I Lost My Quick Start Guide. When Should My Dog Wear The Training Equipment, etc.?

My Quick Start Guide comes with the purchase of all complete Perfect Dog systems and provides – amongst many other topics – a detailed explanation of when to use my training tools and what to watch out for. However, if you’ve lost your Quick Start Guide and can’t remember my advice – or you didn’t get a chance to read it before the guide went missing, you can read my following summary.

Basically, have your dog wear the Command Collar constantly – with one of the Freedom Training Lines that’s most appropriate for the situation (e.g. medium length line in the house, longest line when outside in a non-fenced area, and shortest line after you’ve made quite a lot of progress and just need to correct your dog now and then).

For safety reasons, remove the training equipment whenever the dog cannot be supervised (e.g. you leave him alone at home for a time), and also at bed time (but be sure to put the equipment back on your dog first thing in the morning).

Having the dog wear the equipment all of the time works to reprogram your dog away from his defaults, overriding the negative ones and replacing them with positive ones as you progress with the training.

As your dog shows regular signs of compliance and self-governance, you can start to wean him off of the training equipment. For example, on walks you would start with the longest line, then transition to the medium line over time, then to the shortest, then to no line at all, and eventually to even no collar (maybe just his flat collar to hold his dog tags) once you’ve reached the “Trust Zone” with him. Inside the house, you would begin with the medium line (the longest one will get caught on objects, so leave that one for outside work) and then gradually wean him down to the same point.

Every dog will progress at a different rate with his own particular hurdles to overcome, but the process is still the same. If you’re having struggles, consider the rate at which you’ve transitioned with the Freedom Training Lines. Perhaps you changed lines too quickly and now your dog is taking advantage of situations because he knows you can’t get hold of him quickly (because he’s wearing a shorter line than usual).

By the way, the point of having your dog wear the equipment all of the time (apart from the exceptions noted) is so you’re ready and able to correct the dog any time and anywhere, as soon as he misbehaves or disobeys. The dog will quickly learn and come to believe that he cannot get away with anything.

When you begin to see true humility in his eyes and sense that he’s deferring to you as his leader, you can start weaning him down the lines and eventually off of the equipment because you’ve effectively changed his heart toward you. He’s come to accept (and learn to self-govern within) the new rules and boundaries you’ve set for him.

– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”

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