Ginger got a new present last week, a power-steering collar (also known as a pinch collar). Now, I am aware that there are a lot folks out there who are absolutely against this method of training and the use of this collar, and I was too, however, there were some things that got me thinking.
I am finally in a place where I can start taking vacations and I already have two lined up for this fall. In order for me to go on vacation, I need to find good care for my precious girl and trust whoever is in charge of her. In this process, I have already eliminated the idea of boarding her in a place with kennels. I don’t want her locked in a tiny space for hours on end, only allowed out twice a day or whatnot. I want to find someone to come into my home and care for her there, so that she never feels like she has been dumped back at the shelter. So, I have been researching people who do this for a living.
One day, when I was out walking Ginger, we happened to see 5 cats on our walk at various times and by the end of that walk, my arm and hand were dead from the pulling and jerking that Ginger gave me in her exuberance to get at those cats. And it hit me then, I can’t expect someone to handle her when she behaves this way, it’s unacceptable! So, thus began my research into a more intense training program for her. I got recommendations from a lot of people, and I read different articles on different types of collars, harnesses, and leashes. I sent an email to a dog trainer who I trust completely and she sent back a very detailed explanation of why she likes or dislikes all the various tools. At that point, I realized that I was going to have to make this decision on my own, with confidence that I know Ginger the best, and that I ultimately want the best for her. So, taking all that into consideration, I decided to purchase the power-steering collar.
I purchased the Sprenger collar from MudBay (the only kind they sell and the highest quality made) and the gal was awesome and fit it on Ginger for me. Ginger has a small neck, so we had to take out several links before it fit correctly. I used it the next day for the first time. I think I was more nervous about it than she was. In fact, she didn’t even really have an issue with it. But I did notice that when she had it on, she didn’t pull at all which makes me wonder if she was trained on a power-steering collar before.
It’s been about a week since I first began using it on her, and so far, we’ve both done really well. I only have her wear it when we go out on walks, she never wears it in the house, or if I’m taking her to the dog park. I want her to know that this is a tool to teach her how to behave on the leash. We haven’t really had any encounters with cats or squirrels since getting the collar so I have yet to see if she’s going to lunge while wearing it which will give her the majority of the impact. She’s had a couple moments of tugging and she seems to get that it’s a negative implication when she does, so mostly, she behaves really well.
Overall, it was the right decision for us and I’m happy with how it’s going. I know that I’m doing my best to use this as a training tool and it’s not something that I want her to have to wear the rest of her life.