Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The tools of the trade.

Through the years styles of dog training have been and gone, some have stuck around longer than others, but the with those styles has also come new equipment/tools being introduced. Barbara Woodhouse, for example, and many other trainers of her time and beyond were/are huge promoters and users of the 'check/choke chain' as a tool for producing loose lead walking among other behaviours. American trainers promote the use of the e-collar to train an efficient Gundog and has been widely used in other aspects of training and various dog sports. These are both examples of 'controversial' tools that are being used in the present day whether they are right or wrong is purely down to your view on dog training and how it is conducted 'correctly'.

Examples of other training tools are:

  • Long Line
  • Regular Lead
  • Flat Collar 
  • Half Check Collar
  • Pinch Collar
  • Slip Lead
  • Toy
  • Food
  • Clicker
  • Target Stick
  • Touch Pad
  • Training Disks
  • Throw Chain
  • Whistle
  • Harness & Non-Pull Harness 
  • Remote Collar (Vibration, Noise, Electric or Spray/Citronella) 
  • Slip Collar (Fabric, Chain or Leather)
  • Headcollar
  • Muzzle
All the above listed are examples of equipment (rightly or wrongly is entirely your perception) that can be used to correct or shape various problems and behaviour, but, what we see as correct or incorrect to use is entirely down to what your 'style' incorporates.

It is also our interpretation of how we use them that also contributes to the effectiveness of how a dog learns the exercise we are trying to teach. 

Our interpretation is very unique to ourselves and ourselves alone and we must learn to respect and appreciate that everyone interprets how we educate dogs very differently and the tools used aren't necessarily 'wrong', it is just another way of getting the result. Remember anything becomes abusive when it stops being constructive and becomes destructive to the nature of the being and the learning process.  

The perception of tools available to us also comes from the influence of others and other stigma's attached through society. I am not trying to justify the use of any of the tools above because, as mentioned earlier, this is down to our perception of how we wish to educate dogs but we must also learn how to use these tools to our advantage to gain the results we want while also leaving the entire nature of the dog and its bond with the handler in tact, this can prove to be harder work but you only get out what you put in. 

Think of your pre-trained dog as a big block of marble, there's a statue inside but as the trainer (sculptor) you need to chip away the rough edges to find it and to chip away those rough edges you need the right tools. 

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