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Discussion Starter #1
I don't know if any of you happened to catch Tamar on the Oprah show yesterday, but it was pretty cool.  Oprah has hired her to help Oprah train her 3 white "golden" retrievers.  The name of her book is Loving our Dogs, and more about it is on the Oprah.com site of course, but here's a little about the author.  She was very very cool in my opinion.

Tamar Geller's mission in life is to teach her cruelty-free method of "life coaching" for dogs and their people. Her revolutionary play-training uses mutual understanding and respect
 

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"Don't be fooled when a trainer calls a choke chain a "slip collar." The name may sound prettier, but it's the same old violent method of choking a dog until he submits to your commands."

huh?  A choke collar wasn't designed to 'choke your down until he submits.'  It's more of a let him get out in front, give him a quick yank, and he falls back in line.  If you think about it, the choke collar fully surrounds the neck, distributing the pressure evenly...whereas a regular collar doesn't tighten, and instead only puts pressure on the very front of the neck.  Which sounds 'crueler'?

I've seen so many dogs out there walking, just pulling so hard that they nearly choke themselves.  Any dog I have ever owned or had a part in training was trained properly with a choker collar and never experienced any of those negative effects I see untrained dogs exhibiting.

Anyway, and I'm not trying to step out of line or anything, just sharing my opinion...that when a choker collar is used properly, it is a very safe and effective tool and there is certainly nothing violent, submissive, or dangerous about it.
 

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Choke collars are available to everyone, however not everyone should be allowed to have them.   There is a proper way to use them and the proper people to be allowed to use them.

When used properly by the right people, they are affective.
 

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If your dog doesn't want to lie down when you ask him to, hurting his neck and shoving him around will only cause his enthusiasm level to plummet even more
I disagree.   There comes a point where someone will ask you  - do you ask your dog what to do or do you tell you dog what to do?

Most people say ask...and then get frustrated when the ask their dog to do a command.  i do belive in posititive reinforcement however I also do believe that you need to make them understand what they need to understand.

I am not saying shoving him or hitting, but a forced sit or use of a choke chain if all else fails( for walk on lose leash)  is nothing out of my question under supervison of my training core.
 

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She seems like a really good person... but she also seems like one of those people that tend to think, "It's my way or the highway. I'm right, everyone else is wrong."

I'd definitely look into her book but I also agree with HannaBanana and Deapee... choke chains should actually be above the throat... which wouldn't choke them. I use to think choke chains were horrible... because where I grew up I saw dogs tied in their yards with those things around their neck... no supervision. I'd even seen the dog with one that was TOO SMALL... I was young and didn't know what to do or anything but... when they are used properly they are very affective.

I think people should be ID checked and information be written down when buying choke chains! Seriously!! Like when buying cold medicine that's behind the counter, they write down your name, address, driver's l. #... why? There are many people abusing the choke chain and that's why it has such a bad rep.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think the point of her book and her personal philosophy is that dogs should be taught manners and become a part of the family, not a dominate - submissive type relationship.  With Oprah's 3 puppies she taught them to come to the door and sit and wait until they were invited in to eat.  They ate calmly and didn't storm the door causing a big riot.  She was also able to potty train them in no time at all.   As was outlined by Oprah's show, Tamara spent her time in the Israeli Army where dogs were made to do things that most of us would find inhumane.  Oprah has enough money to hire any one in the world to train her animals and she picked this woman because she had worked on a television show with her training other animals.   I only posted this as an fyi - do what you want with it.  But if Oprah hired her she can't be all bad.  I haven't yet read the book, but what I saw on tv was very impressive.  Correcting bad behavior, making dog a part of the family in my view is not a bad idea.  I've used choke collars in the past, and they indeed accomplished what I was trying to do, but if there is a better way to get the animals attention and get them to do what you want and be happy about it, I'm open to it.  I'll read the book and then decide what I think.   Her point with the wolves she observed was they got their message across without harming the other wolves.  I don't think you need to beat an animal into submission and hey, anyone that can teach a chicken to heel is worth taking a look out.  Sorry, just wanted to pass on some info, do with it what you want.
 

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I definitely agree with the fact that any training is better than no training.  Personally, and I'll just continue basically what I have started before, my dog will always be a part of my family.  I have love and great respect for my dog.  I have enough respect for my dog to show him his place so that he can live a full, happy life and be rewarded for doing what I want him to do.

Dogs are insanely compliant.  They will literally kill themselves if that is what their owners demand of them.  They love to make us happy.  But there needs to be an order, and the dog must know where it fits in.

I know, I'm going a lot further than the collar thing here, but just wanted to touch on on more thing...

Yeah, all dogs can benefit from any type of structure and I would never call anyone's humane methods incorrect or improper.  Our opinions will always differ from point to point on different matters or techniques.  The fact remains that we are responsible for our dog's life and we are responsible for the amount of joy those dogs have each and every day.

