Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Some people need training...

Yesterday I came back from giving my friend her (very late) Christmas present, and my sister told me a story. A family friend came over today; a family friend mentioned a while back, and he was giving my stepdad advice on "training". Tank bolts to hide in his little corner to hide when something scares him, so to try and retrain him, he puts him on a "choke collar". He sits with Tank, and every time Tank tries to run, he gets jerked back. After a while, he let him go and Tank ran straight in his corner to hide and wouldn't come out for quite some time. "The collar is still around his neck", she said, so I went over to see it.

I couldn't see it at first, because it was in his layers of skin (you know, wrinkles), but when I moved them, I was shocked. It was a nylon rope with a sliding ring and metal clip... and I couldn't even fit a FINGER under it, without the dog struggling. It was literally so tight I'm surprised he hadn't died, or at least suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen. And to even think you would put something like this on an English Bulldog is beyond me, let alone recognize the fact that the collar was too small in the first place! I will get a picture of it with my camera phone when I get home.

And guess what? It only took me about an hour to teach him watch me, sit, lay, and get out of the kitchen, with gentle praise and lots of treats because he is a timid dog (until he sees another dog). Isn't it great what you can do when you actually understand an animal? I am constantly reminded that not all people out there can be so gifted as to know things such as "Thou shalt not strangle an animal", or "Thou shalt not overbreed", or even, "Thou shalt not pretend to be a trainer when you don't know SHIT!".

The end.

EDIT : Here are your pictures and again, I find myself banging my head on the desk. My stepdad is yelling at me for removing this horrible thing from around his neck. I have TINY fingers, size 4 1/2 ring, and I still couldn't get but a finger in. I know it goes behind the poll, but even there it is VERY tight and constricting. But "he'll take awesome trainer's word over mine". SWEET. Because I have no idea what I'm doing. Tried taking it off, but got in trouble and again it was put back on. With a little niggling I can fit an index finger through with a tiny bit of spare room, but still, not acceptable. This isn't a case that requires this kind of collar, and my stepdad doesn't seem to get that training collars are for training purposes, not everyday wear. I let Buddy wear his choke collar because it was loose fitted, rust-free, and had all his tags and registrations on it. This is a case that needs to be solved with a neutering, dedicated attention to the dog, focused and consistent training (sit stay leave it watch me lay down come), and, when the time is right, a fitted collar (in his situation a prong collar would be best for moments like walking, on the off-chance we do see another dog).


horseys4me said...

omg that thing looks like it might fit a beagle! Those things are useless anyway that just teach the dog fear most the time -- at least in that case. Slightly useful for walking...i prefer the halti thing for my pitbull, has worked the best, she hated the prong collar bc her neck fur and skin is so thin. You need to make him sit down and read or watch some REAL training videos by NOTABLE ppl! does he not see that he listens to you as do your dogs??

jayjenjo said...


I'm glad they he is getting altered, (YAY!) as per your earlier blog, but I can sympathize with both he and you over this "training".

The dog you have been describing is almost certainly aggressive towards strange dogs due to fear and lack of socialization. It's not an uncommon issue. They are terrified to be off their territory and adopt an "I'll get you before you get me" attitude. At home, they feel they need to be in control and may be aggressive towards housemates.

I have reconditioned a few like this, but it is never 100%. How sad that the new training regime adopted by your step dad will take away what little sense of security the dog may have had in his own home.

Regrettably neutering is unlikely to dampen his issues towards strange dogs. It could tone it down a bit but everything you have described points to a fearful insecure dog. It may not feel that way when he drags someone 100 feet to attack a dog, but it is his way of controlling his envirorment and releasing his fear/aggression. Amazingly, most do not escalate to lashing out at people but pushing a timid dog with painful training could lead there eventually, or make his issues with other dogs in the home or outside it worse.

