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Hello Everyone,

I hope you are all doing well.

We have encountered a little issue, and were hoping you gals and guys can help.

After asking around, we found the best training school of the area. I called and had a very good contact. They invited me when they reopen around end of January (currently in lock-down), and everything was peachy.

The next day, I talked with my neighbor who told me he know the school, and casually told me "yeah and a choking collar is mandatory". I freaked out... And honestly god mad.

As i mentioned in my previous post, it is our first dog. When we hear choking collar, we think barbarism, uncivilized training. For the naive me, its the equivalent of kicking my dog every time she tries to pull. Of course she will stop pulling if I do that!

So, yeah.. Can you guys please tell us if it is "normal" that the "best training school" of the region uses choking collars? Are we wrong to see it as barbaric?

Warm regards

Jay

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Any trainers using choke collars are IMO old school and I wouldn't be surprise at all to learn than they're also using other aversive methods. No matter what their reputation among other people who are also behind the times is, I wouldn't train a dog, any dog with them.

Keep looking for other trainers who are more attuned with your excellent instincts. Look for people who consider them selves to be positive reinforcement or force free trainers. I think you'll not only be happier with the results but also more comfortable yourself.

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If, in fact, they do use a choke collar stay far away from them.

That is a very old and outdated approach and most trainers know that positive reinforcement works better and faster without being brutal to the dog. Find a different place to go.

If I were interviewing a teacher to go to with my dog, my first question would be if they use positive reinforcement training exclusively or not. If they said no, I would want to know under what circumstances they would use an aversive and what aversive they would use.  To me, anything short of a life-or-death circumstance in which every other method had been tried and had failed to do the job, is not a reasonable circumstance in which to use aversive methods.  No, it is not "normal" for supposedly the best dog school to use choke collars. 

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Sorry for the late reply. I wanted to respond earlier, but for some reason, I can not sign in on my phone, and it took me a few days to get to my computer.

I agree that looking for another training facility/trainer is a must. There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON that a puppy needs training with a choke collar (or e-collar).  I get that a life-or-death situation might require a more drastic training approach (after other methods have failed), but I usually associate something like that with an adult dog. No puppy should have to deal with a life-or-death situation.

Note: it takes a period of time to train and proof behavior in pups/young dog. Until then, I don't let them run free to get into life-or-death situations. They are carefully managed, usually with a long line to limit their freedom.

In my area, one of the "top" dog training businesses (2 locations in neighboring cities) uses e-collars - although they use a euphemism to make the e-collar sound gentle and non-damaging. They do a lot of marketing, and because of positive reviews on social media, they have the rep of a 'top' training school.

To find another trainer, it may also be beneficial to ask around to see if there are any private trainers that can help you - if you are unsuccessful finding a larger facility.

As an aside: about 6 years ago, I was in a young dog (not puppy) class at a local facility with an owner/trainer that uses only positive reinforcement methods. One day, an older gentleman and his wife showed up with a very exuberant youngish (maybe a year?) golden retriever. The older gentleman was physically fragile and wanted to get a handle on his dog's behavior --- but he didn't want to participate in the training exercises and constantly pushed back against the instructor when she asked him to remove the choke collar. I heard some snippets such as "well, I have always used a choke collar. There is nothing wrong with it." As I was leaving the class, I could see that the instructor and the man were in serious conversation. I never saw him again after that one class. :-)

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Since your info is second hand I would suggest you go and audit a class or two in January as the invitation was extended. No use in getting all upset when you haven't actually seen a class. Could be times have changed since your neighbor got their info.

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I agree with Journey. I would try to get some more information. They might have changed their approach or your neighbour’s information might not be true.

Do they have a website? Usually training schools list their methods in there, especially if certain training tools are mandatory of forbidden. Or perhaps you could call them and ask what their training methods are?

This still gives you the option of not going if you disagree with their training methods, but at least you made an informed decision.

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