Strange behavior

Along with the golden that was being yanked on the other day; we also saw a yellow lab that was exhibiting strange behavior. It was obvious that the owner didn't trust what her dog was going to do as we approached. I don't trust Jessie either so I just keep her at my side; typically stepping off the path to add some needed space and we continue our walk. I know that my dog is securely on the end of her leash; and she was involved with a serious smelling session at the lamp post as they were walking by anyway.

I watched the dog very closely as they walked by some other dogs. The dog seemed to be holding back; not quite shutting down but almost and at the final moment when the other dog passed he lunged out and was quickly moved to shutdown. I watched this sequence again as they passed a small dog; he was holding back, his body was showing signs of fear by his slunk down body posture and his darting eyes. Of course this interesting behavior had 100% of my attention and a question mark associated with it as well. Why was this dog lunging at the last possible moment but yet holding back well in advance of the passing?

As they approached and walked by us it was all too clear; the pinch collar. You know the collars that look like they have spikes on them? Spikes that face the inside of the collar and dig into the dogs neck. This dog had a clear association to the collar; running out to the end of your leash=pain. So he was restraining himself until he could no longer; and at the final moment just had to lunge. Unfortunately this is fallout behavior from the collar; the guardian probably has no idea.

The pinch collar is a better collar than a choke or slip collar in regards to damaging a dogs trachea but because it induces pain; causing pain results in behaviors that can be worse than a dog that pulls. What the dogs gets from the pain which is inflicted when they dart to the end of the leash or when they are yanked on by their owner is pain associated to whatever happens to be happening at that time the pain is inflicted. Typically it is another dog; so when other dogs approach the dog receives pain. Think about that for a moment; not a good association is it? The dog receiving the pain is now thinking that the cause of the pain is the other dogs; hence the lunging behavior is now accompanied with a whole new slew of unwanted behaviors.

Pain is never the answer to fix a problem. Pain introduces more problems by simply being.


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  2. I watched this at a PetSmart recently. A woman had a medium-sized yellow lab who was nothing more than a typically exuberant adolescent dog. Instead of steering the owner to a Halti or some other type of pain-free help-the-dog-control-himself-while-on-leash device, the sales clerk went directly to the pinch collar. I really wanted to go up to the owner and point out to her that she had a dog which BY NATURE would have a lovely disposition and that this device would almost INSURE that the dogs inherent temperment could/would be destroyed forever.
    PetSmart should have a better "education" plan for their employees. I figure that in about 1 - 1 1/2 years that beautiful purebred yellow lab will be lucky if he winds up in rescue and unlucky if he winds up in a high-kill shelter... all because of an uninformed owner and a poorly informed teen-age employee.


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