Dog control tools are being used to control your pet. There is a difference between training and control but that difference is often lost. Training a dog involves the use of hand gestures and commands. It can be used with leashes or treats but the end goal is to bring about a desired behavior in your dog. However control is slightly different. This often involves the use of electronic fences, choke or 'no-bark' collars, electronic fences or similar types devices or dog control tools.
Don't get me wrong; control is not a bad thing. Dogs, being pack animals, are driven by a natural social hierarchy. They have an ingrained behavior that makes them look for and try and determine who the leader or alpha dog is. And in a dog-human relationship the leader should always be the human. If the human does not take on the role of alpha dog the results can range from a poorly socialized animal, to destructive behavior, to a frustrated or maladjusted canine.
Just like people, dogs have distinct personalities. Some are more assertive and confident while others may be more shy or slower to learn. The choke collar was developed as a dog control tool that is designed to assist the dog handler in gaining or regaining control. As an example a correction with this type of collar would be given to discourage a dog from jumping or pulling.
There are, however, some counter-productive or dangerous consequences that can arise from the improper use of choke collars. It is designed to tighten and pinch when pulled and then immediately release as you release tension on the leash, but this can only happen if fitted correctly. When the collar in on your dog there should be a gap of about one to three fingers. A good pet store or dog training will be able to assist you with the proper fit.
If a choke collar is improperly used the pinched skin can be irritated forming hot spots. These hot spots can begin to worsen as the dog scratches them. If the collar is improperly placed on the dog's neck the trachea can be compressed causing damage. However when used correctly, using a quick pull-and-release, corrections made with a choke collar create discomfort but are not harmful.
Another type of control collar is the prong collar. While they look scary they are not as dangerous as they appear. They are limited to how far they can be closed. They are usually used to prevent a dog from pulling but if this type of collar is the only thing that can stop the pulling behavior you should seek professional training as a more permanent fix. The halter collar is a type of device that fits around the dog's neck and over the muzzle. This is used for dogs that only moderately pull on the walk.
For dogs that are incessant barkers there are dog control tools such as collars known as 'no-bark' collars. While it is natural for a dog to bark, these are used for dogs that bark at everything all the time. This can be from nervous anxiety, frustration or fear. It is always preferable to find and deal with the root causes.
In extreme cases of unhealthy of even dangerous behavior a shock collar can be used. These deliver a painful but short electric shock. These should only be used under the guidance of a professional dog trainer.
Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes for unwanted behaviors such as pulling and barking. While these and other tools may offer a short term solution they are not meant to replace proper and consistent dog training techniques.
Stefan Hyross writes about topics such as training puppies on All About Dogs 'N Puppies. Feel free to visit the site for more information on subjects like housebreaking a dog and other dog related articles.
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