Join Date: Jul 2005
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One of the things that is cheap, easy to get and is often effective on non-specific itchiness. Plain old white vinegar dilute 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water-put in a spray bottle and spray itchy spots.
Try using a round (round, not flat)fabric collar (made from braided rope--usually fuzzy on the surface instead of a metal one. Not sure from your description exactly what kind of metal collar you are using for training but metal, leather and fabric collars can all collect dirt and that can provide an irritant--collars should always be cleaned frequently. Detergent and water for metal and fabric and a good saddle soap for leather.
As far as e-collars go for training--I don't have a problem with them if you are using them AFTER the dog is actually trained--I don't think much of e-collar use for actually training itself--I have used them from time to time on dogs who were fully trained but liked to 'forget' stuff if they didn't really want to work. I use prong collars the same way--I use a micromini or mini prong as a reminder collar to sharpen up performance. My Dobes sometimes get to thinking that they don't have to pay close attention to what we (the team of me and the dog) are actually doing)--a light snap on a mini prong will remind the dog that gawking into space isn't the same as actually heeling.
My Australian Shepherd was my first experience with e-collars. He had been running when off leash for years--I often had to get total strangers in dog parks to call their dogs so I could retrieve him and go home. After awhile I gave up ever letting him off leash.
I never used to use e-collars until one of my tracking partners suggested it for cleaning up his act when it came to recalls. He was 7 years old and very fully trained and on a light line would come promptly when called even if the line was 100 feet long.
She brought along an e-collar--showed me the settings and how to use it. We were out on a commercial grass field and I took a deep breath and unsnapped his leash. He took off down a farm road toward a farm pond. I called him--he didn't flick an ear, just kept going. I turned it up a notch and called him again--that time he jumped and looked back--I raised it one more notch and called again--he turned left, yipped and kept going I was about to give up--I felt terrible I was making my dog squeak and he STILL wasn't coming back. My partner said "Don't stop now!--so I up the level one more notch--by this time my Aussie was in a peppermint field--he stopped and turned around to look at me. My partner said "Go get him, don't make him come to you now..."
I went and waded through peppermint--told my dog, once he was at my side, that he was a good dog (he wasn't but I didn't want to get into any arguments at that point.) We walked out of the field. He was off leash but he didn't run. My friend said to tell him it was OK to run--I turned the Doberman loose and she sent the lab she had off and I told the Aussie it was OK to go--he trotted off after the other dogs but kept looking back--she said "Call him and the Dobe now!" I did, and he came with the other dogs and he never ran away again. He came when called--first time, everytime.
Used properly I think e-collars are very effective--but it makes me cringe and yipe watching people try to do initial training on some poor dog who doesn't have a clue what you want him to do.