14th May 2006, 07:40 PM
Karlin, are you familiar with the Sporn harness? It goes underneath the dog's "armpits" and the tightens when the dog pulls forward. Our Byron was a terrible leash-puller and responded immediately when I put him in this harness. It doesn't seem to me in any way painful or dangerous, but you have so much experience with Cavaliers, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
14th May 2006, 09:07 PM
Whick sporn collar is that? I just looked it up on the web to see what it is, and they have a sporn training halter and a sporn mesh halter. And there's also an 'original sporn halter.'
That's a pretty cavalier in their ad.
I got the kind that clips to the front of the halter.
I was using a regular halter that seems, from how he acts, comfortable for him, it's fleece lined, it clips on the back.
When i walk him with that harness, he loves to pull, i feel like i'm water skiing, he pulls me so strongly, it makes it easier to walk up hills. He really seems to enjoy it. But i suspect it might not be that great for his musculoskeletal system.
The one that clips on the front eliminated all pulling, but i am unsure about whether that kind might cause some problems because it pulls them off center, if they do pull. It totally works. When i use that halter, he leaves the leash slack, he doesn't pull. It doesn't appear to cause him any pain or discomfort, but, according to the company, it just pulls them off balance a little if they pull forward on it, which they don't like, and there's fun in pulling on it. but i have wondered if it might be not good for the spine because there might be subtle pressure to one side as they're walking.
I'm interested in the sporn halter--that mesh one looks really comfortable.
pseub--i wrote you a PM yesterday. You had said something about a play date so i was contacting you about that. I forgot to give you my email address so i'll write you another PM with that info. [/url]
14th May 2006, 09:49 PM
Judy, the one I use is the one in your first link, the "Original". It's worked very well for Byron!
15th May 2006, 05:20 AM
i talked to Lisa about the prong collar today. She said they never snap on the collar or pull on it or yank on it or choke Belle with it. She said that when they take her for a walk, she wears it and she no longer pulls on the leash because if she pulls on the leash, the collar causes the discomfort and Belle chooses not to pull because of that. That's a relief, that they aren't snapping it. however they've only had one training class, last sunday. there was no class today because of mothers day. the second session is next sunday. I'm afraid the trainer will have them yanking on the chain. I talked to her about SM and i think she understands better now how collars can potentially worsen the condition. I'm still working on this, trying to find info i can send her. I'm thinking of calling the trainer and telling them about SM, faxing them some material, and letting them know that the neck should not have pressure or pulling on it.
15th May 2006, 01:04 PM
Firstly I am distressed and shocked at the thought of a trainer insisting on the use of prong collars in their class - especially for a cavalier.
While SM is an obvious consideration with Cavaliers. I would take a step back and consider your argument against using the prong collar with Lisa. She needs to STOP attending this class immediately. But her reasons should not be based on whether her dog has SM. It is true that prong collars can actually cause less trachea damage than a normal choke chain. Because of the pinch effect on the skin the dog does not pull hard enough to inflict the same internal damage that a choke does. However, less pain/more pain... I see no difference - it's still pain, which has NO PLACE in training any animal. If pulling on the lead is a problem for her, tell her to buy a book by Turid Rugass called "My Dog Pulls: What do I do?". You can buy it on www.Dogwise.com. It is a superb little book, short, easy to follow and with great pictures and the method works. We have a very popular "Heelwork" (We prefer to call it Loose Lead walking) course based on the book. With great results I might add!
The following describes possible results of using a prong collar (or any positive punishment training methods)
* Fear of Owner, other dogs, anything the dog is near when they experience pain.
* Lack of confidence outside
* May start to hide before walk time
* Submissive urination (resulting from fear)
* Aggression towards, other dogs, people, owner
Ask Lisa to place the prong collar around her arm and pull it.... or better still, if it fits, as her to put it around her own neck and see what she thinks.
I have no time for trainers who cite "dominance" and "pack leader" in their training instruction. These words have no place in modern day scientifically proven training methods. For people who are interested I would recommend a book called "Dominance: Fact or Fiction" by Barry Eaton. This is another short book that presents the facts and will give plenty of food for thought. It is vital to teach a dog their own Self Control. We must present a choice to our dogs, and put them in a position where the right choice is far more appealing. By allowing a dog to make their own choices they learn and build confidence. Remember back to when you were is school, if you took the time to look up a word in the dictionary yourself, you remembered it!
