Should You Correct A Puppy With A Pinch Collar?Written by Adam G. Katz
My husband and I recently purchased a white German Shepherd. She is 12 weeks old today and quite a handful. Sometimes she can be so sweet, but other times she is actually quite vicious. Well, I don't know if vicious is right word, but when I tell her “No!” she just gets more agitated and lunges at me with her teeth bared. I got a small pinch collar since she's a puppy but I have a question as to how it should fit. When I take 2 prongs out it is snug against her neck and I worry about it being too tight. When I only take 1 prong out, it sort of slides down her neck a little bit and she constantly scratches at it and it circles around her neck and doesn't stay put. Which is right fit? She is really a handful and I think pinch collar is a great tool, but I want to make sure it fits right so as not to cause her any discomfort. You say in book that you should be able to slide half a finger in there, but I guess I am just confused as to how you should judge fit. Please help! I'm afraid my time is running out to get her to start obeying me. She doesn't see me as Alpha dog quite yet and it is very frustrating to be with her for long periods of time. When I say "Duchess, come" she only comes when she feels like it. With pinch collar, what is best way to make sure she comes each time I call her? I don't want to go around yanking on her neck, but at same time she needs to respect me. Any tips you can give me on making sure she sees me as boss would be very helpful! Thanks, Cassidy
Dear Cassidy: When I refer to “half a finger space” in regard to proper fitting of pinch collar, what I mean is: - If average person’s finger is ½ inch wide, then there should be aproximately ¼ inch of space between end of prong and skin of dog’s neck. So, why don’t I just say, “1/4 inch of space”? Because it’s easier to judge by sticking your finger beneath prong than it is to break out your old high school ruler. Many of you (newsletter subscribers) are no doubt wondering why I would recommend a pinch collar for a puppy. And my answer is: I’m not. At least not for most puppies. But there are some puppies who will not respond to a simple diversion or verbal, “No.” They will bite and cause puncture wounds on your legs and arms if they are not corrected for this behavior. So, if you've tried other methods for dealing with “puppy nipping” that I’ve outlined in book, then you’ll need to progress to a small pinch collar. (Also described in book.)
Will My Mother-in-Law's "Too Easy" House Rules Undo My Dog's Training?Written by Adam G. Katz
My family and I want to add our thanks-- to all other thanks you constantly receive. You have produced a book that is SOOO easy to read, understand, follow, and with great analogies.
I have read book front to back. My concern will pertain to page 141, "Psychological Mistreatment Through Isolation."
Here it goes....
On weekdays, I will get up in morning anywhere between 0530 to 0600 (sometimes earlier, between 0500 to 0530). I will let my (now 6 months old) Jack Russell out of crate, got out for his morning business, play, a lot of petting and rubbing, and with some training. I use ball on a rope you suggested. I thought this would create aggression problems, until I read book. Feeding time, I will do down-stay command, for 30 sec or so, then ask him to go in to crate, and another stay command, for about 30 sec. Then I feed him inside his crate. After this, it's back outside for his other business. Then play some more with ball on a rope, some fetching, and more fun training. I practice stay command like you said, where I will temp him. He is getting better with my release command of "OK". [Editor's note: Don't use "OK" for a release command. Use something that isn't so easily confused with our everyday vernacular... such as, "Take A Break" or "Free!"] He will not move until I say "OK". I want to make sure I get in as much detail as possible.
At 0700 I have to crate him. Until I get home at 1700. When he is out at about 1700, it's feeding time and then some training again as above, and a lot of touching (petting and rubbing). I know that's 10 hours in crate, however, when he's out, my family and I play like crazy with him for about 2-3 hrs, by 2100 he's looking up at couch and my wife, waiting for "up" command so he can rest with her. I know, I know, I read about not going to their level. When this happens I go to chair, away from them. Then he will sleep through whole night in his crate.
I have option to have him to go to my in-laws for day. They own two dogs, a Golden Lab (2 years), and a Jack Russell (7 months). Both are NOT well trained. The Lab barks at everything. The Jack Russell constantly nips at my dog's hind legs, snarls, and bites and never stops. My mother in-law does not correct either dog. My biggest concern is that my dog will pick all bad habits, because I am not there to correct him. My dog did not bark until he stayed with them for about a week or so. Also, 9 times out of 10 he will throw up in his crate, to and from my in-laws. So I decided to stick to my schedule, to crate him at home. The weekends however, he is out and playing with us.