Dogs will be happy as the ruler of the house, just as they will be happy as the being that is told what to do at all times.  Both cases can result in a very happy lifestyle for the dog when he is treated properly.  Neither is the only way and neither is the wrong way.

I will say, though, that it seems like some of the techniques she thinks are the best may be for those who let their dogs on furniture and sleep in their beds.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course...just saying.

But hey, I'm all about reading just about everything I can...especially for free from the library :D
 

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I didn't see the show but a friend recommended the book so I bought it and am reading it now. It seems quite good actually. I think there are defiantly things in it that I can learn, but it doesn't mean I'm going to agree with all of her training techniques. I'm going to take it with a grain of salt and then make up my mind on her methods and techniques.
 

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I've actually heard of her book before... can't remember from where... maybe I just saw it at Books-A-Million one day been wanting to buy it... along with a couple of other training books. I love seeing all the different kinds of techniques and thoughts different people have on training.

I hope you didn't take my post the wrong way... I just jumped on the choke collar thing like others because of the way she talked about it I think. She is probably one of the many people that are truly nice but come off strong. I've been hoping once I go over the bills I'll have a good chunk left over so I can get a couple of books I've been wanting... including that one.

Thanks for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No problem lol., I'm still reading Boxers for Dumbies.  I just wanted to pass the info along.  Liz is still the expert in my book.  Let us know what you think.
 

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I have actually read that book and most of the methods I use are included in that book.  You ask nearly anyone on here about the advice I've giving them (either via post response, pm or phone and they will tell you that my methods are nonviolent, pleasurable for the dog, go at the dogs pace, and are largely play based [easpecially for Boxer's]).

I agree with HannaBanana that there are a lot of owners that are using chokes and pinches that ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO!!!  I won't go any further on collars.  Saving that for another debate.

All dog training should be based in play and positive reinforcement.  I've read posts from people on here that "flip" their dogs thinking that it would help and then they're confused when it doesn't work.  I make it a point to tell them that they shouldn't do it and that scaring your dog into submission will make matters worse in the long run.  Take the time to train your dog.  It will deepen the owner dog bond and deepen the trust you have in each other.

Liz and Lilly
 

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And just on a little off-topic - Oprah is not the expert on everything.  Just because you have money, doesn't mean you are a super genius or something.  I think she gets too much credit for stuff she doesn't do. :wink:
 

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As for ask/telling a dog what you want them to do...

Trainers call a command that for one reason...it's a command.  You aren't asking your dog to do something, you are telling them to do it.  There are many dogs (as good as they may be [Lilly can be like this at times as well]) that will outright disobey a command because they are pushing their limits, tsting boundaries or whatever.  Lilly will test me occassionaly.  It's a Boxer trait, but its also them checking to see if we are worthy of our position as leader.  Most of the time, however, Lilly will disobey a command because she knows something that I don't.  Her stubborn, bullheadedness has saved my life several times.  So whenever a dog disobeys, I make it a point to assess the situation to see why they are doing it (quickly of course).  Our dogs need to know we are the leader and that we can be trusted, but we also need to learn to trust our dogs judgement as well.

Boxers are notoriously intuitive.  As the handler of a Boxer S.D., I can attest to the fact that they do occassionally have better judgement than my own.  Lilly has stopped me from stepping into a street when some stupid f****** kid was flying around a corner blaring music (I couldn't hear the little ba*****), she has told me when my children were doing something dangerous/stupid in there when when neither of us were in the room with them, she's told me when my kids or I were about to have or were having asthma attcks...etc...  She isn't trained to do any of that.  I trust her.  She trusts me.  That bond, deepened by training, has taken our relatioship to a higher level.  But, she also knows that when I mean business and I need her to do something that she MUST do it.  And she does.

I also agree to an extent that any training is better than no ttraining.  But I also believe that there are occassions that no training is better than harsh training.  Harsh training can ruin a relationship and cause more trouble in the long run.  I cannot tell you how many times I've been called in to fix the problems another harsher trainer has caused.  It's annoying and a waste of the owners money to train the dog one way only to later see the resulting problems with the way they had their dog trained and then have to find someone willing and able to correct those problems.



Liz and Lilly
 

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If you think about it, the choke collar fully surrounds the neck, distributing the pressure evenly...whereas a regular collar doesn't tighten, and instead only puts pressure on the very front of the neck.
Neither collar is intended for letting the dog pull against it, though.  A regular collar is not used to give corrections, as a choker is, and so with correct usage a regular collar puts only minimal pressure on the neck, while a choker puts sharp, quick pressure at one point (via the 'leash pop' correction).  Prong collars, on the other hand, when used for corrections do distribute the force evenly around the neck, because of the way they're designed - if you must use force to train your dog, a prong collar is far safer than a choker.  Ann-Marie Silverton discusses a Swedish or German study - for which, admittedly, I've never been able to find a clear reference - that showed that almost all of the dogs trained with chokers had neck or trachea injury/damage, and none of the dogs trained with prongs.  (Of course, I don't personally advocate the use of either, because I've found that it's not necessary to train dogs with force.)

