By: Basil Theofanides
These training aids are also known as choker chains, slip chains, slip collars. They have been around for years but in recent years many purely positive or food trainers have frowned on their use citing “cruel and punishing for dogs”. Like any training aid or method, correction collars have their place in a balanced training program. The function of a correction collar when used properly is to let the dog know the exact moment it has made a mistake during the training process.
This is done by way of sound (the take up of the chain when pulled) and tactility (by way of a slight tap on the dog’s neck).These training aids when used correctly are safe and can have an immediate result on a dog pulling, jumping up uncontrollably, showing aggression, and being generally disobedient. I have used this with outstanding results on many occasions. Usually it has been on dogs whose owners have gone to trainers who don’t believe in using correction collars (usually food trainers) and have only exacerbated the problem.
Dogs suitable for this type of collar are working breeds, terriers, gun dogs and crosses of these breeds. Dogs which are not suited are pugs, whippets, greyhounds, salukis, Afghans and dogs with a soft palate. Many problems have been solved by proper use of the correction collar.
The better types are the German brands such as HS Sprenger. These collars like all training aids may require the assistance of a professional dog trainer to teach the method of use. Also, ensure the collar is not left on the dog unless being trained or walked.
Good trainers adopt an eclectic approach to training and use these training aids just as they would also use head halters or soft training collars depending on the dog & handler. The cruelty in training lies with trainers who have only one approach to their training and consequently create more problems than they solve.