Certainly Dee Ganley's seminar was superb and insightful into how to manage a dogs behaviour without any damaging coercion either physical OR psychological! The demo dogs that we used were all either dog to dog or dog to human aggressive or both. Some were very severe and all improved over the course of the 2 days. We are hoping to have her back in October, so keep an eye out on the website.
Remember our dogs are emotional, sentient creatures, so always remember that when training.
15th May 2006, 02:43 PM
Judy, the existing stats on SM at this time show that very likely at LEAST 50% of cavaliers actually have syrinxes (SM, the fluid pockets in the spine)) with close to 90% having the malformation that can cause SM to progress. No study to date has yet disputed these figures ad they have been generally consistent, percentage-wise. In other words most of us already have dogs that either have the condition or are possible candidates to develop SM whether or not the dog ever becomes symptomatic.
Lisa needs to look at www.sm.cavaliertalk.com. She has some misunderstandings about this condition and its rareness I think and this should make the real situation more understandable -- and all cavalier owners need to understand this condition as it almost certainly affects nearly all of us -- and unless people MRI their cavaliers, they cannot know for certain that they are not exacerbating an existing condition (one reason too that no one should be breeding these dogs nonchalantly and without full understanding of this huge problem in the breed). There are definitely steps that can be taken to minimise distress (including distress or dscomfort we may not even notice in our dogs) and very possibly, progression. Some are simple physical steps like not using certain collars for training or walking; others are medical interventions such as using frusemide, which definitely seems to slow progression and relieve symptoms in symptomatic cavaliers. Several of us on this board with symptomatic cavaliers have seen results with both methods.
Several neurologists have come forward to say that in most cases harnesses should be used on cavaliers generally as it is very possible that repeated pressure in the neck area will exacerbate and even influence the progression of SM. These are specialists in the area and they don't make uninformed recommendations. One of those who made this recommendation is the key researcher of one of the studies just concluded in North Carolina, whose results will be presented at the start of June at the annual international vet conference in the US.
The only situation in which collars may be preferable for walks and training is if an already affected dog finds the pressure points of a harness even more uncomfortable than a collar. Dr Clare Rusbridge, the neurologist and leading international researcher on SM, believes this is sometimes the case with some dogs. Most owners of SM dogs on the SM lists I am on have seen immediate relief for their symtpomatic dog on walks when they switch from a collar to a harness.
I am sure this is because about 99.9% of syrinxes form right at the area of the neck where a collar fits.
Let me show you what is there. Here is my own little Leo's MRI from a year ago. Unfortunately I am sure his syrinx has grown worse as he is now symptomatic and he wasn't a year ago. I have had to introduce additional painkillers to try and relieve the discomfort he clearly feels on the right side of his ear and his neck (again, the collar area). In this MRI I have circled the syrinx (on the right) which is exactly where his collar fits. I have also circled (on the left) the spot where you can see Leo's brain being forced out of his skull and into the opening into the spinal canal. This is a typical result of the malformation alone (which recall around 90 per cent of dogs have going by existing studies!!! The most coservative estimate is 50%) and doesn't necessarily come only with SM (syrinxes). This is also a reason NOT to put any extra pressure, especially from a prong or choke collar at this area -- it is exactly where a prong or choke or slip lead would tighten on a cavalier someone is doing a typical leash snap correction with.
Imagine a prong pinching down on Leo's head where his brain comes out into his foramen magnum -- it does not even bear thinking about! It is yet another reason why correction methods of training IMHO and in the opinion of ALL neurologists I have spoken to, simply have no place with cavaliers; they are far too likely to have hidden issues like this!! Dogs tolerate high levels of pain before showing it outwardly, as those of us with SM cavaliers know. Given that we owners have the knowledge of what is likely to be there, hidden, in our dog's neck area, the responsible choice is to then not inadvertantly require our cavaliers to endure distressing levels of pinching and jerking and pulling for training when it is so, so easy to train in a fun and effective way using postive methods. In addition there are neurologists specialising in this condition who definitely believe such activities could cause syrinxes to form or become even more extensive. Who would risk that with these wonderful dogs? And why?
In memory: Lucy