Okay, there’s no such thing as bad and ugly training tools. However, some trainers will condone training tools as being bad or harsh. I have a different point of view though. Some dogs are stubborn. With those stubborn dogs, you need the right dog training tools. Let’s take my dogs for example for a moment.
Atlas and Muse are pure stubborn in furry, dog form. Atlas is under the impression that she’s the queen of the house. Muse on the other hand thinks she’s the baby of the house. So, when I go out in public and my dogs are muzzled, people think they’re mean. I’ve watched people make a huge bee line around my dogs. They’re not mean, unless you have a dog with you! Even then, Muse is the reactive one.
I use other training tools that are necessary in my arsenal to train these two. Here they are and here are some and my reasons for using them.
This is one of my favorite tools to use. A muzzle is a way for your dog to be out in certain, uncomfortable situations, and you know they can’t bite. Sure, they can still lash out, obviously, but they can’t actually bite. This allows you to control the situation and pull your dog back from their reactionary response and correct them as needed.
Muse, when she came to us, wasn’t as reactive as she was a month after bringing her in. Her and Atlas in the very beginning, got along well. However, as time went on, they both wanted to be the top dog. How do dogs argue? With teeth, and lots of them. They got into so many fights, it wasn’t even funny. It was the opposite of funny in fact, it was scary.
Blood, holes, injuries, you name it, they had it. The muzzle protects them from hurting each other. Now, just throwing a muzzle on your dog isn’t the end all, be all. You have to correct the bad behavior!
Correcting Behavior with the Muzzle.
The muzzle is a tool in your dog training tools, it’s not the end of the behavior. So, when my dogs are showing signs that something’s off, I correct it, whatever it is. A muzzle is simply there to keep them from hurting one another, or any other dog for that matter. But, if I were to throw this thing on their face and let them still argue, they’re not learning, are they?
Dogs are reactive when they’re scared or unsure. Building confidence with your dog is what teaches them that most situations are okay. For Muse, she looks to me for protection when she’s scared. I only know this because she gives me big buggy eyes and jumps up on me. When she does this, I gently get her off, turn her butt towards whatever she’s afraid of, and keep eye contact while having her spin for treats. A dogs butt towards an unknown thing – this builds their confidence. It sounds odd, but it works.
Next on the list of my tools in the arsenal, the prongs.
I should’ve listed the prongs as first on my list of dog training tools, but I didn’t. Why? Because in my house, the muzzle comes first. In other houses, it might be the prongs. Now, some of you might
read this and think, those things stab dogs! No, they don’t. If you buy the cheap ones, then yes, they do. Mine were expensive. And I’m talking, $50 each. That’s not much when it comes to training your dog with the right tool without hurting your dog. That’s not the point of these tools I’m listing.
The point of dog training tools in this particular arsenal, my arsenal, is to have well-behaved dogs. In order to do that, it can’t be all butterflies and bees. I’m sorry, my dogs don’t train well with baby talk. Mine respond to a stern voice, lots of treats (yes, I train with treats) and when they try to lunge, pulling them back quickly with the prongs.
Prongs hit pressure points in the dogs necks. So, when Muse has lunged at other dogs or people, and I pull back on those prongs quickly, she responds instantly. I’ll say, it’s almost magical. But, it’s simply using the right tools for the job. Now, I will say, there has been one instance where I’ve had to pull hard to prevent her from getting into trouble. It caused her to yip, I was sorry it happened, but she was close to getting into a fight with another dog. But, after that one instance, she has never lunged again.
Next on the list is one of argument for many, but yes, I use them in certain instances, the shock collar.
The Shock Collar.
There was a time when I was sure I would never use one of these things again. And, I’m still hesitant at times, but it depends on the situation. Let me remind you, my dogs are stubborn Bullies. All bully owners know, their dogs are super smart, and with that, comes the stubborn attitude. I swear, Atlas takes the prize on stubborn Bully behavior. Sheesh this dog.
The shock collar is another dog training tool, that if used right, can help you correct behavior from a distance. The thing with these, is to keep the setting very low. We’re not here to hurt the dogs, we’re here to help train them to be better dogs. A trained dog is a good dog.
Untrained dogs are the ones that you’ve seen in public causing a raucous. They get off leash, they chase all other dogs without minding their owner. Coming onto your property and potentially hurting other dogs. You’ve seen the news, or even social media where people’s dogs are seriously hurt from another dog. It happens all the time. So, sometimes that means you have to have the right dog training tools. Otherwise, your dog could be the problem.
I use these with the setting so low, it’s really more a vibration. I also like the tone effect as well. This gets my dogs attention very well. I don’t use a setting over 5, and they go to 18. Similar to the effect of prongs when used correctly.
Final Words on Dog Training Tools.
Some of you might be thinking this is a terrible article. And, to some, with very gentle, loving dogs that wouldn’t hurt a fly, it is. I would never use these tools on my Chihuahua’s, though, they’re some of the most aggressive dogs on the planet. But, it’s not appropriate for their size.
However, my Bullies, they’re very stout, very buff, and very stubborn at times. In my dog training classes, there are some very aggressive dogs that need all of these tools daily. I’m not talking reactive dogs, I’m talking straight up aggressive dogs. Dogs that see everyone as a danger to them and theirs.
With some dogs, it’s unfortunate when we have to use some very stern techniques to get their attention. But, it’s the only way. Treats aren’t the only training tools out there. And for those dog trainers that think only positive reinforcement is a training tool, well, I’ve seen those dogs they train. They run a muck and cause a lot of problems off the leash. Some dogs just need a little more of a nudge, and that’s what I use these tools for. All of them have worked wonders on my Bullies when used the right way! That’s the key, you have to use them correctly and not just hurt the dog.
Training your dog is the most important tool in your kit. You can have all the above, but if you don’t know how to train, they’re all pointless.