I had the pleasure of taking care of Quincy a few years ago. The owner lived in Michigan and a home in Florida. He wanted me to continue working with the dog, while he boarded with me on a couple of occasions, once for two weeks. He was only 11 months old and already weighed 110-115 lbs.
At first I told him no, I didn’t do board/training work because at the time I felt owners were not following through, expecting the trainer to have reliably trained their dogs, with no commitment on their part necessary.
The man insisted so I agreed to meet him. He came to my house and we met in the drive. As he was getting Quincy out, he cautioned me about some fearfulness. At the same moment, a friend was sticking her face into Quincy’s at the back of the SUV, tailgate level looking for kisses! We unloaded him, went around back, and sat down to chat.
I immediately noticed Quincy was wearing a huge, oversized choke collar with a knot tied in it. I mentioned some concern but the man insisted on using it. A professional dog trainer had already worked with Quincy. I agreed to board and continue to work with him while he was with me. I began testing him first walking him around observing how well he walked at heel and responded to cues. This was one instance I had the pleasure of working with a Rottie using a choke collar that appeared to be effectively trained. The purpose of the knot seemed to act like a martingale, but it also gave me a place to grab to check him, but found this was rarely necessary.
I wanted to share this story, not because I’m promoting the use of these types of collars, but rather it may be an example of a trainer who used the device and appeared to provide very effective results. I didn’t notice any fearful behavior, but rather a dog who was an absolute joy. I took him out to the same places I take my own dogs for training and play. He rode in the back of my SUV with the windows down, never once appearing to lack any confidence.
Given the many options for using equipment, I still prefer using flat buckle collars, martingales, Gentle Leaders (if necessary), Easy Walks, and similar equipment. The problem I have with the arbitrary use of these other tools is most owners don’t have the skill to use them correctly and effectively, and many years ago one of our Doberman puppies, we had sold, hung himself on their chain link fence. However, unskilled handlers, trainers, and owners just as easily can be ineffective using a Gentle Leader, another reason why I believe dog owners need more help than ever.
Joyce Kesling, CDBC
Certified Dog Behavior Consultant
Dog Trainer, Dog Behavior Specialist