By Adam Katz
Akeisha wrote to me with some very good questions. I've
included her letter (and my responses) below:
It's Akeisha again.
I do see what you mean if it is on all the time the dog will
soon forget it is on and then will behave regardless. Ok, so
the dog never wears a buckle collar again? This is what irks
me. I want to be able to control the dog regardless of what
collar is on not just the pinch or it could be no collar at
and the dog still behaves. What if the owner for some reason
takes off the collar then they put the buckle collar on for ID
but then forget the pinch collar? Then there is no control.
[Adam Replies] WRONG! The dog gets conditioned. Take off the
collar for awhile. Doesn't matter.
Do you ever in the training go back to the buckle collar after
months of what you recommend with a dog that is happy with
doing the commands?
[Adam Replies] Yes, the dog does the command because he is
happy and he likes it. But eventually, there will be something
that tempts him. This is where conditioning comes in.
Think of it like this: You've lived in the same house for 10
years, right? You get up in the middle of the night and you
reach for the light switch that is to the LEFT of the door.
Pretty soon, you get conditioned to reach out to the LEFT of
One day you travel and stay in a hotel. You wake up in the
middle of the night and reach out to the LEFT of the door for
the switch... even though you cognitively saw that the switch
is on the RIGHT.
In fact, you may wake up for several nights-- perhaps even
weeks or months-- and still reach out to the LEFT, even though
the switch is now on the right. Some people will continue
reaching to the LEFT for the rest of their lives. Some will
begin reaching to the right.
Those people need to be reinforced. Get it?
Motivational corrections if on the right dog won't frighten
them or make them hate you I know but aren't there other ways
except using the collar that will eventually be established
thought training that will allow you to take the collar off
[Adam Replies] Yeah, this way you can take the collar off and
have control, ONCE THE DOG IS CONDITIONED. But eventually
you'll have to go back and reinforce, for most dogs. And
definitely if you start expecting to work the dog around new
distractions that it's never been proofed around, such as
chickens if the dog has never seen chickens.
Look, I don't make the rules. The dog is not a robot that you
can suddenly say, "He's done" and expect him to act
consistently for the rest of his life. Like any relationship
you have with another person, boundaries need to be
and maintained. The dog is like your wife or husband... they
will eventually test you. :)
Last question, how can the dog not realize the don't have it
since it feels a lot different than the buckle? Its like my id
around my neck at school I have gotten used to it but I do
realize when it is off? Just for the record I have no problem
with pinches, many members in my 4-H club use them and they
work great on the right dog.
[Adam Replies] Because the way you should be using the pinch
collar is that the dog (since he has limited reason and logic)
does not KNOW that it is the pinch collar that allows you to
give him good corrections. But it's more than the pinch
If I put the dog in a number of small yards, with no collar on
... and I'm able to chase him down and make him come back to
me, if he doesn't come when I call... then the dog will learn
THE UNDERLYING PREMISE that I can make him do it, if he
doesn't. So, the pinch collar and the long line make my job
easier, but ultimately, the dog knows (or he thinks at least)
that I am a man of my word and when I tell him to do
If he doesn't do it, I'm going to make him do it. And his life
will be a lot more fun if he does it willingly. So the dog
starts to extrapolate this principle to other commands, too.
Hope I am not being irritating I just like to know why certain
trainers value certain methods over others since I love
competing in obedience with my dog.
[Adam Replies] Keep training.
That's all for now, folks!
About The Author: Adam G. Katz is the author of the book,
"Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer: An Insider's Guide To
The Most Jealously Guarded Dog Training Secrets In History."
Get a free copy of his report "Games To Play With Your Dog"
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