made the collar big enough...
to easily slip over the dog's head...
[turning it inside out & being very careful of the eyes & mouth...]
then positioning it away from the regular collar...
[Molly's fur is very thick on her neck so a gentle tug won't hurt her...]



here's Molly with both her regular collar & the training collar...
each on a separate lead...
the separate lead for training is so if the dog gets out of control...
or if the training collar becomes unhooked...
there is a safe way & humane way to control the dog...



here she's walking with 2 leashes...
when she would start to move ahead, M is supposed to stop...
give a slight jerk on the training collar lead if Molly doesn't stop with her...
call Molly back to the heel "area" & praise her...



Molly is a quick study & after only a few minutes of walking...
knew to stop and return when she felt the slightest jerk...
eventually, whenever she felt the person stop...
[she never reacted adversely to the training collar at all...]



of course, she was in a strange place...
[and WHO is that dog in the mirror ?...]
with strange people and other dogs...
but she was very calm until a couple of workers came in...
to trim the nails on M's dogs...

when Molly saw those 2 guys, she began to shake & tried to hide behind me...
[I had told M about Molly's fear of men...]
so we comforted her, told her it was OK...
& gradually moved closer...

before they were done, she seemed OK with them...
and when we brought her past M's dogs, who ignored her...
she seemed OK with that too...
[she really is a quick study...her cat food breath is testament to that...]



here's more of the 2 lead technique...



and then we went with 1 lead...

at this point, I took up the lead...
so I could become the trainer as well as the trainee...

my praise response is good, though I tend to say ,"No"...
when she starts to move away...

after a few more minutes, as soon as I stopped...
Molly would turn back and come to me without any jerk at all...

so we will have to practice together for 10 minutes a day...
and the training collar will only be worn for training...
M warned me that Molly would "forget" as soon as we left...
and that only persistent training with the prong collar...
would insure the desired result...

after seeing how Molly worked with this collar...
that it's loose enough & has the rubber bumper tips...
and that she never flinched at all, nor did she pull...
I was convinced that if used properly, as instructed...
it will be a useful tool for training her...

I can SO see how it could be misused or injurious...
but with her, it won't be...
especially since I'm using a looser one with rubber tips...
and she doesn't pull at all with this...

which will help to create better owner/dog trust & understanding...

so I stopped by DP today & found these...



a leather lead for the training collar...
[she has her purple collar & leash...]



and a medium sized [I was warned about the B-I-G link ones...]
prong collar...with 3 extra links, so it'll slip on easily...
and the rubber tips to minimize any pain...
[that's her choke collar on the right...]

the rubber tips were a big score...
they didn't scan on the cash register...
so the cashier just "threw them in"...

[they were free ! ]


M was quite optimistic that Molly would be able to be in a class...
without too much trouble or concern...

after we work with the training collar for a while...
I'll call the kennel and discuss signing-up for the obedience class...
since I now have an evaluation of Molly from their top trainer...
[M is featured on their web site...]

more importantly, I now know what to do to get her to mind me...
and it'll do us both a world of good to get out...
and walk in the wonderful Fall that is even now beginning to unfold...
[it's supposed to be in the 70's most of next week...]

3 comments:

The Calico Quilter said...

It is a good sign that around the trainer's dogs Molly didn't act up. It's certainly an indication that she isn't aggressive, just hyper and easily spun up. Excitement begets excitement in dogs. You saw how around calm dogs she didn't have anyone to feed excitement to her, so she stayed calm herself. You shouldn't have any bad thoughts about the prong collar for strong excitable dogs. A quick jerk and release correction is an approximation of how a dog will make a quick snap at another dog who's misbehaving. Don't be surprised if Molly doesn't act as well behaved with you at first, even with these tools. She was well aware of who was on the other end of the leash at the training session, and read the trainer's demeanor; she got it in two seconds that this person was't "mama" and she couldn't pull her old tricks because they wouldn't be tolerated. Molly will probably try to manipulate you more. Stand firm; all will work out!

catsinger said...

...around the trainer's GR's, who were mellow to the max, I wasn't surprised...the hyper Fox Terriers who did cast an eye in her direction, but weren't allowed to create a problem were a big test...
since I was told that Molly was "jumped" by a dog at the shelter just before I got her, her more aggressive reactions don't surprise me...
I did walk her around the ring a couple of times[I just didn't take pictures of it] and she got so that she would stop & come back to me the moment I stopped[when she would move ahead enough to stretch out the lead...] my current dilemma is just getting past this arthritis attack so that I CAN walk... it's been ugly hot here, which always makes me hurt, more than cold...
but the heat has broken and today will be around 85˚, with tomorrow's high around 70˚ !!! and, my stabbing pains are lessening...so I'm planning on a walk today..wish us luck...

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