Morality – the ultimate conflict

Bound Angels Blog 16 Comments

So, the crusaders of morality are on the war path again, and I’d like to set the record straight (as I tend to do).  Once again these keyboard cowboys are screaming on their soapboxes to “BAN” the sale of a dog training tool that is abusive and inflicts pain.  They stand on their soap boxes and reel in unwitting people who wish to do the right thing to help dogs.  Who wouldn’t want to help save a dog from abusive, hurtful training methods?  I certainly would jump on board looking at this picture.  So we have to ask ourselves, how could such a terrible, evil tool even be allowed to exist.  A tool that was invented merely to cause pain to dogs and abuse them.  What terrible people would invent this tool, use it and let alone allow others to use it?

Well, as it goes, there are two sides to every story and I’d like to inform you who don’t know a little more from a balanced perspective.  First of all, this tool was never meant to inflict pain or suffering on a dog.  In fact, used properly it allows a dog to receive the “signal” from the handler in a much more humane method than a regular “flat collar.”  In fact, watch the video I did demonstrating a pinch collar on my friend Ady Gil:

Needless to say that any tool can be used in an abusive way, but that is not the fault of the tool, nor the fault of any person who uses the tool as it was meant to be used, it is the fault of the abuser.  If someone uses a hammer to bash in a persons skull, do we ban the sale of hammers?  NO!  We prosecute the perpetrator.  However in our politically correct world we seek out the most conflicting answer to a question that is not even being asked.  The people who seek these bans are in two  groups, the mis and uninformed and those who  follow blindly.

The primary focus of my work is making the world a better place for dogs.  In accepting that mission I am well versed in just about every form of dog training, dog sport, shelter procedures, rescue philosophies, dog behavior and just about anything that relates to dogs.  This is my job!  I can tell you that much more good comes from tools such as pinch collars, electric collars, choke chains and such.  For the small percentage of people who abuse them, we should crack down on them.  We should lock them up, and I’ll be the very first person to speak up, find them and prosecute them.  For the rest of the people who are helping dogs by using these and other tools, these crusaders of morality should step down.  I can assure you that not one of them has ever trained a dog that needed or would benefit from these tools.  I know, I know….  I’m gonna get a slew of responses about the incredibly aggressive dog that someone trained using positive only training, treats and a clicker.  Well, you know what?  It ain’t so.  There has never been a positive only trainer that came to one of my classes or workshops that could handle even a higher drive dog, let alone an aggressive one.  These dogs are KILLED in shelters every day because positive only trainers profess that the only way to train a dog is without corrections, then they turn their backs on the dogs that don’t respond to their ill-conceived methods.  They are wrong.  I know plenty of trainers, really good trainers, who don’t stop when the clickers and treat doesn’t work.  They go all out to help the dog learn the skills that will keep them away from the needle.  These critics have never trained a dog, proofed a dog, titled a dog or worked a dog through conflict beyond the basic level.  They stop when the behavior of the dog doesn’t respond to their methods.  They want to avoid pressure and will often times torture a dog with mental conflict to avoid a simple correction to which the dog would respond.  I have handled countless dogs with just about every behavior and used just about every training method.  Yes, I do use treats and toys (it’s my favorite way to train).  However my training is balanced with other tools including e-collars, pinch collars, choke collars and more.  If you don’t fully understand these tools and methods, you don’t understand dog training.  You are merely plugging in the minimal knowledge and seeing if it will work on the dog.  And if it doesn’t, you walk away.  Good for the trainer – bad for the dog.

Now, lets focus on other abusive things:  First off rubber bands.  Yes, I said it, rubber bands, we should ban them because they are used to muzzle dog’s mouths shut and cause severe damage.  Every shelter has dealt with a dog that was victim to having their mouth’s banded shut to prevent the dog from barking.  Take a look at these disturbing images:



Next , lets take a look at another very disturbing set of tools, dog collars, yes collars – any collar.  The images below show you the damage that flat collars, chock chains and ropes can do to a dog’s neck.


