Prong or choke collar ? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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Prong or choke collar ?

Prong or choke collar ?

I have a 6 month GSD girl - We used to use the gentle leader and it worked great for her but she hated it - walks weren't an enjoyment for her with it on and when she would see it coming she would run around the coffee table to avoid me putting it on her so I would prefer to not get another one. So now I have friends who swear by the choke collar and have trained golden retrievers using choke and it works for them but I hate the idea of the choke collar - I am a newbie and have never used it so I could be wrong and this is why I need you guys who know more or are experts to help me figure out which if the prong is better than the coke collar or what is the best for my GSD for not pulling on leash when walking.

thank you in advance for your help

Last edited by zoey'smom; 06-14-2016 at 09:48 AM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 10:00 AM
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Personally, I only use a choke collar if I want to suppress an action. It is a quick correction and move on. There are studies that show choke collars damage the trachea when the dog is constantly pulling on it. And German Shepherds aren't Goldens I hate choke collars for anything else.

You can use a prong collar but the most important thing, regardless of the correction collar, is to teach them what y ou want! And you can do that on flat collar or martingale. They need to learn to release to the pressure of the collar.

It's very easy. There are a couple ways I've done it

1) This is very effective
The Domestics of Leash Walking | Naughty Dogge - Monique Anstee

2) When the dog goes to the end of the leash, slowly back up until the dog turns to you, lure into the position you want and reward. You build up steps in the right position. So first week might be just backing up and rewarding once your dog is back in position. Second week might be 3 steps walking with the line loose and in position.

For some reason, I do things in 3's. 3 steps loose line, 3 steps focused heeling. I have no idea why. I think it restricts me from pushing the dog to soon. 3 steps, 6 steps, 9 steps and you got it. If they can do 10, they can do 30.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 10:16 AM
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The collar is less important than the person holding the leash.Whichever collar makes it easier for you to communicate with your dog is best for you.I prefer a martingale or prong because they tighten evenly around the neck and only require a light touch.A blessing for arthritic hands I don't like choke collars because it's too easy to bruise or damage my dog's neck.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 10:17 AM
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whichever you choose....teach this skill in a quiet environment. I think that people take their dogs out walking in a normal place and there are to many distractions. So teach this in your backyard or your livingroom. Once the dog understands where you want them position wise, then go out on the street. Set your dog up to win

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 10:41 AM
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I come at this from the pet dog training world, not sport. I have done classes using both over the years -- and I've successfully trained pet dogs in basic obedience with both. Having said that, I'm 100% in favor of prong over choke, assuming the handler is properly trained to use the tool.

The prong is honestly gentler and more humane, despite how it looks. It takes a much milder correction to get a dog's attention, and that ultimately means fewer corrections, and I'd rather train without needing a lot of corrections. It fixes pulling almost instantly. I enjoyed the balanced classes that used prongs + treats much more than the older-style classes that used choke chains, and I honestly think the dogs did too.

I think it's also easier for new handlers to learn proper technique with a prong (it's a quick little flick of the wrist, not a yank. In classes, I see newbies picking it up in their first class with a good trainer.

OTOH, I see a lot of people out on the street using choke chains incorrectly ("yank-and-crank," choking the dog). They are not doing the correct "popping" motion. I think that's because it takes a lot more practice to get that popping motion's timing and technique right, in my experience. Or people just buy the tool without getting trained how to use it. If you watch people jerking their dog around, or their dog pulling them and choking itself, they don't know how to use it correctly -- and I honestly see that a lot. You can learn proper technique, but it takes longer, and frankly a little more finesse to do it well. It also takes longer for the corrections to sink in on some stubborn dogs, I think.

The one BIG thing with a prong is that it MUST be properly fitted. The common mistake I see out on the street with prongs is that they're too loose, which has them falling too low. Any trainer who uses them will make sure they're properly fitted at the start of class. I don't think anyone should just go out and buy a prong and try to start using it--it's worth having someone knowledgeable show you how to use it.

I deal with pulling a lot of big, untrained, adolescent dogs out of shelters--dogs who have NO manners, have been stuck in a kennel at a dog pound for weeks without a walk, with tons of pent up energy. I'm a small woman, but I have NO hesitation taking out a 100# male dog that's got terrible leash manners, straight from a shelter, on a prong collar. I'm in control of that dog. I've seen those big, strong dogs pull large male shelter workers all over the shelter in slip leads (cloth choke collars). Those dogs don't do it with me, though. The difference is the tool, knowing how to use the tool, and starting the conversation with the dog before they start pulling.

Some dogs should not be in either a prong or a choke chain. They're soft, submissive, fearful, etc. -- I'd rather they be trained in flat collars, or at most a martingale collar. You have to know your dog. I also prefer working with a trainer that knows the difference and isn't a "one tool fits all" kind of trainer.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 11:24 AM
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I always had good results with martingales and prong collars. I usually wait until pups are around 7-8 months to use the prong collar, but it's probably okay at 6 months if the pup is big and rambunctious. It may be helpful to have someone experienced show you how to size them and put them on if it's your first time.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 11:38 AM
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I agree with Jax on "teaching" a dog not to pull on a leash.

I also agree that GSDs are not Golden Retrievers, a dog is not just another dog. Work with the dog in front of you.

A prong or choke is a tool to teach a dog not to pull on a leash and should not be the end result.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 01:01 PM
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A prong is good for an owner who needs the extra strength it provides. I prefer to use the leash to teach my dog, with the collar just a way to reinforce quickly and then release. A class trainer taught us to listen for the sound rather to feel the correction. The correction is merely a reminder. A dog can learn to respond to the whoosh or zing sound, and then the sound is all you need. If you are needing to use a harsh correction every time, then the dog hasn't been trained to do what you want.

I only use a choke chain with a dog that is already leash trained and then only as a reminder to focus on what we are doing, usually if I'm in a hurry and I need the dog to pee before we go somewhere and don't have time for a leisurely stroll through the yard. My dogs will literally choke themselves on a choke chain, which isn't the point of using one.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 01:23 PM
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A prong is more than a static tool to teach a dog not to pull on a leash. It is a correction tool but must be used properly. Adjusted properly snug and crisp pop, release.
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