Collars

Greyhound wearing a decorative martingale collar

Image via Wikipedia - A sighthound has a decorative martingale collar on.

Dogs wear collars for lots of different reasons. It’s usually where the leash is attached. In most countries including Singapore, dogs must be leashed while outside. While I think it’s possible to use it only as a restraint (eg when a dog is vying for that chicken bone someone tossed on the sidewalk), most people use the collar/leash combo for control.

What kind of collar do you use?

Did you know how many different collars there are? I didn’t.

I’ve always just used flat collars before Blackspot. The SCPA staff introduced us to the Halti, which is what they used at the shelter. Blackspot hated it and we never did train her to walk “properly” with it. What “trained” her in the end was just walking daily and getting used to it. Then there’s the slip collar, which sounds more polite than the choke collar and 1/2 choke which is called Martingale collars, which is what we used at HKDR to minimize the risk of dogs slipping their collars, which happened a lot. And of course from cartoons, we have dogs like Spike in Tom and Jerry who wear collars with (yep) spikes. Worse than the choke collars are the shock collars that people use to “train” their dogs or those that shock dogs into staying within a certain outdoor area.

When I first came to Singapore, I met a nice yellow lab called Scooba. He was THE most mellow dog. At age 13, he was a arthritic and he was more likely to stand than walk, let alone run. So I was quite shocked (and sad) to see that he was wearing a prong collar.  Apparently in his more youthful days, he was a spunky dog. Well, at 13, Scooba still wore that prong collar, which had supposedly blunt ends on the inside, causing pressure on the dog. It’s “meant” to be put high on the dog’s head, where it’s more sensitive.

And this morning I met a sweet young dog with a choke chain. She is what sparked this blog post.  She’s a new dog, a rescue, a victim of the puppy mill and a “rejected” foster as she was “too playful”. The owner was nice and all but we were shocked when he yanked his dog back when our dogs got frisky. He yanked her HARD, lifting her off her feet, with a pained (and probably confused) look. I doubt he meant to cause her pain or even realized it but I truly believe using positive reinforcement techniques is the way to properly train our dogs. Using choke and shock collars and even haltis (which we found out) doesn’t work. Some of these collars and tactics only instill fear in the dogs. Sure they will behave, but out of fear and reactions borne out of fear are never predictable.

So what collar and training techniques do you use?

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