Prong collars - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 10:48 AM
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As others have said, I don't think they're really all that common. I have used them only for training purposes and was taught how to use and size them by the certified obedience trainer we went to. I rarely have the dogs on them now, especially the Corgi. The Brittany pulls with a regular leash/collar to the point where he will choke himself, but if you put a prong on him, he settles right down. Rebel, he generally walks well enough on a leash without it, but if one of the kids is walking him, we'll put it on, simply because he can yank them off their feet if he chose to do so. The prong doesn't hurt them like a choke chain will.

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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Questforfire View Post
A totally genuine question - why are prong collars the norm in the US?

I am in the UK, and we rarely see prong collars on dogs over here. I have seen the odd one, but they are definitely not the norm. It may just be a cultural thing, but I think prong collars would be frowned upon over here for dogs, other than perhaps those training in Schutzhund/IPO. Even our police service dogs do not wear prong collars (although some still do wear check chains).

If your dog wears a prong, why did you come to the decision to use one in the first place?

Where did you get this idea? What facts are you basing this bold statement on?

Mine has worn one - and the reason is very very simple - THEY WORK much better thanb a regular slip collar if your dog is big and strong and you are not!

BTW a prong is a training tool!
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Questforfire View Post
A totally genuine question - why are prong collars the norm in the US?
I would not consider prongs to be the norm in the US. If one is looking at a specific population of people, such as those who might be found on a GSD board where people own a large breed and are for the most part more educated than the typical pet owning public, and also more inclined to do training, including training to a higher degree, then they may seem to have a large following. But as far as most pet owners in the US, they certainly aren't the norm.

Originally Posted by Questforfire View Post
If your dog wears a prong, why did you come to the decision to use one in the first place?
Many people use the prong to give them "power steering" over a dog who may physically outmatch them. Certainly the dog can be trained to a level where a prong is no longer needed, but many people don't have the time or inclination to put that much training into the dog when they have access to a tool that can provide sufficient control to manage the dog and keep everyone safe. Really the same reason bits are used to ride horses... humans need some form of mechanical leverage to keep control.

From a training standpoint, as opposed to a management/control standpoint, they are one of the most versatile tools out there and this is why they are one of the most popular amongst those who do high level training. Not just for large dogs either. They are often used on small dogs as well because here it isn't about physical control but rather about clear communication with the dog.

A properly sized prong collar in the hands of someone who knows how to use it is extremely versatile. It can issue very light, subtle signals to the dog for things such as teaching the dog to yield to light leash pressure for fine tuning positions and body mechanics. And for major offenses it can issue a severe enough correction that even the largest, hardest, highest drive dog is going to notice. It is a tool that makes it easy for the trainer to tailor the strengh of the correction anywhere from very light to very hard, depending on what is appropriate for the temperament of the dog and the situation that earned the correction. Depending on how the leash is attached the force can be distributed around the entire neck, or in a directional manner, both of which have advantages for different exercises.

Due to the action of the collar, far less physical energy on behalf of the trainer is required compared to most other collars. That means better timing of the correction, less telegraphing of the correction to the dog, and less extraneous movement of the trainer disturbing the dog. All of which helps keep communication with the dog more clear and more simple cause/effect with no emotional baggage or other disturbance associated which is as it should be with corrections.

It can also be used in completely non-corrective ways as a device for stimulating drive and energy.

It is safer than a traditional choke chain as it is less likely to cause damage to the trachea and is impossible to actually choke the dog. Corrections with a prong tend to be little more than a flick of the wrist and thus involve much less yanking than with other collars so the risk of spinal damage is less. From the dogs' standpoint, I believe they are more humane. The pinching action is something that dogs naturally understand as being a correction. They learned that one in the whelping box. Whereas being yanked about or strangled aren't something that dogs naturally understand as corrections. Being nipped on the neck, yes. Having air cut off, no. So the dog has less of a learning curve to get over to understand what the collar means.

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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 01:00 PM
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I was skeptical of the prong collar, but once I found Remy's perfect trainer, he uses his with his K9 training dogs, and his own. With me being about 115 lbs and Remy being 60 lbs and growing every day, our walks were terrible without them. I was constantly being pulled behind and having to sprint after her, sliding down hills 95% of the walk, busting my butt a few times too many. Without it, I would have no competition keeping up with her, therefore, possibly putting her in harms way if I was to have to let go of her leash in order to keep myself in one piece! We ONLY use it for walks, and I have been frowned upon, along with unkind words spoken to me about it. I don't use it to hurt her, I use it to keep HER from hurting someone else! When I say "hurting" someone else, I mean she jumps constantly, even on the leash, and constantly bites the leash up to my hand. I'll take a few unkind words and frowns over a lawsuit for her knocking someone over any day :-) Just my personal opinion and thoughts..

