Prong Collar or something else? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Prong Collar or something else?

Hey guys, basically I am trying to teach my boy not to lunge at other dogs from excitement and to heel properly at my side. I currently have a martingale but it is not doing it's job and as a result he is pulling through it causing too much force/correction. I've done my research on prongs and don't want to turn this into a prong vs no prong, abuse vs no abuse debate. I am pretty set on getting a prong as he is 10 months and would like to walk with him at ease. I have spoken to my previous postive re-inforcement/clicker trainer and was wondering if anyone can vouch for what he says or argue against it and provide valid reasons for doing so?

He has recommended doing private lessons with the following regarding usage of a prong collar:

"Group classes are beneficial after some foundation work as it's a way to test for reliability while dogs are around, but it's not the best way to start working with reactivity. Positive reinforcement is actually the only way to go with dealing with reactivity, because if you apply aversives whenever a trigger is presented, you may stop the reaction, but you are classically conditioning the dog to start hating the trigger. That means a still dog that doesn't move but is frustrated and dislikes dogs. That is very dangerous to have. He is just excited about dogs now which is not abnormal for an adolescent GSD so let's not make him start hating dogs by nailing him whenever he sees one."

Would you guys agree with what he is saying?
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 04:44 PM
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Personally I like the prong collar over something like a "gentle leader" but I only use it after trying other things like treats to get their attention. Tessa only had the prong on walks for about a month where as Ziva will likely have it much longer because of her super high drive. The goal is to get the dog to listen to you, not punish them so I would say try the basics of friendly training (treats, toys, praise) for awhile and then try a prong. Just make sure you're using it right so you don't do harm.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Would anyone agree that using a prong collar conditions them to hate the trigger and ultimately dislike the reason it is being caused? i.e. i see dog, i lunge, i get pinched by collar, therefore i hate all dogs? Is that a fair assumption and has anyone seen a behavioural change for the negative by using a prong?
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 05:57 PM
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My dog got ramped up more when I used a prong(she was reactive to people and dogs) so I opted to use a flat for her instead.
It took away some control(she's 90#), but I used other methods for focus work, redirection(LAT) and over time it helped.
I then could use a prong again but I now run two lines on her and the prong on the tab line is only when I really feel I need it.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 05:58 PM
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Would anyone agree that using a prong collar conditions them to hate the trigger and ultimately dislike the reason it is being caused? i.e. i see dog, i lunge, i get pinched by collar, therefore i hate all dogs? Is that a fair assumption and has anyone seen a behavioural change for the negative by using a prong?
I don't agree with this. I think there CAN be issues with using a prong to handle a dog that is reacting at other dogs, but generally the issue is that if there is not a real correction given, the light pops or allowing the dog to pull and "self-correct" just nags the dog and actually increases his frustration and arousal.

Also, another issue is that the dog becomes overstimulated before anything is done. The dog needs to be properly corrected and redirected BEFORE he fixates on another dog and starts lunging. If I were to see my dog eyeing another dog and I thought he might escalate to reacting, at that point I would give a correction, not wait until I'm basically fighting with my dog to gain control.

When I walk multiple dogs and am literally outweighed by dog, I always use prongs just for safety. I can walk and control all of my dogs individually but when walking three males, well you just never know and I'd rather be safe than sorry. My dogs see leashes and prongs and come running to go out for a walk. They obviously are not associating the tool with something bad to come.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 07:31 PM
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I don't agree with this. I think there CAN be issues with using a prong to handle a dog that is reacting at other dogs, but generally the issue is that if there is not a real correction given, the light pops or allowing the dog to pull and "self-correct" just nags the dog and actually increases his frustration and arousal.

Also, another issue is that the dog becomes overstimulated before anything is done. The dog needs to be properly corrected and redirected BEFORE he fixates on another dog and starts lunging. If I were to see my dog eyeing another dog and I thought he might escalate to reacting, at that point I would give a correction, not wait until I'm basically fighting with my dog to gain control.

When I walk multiple dogs and am literally outweighed by dog, I always use prongs just for safety. I can walk and control all of my dogs individually but when walking three males, well you just never know and I'd rather be safe than sorry. My dogs see leashes and prongs and come running to go out for a walk. They obviously are not associating the tool with something bad to come.
I have to agree. I always correct my dogs before the trouble starts but at the same time she wears one just in case. Tessa would see the prong and leash and go crazy knowing that wearing it means a long walk and some ball playing at the end. Ziva is learning the same thing. If she wants to be out and about..she has to wear the collar and act right. It's all about getting her to realize that the collar is a good thing, not punishment but it does pinch when needed.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 07:40 PM
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My dogs do not see the prong as punishment at all!
They stand still as it is put on and are excited when I pull it out.

It is the correction of the prong that ramps up a reactive dog, because yes they do see the correction as coming from what they are reacting to.
Best to redirect before it even starts, instead of correct when it comes to reactivity. Timing is everything with a reactive dog.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 09:08 PM
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Rio practically throws herself into her prong collar, she loves hers! We got our one for the same reason, I couldn't walk her comfortably with a dog in sight as she would lunge, yelp and drag me over to it to have a sniff and possibly a game. It got to a dangerous point when it didn't matter if there was a busy road between us and the dog, she'd drag me out in front of a car to say hi. Now we have the prong she walks beside me fantastically, no lunging and will great a dog happily when I say she can. It hasn't dampened her love for meet and greets
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 09:58 PM
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I'm sticking with my halter backed up with a martingail.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 10:24 PM
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Collars are tools and you need to learn how to use them.

A prong is wrong in the hands of someone who hasn't been taught how to fit it and use it.

Same for e-collar or any other training device.

Personally I'd rather see a dog on a prong when handler knows how to give quick corrections than see a dog pulling and choking on a flat collar.

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