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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Bad Idea: The Illusion Collar

The Illusion Collar is a product designed by television show host Cesar Milan for the purpose of making slip collars easier to use, more effective, and more likely to injure your dog. It places the slip collar up at the very top of the dog's neck, where the most sensitive structures are located. This causes the dog the most pain and very efficiently cuts off the airway when pressure is applied. The Illusion Collar, and the newer version the Pack Leader Collar, uses a double collar with a rigid piece in between to force the slip collar to stay at the top of the neck.

What's Wrong With It?

  • It works the same as a regular slip collar. Despite the elaborate double collar system, the Illusion Collar only works if you keep the dog at your side and pull the leash up. As soon as the force is applied from behind the dog instead of above, the collar becomes significantly less effective. If you're already holding your dog at your side with upward collar pressure, you don't need a funky neck brace to keep it there. 
  • It doesn't last. Unless you are walking your dog like the only thing keeping the slip collar in place is you pulling up on it while your dog walks at your side, the Pack Leader won't last very long. The rigid structures on the collar eventually soften, and allow the double collar to slide down.
  • That's not how slip collars are supposed to work anyway. Fee your own neck, just under your chin. See how you've got all those blood vessels, glands, and your windpipe and trachea all right there? Totally unprotected? Your dog has all that same stuff in the same place, and the Illusion Collar puts pressure on all of them. Traditional slip collars are used to give brief corrections when used correctly, and are loose the rest of the time. Used incorrectly, a slip collar normally puts pressure lower on the neck as the dog pulls into it. This thing allows a dog to pull with the most sensitive part of their neck, putting constant pressure in the worst possible place. Or allowing brief corrections in the worst possible place.
Really, there's no winning here. The Illusion Collar and Pack Leader Collar are quick and dirty ways to improve your dog's behavior. I would much rather see a prong collar on a dog than one of these monstrosities.

11 comments:

  1. Totally disagree. I tried every collar ever made, and so did my 6'3" man, and we could not control our beautiful crazy Pointer on a leash. Even shock collars did not work. This collar, used correctly, saved all of us.It lasted for many years, and I will save it for my next dog.

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  2. I completely agree with Sherri. I am a veterinary technician and a pet sitter and this is the best collar I have used. I am so sad that it is not available anymore

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  3. I fully agree with the two previous reviewers. I really don't think the The Dog Geek understands a dog's neck anatomy. Let a slip collar slip down on your dog's neck and he or she will pull, cough, and possibly damage his or her throat. The Illusion / Pack Leader collar will prevent this from happening.

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    1. Please provide evidence that any dog, anywhere, has ever suffered any kind of injury from a collar worn "too low" and I will reconsider my position.

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    2. I'll use your same dumb logic. Slow me evidence that any dog had ever been injured by having a collar work too high. Look at the dog shows! Where do the handlers position their slip collars while in the ring? Right behind the ears, that's where.

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    3. Show dogs are.not being walked for an extended period of time on a high collar, nor are they receiving leash corrections in the ring.

      Here is a dog injured by being lifted by a correctly-placed choke chain, with mention of the damage that can be inflicted by these collars. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S155878781300004X

      Here is a veterinarian reporting injuries back in 1981: http://animalstudiesrepository.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=acwp_ca

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  4. Couple of things with your last comment,
    Showdogs are always receiving leash corrections in the ring. Collars belong up high on the neck and you'll find each dog has its own preference with the position of the ring and they will let you know. Why would we change the position of the collar from showing to general leash training? The dog is much more comfortable getting one effective correction vs 10 ineffective ones at the base of the neck.
    That first link you added is not correct use of a check chain. I've seen multiple injuries from harnesses as well when they are used incorrectly.
    The second link is 38 years old, back then they believed desexing was harmless. Is there anything more recent not backed by places like Peta, rspca etc?

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    1. What dog shows are you going to, that you see dogs getting popped on their tiny string leashes all the time?

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  5. I generally go most weeks with a pretty successful show team so lots of them, popped is overstating it and very emotive language.
    The corrections on a check chain are only a flick of the wrist, any more than that and you will knock my breeds and most others off their gait.

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  6. Well here is the thing the illusion color is made to train your dog to stay my your side. It does not need to be used long term if you truly are capable of training an animal. Many larger breed dogs will choke themselves when they are on normal collars and never learn to stay by your side. Harnesses are designed to encourage a dog to pull which is the opposite evct wanted from training a dog to walk on a leash. They can be used when you are training your dog to pull.

    I have been traing horses and dogs for the past 20 years and I can tell you that there are many levels to training and the barbaric metal collars used over the past how many years are much less effective that this design... and once again if you knew anything at all about traing animals these sort of tools are meant for training only not long term use. If a trainer or pet owner does their job correctly then they do not need any dog leashes or colors...its call natural animal training where you teach your animal to trust you.

    You really should spend some time actually training animals before you attempt to present your ignorant opinions as fact.

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  7. I respectfully disagree with your sentiment, dog geek. A dog's neck is much more powerful than a human being's neck, and there's really no comparison. If you were to compare the muscle map of a human neck to a dog's, you'd see that their windpipe, larynx, and trachea much more protected than a humans. Their sternohyoid is twice as thick as ours, as this is one of many muscles that give them the jaw pressure that they have. All canine animals are also known to correct members of their pack, especially the younger ones, by making contact with the neck. This collar's functionality is the most accurate means of what happens in nature. It's intuitive to correcting hyper-focus, and moves the effectively points the brain into the right direction. If anyone knows where I can find a smaller one for a sweet, highly energetic Pitbull I'm fostering, I'd be super appreciative.

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