View Full Version : Training collar?

22nd April 2009, 07:52 PM
Is a "training" collar an effective training tool for a Cavalier (or any other breed) if used correctly or is it harmful. Roxie is in a training class where it was suggested. I'm just reluctant to do it. Any thoughts?:confused:

22nd April 2009, 08:38 PM
What do you mean by ''training'' collar - shock collar, choke collar, prong collar or something different?

22nd April 2009, 08:41 PM
Its a thin chain collar that loops through. I consider it more of a choke collar, that what concerns me the most.

22nd April 2009, 08:56 PM
A choke collar isn't an effective way to train a dog - any dog - it is a good way to hurt a dog though and often make a dog fearful, afraid, nervous and often aggressive and damage the bond between you and your dog! I would not go to any classes where they allowed choke chains let alone advocated and suggested their use :eek:

The dog will often go into whats called 'learned helplessness' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness where they just stop doing anything due to the fear and pain of the choke chain. Then it becomes harder to teach the dog new, more desirable behaviours.

I believe cavaliers should always be walked on a harness anyway because of the shape of their skull - a collar is always touching it and pressing into it.

Why don't you train her using positive reinforcement - which are updated methods and scientifically proven and you will end up with a happy, healthy dog that isn't afraid of you :thmbsup:


“In a retrospective study on spinal pain, injury or
changes in dogs conducted in Sweden, Hallgreen
(1992) found that 91% of dogs with cervical
anomalies experienced harsh jerks on lead or
had a long history of pulling on the lead. Uses of
chokers was also over represented in this group.
This strongly suggests that such corrections are
potentially injurious”
Karen Overall MA, VMD, PhD, DACVB Clinical
Behavioural Medicine for Small Animals.
"In 30 years of practice (including 22 as a
veterinary advisor to a police dog section) I have
seen numerous severely sprained necks, cases
of fainting, transient forleg paralysis and hind leg
ataxia after robust use of the choke chain.
In the 1970’s, when the practice of slamming
the dog sideways with a jerk that brought the
foreparts clear of the ground and two or three
feet towards the handler became popular,
the resulting painful condition was known as
"Woodhouse neck" in this practice. Some of
these cases exhibited misalignment of cervical
vertebrae on radiographs. It is suggested that an
existing spondylopathy renders these dogs more
vulnerable to injury.
My ophthalmology colleagues have decided
views on the relation between compression of
the neck, intraocular pressure distrubances and
damage to the cervical sympathetic nerve chain
resulting in Horner's syndrom. I personally have
seen a case of swollen eyes with petechial scleral
haemorrhage and a number of temporarily
voiceless dogs"
Robin Walker BVetMed MRCVS

22nd April 2009, 09:10 PM
Thanks for your reply. I do work with my dogs using positive methods, that why this concerned me in the first place and why I asked for other opinions. I assure you my animals are very loved, spoiled, and cared for and in no way fearful of me. I think I should follow my instincts and your advice and find another class. Thanks.

23rd April 2009, 06:18 AM
Is a "training" collar an effective training tool for a Cavalier (or any other breed) if used correctly or is it harmful. Roxie is in a training class where it was suggested. I'm just reluctant to do it. Any thoughts?:confused:

A training collar with any cavalier is a disaster waiting to happen. There are too many health problems not to mention the bond that is generally broken between master and pet. DONT USE ONE!

23rd April 2009, 09:33 AM
I'd find a different training class.:(

I would absolutely refuse to use a looped chain collar for 'corrections' on any dog, particularly a cavalier. Cavaliers have a serious problem in the breed with syringomyelia, where painful fluid pockets form in the spine, almost always starting at the neck. Several neurologists feel the breed is better walked and trained on a harness, not even a regular collar, because of this, and NEVER EVER a choke chain. And certainly that old approach of jerking a dog around in a pinch collar to 'train' it is exactly the opposite of what should be done to a cavalier.

I wouldn't even remain in a class that takes this approach to training and would be out the door in a a nanosecond where they were insisting such collars and methods be used.

I'd try to find a rewards-based class with trainers with either APDT or CPDT certification. If you can;t find such a class you'd be far better off downloading Ian Dunbar's 'After you get your Puppy' (free) and/or getting one of his training videos. See www.dogstardaily.com.

I don't train dogs on anything but a harness and it makes NO DIFFERENCE to how their training goes (but keeps them more comfortable). Well actually it makes for a happy enjoyable training hour when I do classes as the dog is not being jerked and snapped around by the neck and learning is seen as FUN, not a frightening hour of hell.

