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Old 01-06-2014, 05:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Training Without a Prong

Opinions? I'm currently trying to learn as much as I can so I can start our future pup out on the right foot. I know I've heard before (which is really great advice) that any correction collar you are going to use in the future, you want to start on your dog BEFORE ever getting to the point of corrections, so the dog doesn't make the connection between the two. The thing of it is, I would really prefer training without a prong if at all possible. I understand this tends to take longer, but I'm ok with that since we're not going to be going after any high titles, just to have fun.

So I was wondering if any of you have trained without a prong and how you've found the process with your dog. Is it something we can work at, then change our minds later if we feel it necessary? I would think it would sort of be the same as conditioning a dog to get used to a muzzle, so long as the dog was introduced to the collar in "normal" settings before actually using it for corrections. Am I going to be looked at like I'm crazy if I don't want to use one?

Thanks!
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you don't want to use one, don't. Honestly I don't get to a point where I make a decision "now I'm going to train with a PRONG." It completely depends on the dog, what we're trying to accomplish, and even the day (I might use a prong for something one day and then not use it the next for the same dog, same skill). The prong is simply a tool just like a flat collar, a leash, a clicker, a ball, a treat pouch... I try not to make firm decisions about training before I'm to that point with my dog. I'll use whatever method or tool is appropriate at the time. You will not be looked at crazy if you don't want to use one but you'll probably be asked why you're making the decision ahead of time.

I don't understand the statement "any correction collar you are going to use in the future, you want to start on your dog BEFORE ever getting to the point of corrections, so the dog doesn't make the connection between the two." If I correct my dog I want him to understand the correction as a correction. They aren't dumb, they know where it comes from. If I have to give a dog a firm correction he often looks at me and complies, he doesn't try to scratch the collar off. And likewise if I pick up a prong collar ALL my dogs come running because they want to go out and jog/bike or train! The only connection they've made is that prong collar = going away from home and doing something fun. I don't condition dogs to prongs, either it's an appropriate tool or not. If it shuts the dog down, it's not appropriate and I would not be "conditioning" the dog to accept it (JMHO).
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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who cares? You have to be the one that is happy with YOUR dog and how YOU train right? If you get to where you want to go what difference does it make

But should you decide want to use one, and you just put it on one day and start correcting, they are certainly going to know what the collar is for. Just because it's on doesn't mean you have to use it and people are going to look at you funny for having it on and not using it, others will think things of you because you do have it on, regardless if a leash has ever been connected to it or not. these people don't matter.

It's the same with crates. I recommend EVERYONE crate train every single dog as soon as they get it. I don't care if you're "never" going to keep your dog in a crate, should you find a reason to be gone, travel, have a dog in a crate at a show, trial, friends house, hotel, vet clinic etc. I like my dogs to have that good foundation first where I can control it for "just in case"

if you make the prong mean nothing, it will help if you ever decide to use it in your training. If you don't do it now, you'll have to do it later, or you run the risk of teaching your dog to be collar wise
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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And likewise if I pick up a prong collar ALL my dogs come running because they want to go out and jog/bike or train! The only connection they've made is that prong collar = going away from home and doing something fun. I don't condition dogs to prongs, either it's an appropriate tool or not. If it shuts the dog down, it's not appropriate and I would not be "conditioning" the dog to accept it (JMHO).
I basically agree with everything, but this. You have conditioned them, you may not have intended to or thoughtfully went about it, but you have.
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you don't want to use one, don't. Honestly I don't get to a point where I make a decision "now I'm going to train with a PRONG." It completely depends on the dog, what we're trying to accomplish, and even the day (I might use a prong for something one day and then not use it the next for the same dog, same skill). The prong is simply a tool just like a flat collar, a leash, a clicker, a ball, a treat pouch... I try not to make firm decisions about training before I'm to that point with my dog. I'll use whatever method or tool is appropriate at the time. You will not be looked at crazy if you don't want to use one but you'll probably be asked why you're making the decision ahead of time.
*ditto* to this.
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I basically agree with everything, but this. You have conditioned them, you may not have intended to or thoughtfully went about it, but you have.
But if I put a prong on a dog, gave a correction, and my dog totally freaked out and shut down, I probably wouldn't be using the prong (possibly not owning the dog, but that's another discussion). I guess I interpreted the OP's post as asking how to intentionally condition the dog and my answer is, I don't. I just put the prong on and use it assuming the prong is the right tool at that time. It's always paired with some release or reward and it's not like the dog is cowering and trying to get away from the prong. They see me touch one or hear it jingle and want to go out.
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Old 01-06-2014, 06:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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ahh, i see.

I misinterpreted

I'm the same, when I use a prong, it goes on and sometimes I use it in a session, sometimes not, sometimes just to play etc. So, like you, it becomes something that is associated with everything.

My corrections are always corrections, verbal, flat, time out, prong etc. They know it's from me and I don't like what they just did.

When people get into trouble is when they just use a collar to correct. Not that it always results in a cowering dog, but i've seen plenty of people over the years bring their dog out to work on the "trial" field so they bring it out like they're going to trial, the dog is out of control and they go get their ecollar or prong and you can see the change in the dog immediately. It knows what's coming.

Or even more simple, a leash. how many dogs have you seen over the years "out" perfectly, until there is no leash and as soon as the handler clips a leash back on it's perfect

Those dogs are conditioned too

or my problem, put a leash on and they want to pull like crazy because the only time I ever had them leashed was for bitework all conditioned dogs
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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ahh, i see.
When people get into trouble is when they just use a collar to correct. Not that it always results in a cowering dog, but i've seen plenty of people over the years bring their dog out to work on the "trial" field so they bring it out like they're going to trial, the dog is out of control and they go get their ecollar or prong and you can see the change in the dog immediately. It knows what's coming.
This is exactly the sort of thing I meant. I've just been reading a lot about getting ready, lately, and the things I've read has mentioned making sure the dog just associates the prong with walks or games or training or whatever, and not, "I only get corrected while I'm wearing this collar, so I only need to listen while I'm wearing it."

You guys are really helping me go with my gut, thanks! The sport is just seems to go so hand in hand with the prong that I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. I have no problems giving a dog a "tap on the shoulder" if it needs to remember it should be listening, but I don't want to start out the gate thinking a prong is an inevitability. I'd much rather just cross that bridge when I come to it.

On a side note, all of this reading is making me SO excited about our future dog! I thought it was going to make the wait go by better, but it's almost making it worse! haha!
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh the drama about training collars! Tell you what, use a slight prong stim every time the dog does something good and you release/reward, now what....
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Last edited by Packen; 01-06-2014 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Double post
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Last edited by Packen; 01-06-2014 at 10:35 PM.
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