I have actually read that book and most of the methods I use are included in that book.  You ask nearly anyone on here about the advice I've giving them (either via post response, pm or phone and they will tell you that my methods are nonviolent, pleasurable for the dog, go at the dogs pace, and are largely play based [easpecially for Boxer's]).
Quite right. :)  Like Cesar Millan, there's nothing new about what Tamar does - it's simply wrapped up in a different package.  (I did find it interesting that Oprah left Cesar and went with someone who is his complete opposite (and who has, in fact, publicly denounced his methods).  Kinda makes you wonder what happened with Cesar after the cameras turned off....)  

I saw Tamar on another show, and the analogy she used stuck with me:  "Both Sadam Hussein and Ghandi were leaders - one led by terrorizing his subjects, the other by earning their respect.  Which one do you want to be?"
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow -- who thought a little new information was such a terrible thing.  I think people have to think for themselves.  Figure out what works for you and what doesn't.  It's just a book, like I said I posted it cuz I thought it may be of interest.  If it isn't, don't buy it, don't read it, burn it, whatever... but please don't shoot the messenger, only wanted to help. Gesh!!!! I watch Oprah about 3 times a year and this show just caught my attention.  Do what ever you want.  Not ever book is perfect, not every trainer is perfect.  Like I said, just passing on info.  Sorry I mentioned it.
 

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I found the debate on choke collars timely as we along with our vet have figured out that the occasional coughing my rescue Champ has is very likely due to trachea damage.  I can only guess that he was subjected to uncorrect use of such a collar.   Very interesting study on the prong collars.  I have seen them used and always thought they were cruel.  I am using a harness for Champ now to avoid putting any pressure on his neck.
 

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The title of the book is "The Loved Dog".... I bought it awhile ago and I'm halfway through it.  I haven't really gotten into the training part yet, just how she got started, about her Loved Dog Center and some training tips.  The part that I've read so far that I like is....when your dog does something correct....sit, down, come, etc.....she praises them by saying "Good sit"  "Good down"  instead of just "good".  Kind of associates the "good" with the action being praised.  I thought that was a cool way to look at it.  
On that note, I also take Lola to a trainer who uses a choke collar.  He came highly recommended by dozens of people that I talked to about training, but when I found out about the choke collar I was very hesitant.  I'm fine with it now.  The thing is, you can't just slap a choke collar on a dog and go to town, you have to be trained how to use it correctly and effectively.  If you're not trained, you could hurt your dog.  I doesn't seem to bother Lola at all.  She's still a happy-go-lucky puppy, who loves and trusts me.  He uses the collar, but he also believes in LOTS of praise, love and attention.  And he does treats at the end of each session.  He said once the training is done we can switch to a different collar if we like.    
So, what I believe is...there are many different ways to train, take from each method what works for you and your dog.  Sorry so long, just wanted to show that there are good things to take from everyone/everything!
 

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I'm gonna go out on a limb here.  The reason I searched for a boxer forum is because I belonged to another which when I mentioned the word "choker" went nuts and was very insulting to me.  I didn't feel welcome anymore and was spoke to like I was abusive for merely asking.  I simply asked because at 11 (almost 12 weeks) what training tool should be used for Jaxon.  As I mentioned, Bayla is 9 years old.  When she was 6 months old she completed an obedience training that required the use of a choker collar.  I had never used one and was frankly horrified that I'd be asked to.  I didn't understand how they worked and for my mild-mannered Bayla it seemed harsh.  I went to the first class with Bayla on a regular quick release collar and the choker in hand.  I was shown the correct way to use it and felt a little more comfortable with it.  Our trainer, who shows Shelties, explained that most dogs actually don't like the sound the choker makes when you use the "snap and release" method.  Bayla was the star pupil in her class.  Yes she still uses a choker on walks although she heels with her nose at my left leg at all times and I never have to use the snap and release.  Personally I think anyone buying a choker collar to use for training should be given directions on how to use them correctly.  I asked at the other forum only because in my training experience, I have never used anything but a choker.  I have no idea how to train without it.  Jaxon does sit on command and of course I know not to push on his hips to force him to sit.  He's learning to lay on a down command, but I don't know how to teach to heel without a choker?  I haven't ruled out taking him to an obedience class, but he's much too young to enroll.  With that, my experience using a choker collar has been positive.  I would never use anything on my dogs that I felt was abusive to them.  I don't feel that it's the choker that's abusive, it's the person using it incorrectly.
 

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Aww Kate....I thank you very much for the information!  Any advice is welcomely received.  This was the very reason I found this board.
 
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