Cody, a particularly large Weimaraner was brought into the humane society with hope of treatment after a dogfight. This is an act of charity for all concerned. His owner has only one arm, he is homeless, jobless, living in his car with a kid and Cody, and his wife committed suicide last year. He left Cody with a friend who has a dog, who attacked him(Cody). Of course, this is hearsay, the fact that it was the other dog that was the aggressor
Anyway, the guy has a serious problem… or two, and it is way too hot to leave Cody in a car. So… We were enlisted to keep him until housing is obtained. Mom got Cody for the kid, so he is very important. There was no time frame discussed and the guy has not been seen since. So, here he is.
Three weeks ago, Cody was a serious behavior problem. He seemed nice enough, but I found that he was particularly ignorant. So ignorant that he doesn’t even understand “No!” He had way too much energy and is very big and very strong. I like to use a slip-lead to control dogs. Cody had a regular 1” buckle collar and a leash. I may be sometimes ill, but strength has never been one of my many problems. I am actually a certified personal fitness trainer and have lifted free-weights for my entire adult life. But I have a weight problem. I only weigh 115 lbs. don’t be mad gals. With a regular leash and collar, it doesn’t matter how strong I am, he just pulls me across the room… or up the mountain, as the case may be.
picture of the day
Ken has a serious problem with pinch collars. He hates them and thinks they are terribly inhumane. For the most part, I don’t disagree. They are used incorrectly, and used for the wrong reasons by most people. I beg of all of you, please don’t use a pinch collar unless someone who really knows how has properly trained you. And never ever use a choke chain at any time, except on your spouse, if you choose. Choke chains are very inhumane and bruise and damage the airway.
Pinch collars look nasty and actually hurt more than choke chains. But if used with a very quick correction, not a long one, and with common sense, it can be an effective aid for a specific training objective. Do not ever, ever, use one as a restraint! It will not teach or train a dog to do anything. Did you get that? Don’t ever use one as a restraint to tie your buddy up with. It is not an effective or easy path for training your dog. I really just want to take any mystery or misconceptions out of using this tool.
I like to use a slip-lead to control a dog. This is just a very light lead that may be used and given away at your vet’s office to lead a dog. You just slip it on and move it all the way up so it is tight under his chin. Trainers have used halters for many centuries to lead horses by the head, not their neck. Why it took dog trainers so very long to figure this out, I have no idea. I have gone through many generations of negative re-enforcement training tools and in almost all situations, a slip-lead and positive re-enforcements are far better and infinitely more effective. It is a new day in dog training. Watch “The dog Whisperer” or “Its me or the Dog” on TV.
Please giggle with me. Imagine, I have a 120 lb Rottie that I have first, trained to aggressively latch on to a bite sleeve on a trainer who has been directed to piss him off. “OK, Hector,” I whisper, as I tempt him with a tasty treat in my hand. “Please stop tearing that kind man’s arm off.”
“All right, all right, I give up” Ken says. Maybe it is OK in some very rare circumstances. This is a very rare circumstance that the average pet owner will never encounter. In other words, please never ever use a pinch collar. This story is simply meant as a humorous aside, a spot of physical comedy for the day. I try to never take myself too seriously. He thinks it might be OK for me, at 115 lbs, to get some small measure of control over Cody. I know the correct, effective and humane way to use a pinch collar. I used it on him for only 10 minutes the next day. Since then, I have used the slip-lead quite effectively. He has been walking and learning much easier.
Cody was truly not only a difficult behavior problem, he was quite hateful. He has been with us for three weeks now and has actually become rather tolerable, if not pleasant. I let him come in the house for a short time and even let him sniff “Fluffy”, one of my newborn kitties. A calm yet assertive behavior from everyone during this process is important. Lead the character of your household by example with calm yet deliberate actions.
The behavior lesson to be learned from this lengthy tale is this: Stay tuned and read some tips that will help you have a calm and polite fur-child. : It is actually very easy to do. You just need to learn how to understand and communicate with your canine. But first, you may need to tire him out to use up all of that pent up energy.
Considering the remote mountain we live on and sometimes my lack of energy, I actually put a backpack with a couple of water bottles in it and let him run behind my Jeep Wrangler, up and down the road for a few miles. I swear, it is tough to get him to calm down so he can learn anything.
For all of you flat-landers out there, it is a great time to bond with your friend and get some much-needed exercise for yourself. For some breeds, it might be important to wear her out before you can capture her attention to learn. Take a run with your friend. Walking is even better, but just walking to the end of the block to “potty” is not enough. If you think you can opt out because you have a big yard, think again. Your canine friend likely sits or sleeps in the comfort of your well-groomed lawn and pines for your homecoming.
Some weight from a backpack can be a tremendous help for big and, especially, sporting breeds like Labs, Retrievers, Weineramers, and the like. These breeds were bred to run. Plus, a dog will live at least three years longer if he is at, or even under the average body weight for his breed. You can purchase these packs on-line, some pet stores, and in Colorado, at REI or any mountaineering stores.
So, lessons for today: Have patience, get some exercise with your friend, a light lead to slip over his head to cinch under the chin, and get ready to learn how to have a well mannered and calm household.
And, never use a choke chain, at least not on your canine. And without sound advise and counseling, never use a pinch collar or shock collar. Please do as I say, not as I do.
For specific questions on your dog, or cat, either place them in comments on this page so that they can be shared, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is very likely that others have the same or similar issues.
Tip of the dog's tale
Jordan, my Lab, was terribly itchy. This could be a problem at times, as she is my service dog. It was determined to probably be a food allergy. I did an elimination diet for her. This meant eliminating everything from her current diet from her system that she was currently eating. Almost all canine diets on the market have a protein and some corn. We put her on a prescription diet of duck and potato. I even made duck jerky. Yikes! It turned out really well, but it is such an oily bird that it was a stinky task, cooking it. And I thought boiling liver for treats was bad. Actually, that really is too. The things we do for our dogs!