To those who have posted comments previously about aggressive bulldogs, please know that NO bulldog should EVER demonstrate any unprovoked aggression towards people. It is the exact OPPOSITE of the proper nature of the breed. The standard for bulldogs states that the dog should be "pacific and dignified"and while most EBs will not hesitate to defend themselves from attack by other dogs, they should not instigate altercations. Well bred and well socialized EBs are often INCREDIBLY tolerant of people, including small loud children. Anyone reading this who has an EB that is human aggressive or fearful/shy, please DO NOT breed your dog. Defects of temperament should have as much or more weight as defects of health

noshoes said...

jayjenjo- regarding your comment about temperament being just as important as health- THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I have a sister in law who was given I cane corso (italian mastiff) pup apparently because the breeder couldn't sell it. She's had it for about 1 1/2 months now and it is aggressive at only 3 1/2 months old. It growLs at members of their household, other dogs, and even bites the little kids who torment and tease it constantly. She was telling me that the breeder is going to give her the registration papers so that she can breed it. Great! I can't tell a whole lot about the dog's conformation at this time, but it has a horrible temperament! And come to find out, the more she talks to the breeder, she finds out that the pup's mom is very aggressive as well, and the pup was aggressive towards its littermates before my sister in law got it. And of course my sister in law sees no problem with that, and will most likely breed it anyway if it hasn't killed one of her kids by the time it matures. Oh and not to mention the fact that the only corsos around this area are the ones that this guy has, and mine which is neutered, so more than likely she will find a boxer or lab or something to breed it to, because, you know, the puppies would be soo cute.

ChrisJ said...

I have a couple of comments:

1 - one is that I have used the type of snap attachment slip collar shown in the photo on a young adult smooth collie whose neck was just about the same width top to bottom. He was a young extremely exuberant goober (adult in body, puppy in brain) and I needed a collar that stayed up near his ears so I had some power steering. It was his first AKC conformation show and AKC regs are pretty strict about the type of collars that can be used (buckle or slip). My goal for the event was exposure and training but I do click/treat not leash pops. Pablo wasn't mentally or physically damaged from wearing this collar. So my point is that this type of slip collar is not automatically cruel - IMHO it's not the tool but the user that causes cruelty.

The second is that you mention that your dog, Buddy, wears a chain slip collar all the time. I did the same for years but after two incidents (one when a dog got his lower jaw caught up in another dog's slip collar and the other when the ring was caught in a section of decking and the dog was nearly hung), I decided not to risk a third. My dogs wear a simple, well fitted, buckle style, climbing rope collars with their ID/rabies tags and I never attach the leash to it. I like the rope collars since they are unobtrusive and blend into the neck fur. They only wear training/walking collars only when they are being trained, walked or otherwise on leash.

LegendsLiveOn said...

ChrisJ - Buddy doesn't wear his choke collar anymore, but he did for about 6 months. He now has a flat nylon collar. Also, I have seen and used a ring collar before too... Just can't seem to tell them that it's not very good to have him
a) wear one that (as H4M said) would probably fit a beagle without any pulling
b) constantly wear it, especially since he's a bulldog. My stepdad insists that it always be on.

JayJenJo - The reason I am personally glad he is getting neutered is because it'll stop my parents from breeding him and help curb the urge to mark so much.

We've been looking into low cost spay/neuter programs around our area, wish us luck!

Floyd said...

Yargh! Those things are marketed as "aggressive dog collars" not "scared dog collars" and are only meant to be left on during training. IF it's from where I think it's from there's warnings against using it on push faced breeds or breeds with tracheal problems- i.e. NOT FOR BULLDOGS.

I see stupid people... they're everywhere.... and they don't even know they're stupid.

Dog Gone Walkin said...

Choke chains are awful especially for everyday wear. The ring can get stuck in anything and a dog will kill itself trying to get lose. It's happened before. Also where do you live? In California it is illegal to have an unaltered dog. Also, your parents are stupid for breeding the dog. That should be left to professionals and even they should stop being greedy. There are plenty of dogs in the shelters that need homes. ugh it makes me sick!

Rebecca said...

My dad is pretty similar, I totally understand. He is convinced that traditional methods of training are above reproach. It is weird, because he is a dog lover, he just doesn't "get" it. Doesn't help that my step-grandfather is considered by my family to be the greatest dog trainer in the world (he did used to train dogs for Vietnam, but the training world has progressed in leaps and bounds since then!). If he is such a great dog trainer then why did he have to practically strangle his beagle pup to keep her sitting when I turned around and taught her to sit with positive training and proofing in a day? C'mon.

People just don't like change.