Monday, May 18, 2009

Update: Collars and barking at mail carrier

Princeton on a grassy path -- still wearing the old leather collar (taken before he ripped it apart!)

Many thanks for all the great comments about collars on my last post. For now my Great Dane Princeton is following Hsin-Yi and Honey’s method -- just wearing the choke chain. We transferred his ID tags to the choke chain and he wears it all the time now.

It’s working out well because the leather collar used to get in the way when I walked Princeton -- because I use two collars to walk him, a Halti and a choke chain, with a leash in each hand to steer him. As Hsin-Yi noted, it also looks nice because it doesn’t interrupt the line of his neck. And it’s certainly strong and waterproof. However, it looks like he may outgrow his 24-inch choke chain soon!

Also thanks for the comments about training Princeton to stay calm when the mail arrives. I am keeping him in another room or outside when the mail comes, and it’s making life a lot more peaceful. I know that we need to set up practice sessions with other people dropping papers through the mail slot. But that will be in the future. For now, I’ve got all I can handle just with leash training and other basics.

Update on July 12, 2009
This problem escalated and Princeton broke a window. Click here to get all the info in my new post “Our dog broke a window.”

Update in 2016:

In the end we took the advice of readers here and just used a so-called "choke chain" or "slip chain" as his permanent collar.


Honey the Great Dane said...

(from Hsin-Yi)

Just wanted to say that the check chain works for us (it should really be called a "check chain" as if used properly, it should NEVER choke the dog - only give it a sharp "check" as a correction)
- but I know a lot of people disapprove of it - and are worried that it might catch on something and then "choke" the theory, this is possible although I have spoken to our trainer and he said this possibility is very remote, especially if the chain is NOT too big and so sits quite snugly around the neck (there should only be about 10cm of extra chain when it is tightened - otherwise it is probably too big) - so there is no extra chain hanging loose to get caught in things.

The main danger is if you have wooden floorboards or wooden planks on your deck/porch as the loose bit of the chain CAN slip between the cracks of the wooden planks when the dog is lying down and then get stuck. But we have carpet and tile at home so there are no cracks in the floor - if you have wooden floorboards, then you may have to be careful.

We have been using the check chain as a collar for about 3yrs now and have never had any issues - although I do work from home and Honey is rarely left alone for more than 3-4hrs max and also, I know she sleeps all the time when we're out - she is a very inactive dog indoors - so very unlikely to do anything that will get the chain caught in something. But you know your own dog best - if Princeton is very active and running around and getting into things when you leave him, then it may be best to remove the check chain if you can't supervise him.

One time you SHOULD remove the chain is if he is playing roughly with another dog (ie. off-leash, running around, wrestling) - because there is a small chance that the other dog's collar or teeth or something can get caught in the check chain. Then the dogs would be stuck together and may panic and end up hurting each other. Again, it is a very small chance but it is a risk that you have to decide to take. We do leave Honey's chain on if she is playing with other dogs and we can supervise (eg, at the park) - but if we leave her unsupervised with another dog(eg. in the garden with her best friend, Ombre) - then we take the check chain off. But to be honest, you should really remove ANY collar when leaving 2 dogs alone to play as even a normal leather collar can get caught and cause problems.

Unfortunately, I don't think there is an ideal solution - just what works best in your situation, as you know your own dog best and what he is likely to do.

Sounds like a good temporary solution for the mail, although it IS really important to get those practice sessions going soon - as it's important to train these things while Princeton is still young and impressionable. Don't leave it too long! :-)

ps. I'm interested that you use both the Halti and check chain to walk Princeton - doesn't the Halti alone control him? I thought that's what they were designed to do?!

Allison (Dog Mom) said...

I'm glad you found something that works for you!

Anonymous said...

Hi KC... glad you have a solution, though I cant work out the two lead thing. Both mine have Haltis (i found them better made than gentle leaders) and I can steer them ok, I can actually walk both at once which I never thought I could and with both near my hip it only takes a turn of my wrist to turn either

Mine bark at the post man but they do it from my bedroom where they can see him but not get to

KC said...

This problem escalated until Princeton broke a window barking at the UPS delivery man. See my July 12 post for details. Now we're working with a new trainer.

Abbey said...

If I have visitors, both girls go on the verandah. shiloh especially slams the glass doors... ur post gave me a bit of a scare...