Check Chains & How to Use Them

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Check Chains & How to Use Them

Post by Caryll on Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:56 pm

I know a few of you hate check chains, and I totally respect your views, but I saw someone in the park today 'using' a check chain & getting no results whatsoever because they were doing it all wrong! So, as there are chains for sale in every pet shop, and people will buy them & try to use them, I thought I'd do a post on how to use them safely & effectively.

Firstly, a couple of things to remember.......
1. A check chain should only ever be used for training, and even then only for short periods. It should never replace a normal collar or harness.
2. Technique & timing are everything.
3. Only ever use one that is just strong enough for your dog & never use the ones with huge links like manacles linked together - they don't work!

When you buy a chain, take your dog with you & choose a chain that just goes over your dog's head. Any bigger & he'll duck out of it & you'll lose effectiveness, any smaller and.........well, it won't go on! laughing

Learn to put it on properly. Your dog must always walk on one side of you. For the sake of argument, let's say the left hand side. When the chain is on your dog & he is on your left, the end you clip the lead to should come from the top of your dog's neck like this.....


That way, as soon as you release pressure on the lead the collar will slacken.

Once you have the collar on the correct way round, make sure that it is positioned at the top of your dog's neck, just behind the ears.

Put your dog into the sit position by your side & give gentle praise. Hold the lead in your right hand with the lead across your body & slack.

Tell your dog to 'heal' (or whichever command you want to use), tap your left thigh & start to walk forward smartly, & if your dog does not immediately follow give a quick jerk on the lead. The collar should tighten momentarily & your dog should move forward. As soon as your dog moves forward, the collar will automatically loosen.

As you move forward, any time your dog starts to pull ahead, give your chosen command & immediately jerk the lead with your right hand so that your dog's head is pulled towards you and he will be drawn back to your side. Give gentle praise "Good boy heal".

As your dog becomes used to the forward heal work, start to introduce the right turn. As you are walking along, say your dog's name and "heal", turn smartly at right angles to the right and give the lead a quick jerk, so that the dog follows you & walks by your side again. Quiet praise.

Try to leave your left hand free to praise and encourage, and always walk with a loose lead so that you do not tighten the chain by accident.

Don't forget that not all dogs respond well to a check chain & if you notice that your dog becomes fearful or apprehensive then stop using it immediately.

Keep training sessions with a chain down to about 3 or 4 minutes to start with & build up to a maximum of 10 minutes.
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Re: Check Chains & How to Use Them

Post by LyndaW on Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:00 pm

This is very good Caryll, thank you.
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Re: Check Chains & How to Use Them

Post by Eleanor on Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:06 pm

thumbs up 
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Re: Check Chains & How to Use Them

Post by Laura Wyllie Dog Training on Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:28 am

:-( I was just having a scan around and not even got as far as introducing myself. ... I dont think choke chains can ever really be used safely or kindly, the only suitable use for them is to secure a gate... I won't get on my soap box yet as this is my first post ;-) really ought ti go find the introductions

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Re: Check Chains & How to Use Them

Post by Eleanor on Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:52 am

We don't encourage the use of check chains as such (I prefer to use positive reinforcement, reward-based training and trust) happy But I think if people are set on using them, they should know the ins and outs at the very least.

Don't worry about putting across your opinions, by the way! happy If there's something you disagree with, please do feel free to mention it!
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Re: Check Chains & How to Use Them

Post by Caryll on Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:10 am

Laura Wyllie Dog Training wrote::-( I was just having a scan around and not even got as far as introducing myself. ... I dont think choke chains can ever really be used safely or kindly, the only suitable use for them is to secure a gate... I won't get on my soap box yet as this is my first post ;-) really ought ti go find the introductions

The problem is, Laura, that these chains are on sale at every pet shop, supermarket & online in a hundred places! People will buy them & will use them.

I don't like them and I don't use them, and I would recommend to everybody that they shouldn't be used, but do we ignore someone who is intent on using it & just let them get on with damaging their dog's oesophagus?

If somebody comes on here and asks the best way of teaching a dog to walk to heal I will recommend kind, gentle and positive ways - every time! But I can't sit back & see somebody who is hell bent on using one use it wrongly & harm their dog both physically and mentaly.

That's why this thread isn't a 'sticky' - it isn't a recommended method. Just a few pointers for those who are going to use chains whether we say they shouldn't or not. sad 

As Eleanor says - please don't feel that you shouldn't disagree with anything here - we're pretty democratic as long as it's kept polite! happy 

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Re: Check Chains & How to Use Them

Post by Laura Wyllie Dog Training on Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:33 am

if someone is hell bent on using one then it is for 1 of 2 reasons .. 1- lack of knowledge on the subject, so therefor teach them why they should not be used and tell them about suitable harness/headcollars to use, and how to teach their dog to walk on a lead.
2 - they dont really care that they can cause damage, in which case you are they going to listen to your damage limitation advice?
:-)

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Re: Check Chains & How to Use Them

Post by Laura Wyllie Dog Training on Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:34 am

Sorry for the terrible typing/grammar I am half asleep so brain and fingers are still not connected ;-)

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Re: Check Chains & How to Use Them

Post by Eleanor on Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:48 am

The trouble is, we have to be careful about what we 'tell' people to do and what we 'advise' people to do. We aren't professionals, so if something is legal, we can't actually tell people not to use them. If somebody came on here, asking for advice, and they happened to be using a check chain, I'd personally recommend that they switch to something else, but I would have no right to tell them to switch.

There's also the problem of preferred methods. While I would sooner use a normal collar due to personal preference, would that then be considered to be forcing my opinion down somebody's throat if I expected everybody else to do the same? If I was a professional, it would be different obviously, but sadly I'm not. Unfortunately, my best area is in physical health, rather than behaviour, so I do have to admit that I don't know the full facts about check chains; I feel that it would be wrong of me to lecture somebody about using check chains when I myself am not fully informed.

I do, however, agree wholeheartedly with you that people should have full knowledge of a piece of equipment before they use it. If you'd like to add anything to the forum about your first point, it would definitely be appreciated! (Of course, if you don't have time, that's fine! tongue)

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