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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 02:16 PM
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I have learned with Beau who gets a bit ramped up if I give him too strong a correction without a quick release that there is some finesse involved in doing it "just right" - My other dogs probably got a little shut down or something I did not realize he is the first one who has "talked back to me" about too hard a correction and I don't want to get into a fight over these things so I need to learn to be smarter (we are more NILIF than ever these days)

We are definitely now just using it to fine tune training and less for a crutch for loose leash walking. Honestly, The be a tree thing wound up working when I was shown to be a tree constantly changing directions instead of stop/start/stop/start tree. Occasionaly I still have to use a pop to get a ball release though - and my formal obedience requirements are not as precise as for competition work (still have to do offlead heeling, turns on call (not pattern), distance commands, stays, call to heel, drop on recall and all that stuff though).


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post #16 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to everyone for your replies.

Sorry, Codmaster, I didn't mean to be offensive, and it appears my first impressions may have been incorrect.

Thanks especially to Chris Wild for the very comprehensive reply.
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post #17 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 03:11 PM
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A month ago I knew nothing about GSDs but my brother and sister-in-law had two. Basically one was trained and the other not and they moved into an apartment where the untrained 11 month old male would bark nonstop and they were threatened with eviction. I ended up as the last family member that could have the dog. I don't have a lot of experience in dog training but I have a husky mix and a black lab.

The first few times I tried to walk him were complete failures with countless bruises scraps. I tried the choke collar and he would literally choke himself going after anything. I would try the positive training method of stopping and waiting until he paid attention to me to move forward; we'd take a step and he'd start pulling like mad again. I tried that for hours and days with no improvement.

I had to have a trainer come out and he recommended the prong collar and showed me exactly how to use it. It looks like a horrifying torture device but I can now walk Jäeger in heel with fewer and fewer corrections. He still whines at me but I think it's because he's being asked to behave. It's strictly used for training and I hope in a few more months with daily walks from now I can quit using it except for the more serious training.

My question is, when he gets to that point, what kind of collar should I use? I don't think a regular flat collar will be enough if he sees a good chase to be had but I know that the choke collar is not for him either. Cesar Millan uses the slip leash but I take everything he says with a handful of salt!
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post #18 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-18-2013, 05:52 PM
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I've found that prong collars give me the most control and enable me to give a better correction,the least amount of times. Unless I get a dog that already has impeccable manners, I always use a prong collar to teach them. I think it's important to use a training tool for as long as you need it,but it's also important to work towards not needing it.
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post #19 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-18-2013, 05:59 PM
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Prong collars

I use it because Fiona who is 8 months old (almost) is very naughty without it. She knows when it is on and I don't have to give her corrections. When in a harness or her flat collar, she pulls and acts like a poodle.

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post #20 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 10:01 AM
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I learned to use a prong when I took my 66lbs male GSD mix to a trainer when his dog reactivity was too much. This trainer was experienced in training dogs in the air force for some +20 years, and he taught us to use a choke first, then a prong.
But I have quit the classes after some time, since there are things that I don't agree with the trainer. Corrections that are too harsh, dominance theories (dog looks at you = dominance; dog lays down when you say "sit" = dominance = requiring correction), and focusing too much on repressing rather than dog's insecurities were some of them. Also, he cannot understand why the prong is not working as effectively for us as for him.

Problem is, when it comes to prong corrections for reactivity, if not more intense than the reactivity itself, is only good for feeding the attack drive. There are some bite trainings that do use prong to motive more bite from dogs. But my trainer can successfully cut my dog's reactivity at any level, since he's the master of punishment, that you can notice the difference between him and common mortal noobs like me and other people when issuing corrections (timing, posture, attitude, all are very intense and domineering).
I'm not trying to paint him as a cruel person, just stating the reason why prong often worsens reactivity, coz most of the average owners are not skilled enough to issue corrections intense enough.
I guess that many prong users already are aware about this and don't use prong for reactivity anyways.

But I do use prong on my dog, as it still keeps his reactivity to minimum and gives me control that I can't get with any other tool I know. I don't see it as a cruel tool, it does issue pain and discomfort, but it all depends on how you are doing it anyways. It would be great if I don't need it, but I use it if I see the need to, and I won't care for how people judge it. At least now we can walk past another dog with just some growls, but rarely jumping and barking anymore (and I rarely need to correct, but rather encourage him to continue going forward).
To be fair, I've tried halti head collar, and it was a disaster. My dog never got hurt for using a prong but he got hurt by using a halti. It happened when we were passing by another dog and as I tried to pull his muzzle away, he started to fight the collar and scratched and bit angrily out of frustration. It left him 2 scratch wounds on the muzzle. I concluded that this tool can be much better for desensitization (it worked well when another dog was at a considerable distance, and it was a gentler solution and definitely won't escalate reaction like prongs), but it is not safe to use it outside a controlled training environment, due to the dangers when passing threshold.
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