Dog Manual

Equipment For Dog Training

After thoroughly digesting the psychology of dog training as outlined in the webpage preceding, the prospective trainer is now ready to begin work in earnest. I am not going to overburden the amateur with a lot of unnecessary instructions or remarks that might bore him to the point of diluting his interest or of dampening his enthusiasm. I will, however, stress the several points of importance as they appear in the course of the lessons, and at the same time explain the reasons why certain pieces of equipment are needed.

A correct outfit of course is indispensable for training. A mechanic cannot do a creditable job without proper tools: neither can a trainer achieve satisfactory results unless he has the right equipment for his dog. And by equipment I mean the correct type of collar, the right sort of leash, and all the rest of the trainer's tools which, expertly selected, may mean the difference between success and failure.

People often arrive at the training field armed with the strangest outfits; and sometimes it requires all my powers of persuasion to convince them that they are unsuitable. A harness, for instance, is totally unfit, especially for the 2F, large dog which pulls on the leash until he well nigh paralyzes his master's arm. True, a special harness may be advised later for trailing, but for the beginner it is a hindrance because it does not permit the handler to keep a green dog under control. The collar is the only means by which perfect control can be exerted. The thin chain, intended as a leash, also is incorrect and even dangerous—many are the hands burned and cut from using such a contrivance.

Another piece of equipment against which I warn is the plain choke collar. In order to obtain results with a collar of this type, the guide must pull on the choke to the point of strangling the dog until he loses his breath. I have seen dogs with necks strained and seriously injured from being trained with choke collars simply because of the strength that can be exerted when the guide brings the dog up short with a quick, hard jerk. But never have I observed the dog with the tiniest red mark on his neck from wearing the ordinary training collar.

It is this training collar that I wish to explain fully. Almost every conscientious trainer will recommend it, not only for the purpose of saving the guide the arm strain caused by the dog's constant pulling, but as a means of doing away with that worst of all punishers, the whip. The training collar is a well-thought-out, cruelty preventing device which at the same time assists in systematic training. Its inside prongs, being blunt, cannot pierce the skin; in fact, no injury to my knowledge has ever been caused by this type of collar.

Unfortunately, hearsay and superficial knowledge has led to condemnation of the training collar on sight by many people unaware of its real purpose or of its actual method of use. Those who would endeavor to have these collars prohibited, I would like to convince of their error. The point is that this collar I recommend is the most definite help in the training of all dogs, refractory or otherwise; and once trained, the dog is forever removed from drastic methods of abuse like whipping which at times have been resorted to by the very people who deplore the training collar.

Some years ago I was offered a good price to train a certain shepherd dog to stop his attacks upon people. A shepherd man at heart, I considered this breed the king of working dogs, but the moment I saw this big fellow T knew the reason for the trouble. Due possibly to constant petting and coddling, this dog was as spoiled an animal as could be found. He considered everybody and everything fit subject for attack. Yet when I suggested that the owner start the dog on a series of obedience lessons in order first to get him under control, my advice relative to the training collar met with strong resistance. To speak plainly, I have never heard a more radical condemnation of the training collar than that given by this man in direct disregard of my own knowledge and experience.

A short time later I was called to the man's home where I found everyone in a state of great excitement. Following attacks upon several people, the dog had been shot by the police, and the owner asked me to act as witness against a neighbor and against the police who had killed the dog. This of course I refused to do. But, looking at the body of the poor dog, as he lay there mutilated with eleven bullets, I asked the owner this question: Who do you consider more inhuman? These men who killed your dog in order to defend others, or you yourself, the man who disregarded my advice when I told you how to make a real friend and companion of your dog through proper training?   Reluctantly he admitted his mistake.

Another incident worth relating occurred several years ago. When he saw the training collar my own dog Bodo had been wearing for seven years, a man claimed that I was cruel to the dog. The collar aroused his ire, and in ignorance of its true value, he asked me to wear it! Carefully I explained to him how wrong it was to compare a human being with an animal. I told him to consider that the skin of a dog, many times tougher than the skin of man, can be tanned to make leather while the skin of a human being cannot. Even would it be impossible for a man to wear a plain leather collar without consequent abrasion of the skin.
  Now just one more point on the subject of the training collar in the hope of convincing the reader what this collar means to the dog; in the hope also of proving that it is anything but cruel. We cannot perhaps actually humanize a dog. We can, however, have successfully trained, well educated dogs, without making machines of them. To be thoroughly convinced of the truth of this statement, you have only to attend one of my classes, where you will be quite welcome and where you will see for yourself how admirably the dogs work wearing training collars.  Unfortunately, many join these classes only after they have gotten into trouble with an unmanageable dog, and sometimes they expect correction too quickly. For such cases, especially where the dog's fighting spirit has been allowed to develop, the training collar is a necessity. It is always a pleasure when someone brings along a puppy for the purpose of asking advice about preparation for training when the dog has reached the proper age. Much trouble can be prevented, and considerable work saved, if education is begun early. Naturally, however, it is not advisable to use the training collar on puppies. This collar can be used for another purpose also: by reversing it, it can take the place of a plain collar. Due to its very limited choking effect, it cannot do as much harm as the ordinary choke collar with its veritable strangling propensity.

