Common Sense Information on The Training and Care of Puppies and Dogs

Dog Collars – How to Choose Correctly

Dog Collars - How to Choose Correctly

When I first started obedience training over 40 years ago everything was pretty simple. You just grabbed the old choke chain, your standard 6 foot leash, and you went to work. This was the standard back then. However we have learned a lot over the years; the world of collars and now harnesses have changed quite a bit.

Dog Collars are much different today!

Every collar has its place depending on the type of dog. What you are training for, and your own personal beliefs. In many circles collars have become a heated issue. Because I am a field dog trainer, my needs are different than many others. The training tools I use are appropriate for what I do. Many people don’t think of collars as a training tool, but they are. I think they are one of the most important tools we have.

However, like anything if used in the wrong way, a “good” tool can be a terrible choice in the wrong hands.


Lets start with the original collar that everyone used back in the old days – the choke chain.

I do believe that the choke chain, our original training collar, does have its proper place in the dog training world.

And that would be straight into the garbage can!

Even if you do use the choke collar properly (put it on the dog correctly), this collar will cause damage to your dog’s esophagus. This type of collar is very narrow, and even a mild correction slams all that pressure right on the front part of the throat. Also, I truly do believe that a dog can focus much better when it can breath!

If you are using these collars, please get rid of them and find something safer.

Thank You Petco for allowing me to use the following infographic

Not everyone trains for the same reasons. Maybe you don’t need to have your dog be able to take hand, or even use whistle commands from a couple hundred yards away. In fact, I am sure most of you don’t. So the options below are very acceptable for everyday basic obedience training and for everyday use, like going for walks etc.

Please take a good look at the infographic below; A picture is worth a thousand words!

I am not completely familiar with every one of the choices below. However, I live in an area where I see lots of dogs wearing these different types of collars and harnesses. And I am pleased to say that for the most part the dogs are happy and under control.

The most important thing to keep in mind when using these different types of “Dog Collars” is the fit. If you choose to use any of the options below make sure that you get the right size for your dog. If you have any questions find someone to help. Fit is important! Even just a plain nylon collar needs to be the proper size or it will not work properly. For example, if it is too loose it can slip off.

Keep in mind – Positive and Negative experiences are quickly imprinted in dogs! SO, if you have a collar on too loosely your dog can pull and “slip”  the collar. In other words, if your dog pulls and the collar comes off that is a positive influence and the dog might try to get the collar off for awhile.  But you don’t want it too tight either. Just snug enough to be comfortable and not able to slide over your dog’s head.

There are many styles of dog collars and harnesses to choose from depending on your dog’s size, training needs and disposition.

Use this guide to help you determine the right collar or harness for your pet.

By Petco_Charlene on Dec 10, 2015

Again I want to thank Petco for the use of this wonderful graphic I think it speaks for itself.

Before I go I did want to discuss a couple other Dog Collars

I wanted to spend a moment on the prong collar.

I do use prong collars but I use them correctly. I fully realize that many people do not believe in using these collars, however, I think if used correctly prong collars are a good training tool. Where I think the problems come in with this collar is that people use them incorrectly. The first thing to understand is that this is not a collar that you just leave on your dog. This is not a full time collar. It is a collar that you use during your training session and then it comes off. The only time that I have seen a prong collar injure a dog is if it left on the dog as a replacement for a standard nylon dog collar. This collar is a training tool, to be used just when training. What I do like about the prong collar is that it does not put all the pressure right on the throat because it wraps around the dogs neck and all the pressure is not put on front of the neck. I think you can do more damage with a nylon collar than with a prong collar. I get it, they look somewhat barbaric but they are a good tool – if properly used. The other thing that i like about the prong collar is that the “feel” of it for the dog is similar to an electronic collar so prong collars are a good choice if you are going to transition to an e-collar.


If you disagree, I understand


As mentioned above I use electronic training collars in my program. For those of you that do not like e-collars, I can say that in many ways I agree with you. In the wrong hands electronic collars can be one of the worst training tool anyone can use.

Electronic Dog Collars

However, because of the type of work that we do in the field, if someone is properly trained to use this tool, then it really makes it much easier on the dog. We really do work the dogs at some pretty long distances. Trying to teach a dog to properly run a blind out to 100 or 200 yards without an electronic collar puts too much pressure on the dog. I don’t like to be hard on my dogs and the e-collar allows me to teach the dog what it needs to do without having to be heavy handed. It is not a tool for discipline, it is to help reinforce desired behaviors. I will, in the near future, write a full article on the proper use of electronic collars but I just wanted to mention them here since they are a very useful training tool again – in the right hands and used the right way.

As you can see there a lot of choices when it comes to dog collars and it can get a little confusing at times.  Hopefully, this will clarify the options and help you make the right choice for you and your dog.