The bottom line remains that PEOPLE are fault of any abuse that dog’s (or any animal) suffers.  Not the tools.  Yet, for every critic out there there are many more people doing the right thing, yet they remain silent.  You know why they remain silent?  Because they’re way to busy doing the hard work that is required to help dogs, not slamming other people.  They rescue dogs, train them, transport them and care for and love them.  They are the heroes.  They do the work with dogs that others threw away or turned away from.  These are the heroes.  Not those that are constantly petitioning for something, screaming about something or complaining.  If you’re one of those people, this goes out to you.  If you’re on the other side, you know who you are and I ask you to examine your life, your skill set and your agenda.  If you really want to make the world a better place for dogs, stand down, be quiet or get out there and do something.  Find the PEOPLE who abuse animals and report them or do something – get off of your computer, your iphone, get off of your ass and save a dog!

Well trained and socialized dogs have a good life.  It often takes training to get some dogs to that place.  Some need corrections, some need pinch collars or e-collars, some need training methods that people may be uncomfortable with, yet I believe they ALL deserve a chance at life…  ALL of them.  I will stand by this position and continue to fight for the dogs that have no one and will stand by the side of those that walk against the grain of popularity in order to give these dogs a chance at life.


Comments 16

  1. I’ve been a trainer for 40 & years. I use many different methods. I work exclusively with Rescue dogs at this point in my life. Your information about prong /pinch collars is wonderful. Thank You !

    1. Her article is bs! This nutcase tries to justify the ‘proper’ use of this torture device. I rescue dogs (currently a pit, a vizsla, and a chi/rat terrier mix… I never EVER would use this apparatus, nor a choke chain or shock collar. If you feel you need this, then you shouldn’t own a pet!!!! These folks need to get off their lazy, inhumane butts and learn some shit, like taking 15 min. out of their precious day to train their pet and reward him/her w/ play. All of M. Vicks were saved and turned over to loving parents to have a happy and loving life. I suggest a few of these knuckleheads read Ceser Millan’s books…or if they can’t read, WATCH HIS SHOW ON TV and learn something.

      1. As a retired veterinary technician with forty years of experience teaching dogs, and thirty years of shelter and rescue work, I have to tell you that YOUR way WILL end up in killed dogs and harmed humans. For one thing, training a hard puller with a properly used pinch collar is MUCH safer for that dog. Flat collars constrict the trachea. This weakens the trachea, and will often result in the dog collapsing its trachea at some point in its life. Collapsed tracheas lead to people surrendering their dog because of the extent of care needed to treat the dog for the rest of its life.

        Secondly, not teaching a dog that there ARE some things that are simply unacceptable is safer for the dog. Just like children, they MUST learn that we say no, and we say and mean it for a reason. This doesn’t mean you have to abuse the dog. It simply means that you have a word, gesture or signal it understands means “Stop Right NOW!” If a dog aggressive dog lunges towards someone else’s leashed, behaving pet, a quick flick with a pinch collar can mean the difference between the innocent dog being maimed or killed and it going home a little perturbed for being annoyed, but healthy and in one piece. Which also means the difference between the dog aggressive dog you are training going home and it going to quarantine before a judge orders it put down. Seems like a quick pop wiht a properly applied pinch collar is a better option to me.

        1. Jennifer,
          Thanks for the post, but I’d like to point out that “my way” is to use pinch collars whenever necessary. Perhaps you are referring to another response to my post. In either case, I’m so glad that you chimed in with your experience to help drive my point home. THANK YOU!

  2. I definitely agree with your message. Personally, I do not use training collars(even those that other +R trainers consider “humane”) and use primarily a clicker. I am not a professional, meaning training dogs is not my livelihood, but it is a passion of mine.

    However, there is misinformation here, as well. You may not know of trainers who will train any dog without prongs/etc., but I do. Plenty, actually. Most of them are not in this country, however. And I will also admit that in this country, a lot of +R trainers ARE the way you described. But please do not paint all of us with the same brush. Many of us HAVE trained aggressive dogs.

