Training Lessons (1/2)

ABOTC Requirements

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This review contains step-by-step instructions with photos.

We use a choke chain, which must be fitted to the dog, and a six foot leather leash, with a bolt clip. We no longer allow training with other clips on the leash because the dog can get loose during training. These are available at your local pet stores or are at class.

Please do not attempt to use a metal leash to train - it will hurt your hand - or a retractable leash. Nylon leashes may be used (with the bolt clip) but they are also rough on your hands.

To keep your dog from chewing on the leash (or other objects), use a bitter spray on it, such as Bitter Apple, which may be purchased at your local pet store.

The Leash and P-Chain Collar

Remove all other collars, bandanas, etc. before training. They can get tangled in the training collar and interfere with the training.

To put the chain on your dog, first hold it out horizontally, and then drop a loop through one of the end rings. The chain will form the letter ‘P’.

Photo - Leash and collar (note the bolt clip)

Photo - Making the 'P'

Now make your dog stand to your left side. Then place the chain over his head so that the long portion of the chain, which is the straight part of the ‘P’, lies across the top of the neck.

When you want to train your dog on the right side, just reverse the chain.

Photo - Applying the collar

Photo - The collar placed correctly on the dog

A choke chain must be jerked quickly and released immediately. It is meant to grab the dog’s attention and surprise it too. It must not be held too tightly. It could cause slow strangulation if the dog is held for too long and dragged around by it.

When you use a choke chain correctly, it feels like someone pulling you up short by your suspenders and then letting go. The choke chain gives the owner a high degree of control. It allows you to communicate quickly and clearly with your dog. He will know what is correct and what is not.

A choke chain must be used to only correct your dog. It is not a method of punishment or an instrument of torture. It should not be used as a method of retraining your dog either. It must be removed after a training session is over.

Never leave the choke chain on the dog at all times. If the chain gets entangled, the dog could get strangled. The choke chain must be used only for training sessions and that too when you are there to control the chain. Never leave a choke chain on a dog that is unsupervised or running around loose.

Always keep another collar on your dog when it is not being trained, with name and phone number! If your dog gets lost (and they do!) this is the only way someone can contact you if they find your dog.

[Microchipping is the best way for a vet or animal shelter to identify your dog. Collars tags are essential, but they can fall off or become damaged.

[Technology has made it possible to equip your pet with a microchip for permanent identification. A microchip costs between $20 and $30, with registration.

[Click here for more information about microchipping your pets.]

YouTube video - Installing a prong choke collar

Starting your training

One person should train the dog for at least the first six weeks.

Dogs are pack animals, and there is always a “leader of the pack” in the wild. The dog will look for the pack leader in your family and learn to obey them first. You should determine who is to be the dog's “pack leader” before you start training, and be consistent with this until they have learned the basic commands.

Dogs also learn from repetition, correction and praise, with consistency throughout the training.

You must project a calm confidence when training, as well as assertiveness. You are the boss and you know it!

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