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Old 01-02-2014, 01:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default First few walks with pinch collar, advice/opinions

We got Drago a pinch collar the other day and had previously done a fair amount of reading on using it. Just wanted to outline how a few walks went and get some feedback to make sure we are using it properly and whatnot.

I did my best with sizing it, he is kind of in between links and the tighter of the two sizes still fell down onto his shoulders after a while walking so we went with the looser of the two. After letting him walk the house with it on and showing no real worry for it we went on a walk (forgot to bring a reward tug with us the first time so tried to keep it short).

He was cautious at first, doing that ears back unsure panting kind of thing, but he got used to it within half a block before getting any correction. Focused on timing verbal correction with popping the leash whenever the leash got some tension, and when he was just getting amped up and wanting to walk fast I would get him to sit until he calmed down and reward with a tug.

We were in a new area, and of all things Drago was skittish of the trash cans on the curb for pick up day. We got out of that area and walked ten minutes or so before returning to the neighborhood and I would stop before he even noticed a trash can, have him sit and wait for a bit. Decrease the distance, sit and wait, decrease distance, sit and wait, and then walk past the trash can having him focus on his tug then rewarding with the tug after we passed it. Lather rinse and repeat and he was mostly apathetic to the trash cans. I kept thinking that this seemed like an opportunity to make a mistake in using the pinch collar. Am I correct? You would not want to do physical corrections for being a little skittish and avoiding them right?

I also tried clipping from the pinch to his flat collar several times to see if his behavior would change, shortly after doing so he felt the difference and did seem to put more pressure on the leash. But it was better than before, and so we would just clip back into the prong and off we went.

There was also an instance where a litle girl was sweeping the front porch and it got Drago interested. He did the ears forward mouth closed very intent look at her, and I corrected him and focused him on his tug until we were past and he did not care anymore, then reward. He did not want to do anything other than run up and play with her, but I would prefer he did not pay attention to kids he does not know.

Each walk was ended with a short tug session in the front yard and lots of praise. There was a noticeable improvement in his walking, and we are going to try and transfer this over to going to the park and see how it works.







And some pictures, because who does not want to see more pictures of shepherds
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Personally, I would not make a correction if he's showing nervousness to something. That will only make him think the 'bad thing' hurts him. It's normal for them to go through fear stages when they are young, I usually try not to make a big deal of it. Give him more space from it if he's nervous and reward when he shows signs of relaxing.

I think the best thing is to reward with a treat, if he likes them, particularly if you are working at keeping him from getting amped up. I would think the tug would get him more revved up.

That is a good looking pup you have!
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It sounds to me like you are doing well, and making good judgement calls. I'd wait on going to the dog park with the pinch. I would continue to walk him around your neighbourhood until he is more relaxed and responsive to you.

I'm a bit confused about the sizing and fit of the prong. You said that one of the two collars you tried on him fell down to his shoulders, so you went with the looser one? Did you mean the smaller, tighter one? It should be snug enough that it does not slip down.
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The collar should be very snug and high on the neck, basically just behind the ears with the active ring just under the right ear. Properly fitted it will not slip down and properly fitted you will not need to "pop" the dog since it will self correct if you're holding the leash in the correct position - just use quick turns to refocus the dog and mark the behavior you like with a "YES!" and then a food reward or the tug or praise (if you tug put some slack in that leash so the prong doesn't engage!)
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Leerburg Dog Training | How to Fit a Prong Collar

This might help with fitting the prong properly
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ditto to some of the PP on fit. The collar should NOT be loose to the point of slipping down, it needs to fit comfortably but not loosely.

And yes, the prong is almost completely a self-correct collar. I've used them on 4 of our dogs--hoping to not need it with Odin, but still have two around just in case. After fighting your dog on a leash for a while it can be too easy to over-correct on a prong, so be careful not to.

On the other hand, it should make daily walks MUCH more enjoyable for both of you!
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone for the responses! My apologies for being unclear, we have one collar. Since he is sort of in between links right now in size it seems either too tight or too loose. Say if he is at 7 links a finger under a prong feels a fair amount of discomfort, while 8 links slides down to his shoulders after walking a while. What is preferred? I tried to keep it up behind his ears but it did slack at times. He is not super pain sensitive so would having it be applying a fair amount of pressure be ok?

We normally do treat rewards on walks using carrots, but we were visiting family and had none on hand. Also we started marking good behavior the day we got him with "yes!" and it worked wonderfully. If you say it he snaps his little head over and his eyes are glowing with anticipation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammaD View Post
(if you tug put some slack in that leash so the prong doesn't engage!)
Never thought of that one thank you!

Another thing, on one of our first walks he threw up bile. He normally does this in the morning from not having eaten enough, and everything points to that being the cause. I just wanted to make sure that it may not have been from the prong collar being to tight or choking or something like that. Thoughts?
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Drago was skittish
I would strongly recommend not to use a prong collar on dogs who exhibit skittishness or agressiveness in any way. It will make them nervous and hypo reactive. I'd change it for The Canny Collar 13.95 Colours Black, Red, Blue Collar. Enjoy Walking Your Dog again if you need it for walks.
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshep View Post
That is a good looking pup you have!
Thank you we sure think so ha
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xtramile View Post
Thanks everyone for the responses! My apologies for being unclear, we have one collar. Since he is sort of in between links right now in size it seems either too tight or too loose. Say if he is at 7 links a finger under a prong feels a fair amount of discomfort, while 8 links slides down to his shoulders after walking a while. What is preferred?
I'd keep it at 7 links (what I do for good fit is measure with a SNUG fabric tape measure and lay the collar flat and measure it off) when your finger is gone the prong should be just about right in terms of tension/pressure.

The vomiting, likely bile, but this is why I don't "pop" correct and why I prefer a prong to a "choke chain" style training collar or a flat buckle collar - much MUCH less pressure on the trachea and esophagus.
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