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Tuesday Training Byte: Proper Use of a Slip Collar

For many people it can be confusing as to what type of collar, etc. to get for their dog. To be sure, some manufacturers claim that all collars are cruel and that a harness is the only humane choice. Some people are not opposed to a collar, but will only use a cloth buckle collar. Here are some facts: harnesses highly encourage dogs to pull! Think "sled dogs" & "carting dogs". These relieve pressure from the neck. But, if you're choking your dog with a regular or slip collar when you walk him, your timing on corrections is off or you need assistance in placing the collar correctly. Question: Do you want to be drug all around or do you want to have control of your dog and have them close by your side, which happens to be the safest place? Many types of halters, cloth collars, and harnesses, dogs can manage to get free, then that puts them at great risk. I prefer a slip collar made of chain. The problem here is that they do not come with instructions on how to properly put them on, how to fit them, or how to use them. Also, collars are not to be left on a dog when they are unattended as they present a choking hazard.

I especially like the fur saver chain collar made by Herm Sprenger (pictured below). It is much lighter weight than other chain collars and does not damage the fur. Hold onto one ring and feed a link down through the ring to form a circle. Now form the letter “P” with the collar (see top picture). Remember P is for Proper. Facing the dog, slip the collar over the dog’s head with the running end hanging down on the right side of the dog’s neck and placed high on the neck close behind their ears. Connect your leash to that ring. For larger dogs, you should have approximately 3-5 inches of remaining chain when pulled snug. Dogs are trained to walk on a person’s left side. This is important! The collar will remain tight and does not loosen if you pull on the leash when the dog is on your right side. The dog should be walked on a loose leash. If the dog pulls ahead, just give a light jerk and release to remind the dog to stay by your left side. Obviously, the size of your dog will dictate how much to jerk when administering a correction. Of course, I advocate for positive reinforcement and using food lures to encourage the dog to walk on a loose leash. See a previous blog on the topic of loose leash walking.

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