Training an Abused Poodle

by Gajan Retnasaba on November 23, 2010

Sharlene from North Carolina asks about how to train a dog that is more skittish than usual, due to abuse at the hands of a past owner. The answer is that training is not much different, but as an owner you need to make sure not to compensate and coddle the dog after a correction. This is likely to make them even more fearful.
If an owner is concerned about corrections hurting a dog, I often encourage them (where safe) to try the correction on them self. The correction is very unpleasant (that is the point), but there is no lingering pain. It really is not that bad … and a dog should have no problem dealing with getting a correction as long as we don’t make it worse.

Hi,
I’ve read your reviews and have found them to be very helpful. I have one question regarding the con on the Innotek IUC 4100. I have 3 poodles. They range in age from 15 years old for an 11 pound mini and 2 standards that are 2 years old; 42 and 52 pounds. I’m concerned about the color not being able to have different correction levels. I probably will not have a collar for the 15 year old as he has heart condition and only goes about 5 feet from the door before he comes in.
The standards are a different story. They are your typical 2 year old poodles, if one does something the other will jump in to participate. My 42 pound male is a rescue dog and as a pup was abused. The owner allowed a 3 year old throw a truck at Shane and when Shane snapped at the child the Dad (I say dad because he’s still afraid of males) had to have beaten him. I’m afraid that a strong correction will set him back and undo all the progress I’ve made. The 52 pound female can be a little skittish with anything new. Sunny’s (the girl) favorite thing thing to do is to escape and get around barriers. In addition, I’m not sure that I could do the work around on the collars, I’m not very mechanical.
Also, I have a question regarding the wiring for any of the systems. Can heavier duty wire be purchased where the wire can be put on top of the ground with the ground “staples”? Will the twisted wire work with the Innotek 4100?
Sharlene
North Carolina

Hi Sharlene,

That is an awful story, I am glad he has been lucky enough to find a new home with you.

With two dogs of the same breed and similar size, they are both going to be on the same correction level – so I don’t think you will need the independent correction. But, if you intend to get another mini, down the road you may be better off getting something with independent correction now. For you two big poodles, the PetSafe Deluxe would be a good choice.

If you are concerned about the correction, start on low – I don’t think you will need much more for a standard poodle. It will be very important for you to project confidence. As always, never act fearful or coddle the dog after a correction. Simply carry on with the training. The dog is taking cues from you, their leader. If you feel like your dog is getting overwhelmed, switch off the correction and continue training with just the beep.

One thing to watch out for with poodles when you start your second week of training (when we start introducing the correction) is that the collars are properly fitted. Without a proper fit, the collars do not work. So use your fingers to move the hair out of the way and jiggle the collar until you get the probes contacting the skin. You should use the “collar fit” test on the 4100 to check that you have a good fit. It is tricky the first 2-3 times, but once you know what a good fit looks like it will be easy.

Wes Riojas
General Manager

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