big>Correct Equipment

1. The training collar which, reversed, can be used as an ordinary collar—note its limited choke.
2. Hand leash whose three-foot length is suitable for any dog.
3. Retrieving dumbbells for large and small dogs.
4. Chainette or throwing chain.
5. Whistle.
6. Longe or long leash, of flat material

Incorrect Equipment

7. The harness, however attractive, is useless for training.
8. The strangle collar which, though quite innocuous in appearance, is an instrument of torture in the hands of the beginner because of its unlimited choke.
9. The whip leash should never be found in the hands of the dog lover.
10. The chain leash—most impractical.
11. The long leash, made of rounded clothesline, will invariably tangle.

Now that we know what a training collar is, and how best to use it, let us consider next the leash. A good, leather leash which is necessary for the purpose of keeping the dog under control before he is actually leash-broken, should be strong enough to hold the dog according to his size. Avoid the chain leash because of its cutting strain upon the trainer's hands—even small dogs like fox terriers and dachshunds possess an almost unbelievable pulling power. The whip leash, the kind made in the form of a whip with a snap hook at the end, I condemn unreservedly. You have only to use such a leash once as a whip, to find that the dog eyes it with mixed feelings whenever he goes out of doors. How is he to know whether he is invited out for fun and play or for a whipping! This bit of faulty equipment can lay the foundation for shyness, one of the most difficult things to conquer in all dog training, so by all means let us abolish use of the whip leash right at the start.

In addition to the short, leather leash, we will need the "longe" or long leash, no more than about ten yards in length and of flat material to prevent dangling. This equipment is not needed in the beginning, but it will prove of real service in later lessons; in fact, it would require too much space to explain the various uses of the long leash. Suffice it to state here that its chief purpose is for bringing the dog under control at a distance, for preventing him from chasing automobiles, cats, horses, etc. Another necessity is the chainette or throwing chain, a plain chain, closed at both ends and devoid of any sharp edges. For necessary punishment or correction to be effective, we must keep our hands off the dog; moreover, the article used to administer punishment must not be visible. This of course is impossible when a whip is used. While holding a whip in your hand, call a dog to you. Fear of the whip will prompt him to approach you hesitatingly, his tail between his legs. And he will not come all the way, but will remain at some distance, out of reach.

The chainette produces an entirely different reaction, After it is thrown, the dog will turn to you for protection and, if encouraged by friendly words, he will approach you more quickly because he sees nothing to arouse his suspicion.   Do not allow  him to see you pick up the chainette. This whole procedure, even though of corrective intent, creates in the dog, the sense of being controlled by awakening him to the fact that we can reach him from any direction, from any distance. And we can get him under control more quickly and more effectively than by chasing him with the whip. To attempt going after him sends him farther away. But hit him lightly just a few times and he will straightway associate the rattling of the chainette with the thing which struck him, and soon the mere shaking of the chainettc or a bunch of keys, even, will be sufficient warning against attempted or desired disobedience. He will come at once when called. In some cases a whistle will be found essential to the trainer's equipment. Oftentimes in the woods and on large estates, or even in very stormy weather, the sound of a call or command is carried away by the wind. In instances of this kind I advise a plain, sharp whistle, if possible different in tone or volume from the usual police whistle which might confuse the dog if heard on the street. The same must be said of the so-called "silent whistles" now on the market: they possess the disadvantage of being heard by every dog and for class training they are of no use at all. To complete the equipment a dumbbell is needed for retrieving. Many specialty clubs have standard sizes and weights according to the size of the dog. The main thing is that it should not be too heavy, and that it should have enough space between the ends so that the dog can pick it up without difficulty. The material should be of hard wood that will not splinter.
And now some suggestions to the amateur guide or beginner. Not infrequently the dress or suit of the guide is confusing.  Do not, therefore, wear long skirts or coats during training for they permit the dog only a limited vision, and cause him to stay away from the guide or to follow possibly at too great a distance. A perhaps unconscious fault of the fair sex engaged in training work is the wearing of extremely high heels. Often have I observed with six-inch heels, women scarcely able to balance themselves on the ground, trying to keep a dog following after them. And the dog ... it looks as though he expects his guide to do a double somersault at any moment, and he keeps at a safe distance. Actually, it's impossible to get him close to the knee for, apparently sensing this lack of sure footing in his guide, he feels himself in the path of a fall! May I add that the training field is no place for a fashion show and that this type of footwear should be eliminated throughout training practise!