Zak George email to K9-1

My name is Zak George. I make dog training videos on YouTube
(http://www.youtube.com/ZakGeorge), and I see that you do to. I?m reaching
out to you because I don’t know a lot about you guys (but I want to learn!)
which is why I’m writing you.Specifically, I’m curious to know what your policy is in terms of advising
the public about training collars like choke, prong, and electric collars?
I know these tools are quite popular in protection training.Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Zak George


Hi Zak,

Very nice channel! I have seen some of your work before with clickers and trick training. Very impressive!

As far as our policies on any training that uses positive punishment / negative reinforcement, we suggest it is done under the supervision of a properly credentialed professional in most cases, especially prong collars and ecollars. We do have “phase 2” videos on our channel which demonstrates how to use a halti-collar for discipline and even though the prong is taught in similar steps we dont have it posted since not the best choice for most dogs.

My personal belief is that ecollars should not be available to the general public, because of the potential for misuse/overuse/abuse, unless it is provided by and used under the supervision of a qualified trainer. We dont let clients touch them unless they went through positive training “phase 1” and concepts of discipline “pase 2” similar to what you see on the halti vids i have posted.

I do not use choke collars at all or recommend them mainly because of the potential for physical damage to the trachea. We do use slip loops as safety in case another collar falls off it will catch the dog when out in public.

We generally don’t use the metal prong collars anymore over last few years, but use the plastic (more mild) “starmark” collars for training and depending on the client/dog combo the client may change to a different prong style collar if appropriate. We use them mainly because it is a safer collar for the dog than most for training when fitted and used properly. We do NOT jerk them. if we do use those collars we “pump” them. You can refer to my video at leashninja.com

We dont let any client use correction unless they trained the dog to understad teh particular command to a duration and variable reward. That is our phase 1 training. Only then can a client take a class on “phase 2”, which is understanding the science behind discipline. whether it a halti collar or a prong collar, the dog must be trained to understand conditioned punishers and escape conditioning for the particular collar before we use it in the command structure and work on any kind of avoidance conditioning to disobedience. This makes a huge difference in the training experience for the dog.

Just like a handful of treats doesnt build a relationship with a person, neither does discipline, therefore prerequisit to everything is teaching how to build that. We are very fair to the dogs and if you are ever in new york and want to watch first hand you are welcome. Finished dogs are technically on a variable reward schedule and a continuous punishment schedule that uses almost exclusively conditioned punishers. That is scientifically the most reliable training possible when we need to train dogs who’s control may be challenged in court while minimizing actual UNconditioned punishers. There is a science to what we are doing and we teach it at seminars and in courses to save the dogs that are basically getting their asses kicked by the cowboys that are usually training with discipline in this very unregulated and commercialized field.

We do a 120 hour course that teaches a professional to use all tool correctly and fairly. In much of our work with the public, private companies, and government agencies we obviously have the responsibility of making the dogs reliable in public, especially since we are mainly dealing with the control of aggression.

I respect what you preach on your channel, i like to think of my company as the “humane” way to use discipline when it is the personal choice of a dog’s owner.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask.

Sincerely,

Mike D’Abruzzo


Mike,

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and for the detailed explanation. My main objective is to see where some of the leaders in this industry stand on physical correction standards. Since your YouTube channel has 70K subscribers, that puts you in a position of influence to the same public that I also advise.

I understand your perspective and based on the history of teaching dogs over the last century or so, yours is a position shared by many in dog training. I recognize that you are against people using these tools incorrectly, but as you might guess, it’s my view that there is no way to use these correctly as these collars do little to promote a bond between a person and a dog and that should be the first consideration when teaching dogs and advising the public.

My goal is to raise the standards in dog training by educating the public that these tools are completely unnecessary for any type of dog training. Unlike others in my field, I think the fastest way to eliminate the use of choke, prong, and e-collars is to educate the public, free of charge, to avoid these collars at all cost.

On my youtube channel, and in my upcoming book, I strongly advise that the public to avoid giving money to trainers who advocate for the use of these tools in any way, even those who claim to use them correctly.

Is there anything I can do to get you on the same page with me on this issue? That is, do you see a path forward that excludes the use of these tools completely so that we might find common ground?

Either way, thank you for responding.

Zak George


Zak,

I don’t even know what to say about your email other then be sure to do your research because you may open yourself up to lawsuits on slander and accused of fraud if your facts are not straight and/or you don’t have the credentials to make certain blanket statements about certain training tools. You could also lose the respect of a lot of “balanced” trainers who admired your clicker work. I really do wish you success with your passion. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else other than working with dogs.If you are ever in new york, be sure to visit. I will gladly film and cross promote you giving alternatives to the clients and their dogs here. We are very open minded.

Sincerely,
Mike

related: Dominance in Dog Training Debunked: or is it?

Dog Trainer Profile: Zak George