View Full Version : Obedience class

13th October 2005, 11:26 AM
Recently I have started a dog obedience class with Lady. Last week everyone had to come without their dogs for a talk. Yesterday, half the class brought their dogs while the other half observed.

It was not my week to bring Lady so i just watched. The first thing he wanted to show us was how to walk the dog on heal. Then he produced a choke chain and put it on one of the springer spaniels. He then showed us if you snap the chain the dog will obey the command. He said there was no pain for the dog, just a slight discomfort until they learn what to do.

I felt concerned about this and asked if they are also to be used on cavaliers. He said they can be used on any dog. I said that I thought a cavaliers neck was too delicate for this and he said it is not and that I am treating the dog like a baby and that i am not doing the dog any favours. :shock:

He said it was perfectly safe to use on any dog once used correctly.

I really dont know what to do. Lady will be brought in next week and i just dont think im comfortable putting one of those things on her.

Has anyone any suggestions as to what to do. Is this training valid.

Any comments gratefully received.

13th October 2005, 02:22 PM
I would look for another class that uses positive training methods, positive meaning not pain-based but rather reward-based. The majority of dogs are driven by food, some may be pickier than others, but for the most part it's their instinct as a pack animal to seek out food at all times. We had one pickier eater in our class and the only thing that she would work for was salmon! Whatever you use, a dog will response to food (reward) much better than pain that can then lead to fear--you want your relationship built on trust, not fear. This is coming from someone who has been working with a fearful dog for a year now, it's not an easy task to "retrain" trust.
Also, with SM as prevelant as it is in this breed, a choke collar is not a good idea at all. Leading SM researches advise not using one. They cause too much pressure in the neck area, not to mention they can damage a dog's trachea.
Here is a recent related discussion:

13th October 2005, 03:14 PM
Can anyone recommend a good place to take her for obedience and training? I cannot find anywhere in Cork only the place she is at now.

14th October 2005, 09:00 PM
Edel, I would not return to this class either. Sadly some trainers do not change their methods to suit different breeds, and this type of training is most definitely not appropriate for a Cavalier - nor any other breed in my opinion.

Ask your vets about classes, they may know, or at your local pet shops.

15th October 2005, 12:17 AM
Edel, please don't return to that class. A horrible, horrible way to train a dog. Send a PM to TKC on this board and ask for her advice and I bet she will have a suggestion. She is a certified dog trainer and behaviour expert and runs Dog Training Ireland. She can tell you who might be good in Cork. icon_thumbsup I have another friend in the Cork area and I'll ask her if she knows of any Cork based classes. They might reply to this thread as they are on the board.

15th October 2005, 04:33 PM
Don't have time to read this fully now but I would like to say one thing before I return

He said there was no pain for the dog, just a slight discomfort until they learn what to do.

If anyone wants to feel the same pressure as a chock chain simply try it on your arm. It is PAINFUL and unnecessary. Using these methods introduces fear to the dog and impedes learning.

Do you want your dog to obey you through fear or because they "want to"

It is up to you but giving your dog NO training at all is better than this training.

15th October 2005, 08:26 PM
Well I started to write above about the use of choke chains. I will continue. Karlin has been to classes that we run in Dublin. I run Dog Training Ireland with Lisa Whelan www.DogTrainingIreland.ie We are qualified dog trainers and certified by the APDT which is the association of pet dog trainers see www.apdt.co.uk for more info. Anyway we know what we are talking about.

Let me firstly explain how a dog learns. Dogs learn by association. So for example to teach a dog to sit you have to firstly lure the dog into the sit position saying nothing and then once he is in a sit give him the word SIT and reward.

Words from us to dogs are just noise. You cannot expect your dog to HEEL or CLOSE (I prefer the term close) if all they hear is noise? If I was to say to you siedasi as you were standing in front of me you would look at me as if I had two heads however if I was to wait for you to sit on a chair and then say siedasi each time you did that then you would know that siedasi means the action to sit.

Until such time as you teach your dog our language and what each command or cue means you cannot expect your dog to perform. You also cannot administer punishment to a dog that does not understand because that is YOUR mistake and lack of communication skills and not your dogs.

So now lets look at what a choke chain teaches. The dog pulls forward on the lead because that is what dogs do. You jerk the dog sharply causing it pain and discomfort around its neck plus with a cavalier some underlying damage I am sure. Your cavalier will stop because of the pain and the reward is no more pain.

It is proven that to administer pain as a form of punishment you need to increase the levels each time you apply. So this means that once your dog becomes accustomed to the pain of the choke then you will have to increase the next time and the next time. Now a good example of this is looking at those who use choke chains and they are STILL being dragged down the road by the dog. WHY? because the dog is trying to get away from the source of pain.

So choke chains DO NOT work.

Choke chains are used by armed forces... police etc. It is not the choke that trains the dog but rather the click or check sound. This sound indicates that a sharp intense tug will follow. Trainers in armed forces understand the use for choke chains they DO NOT choke their animals. They use the choke chain as a quick release when the dog is to chase and take down.

Unless you want your dog to be afraid when you walk him/her dont use them. If you desperately need an item to help then a canny is ideal for a cavalier and I am more than happy to send one to you. It will work and it will not damage your dog.

I hope this helps.


15th October 2005, 09:16 PM
Thanks for coming on the thread Tara. Edel I think you had a good gut instinct to react with concern when he told you that NOT using a choke chain was treating your dog 'like a baby'. I would be very annoyed too as that kind of comment is a criticism of you -- as if you are not 'tough' enough to train a dog! You need to be consistent, yes, and firm, yes, but never nasty or hard on the dog. I know from Tara and Lisa's classes that postivie methods **really do work** -- I was even able in under 5 minutes to get both my dogs to learn the 'leave it' command even though what they were supposed to ignore was a handful of food!! I never thought I'd see a cavalier learn to hold back from taking food -- but the combination of a different food 'reward' plus positive praise and encouragement got this fast response. As a matter of fact I was so doubtful that Jaspar could do this that I was really worried when Tara wanted to use Jaspar as an example for teaching the command as I thought he just would not ignore the food. I was wrong!

Edel you could PM TKC (Tara) to see if she knows how to track down a class with a better approach in your area. You want someone advertising positive training methods and no choke chains etc.

16th October 2005, 10:22 PM
Try contacting the Animal Care Society Cork they may be able to help and recommend good classes.

Good luck

26th October 2005, 03:28 PM
Just seeing this now and it falls exactly into what I wanted to raise on the board ....

I'm just back from a break in S.France/Italy and I was pleasantly surprised by how many of the small dogs have harnesses NOT collars while walking .....

In fact ALL the dogs I saw either were wearing a harness (not as nice as Puppia I have to admit!) or they weren't on a lead at all ...

I even saw a couple of cavaliers (bleinheims like my own) with harnessses so I guess it comes down to education .....

We have to educate people that collars are not the best way ....

As some of you on this board are working in this area, is there anything you can do about raising awareness with a leaflet / poster in your premises about the dos and don't about collars??

Just an idea but it may help people, especially when there are plenty of trainers out there with these archaic methods that will harm certain dogs in particular .....

29th October 2005, 03:04 PM
Oh my word. Edel, as the others have said, please don't take Lady back to this man. My Vet would have 40 fits if you told him someone was putting a choke chain on a Cavalier!

I did used to use a chain on my GSD but that's because she was a failed police dog and wouldn't walk on anything else - I never tugged it and she never tugged me.

Personally, I detest choke chains on any breed of dog.