I started with a prong collar at 6 months. Basically I let my pups have their way, within reason, when they are little because they have short attention spans. When teaching heeling, it is for short distances. Try walking with a friend for more than a block without looking around. Only look at your friend's face and you'll see how hard it is.
At 6 months I let the pup "self correct" on the prong..basically if they pull it is uncomfortable. If the leash is loose it feels fine. All the tools work basically the same way, it just changes where the discomfort is, under the front legs, on the muzzle or around the neck. You must balance that with making loose leash walking rewarding, with treats, or praise or toys. Switch up rewards. Stop and play games along the walk. Jog a little, we walk to slow for our dogs when we first leave the house. Stop and don't move if they are being obnoxious but don't expect a little pup to really remember much at first...it is a big exciting world out there and they want to see it all. Put on some fun fast paced music and walk to the tempo. If they are in a hurry to go forward and pull like a freight train, turn and go the other way. This doesn't always work because sometimes you just end up going around in circles or you pup says, "sure...we can go the other way too" and starts pulling again. Then stop and remind them that getting way ahead of you isn't going to get them anywhere.
Be patient. Pulling doesn't truly stop over night. Tools help but you really want your pup to learn to stay close, even on a flat collar and that take time for them to mature and you to learn which technique works best for both of you.
Patton CGC BH
Chief fetch fanatic
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