If your dog is accustomed to a prong, you aren't going to get the response that I get from a martingale. A martingale is basically a prong without prongs -- not a correction collar. But it is safer than a lot of collars because, if you fit it properly, the dog cannot slip the collar, and it tightens around the neck like a prong, and not putting pressure all in the front or wherever.
Evenso, it works great for me, and I can put them on dogs trained with prongs and in no time they are responding fine with them for me, but then I have a lot of experience training, and I do not use prongs.
Your situation is what I see as a negative for prongs. I have a girl that is a little over 2 years old. She has never had a prong collar on. I know exactly what she will do and could manage this situation with her, with no collar at all. I think too many people have too much success with training early on with a prong collar that the dog is basically where they want it so long as the collar is on the dog. So training basically goes nowhere. But remove the collar from the scenario, and now you have a dog you can't manage.
I took Quinn (my 2 year old) out to PA to play with a dog who will soon be 1. Their trainer was there, and my bitch was the distraction. We let the dogs loose to run around, and then I called, and my girl came right back to me -- HUGE distraction. But she came right back.
Which brings me to the second problem with prongs. When your dog is used to the corrective action of the prong, it isn't necessarily easy to get them to respond to you when you don't have the prong backing you up. People suggest their dog is blowing them off. Well, yes. Perhaps they are. You don't have your I-mean-business-collar on them, and they don't necessarily think they need to listen.
I want to tell you to ditch the prongs and build a training bond with your dog. But that isn't fair either, really. People can build a bond with prongs, if they follow the rest of the training fundamentals: timing -- positive and negative communication, not repeating yourself, following through, consistency, and so forth. I think the prongs let us be sloppy. It's great for beginners because the dog self-corrects when walking, and the negative marker is clear. Unfortunaltely, without the rest of the training, the dog isn't learning to trust you and to obey you without the collar. And then you have a 2 year old dog that isn't coming when called, and doesn't trust you to protect her.
I am not dissing you. Because you are probably doing great for someone who is working their first or second dog, or GSD, whatever. I am kind of dragging on the use of prong collars and perhaps it isn't really helpful in your thread.
I have held the belief (that this forum does not agree with) that if you cannot control the dog without using a prong collar, then you shouldn't own the dog. Part of the reason is what happened here. The prong opens and you have a naked dog that can get run over by a car, or might actually nip or bite a lady, and as you said, it might not be up to you anymore whether your dog lives or dies.
I guess what I would suggest is ditching that quick-release prong, it's dangerous. Use the other one, but don't stop there. Go back to classes, and start really working with some of the other techniques. Work on training new things. Use some treats. Mix it up. Practice. Play a game with your dog without using your recall command word. Just her name, and give her awesome party-praise and a treat when she comes to you fast. Give her matter of fact praise for acceptable response, maybe a treat. Mediocre praise for a slow response. Try to get that response time to be 90-100% lightning fast. But work it up. Take your time and slowly increase the expectation for the type of praise and treat. Recall is a life-skill. It is. You know it. You dodged a bullet. Take this as a wake-up call.
Training should be 95% fun, games, success, praise, and 5% or less corrections. Build a bond where you dog wants to do what you want her to do, where she is happy, and engaged, and just waiting for you to tell her the next thing. Then, you can throw your prong collar in the trash.
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