Have you ever observed that those who assert themselves as “instant experts” often hold strong opinions on various dog collar types? They contend that each one is inherently flawed for different reasons.
A regular flat dog collar is faulted for its inability to deter dogs from pulling, while a slip collar is criticized for its potential to cause choking. It’s challenging to fathom anyone endorsing either of these choices.
Then there’s the pinch collar, which, as its name implies, administers a pinching sensation to the dog, and the electronic collar that administers shocks. Once again, it’s hard to envision anyone promoting these approaches.
And what about constrictive harnesses or head halters? The former constricts a dog’s internal organs and does not effectively prevent pulling, while the latter can cause harm to the dog’s eyes and neck. Clearly, these options are far from ideal.
If all this discussion has left you feeling uncertain about training your new dog, you’re not alone. Much of this confusion is perpetuated by “click-and-treat” dog trainers who appear more interested in promoting their services, books, and CDs than in empowering you to train your own dog.
Scare Tactics in Dog Training
Their primary message is that you likely can’t train your dog effectively without their guidance. They play on your fears, causing you to question whether you’re an abusive owner or if you’re employing outdated methods. They assert that they offer only the most cutting-edge and contemporary techniques.
If you want to be a responsible, modern, and non-abusive owner, they suggest enrolling with one of their trainers listed in their directory. There’s nothing wrong with seeking professional assistance or utilizing click-and-treat training techniques, but the fear-based sales pitch can be overwhelming.
Consider the simple slip collar as an example. It has a history of successful use spanning centuries, with very few documented instances of injuries caused by it. Despite the many accidents dogs can find themselves in, slip collars are not typically implicated.
Throughout 2,000 years of dog training, esteemed figures like William Koehler and Barbara Woodhouse didn’t report widespread neck injuries resulting from the proper use of slip collars. Chances are, even your veterinarian employs them when guiding dogs to the waiting room.
To be clear, no one is denying the effectiveness of click and treat training. It does indeed work, allowing you to train dogs to perform a variety of tricks and tasks. However, it may not be suitable for all dogs, especially those with high energy or specific needs. Even Karen Pryor, a proponent of click and treat, found it necessary to use an electric Invisible Fence for her Border Terrier.
In summary, click and treat training is a valuable tool, and reward-based training with clickers has its place. But there’s no need to let anyone persuade you to discard time-tested methods in favor of the latest trends. Remember, skepticism is a healthy response when someone tries to convince you that everything that has worked for thousands of years is entirely wrong. The truth seldom originates from a falsehood.