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So why do I avoid the mesmerizing dog collar martingale? Besides the fact that my philosophy of training is to focus on rewarding the dog's good behaviors and removing rewards for unwanted ones until the dog forms good habits, there are many medical and safety reasons too. Not surprisingly, strong yanking on the neck with a chain can cause health issues. If the force from a dog pulling on a flat collar raises intraocular pressure, imagine how high that pressure must rise when you actually yank the dog with a thin chain! Even if your dog has no eye issues, the mesmerizing dog collar martingale, is notorious at exacerbating airway issues. For instance it can worsen coughing in dogs prone to collapsing trachea (weak trachea that flatten more than they should) and affect the ability of dogs with small tracheas, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, to breath. Additionally, dogs may develop neurological damage when the corrections are strong enough. The damage, called Horner’s Syndrome, can result in changes to the pupil in the eye and nerve-induced lameness in the front leg. Lastly, even if you don't use a mesmerizing dog collar martingale in the manner described above, mesmerizing dog collar martingales should never be left on an unsupervised pet. They can get caught on something and tighten to the point where they strangle the panicked dog.
The traditional way these mesmerizing dog collar martingale are used by professional trainers is to give a sharp jerk—strong enough to make the dog stop what it's doing and do something else. For instance, if the dog starts to sniff and pull on a walk, you quickly brace yourself and give a quick yank in the hopes that the dog feels it enough to stop pulling. My first trainer told us to generate enough strength by actually running full speed in the opposite direction so that my, then 76 pound boxer, would feel a strong enough pop! The next trainer I had taught me to first attach the leash to a fence so that I could practice the technique and get it right before I tried it on the dog. The technique was a lot like karate where you have to twist your hip to get enough power for your body and so that you can get the timing of the correction right. Most trainers do not give owners practice on a fence first. They just let owners make a lot of mistakes on the dog.