At Melissa's Happy Dogs we set your dog up for success. We introduce them to the tools we use as a secondary layer of training reinforcement and provide each owner with a list so they may purchase them on their own or here at our facility during their pick-up session. Your dog may not need to be introduced to all of the tools we use.
At your pick-up session, Owners will be educated on the proper use and placement of each tool.
E-Collar (Mini Educator/Micro Educator)
must have tool
The infamous "shock collar"... we want you to be 100% assured that we do not "shock" your dog.
An e-collar is an electronic training aid. This is a wireless remote which the Owner carries and a wireless receiver your dog wears close to his neck to assist in COMMUNICATION. E-Collars are used to teach the difference between good and undesired behavior by sending feedback through electric blunt stimulation delivered through the collar (not a "shock", but a pulsing wave sensation; similar to a TENS unit used at chiropractor and physical therapist offices). There are a varying amount of settings, which range from very low to high - so you CONTROL the level of stimulation. Some e-collars (like the ones we use) have the option of vibration and tone settings, which cause the receiver to vibrate or "beep" rather than have electric stimulation.
How do we implement e-collars in training?
We implement e-collars as a secondary layer of reinforcement to behavior taught through positive reinforcements; mainly used at a distance when your dog isn't on a leash. All commands and manners are taught through constant repetition and positive reinforcements; once your dog understands these commands and manners, they will be layered with e-collar conditioning (only dangerous behaviors will be immediately corrected with an e-collar so your dog can learn to make better choices). We use e-collars to communicate with dogs on off-leash walks when they are too far or in situations which may end up in damage/injury. We use e-collars as a teaching aid and not a form of punishment.
The electronic collars/remote training collars we use, trust, and recommend are the E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator and Micro Educator. These e-collars are also available in 2-dog systems with dedicated buttons and memory settings for each dog's correction setting (all dogs are different and respond to different levels of stimulation).
we introduce all dogs to prong collars except young dogs or dogs under 10lbs
The scary collar with teeth...
Many who oppose prong collars only criticize them for their structure but not their purpose. Initial thoughts on seeing a prong collar often involve concern for their dog's throat and neck. Prong collars have gained a bad reputation due to the misuse of some Owners; and while we don't condone inhumane activity caused by these Owners, it isn't the tool's fault.
The prong collar, sometimes referred to as a pinch collar, is designed as a series of connected links with prong structures worn inward. A prong collar's primary function is to apply pressure to your dog's neck area whenever they pull their leash. The prongs have a dull end (not sharp), so they do not puncture your dog (buyer beware, cheaply made prong collars may have sharp ends). With the various prongs along the collar, these pressure points provide an even amount of pressure to your dog's neck and assist you in COMMUNICATING with your dog. Prong collars should only be worn by your dog any time a leash is attached. Once you are done with your walk or remove the leash, remove the prong collar to avoid possible injury to your dog.
How do we implement prong collars in training?
We implement the prong collar as a communication tool when walking your dog on a leash. Your dog will learn proper leash walking first before being introduced to a prong collar.
The prong collar we use, trust, and recommend is the Herm Sprenger 2.25mm Prong Collar. We use this specific collar with breeds of all sizes. Additional links can be purchased to increase the length of the collar, as well as prong caps for dogs with metal allergies or sensitive necks. For dogs with extremely thick coats (such as a Great Pyrenees or Malamutes) we recommend this prong collar in 3.0mm.
Elevated Dog Bed
must have tool
The Elevated Dog Bed is our go to bed for place work. Your dog will spend time on this cot while they work on relaxing and laying there as we implement distractions. The goal of using this bed is to provide your dog a place they can go when the Owner decides they need rest, lay down, or relax if visitors are expected. This bed provides your dog a place to lounge. It is easily movable so the Owner can place it anywhere in the house.
How do we implement elevated dog beds in training?
We use elevated dog beds in place work, a place to reinforce stay commands, a place for your dog to self sooth and relax. It provides them a safe place where they can practice self control, and plays a big role in solidifying a good "stay" foundation.
Why elevated dog beds over regular dog beds?
We choose elevated dog beds over regular dog beds because it provides a clear, physical boundary between on and off. When sending a dog to place there isn't a confusion as your dog can't be half on place and half on the ground.
The elevated dog bed/pet cot we use, trust, and recommend is the K&H Original Pet Cot. These cots come in various sizes and have available accessories such as a micro fleece top pad, cot canopy (for outdoors), and more.
A Slip lead is a leash that includes a loop at the end of it that is used as a collar for the dog. With a slip lead there are no clips, since the leash loops around the dog's neck itself. A Slip lead is a safety measure that allows you to quickly catch and secure a dog that is loose or to transport them when they are nervous; it also ensures that a dog doesn't slip out of its collar if their collar is loose. Slip leads are designed to loosen immediately after a subtle leash correction or when your dog is not pulling.
How do we implement slip leads in training?
We use slip leads to bring dogs into our facility at drop-off, this way there is no way your dog can slip out if they are hesitant or nervous when arriving. We use it to teach dogs how to have something around their neck if they've never been walked on a leash or ever wear collars. All dogs learn everything with the slip lead prior to us introducing them to a prong collar.
The slip leads we use, trust, and recommend are the Mendota Slip Leads. These slip leads come in a variety of colors and our go-to size is the 6ft slip lead in 3/8 inch (small) diameter.
Leashes are used to control your dog by attaching it to their collar. We do not use or recommend extendable/retractable leashes; these leashes are unsafe as the dog or Owner can get tangled up, they may snap with enough tension, and you can't provide structure on a leash that extends/retracts.
The leashes we use, trust, and recommend are the Mendota Snap Leashes. These leashes come in a variety of colors and we recommend them in 4ft length and 1/2 inch (large) diameter. Their circular shape and broken-in feel are great in your hands.
Pet Corrector Spray
The pet corrector spray is simply an interruptor used to distract dogs and gives us a chance to correct unwanted behavior. It is a can of compressed air that is similar to a "Schhh" sound. The spray should never be directed at the direction of your dog, should be tested for sensitivity at a distance, and should never be used with dogs that are fearful or anxious.
How do we implement pet corrector sprays in training?
We rarely, if ever, use this tool in training. In the event we use this tool it is used as an interruptor to unwanted behavior such as excessive barking, crate pawing, jumping, etc.
The pet corrector spray we use, trust, and recommend is the Company of Animals Pet Corrector.