Prong collar on a sensitive dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2016, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Prong collar on a sensitive dog

Fury is 1 year, submissive, and reactive while on leash but otherwise gets along very well with other dogs and people.

Our first set of classes at the local humane society taught us to only use positive reinforcement. The instructor explained how she never corrects her dogs but constantly rewards good behavior.

Fast forward to the present. We just started a class at the daycare that Fury attends. This instructor has been training dogs for forty years and has multiple wonderful dobermans. The first thing he did in class was hand out prong collars.

We learned how to teach the heel command using impulses from the prong collar. Unfortunately, Fury is incredibly sensitive and one small tug is often enough for her to tap out. While working with the collar in a stress free environment she'll constantly stand and try to kiss my face the way she does when apologizing. In our last session she dropped to the ground and would only crawl alongside me. She's never been less obedient.

The instructor says she needs to be subordinate in order to look to me for direction when other dogs appear on walks, which I agree with. The ultimate goal is to give Fury the confidence to simply ignore other dogs, but the negative reinforcement method seems to be just stressing her out. Maybe it's too early to tell. I've been told that she will get used to it and have reluctantly agreed to keep trying. It's heartbreaking but I do my very best to keep my feelings in check so as to not bias her during training.

Anybody have any advice on how to proceed? I'm getting mixed signals from every angle. I need her to obey me on leash while around other dogs but I don't want her forming any negative associations that would cause further stress.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2016, 05:54 PM
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are you in Northern California?

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2016, 05:56 PM
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I have never had to do anymore than a very gentle tug on the prong to get results. Most of the correction has been the dog correcting himself. Incorporate a lot of praise and treats at first. get Fury to realize that she is doing good through treats and praise. Maybe she will start to focus on the fact that she is doing good rather then the fact that she thinks you are correcting her.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2016, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fodder View Post
are you in Northern California?
Heh, I am. Did you get that from the instructor I described?

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Originally Posted by cdwoodcox View Post
I have never had to do anymore than a very gentle tug on the prong to get results. Most of the correction has been the dog correcting himself. Incorporate a lot of praise and treats at first. get Fury to realize that she is doing good through treats and praise. Maybe she will start to focus on the fact that she is doing good rather then the fact that she thinks you are correcting her.
Thank you, this is what the instructor taught us as well. It may simply require more time but the fact that she's taking to it so poorly in a safe environment with lots of praise and breaks concerns me. Couple that with only being supposed to train her for 15 minutes a day gives me a lot of downtime to dwell :P
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2016, 06:57 PM
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Try this experiment:Put the collar on her with the prongs facing wrong side out.This would be like a martingale collar(works like a prong without prongs).See if she responds better to that.The prong is obviously too harsh for her.I don't like the sound of this trainer at allBetter results will be had if the training is tailored to the individual dog's temperament.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2016, 07:10 PM
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yes FuryPuppy, from your description.
I will send you a PM... but it's along the same lines as the above poster suggests, of training the dog in front of you.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2016, 07:32 PM
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Hmm well if you want to continue with the "Prong" it sounds like you already have what you need??

But I'll chime in with my SLL as a "Plan B"

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 03:43 PM
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The prong may be too much for your dog. From what you describe a flat collar is probably more than enough. If the dog is shutting down as you describe, then I would avoid the prong.

Short training sessions are best, 10 minutes at a time. But, you can do this multiple times a day, if you are doing it properly and the dog actually enjoys the training.

JMO FWIW

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 08:35 PM
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I agree with DogMa and SlamDunc, the prong is probably too much for her. If the instructor won't listen or demands the prong, I'd suggest finding another instructor.

FYI I was shown a book recently, that was written by someone who was very respected back in the day, the trainer wrote how to deal with a dog that dug holes; he'd bring the dog to the hole, fill it with water, and hold the dogs head under water while it bucked like a bronco. This was repeated for several days, even if the dog hadn't dug anymore. Moral of the story, even bright experienced and highly regarded people can be very very wrong. We have to be our companions advocate and protector.


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 09:32 PM
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Lisa maze is in Vallejo. I would look into training with her. Several members on this forum have gone to her. And she always has multiple dogs with her to work on reactivity issues.

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