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Can head collars gently keep heads up?

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by Iain and Miyuki, Aug 25, 2021.

  1. Iain and Miyuki

    Iain and Miyuki New Member Registered

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    We've got a 9-week-old puppy who loves our garden but keeps eating anything she finds, and chewing up grass. We haven't tried to stop her too much, but yesterday she vomited and now we feel we have to stop this, especially since she hasn't had all her vaccinations yet.
    However, the only way to do this is to pull her head up when she grabs something, which she really pulls against to the extent that she starts choking and upsetting herself.
    Would a head collar be effective in lifting her head up more gently? If not, does anyone know what else might work?
     
  2. Ash2021

    Ash2021 Member Registered

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    No experience of head collars, am sure someone will be along shortly

    good luck with your 9 week old lab - personally I would start training leave and use his food as training treats - use every meal time as a training session
     
  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Puppies are like toddlers, they explore with their mouths.

    But rather than using a head collar I'd do three things.

    First restrict her access to only safe places (a harness or a fence, to keep her on relatively safe grass rather than gravel).

    Second and third, train ”leave it” (don't pick it up) and ”drop it” (let it go if you have picked it up).

    These videos will show you how.





    Regarding head collars, have a read here -

    The Problem With Head Halters – Suzanne Clothier/Carpe Canem Inc.
     
    Ash2021 likes this.
  4. excuseme

    excuseme Well-Known Member Registered

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    It is perfectly natural for our dogs and puppies to eat grass and sometimes soil. Being sick afterwards can be perfectly normal too, I never stop any of ours doing this..
    .
     
  5. Inka

    Inka Active Member Registered

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    ALL babies including puppies learn about the world around them by picking up, chewing, mouthing things around them, it is a learning opportunity so
    will just teach your young pup it is 'wrong' what she is doing ( and its not) it could very well make her hand shy and also likely to grab and run.
    So clean/clear an area where you can take her which is safe for her to learn normal puppy behaviour, like chewing/eating grass/ soil, with toilet training you either have her on a lead or let it trail so you have or can get control and at the same time you teach 'leave it', showing her/giving her something else of higher value you already have in your hand ( like a toy you keep for that reason, not just any toy she plays with normally) as a swap and also at the same time, you are practicing recall as she comes to you.

    I would not be using any gadgets sold like this for any dog let alone a 9 week old pup, people use them in the wrong way and neck injuries can easily be caused
     
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  6. Iain and Miyuki

    Iain and Miyuki New Member Registered

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    The problem we're having when training is that we can't hold his attention in the garden with treats or toys because the garden is full of those, but much better, to his mind! A tuft is simultaneously tastier than treats and better for tugging than a human-manipulated tuggy toy!
    We've had to move training and playing inside because there are too many distractions. I'll let you know how Leave training goes.
     
  7. Iain and Miyuki

    Iain and Miyuki New Member Registered

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    Absolutely agree, but currently we haven't found anything "of higher value"!

    We were thinking of getting a playpen to keep her only on the lawn and away from gravel and woodchips, but he'd still be on the lawn with lots of grass to eat. Should we just let him do it and put up with the vomit?

    Actually, this reminds me of a further issue: if the puppy associates picking up something undesirable (to us) with getting a high-value treat or toy, wouldn't that reinforce that problematic behaviour?
     
  8. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    not if your timing is right. If you get it right, he associates the swap, not the picking up. I'd use a clicker so the reward is delayed for a second or two. I'm running really late (barbecue at 5 and I'm not even showered - eek) but look at clicker training here

    Training with a clicker

    But @JudyN can add more :D
     
  9. Inka

    Inka Active Member Registered

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    As already said
     
  10. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    I just want to make a general point that I think is important: I used to worry that my dog would learn to associate the unwanted behaviour with a high-value treat, but in his youth he had a LOT of unwanted behaviours and got a LOT of treats when he stopped doing them, and in general, this has never been a problem. To get the treat he has to come to me and focus on me, and that is the behaviour that has been rewarded.

    Now, I have known him to stand over a cow poo and look at me expectantly, waiting for me to tell him to leave it. And in the park, where I often call him away from other dogs, he actually started going a little way towards other dogs then stopping, just so I would call him and reward the recall - and now occasionally just stops anyway so I recall him. But I don't mind that at all as he's not doing the unwanted behaviour, and I rather like his initiative!

    Yes, you want to get the timing right as far as possible, but in my experience the odd mistake isn't going to be a problem in the long run.
     
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  11. Ari_RR

    Ari_RR Well-Known Member Registered

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    Lol, yes! Familiar with the problem!
    Both my Ridgebacks when they were puppies loved sticks, grass, all that… (which would then come out the other end in sometimes weird ways).
    Bottom line here - both eventually grew out of sticks. Occasional vomiting was not extraordinary pleasant, but there isn’t much wrong with it either.
    Both retained mild interest in grass, but obsession solved itself within a few months, I would think.
    So, my 2 cents - forget using head collar as a preventative device, keep training up (“leave it”, etc.), keep experimenting with high value treats, and don’t worry too much about grass and sticks - it will most likely pass on its own.
    But do make sure there are no harmful pesticides or similar things on the grass he is on.
     
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  12. Inka

    Inka Active Member Registered

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    You make something 'high value' meaning it is better than the norm.... so go and purchase a dog toy that has a different texture than what you have lready bought that you can interactively play with the pup, that also fits in your pocket and it belongs to you, it is NEVER left on the floor or given to the pup to play on its own with ( otherwise it loses its value)... the high value is the pup gets to play with it, with you and when you decide play is over you put it back in your pocket
     
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  13. Iain and Miyuki

    Iain and Miyuki New Member Registered

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    Thanks, I really like this idea of something with a different texture and kept in my pocket. The pet shop really is learning to love us!
     
  14. Iain and Miyuki

    Iain and Miyuki New Member Registered

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    Thank you, the reason we're worried is because there's been lots of weedkiller sprayed over the woodchips over the years. Not for about 3 months, followed by lots of rain, but still a worry.
     
  15. Iain and Miyuki

    Iain and Miyuki New Member Registered

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    Thanks for all your replies. It's hard to believe we've only had Aki (for that is his name) for 4 days. Our biggest worry is just that he isn't happy, but he's only been separated from his mum and brothers and sisters for such a short time so I suppose we can't expect too much now.
     
  16. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Does Aki seem unhappy? Does he/she have playful times, or times when he seems content? (You use both 'he' and 'she' so I'm not sure if he's a male or female.) Does he seem quieter than you were expecting?
     

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