Pinch Collars No More…..

While working with a Golden Retriever, Sadie, on leash reactivity (which is like saying, aggression or lunging, incessant barking at strangers and other dogs while the dog is wearing a leash), I came to find out the family utilized the dog training services from a local company which relied on pinch collars for getting the desired behaviors.  Well, let me tell you, pinch collars may seem to work with immediate results, but most everyone who uses pinch collars runs the risk of creating reactivity in dogs. I can attest to this as I was instructed by a trainer (before I became a trainer who uses positive reinforcement techniques) to use one on my basket case of a Jack Russell when we first rescued him.  What soon developed and I eventually corrected, was leash aggression towards strangers, other dogs, motorcycles, people on bicycles and even children.  The pinch collar is designed to apply pressure to a dog’s neck when the handler gives a pop of the leash.  Since we’re human, we may not give enough of a pop of the leash at the first correction in order to completely eradicate the problem behavior.  When that happens, the dog develops resistance to the pinch and then the handler requires more and more pop of the leash with frequent intervals to correct the behavior.  What results is the dog associates pain towards those very things you’re wishing for him to stop reacting towards and then aggression is imminent.  Since I was intimidated and highly uncomfortable to use the pinch collar, my timing was off and eventually, the trainer wanted me to lift Jack up by the leash (while he’s wearing the pinch collar) with all four paws off the ground while he was barking.  Let me tell you, he still didn’t stop barking.  I didn’t know what she would ask me to do next, swing him around like a helicopter!

As I’ve become more familiar with Jack, I realized, he is WAY more responsive to positive reinforcement and rewards when he does a desired behavior rather than receiving a positive punishment for a undesirable one .  He’s easier to train, he is able to learn new behaviors in a very short amount of time and even his reactivity to strangers, bicycles and motorcycles diminshed due to rewarding him when he focuses on me and when he’s quiet when we pass any of his triggers.

I’m very happy to have a different approach in training Jack and other dogs.


Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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