    Again, I agree 100% with your message. Prongs/etc. ARE NOT the issue. For the amazing +R trainers I know, I know just as many amazing balanced trainers, whose dogs are just as happy and well trained. I did used to buy into the abuse crap, but I have definitely gained new knowledge over just the past few years.

    My personal goal is to have a long-term board-and-train for those highly aggressive/fearful dogs that others are unable to work with.

    1. April, if its your goal to work with “highly aggressive / fearful dogs” then I hope you will be open to various methods of training and tools in order to do so. I applaud your goal and support your effort!

  3. Thank you for an excellent explanation of “tools” used for training a dog, it gave me goose bumps and a feeling of not being alone! I am a trainer, novice for the past 5yrs, but all my attention had been on shelter dogs with “issues” and “aggression”. My heart is for these dogs to give them the chance they deserve even when others are too afraid to help. Education is key…thank you for all you do and giving “us” the motivation to keep plugging along!

  4. yay finally some sense in this chaotic world, I was beginning to lose hope. Thank you for educating and sharing your knowledge so thoughtfully with the general public AND having the courage to do so. 🙂

  5. Fantastic article.- all
    My pets are rehomings or rescued. My lab pulls like crazy but for a year after getting her I went to a trainer who would only use positive reinforcement not even check chains allowed. While I was able to develop amazing recall with her, her primary issue of pulling was not addressed at all. Became frustrated and a wonderful trainer was put in touch with me. I gasped at her suggesting of these pinch collars and refused but despite this using a check chain has helped. I have an enormous amount of respect for this lady and go to her classes too. A friend has a problem with her yapping dogs and we are working through a range of ideas as a Neighbour is now threatening council action. Two of my recommendations soft muzzle and citronella collar were labelled as cruel by at least a couple of people! I said cruel is Them having to lose the only family they have known.

  6. I too use the prongs as a training tool. Mine have little cushions on them to protect the skin and every dog who has ever worn them, has never had an issue. It is the responsibility or lack thereof, of the trainer/owner/parent of the furbaby to monitor everything. I completely agree with your post. Thank you.

  7. thank you for this info , all I have to say is this : if you don’t know what you’re talking about ” shut the h…. Up !!! Don’t run off with your mouth !

  8. I work mostly with large guard breeds. Even if there is no problem, the owner might prefer the pinch, because it requires very little training on handling. I use it for safety, the pinch is on, not used, the dog walks on a loose leash, but when Shit Happens, and the 100lbs take off at 30mph with low torque, then the pinch saves me and others from being dragged on my belly scraping the skin off my face. For most of the people who advocate the prong as “animal abuse” do not have safety for dog and handler as the primary goal, but being seen to be positive trumps all.

    I never liked the head halter and constantly see the dogs being walk on it with one eye closed by crooked tight leash.

    Thank you for this article, it needs to be repeated again and again and in many different places.


    1. Like the video shows that the pinch caller was designed to mimic a mother, pack leaders correcttion that’s all if you have a dog that doesn’t walk but is pulling get a pinch not only well the dog learn to heal you will probably never Have to do anymore than a small correcttion, you see the dogs already understand what the pinch represents

  9. Thank You for an excellent explanation, Robert. Of course, the haters will not even read it because it intelligently disputes their views. I am a huge fan of your work and you know I follow your efforts at @Bound Angels closely . I learned a lot form your 2 books and continue to learn as I read your blog and watch your videos. I am so grateful that there are people like you in this world who devote their lives to saving animals and trying to help others understand how they can do the same. You give me hope for the future. For all those who you have saved, and those you will save, I say THANK YOU ! Do not let the haters bother you. They do not know your heart. They have no idea what they are talking about. It is so easy to type nasty words to people they do not know at all, yet they do not take responsibility for their own actions. Personally, I do my best to ignore these hypocrites.

  10. This article is a bunch of BS!! I am well informed on how these “tools” work but would never use them. I know many trained that work with high drive and aggressive dogs myself included and we have never needed any of these cruel objects. You are just trying to justify your cruel behavior.

    1. you can see examples of my “cruel behavior” which is saving dogs and training dogs in competition on my site(s). where might I see the aggressive and high drive dogs that you have mastered?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *