Harmful Training Devices: What to watch out for
The evolution of dog training has gained serious pace over the last decade- and largely for the better. However, there are still innumerous products on the market which promote punishment as a route to obedience. There is much debate as to whether or not these products have any useful place in modern dog training practices. Nonetheless huge numbers of these training aids are still sold each year- and the majority to the general dog owning public, who have no formal schooling in using such devices. Here we look at some of those products involved in this debate.
Prong collars are made up of interlocking links which support blunt, and sometimes not so blunt, prongs. When tightened these prongs pinch at the dog’s skin. These devices are fearsome looking things- yet despite their aggressive appearance many dog training professionals support their use.
Advocates insist that the pinch is no worse than the pulling or jerking which others forms of obedience training rely upon and unrestrained use of the much less aggressive looking choke chain can actually be much more damaging. Designed for use on large dogs there have been reports of severe damage caused to smaller dogs which have been erroneously fitted with them. This only serves to highlight the fact that this type of training aid should not be readily available to the general public.
A ‘choker’ as it is often known, is the most commonly used of the punitive training aids. Chokers consist of two loops of chain, one slips around the dog’s neck whilst the other is used to tighten the first, and hence help instruct the dog. Many responsible dog owners use them and would be appalled to see them categorized as a harmful training device and this is where the debate becomes much more complex. Whilst the argument against prong and electronic collars seems clear cut, the restraint offered by a choke chain is seen as wholly acceptable by many.
It is our belief that chokers are not necessary- and whilst not as harmful as the other devices they should also be avoided. If you look at the dog collars at dogscorner.co.uk you will not find any of these chokers for sale. The simple fact is that non-punitive training is more effective.
There are three main types of electronic dog collars: sonic, spray and electronic. Sonic collars emit a high pitch sound which dogs find discomforting, spray collars emit either water or bespoke solutions into the dogs face and electronic collars deliver a shock. Especially cruel are citronella collars, the substance emitted causes prolonged distress as the scent remains after the initial spray.
Once again some dog training professionals stand by the use of electronic collars as a valid means of instilling obedience. Whilst this point remains open to debate, what is clear is that such devices should not be available for purchase by the general public. Without formal training it is quite possible that these devices can cause serious discomfort for any dogs on which they are used.
This article was written by Richard Howe, a life long dog owner with an interest in all things animal, on behalf of Dogs Corner. You can buy everything you need for your dog from toys to dog beds with Dogs Corner. One thing they will never sell are punitive training aids.