23rd April 2009, 10:13 AM
or if you want a more brutal way of declining tell the trainer that you will only use it on yoru dog if they will allow themselves to be put in one :D

23rd April 2009, 12:27 PM
Max's puppy class was like that. Without trying to make a big deal of it I told the instructor that he would not be wearing a training collar (to please her we tried one for five minutes and he yelped like crazy even though I KNOW there was no pressure on it - he can be a good actor!). We didn't pass the class because one of the things we had to do was have them refuse food from our hand and since I train with food I told her not to even bother testing us on that. The class was good for Max's socialization and it encouraged me to practice at home with him so it wasn't a total write off. Max is currently in a class whose method's I checked out and honestly some days I don't even use his halter because the training is so positive he's just not pulling on the leash and we don't do leash corrections.

23rd April 2009, 01:12 PM
I wanted to clarify that the collar was only a suggestion by the trainer and not something she insisted on or required to be in the class. Also it is reward based. I do appreciate your comments and opinions and I agree with them, thats why I asked the question in the first place. .I'm not going to use one. And Karlin, I found the Dogstar Daily website by accident yesterday and it is GREAT. I've downloaded the book and think the website will be an invaluable resource.

23rd April 2009, 02:19 PM
i don't think badly of you at all. i just am not very forgiving of a trainer who even suggests it.

23rd April 2009, 04:31 PM
No problem. Its just unfortunate because I really like most of her training methods and most are positive reward based, this was merely a suggestion, but it was enough to cause concern. Thanks.:smile:

23rd April 2009, 05:21 PM
Every trainer "claims" to be reward-based...however, if they are suggesting a choke, that is not reward based. I know exactly how you feel. We live in a small town and our options for dog training are VERY limited. I enrolled two of my dogs in an adult obedience class where they were selling and suggesting a chain choke. I told them absolutely not. Well, we went through the class and really didn't get much from it honestly. It was all about using "corrections" when they didn't do what you wanted (i.e; pulling on the leash). If the trainer's idiology differs from your own, I would find another class unless you have no other options (like me). The socialization was good, but nothing else. When we lived in Orlando when Casey was a pup, we had an excellent training center where truly positive methods were used. She learned so quickly! It's amazing what they will do for a reward.

8th May 2009, 01:29 AM
Ask the trainer if they wouldn't mind paying your vet bill if the collar damages your dog. Remember trainers and behaviourists are liable for all advice given. See if your trainer as professional indemnity insurance to cover the consequence of the advice given.

It is important to remember that "reward and motivational based" terminology can be interpreted in a number of ways.

Most trainers who use correction based methods don't use food. They will say that the reward is verbal "good dog". Praise is a secondary reinforcer as in the dog must learn to like it. Food is a primary reinforcer along with sex, water - the dog instinctively likes it. So the use of verbal praise in conjunction with correction or +punishment works because the dog tries very hard to avoid the aversive. But your dog may not like you very much if you train in this way.

So these trainers will always say "the dog is working for the praise and we don't need food" but the dog is NOT working for praise the dog is working to avoid the aversive, the choke, pinch or whatever is being used as the corrector or punisher.

It is pretty simple. We know how dogs learn. Apply a primary reinforcer to a behaviour and the behaviour will increase. Use this to your advantage by adding cue's to behaviours. You should not have to rely on a lead or collar anyway. Your dog should be able to understand cue's and perform the behaviour whether you are attached to your dog, standing or sitting in front of your dog or standing on your head when you ask your dog to do something.

8th May 2009, 01:56 AM
Tara explained it so well...... I never used anything BUT positive reinforcement (food and clicker) and she wore a harness. I am soooo happy with the results. She worked so hard for that little piece of food and positive praise. I can't even imagine doing it any other way. It was such a positive, happy experience for both of us. We had fun, and she absolutely learned. Plus, we bonded so well, and she trusts me completely. ;)

8th May 2009, 10:52 AM
So much good advice here. I agree that this collar isn't needed and I just wanted to say that cavaliers are positively magnetic to praise and positive reinforcement. They love pleasing you so much.

We do use a gentle leader easywalk harness, because Maggie is a tugboat. It applies light tightness around her shoulders when she pulls and makes her a dream to walk... this is the only potentially negative training we've ever used with her. We've been lucky because she's extremely praise and food motivated. The challenge is to stay consistent during training.

Our little cavys are so sensitive, Maggie would sulk for an hour if someone said NO!! too harshly. :o:o:o:o

13th May 2009, 08:41 PM
Just wanted to update.. Roxie graduated from her first obedience class last night. We did NOT use the "training collar" and she scored highest in the class with a 217 out of 220 points. All of the other dogs had such a difficult time with the "stand" command and they were amazed when she did it perfectly. (We followed Dr. Dunbar's techniques on Dog Star Daily) I'm so glad that we did not make what I feel would have been a huge mistake by using the collar. Thanks for the advice.

Brian M
13th May 2009, 08:51 PM

And well done you two 1001 out of 10.:mexwav:

Cathy T
13th May 2009, 09:29 PM
Well there you go!! That's so cool to hear. Way to go to both of you!

14th May 2009, 02:12 AM
Congratulations on a job WELL DONE>>>>>>