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Obedience Training Doesn't Have to be Expensive

As we explored in Part 1 "Grooming Necessities"; we discovered that we could maintain our dog with a minimum of expenditure. The same premise holds true for training essentials. I could not even count the newfangled, useless items on the market, supposedly made to make it easier to train your dog. In this article I will review the items needed to complete a basic obedience course with your dog.

We will approach the equipment necessity list by directing our training at basic obedience. Basic obedience is the level that most people use. It encompasses heel, when you stop heeling the dog must sit, sit stay, down, down stay, a release word, and respect the word no. All basic obedience work is done on lead.

The only two pieces of equipment you need are a six-foot canvas web lead and a nylon choke collar.

The six-foot canvas web lead is the perfect lead for on-lead obedience work because it is extremely light and very easy to operate. It also has some other advantages. It is the perfect lead to introduce your dog to the next level of training which is off-lead (all obedience is done without the lead) work. It is also less emotionally damaging than a heavy lead because the dog does not feel he is being restricted. Therefore, if the dog does not feel restricted he does not fight the training. Approximate cost for this lead is $7.00.

I have recommended a nylon choker versus a metal choker or a prong (pinch) collar for a very important reason. First of all "choker" is a misnomer. You are not supposed to choke a dog but administer a light snap for a correction. A nylon choker is less damaging physically and mentally on the dog. If you are a good dog trainer, you can train the dog without using force in your corrections. Therefore, if you don't need force you don't need a collar that could damage the dog. A metal choker when applied too hard can break a dog' s windpipe, which will result in death. A metal choker telegraphs corrections by the movement because the links rub together. If a dog is being trained on a metal collar and he starts to resist the correction, you are telling him through the noise when it is coming. Therefore, he has time to prepare and fight the correction harder. A metal choker can also damage the hair around a dog's neck by the constant movement of the metal links on the hair. I strongly recommend the beginner not to use a metal choker.

Now a prong (pinch) collar is a horse of a different color. This collar should only be used by somebody who knows what he is doing. A prong collar is a fine honing collar and should never be used for beginning training. What is fine-honing? First, the dog that we are using it on must know the commands and the routine. If the dog is having a problem, for example with heeling, and he/she is a 1/2" out of heel, this is the perfect time to use a prong collar. The prong collar is placed on the dog and when the dog goes out 1/2", a gentle snap on the collar will correct the problem. The dog is not hurt physically or mentally and the problem is solved very quickly. Therefore,a prong collar is a very useful tool when used properly. Only as a fine-honing collar never, ever for hard corrections or everyday use.

SO WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER ITEMS SUCH AS: Electric collars, electric pads placed on furniture, throw-cans, shaker cans, throw chains, harnesses that don't allow your dog to jump up, bark collars, ad. infinitum. I only named a few items here because the list of torture training items is just to long. They all have one thing in common-it is not training but abuse. With the proper training attitude and the proper training knowledge it is rare (I have had three failures out of 25,000 dogs) not to be able to solve a training problem. I have never had to use abuse to solve a problem. Basic psychological principals coupled with love, tenderness, and caring always wins out. There are no shortcuts when it comes to dog training but when done right the dog is not afraid and suffers no psychological setbacks. Yes, it takes much longer to train without fear but it is worth it for the dog's sake.

Written by Neal Seaman

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Aldo's Acres, Inc.
2810 Wise Road, Conway, South Carolina 29526
Phone: 843-365-5021

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