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Slip Leads & Gundog Training

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Ben94, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. Ben94

    Ben94 PetForums Newbie

    Jan 1, 2020
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    So I recently decided to take my 7 month old Sprocker pup to a local gundog trainer. We're not planning on working her or taking her on shoots but being a spaniel I've had countless people recommend it's good functional training for her so I thought we'd give it a shot.

    The guy seems very knowledgable and the session was great apart from one area that I don't know how to feel about. Our pup's biggest downfall currently is lead pulling, the only way she is managing at the moment is on a head collar but ultimately I'd like to not have to rely on a piece of equipment. However the gundog trainer says he only uses metal slip leads (i.e. what looks like a choke chain to me) so my question is what is the advantages of slip leads, metal or otherwise for dogs? I get why working dogs would use them to be quickly slipped on and off etc... but wondered what the advantage would be for a non-working dog like mine (especially one who pulls like a train at the moment.) He kept assuring me it was not a choke chain and wouldn't harm her but the amount she pulls, she was visibly coughing during the session. Whilst I know the guy must be a great trainer and is far more knowledgeable than me, it just didn't sit right with me.

    Would love to hear peoples advice & experience as I'm not sure whether to take his advice and try persevering or not.

    P.s what would people's recommendations be for alternatives to the slip lead (if that's the case) in regards to standard collar & lead, harnesses, head collars etc...
  2. Sarah H

    Sarah H Grand Empress of the Universe

    Jan 18, 2014
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    If it's a full slip lead then it will just tighten and tighten until it can tighten no more. Basically a noose which is NOT good for dogs that pull. I'd go back to basic lead training with either a harness or normal collar, and use your head collar as a management too when needed. The only reason they use slips for gundogs is it's easy to get on and off, and collars tend to get caught in the undergrowth. It's just tradition, and lots of gundog trainers don't exactly move with the times and are very stuck in their ways,
  3. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Jan 5, 2013
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    A slip lead on a dog that pulls is a big No No imo.

    The dog is being strangled!

    I prefer a dog that pulls to be in a harness so no pressure on the throat, whilst working on the issue.

    A harness with a front clip often works well.

    Look at Kikopup for some tips on teaching a loose leash.

    Ime some working dog trainers use harsh methods.

    Maybe look at other classes where the trainers are all about positive, reward based methods?

    If a trainer makes you feel uneasy about following their advice that should be a red flag. Trust your instincts ;)
    Sairy, Burrowzig, O2.0 and 2 others like this.
  4. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Feb 1, 2016
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    And this might help.

    Lurcherlad likes this.
  5. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

    Oct 27, 2018
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    Sarah H is right: many gundog trainers take a very ‘traditional’ approach to training. (I used to shoot and I have nothing against the shooting world.) To be honest, if you’re not happy with him using that lead, tell him so and if he has a problem with that (you are, after all, a paying customer, I guess?) take your money elsewhere; I understand that good g7ndog training doesn’t come cheap, so you should feel you’re getting what YOU want. If you don’t want to tell him, just tell him thanks, but you’ve decided not to train her as a gundog...because she’s not going to be one. I’d be interested to know what advantage he feels a metal ‘slip lead’ gives him. I cannot think of any reason to use one unless you’re trying to choke the dog - at least a little....and why would you want to do that? And it certainly sounds like it’s causing your dog some discomfort which is not the way to go.
    I’d also say that just because your dog is a gundog breed, there’s no real NEED to put her through gundog training. You’re not going to use it, so why bother? I’d focus on good obedience training and if you want to provide something else for your dog you can do all sorts if things: agility, scurry training, search training, whatever you (and your dog fancy.) There are lots of ways to provide mental stimulation to your dog - which is what we’re really talking about here.
    Sairy, Burrowzig, Torin. and 2 others like this.
  6. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

    May 23, 2018
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    The advantage of a slip lead is that it makes it very hard for a dog to escape from. Most rescues require transport to be done in a slip lead - rightly so. Unknown dog with unknown human passing from hand to hand, makes sense to use a lead the dog can't back out of. That's the only time I personally would use a slip lead.

    You say your dog was coughing - I don't think it's a coincidence that so many older gundogs have some sort of throat issue like laryngeal paralysis, collapsed trachea, thyroid issues... A lifetime of having a noose around your neck is not without physical consequences.

    As suggested, a good harness and some more effective training. Also a longer leash. Sometimes having more play in the leash makes it easier for the dog to get out of the habit of pulling.
    Sairy, Burrowzig, Torin. and 2 others like this.
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