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Old 11-05-2012, 02:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Should I use a prong collar?

My dog is about to be 9 months old and is very obedient in the house, he knows all the basic commands and some tricks. Even outside he's obedient for the most part, he has a very good heel and I'm able to keep him focused except for one thing, which is cars. His hair stands on end and he stares at the car until it gets close then once its passing us he lunges at them. I've tried everything to get his attention, he refuses to take food, my leash corrections only work for a split second then he's lunging again and I can say no til I'm blue in the face and he doesn't hear me. I tried doing circles, he lunges as soon as we get turned back around again. I make him sit by the road to try and de-sensitize him to the cars, and as long as I make him sit before he sees the car he will stay, but still won't take food and still very focused on the car.

I've been using a regular nylon collar but since my leash corrections are basically useless when this happens I think I need to try something else. I've looked at martingale collars, prong collars and harnesses. I tried a choke chain, about as useful as the flat collar, and I really don't want to use an electric collar because my parents used one on their dog and it didn't stop the bad behavior, just gave the dog a nasty looking wound on the front of his neck where it delivered the shock. I've had to start walking him in the park where the cars are far enough away that they don't seem to bother him as much just to get him some exercise. I'm really worried he's going to get hurt or he's going to get ME hurt since he's getting bigger and can already easily overpower me. Should I try a different collar or is that not the problem?
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If your dog can overpower you, then it's time to change something. Are you anticipating the cars coming and trying to get his focus to you before the car is close enough for him to react? Since trying to de-sensitize hasn't worked, it sounds like you've got to get his attention off the car and back to you. It's just my opinion, but I'd go with a prong collar at this point to put an end to this. It's dangerous. You need a clear and consistent reaction to his obsession. The trick is, it's got to be the same thing, every single time. You deviate once, and it's all over. Use the prong to break his fixation if you've already lost his attention. Otherwise, use it to get his attention on you before the car gets too close. Engage him in obedience runs until the car is passed. Then praise, praise and praise. If you don't catch him in time, break that concentration right away and get the focus back to you. Do NOT wimp out on this. His behaviors could cause him and you your lives if he overpowers you. Make sure the prong is fitted correctly. Make sure you know exactly how to correct with it. If he's already out at the end of the lead, you're not going to get the right correction. He's already been self-gratifying for some time with this, so you have to make it absolutely clear that this is NOT allowed...ever. Expect some yipping in the beginning.

I'd suspect that you've got some nervous energy running down the lead by this time. You've got to get rid of that. It's encouragement to the dog to do this behavior. Don't tighten the lead when a car is approaching. Keep the lead tighter the entire time so there's no change to put the dog on alert. Don't avoid cars... you're trying to correct this so go where they are.

I'm sure others will have other opinions on this. This is just mine. Dangerous behaviors are not to be fooled around with, IMO. They need to be stopped, and quick. With the amount of time this dog has been doing this, I would go directly to the prong without hesitation and issue harsh correction.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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A prong has worked wonders for my two. I do believe that it'll help you redirect/catch his attention when he behaves this way toward cars. It's important that you learn how to use one correctly and I agree with Jag that you need a harsh correction for this type of behavior; it puts both of you at risk and it's important to be safe...ask away if you need help fitting or using a prong...
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Some people don't like them, however my dog responded very well. The first time I put it on, she threw a tantrum for a minute or two. Now, she has no problem with it whatsoever. She does not pull at all. Mine even had rubber covers on the prongs.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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forget about devices (a certain collar, a certain leash,
a harness, etc.). find a trainer.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
forget about devices (a certain collar, a certain leash,
a harness, etc.). find a trainer.
A trainer will suggest a certain collar, I'm sure! But definitely find a good trainer!
Are you able to provide proper exercise(besides walks?) so your dog can get out some energy? I would try to find a good herding instructor/trainer if you have that option available.

If my dog was having this issue, I'd go with either an e-collar or a prong. E-collar will not be a quick fix if you are doing it right, there is a foundation to set/can't just slap one on and stim away, the dog needs to be trained ON that collar before you start the correction for car chasing.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It sounds like a pretty extreme reaction to the automobiles. That is interesting, but not unheard of. Some dogs chase cars. There was a border collie down the road... (story for another time).

The pup is nine months old, I think you should go ahead and try the prong. If it works, then you are ahead of the game, and maybe in a couple of months, you will not need the prong. I don't think it will make things worse.

I think it is more disturbing to think that I might be overpowered by my dog. Our dogs are smart, scary smart, but not human smart. This is why a seven year old kid can properly manage a schutzhund dog in a trial. That small, skinny child does not think that the dog can over power her. GSD owners have to have confidence. If we do not have confidence, our dogs will quickly recognize that and either walk all over us, or they will be very insecure and believing that they must take control of situation.

[IMG]http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/data:image/gif,GIF89a%12%00%12%00%B3%00%00%FF%FF%FF%F7%F7%EF% CC%CC%CC%BD%BE%BD%99%99%99ZYZRUR%00%00%00%FE%01%02 %00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%0 0%00%00%00%00%21%F9%04%04%14%00%FF%00%2C%00%00%00% 00%12%00%12%00%00%04X0%C8I%2B%1D8%EB%3D%E4%00%60%2 8%8A%85%17%0AG*%8C%40%19%7C%00J%08%C4%B1%92%26z%C7 6%FE%02%07%C2%89v%F0%7Dz%C3b%C8u%14%82V5%23o%A7%13 %19L%BCY-%25%7D%A6l%DF%D0%F5%C7%02%85%5B%D82%90%CBT%87%D8i7 %88Y%A8%DB%EFx%8B%DE%12%01%00%3B[/IMG]
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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there's a big difference in a trainer advicing usuing
a certain collar as opposed to a civilian.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doggiedad View Post
forget about devices (a certain collar, a certain leash,
a harness, etc.). find a trainer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post

>>>>A trainer will suggest a certain collar, I'm sure!<<<<

But definitely find a good trainer!
Are you able to provide proper exercise(besides walks?) so your dog can get out some energy? I would try to find a good herding instructor/trainer if you have that option available.

If my dog was having this issue, I'd go with either an e-collar or a prong. E-collar will not be a quick fix if you are doing it right, there is a foundation to set/can't just slap one on and stim away, the dog needs to be trained ON that collar before you start the correction for car chasing.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm working on a similar reaction, Selzer. Grim was born out in the country. He had a violent reaction the first time a car drove by. I took him out to do desensitizing. It got better, but he'll still stop during walks and fixate on the car. I can't get a correction on the flat collar, and his attention to it is unbreakable. I ordered a martingale collar to put an end to this before he gets older. I don't want him even LOOKING at the cars going by. He started to take off after a couple, but with a leash correction and stern verbal correction that ended. I've NEVER had a shepherd do this, but I suppose if the first time you see a car is at 11-12 weeks old, that could cause it. It's a constant work in progress. If he's still pulling this at an older age, I will most definitely up the corrections until it stops. He can't overpower me, though. I agree with working on the leadership, but the car chasing needs to stop immediately.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Honestly before training I was using a harness for bubbles I really liked it. My trainer said I have to use a choke collar. Lately Bubbles has been wanting to chase cars. The choke collar does nothing. She is determined lol ! When I see or hear a car I try to go in a different direction. That's not a solution but its an idea until you find a solution. Bubbles is in training classes for impulse control and other behavior training. Like others said its a good idea to find a trainer.
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