Take care, Jeff -The DogMan

Rescue Dogs The Joys and The Challenges

Rescue Dogs The Joys and The Challenges

Rescue Dogs Make Great Pets


Adopting a rescue dog is a great option if you are looking for a new best friend. However, there is a huge difference between adopting a dog and getting a puppy. Raising a puppy can be challenging enough. However many, if not most, rescue dogs display some kind of behavioral issues. In my experience most of these behaviors stem from a lack of socialization or just plain neglect and then there are those that have been physically abused. There is not a single day that I am not contacted by someone who needs help with a rescue dog.

If you are reading this and are in the process of deciding between a puppy and adopting a dog don’t let what I said above scare you off. I don’t think it is fair to stigmatize rescue dogs, they are still what they are; dogs.

Given the right kind of environment, an adopted dog can end up being one of the best dogs you will ever own.

There are many good reasons for adopting a dog

I think the act of bringing a rescue dog into your home is reason enough. Giving a dog a chance at survival compared to the other choice is just a great thing to do. Plus you get to skip the puppy phase and there are situations when that is the smart thing to do. Rescue dogs can be great pets but you have to be a great dog owner!

I used to work with the Bitterroot Humane Association taking “retriever” type dogs that they felt were not adoptable but were too nice to put down. I didn’t take a lot of them but I did several and though it took a couple months working with them, each one turned out to be nice dog and all of them did get adopted. I didn’t really do anything different with them than I do with a pup. I just put them to work. Starting right away with obedience, not to mention the crate training, housebreaking, general good doggy manners. The key is providing the right kind of environment and the right kind of leadership.

This is especially important with rescue dogs. Puppies have the chance and the time to learn the habits within the home. They get to grow into their place in the home.  Rescue dogs if they are older than around 9 months are much closer to an adult dog so it does not have this opportunity. At the same time your rescue dog may have been moved around quite bit without being able to settle into any of the places that he or she stayed. This is particularly hard on dogs as it is quite contrary to their psychological need to be part of a stable social group.

Even though there is a lot of discussion on the importance of the humans in the house being the “pack leaders” it is still the area where most problems with our canines stem from.  The social structure in dogs is very complex. However, the most important thing to understand is that dogs do best in a well structured environment, not a lot different than children. And like children, dogs need to have some responsibility within the household. This is not so much about being dominant as it is about being a leader. It is not hard to acquire these canine leadership skills you just need to make the commitment and take some time to learn these skills.

It takes a fair amount of time and effort to adopt a dog these days. Also, there is the cost of the adoption, and then all the things that go along with bringing a dog into your home. Collars, leashes, toys, beds etc. People tend to spend a lot of money on their dogs. However, the one area where people don’t invest enough is in educating themselves in how to be a better dog owner. I’m not talking about a college education in canine psychology and I am not talking about spending thousands or even hundreds of dollars. Your dog is going to be with you for years, hopefully a lot of years. Is it unreasonable to do everything you can to set the stage for success? Success for both you and your dog.  A well mannered dog is a joy, but an out of control dog can be a nightmare.

Doggy Dan can help with Rescue Dogs

There is a lot of good free information out there. I am sure you could spend the next year on YouTube watching dog “training” videos. However,  I think your better off getting your education from someone that has a true training program. And when it comes to rescue dogs I believe the program you choose should have a strong focus on behavioral training. My program is based on building quality working field dogs. That does not mean that I can’t raise a good house dog, I can and I have raised many. It also doesn’t mean that I lack the knowledge to deal with any number of behavior issues. However, I am not a trained behaviorist.

If your truly vested in having the best chance for success then I highly suggest taking a look at “The Online Dog Trainer“.


This is far from a review which I may do in the future but here are the highlights.

Daniel Abdelnoor who is known as “Doggy Dan”  is a full time Professional Dog Trainer. Dan is a Certified Behaviorist and probably most telling for me, Dan is fully endorsed by the The SPCA. 

If you are in the process of adopting a dog or have an adopted dog or any dog for that matter that is exhibiting any of the following behavior issues.

Separation Anxiety Issues
Aggression Towards Other Dogs or People
Uncontrolled Barking
Fear of Other People or Dogs
Fear of Loud Sounds (Fireworks etc.)
Problems With Submissive Urination

Then Dan’s training program might just be the answer your looking for. Everyone of the above behaviors can be corrected, but you need the right information. There is a $1 trial so you can check out the site and the training and if you decide to sign up for Dan’s program it does not have to be a long term commitment, a few months should be plenty.  The monthly cost for Dan’s program is about the same as a months worth of high quality dog food.

Make an investment in you and your dog’s wellbeing, I believe you will find that it is the best decision you ever made for you and your dog!