My experiment; early prong use - Page 13 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #121 of 173 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 02:56 PM
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My experiment; early prong use

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post #122 of 173 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 03:03 PM
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I have an atypical prong story...my fearful pit mix Ruger. We had him on a no escape harness because he would turn into such a K9 kite when spooked that he slipped everything. He would pull on a slip so hard he was choking and drooling by the time we calmed him down. I mean, a surprise sunflower around a bend use to be enough to do this to him. I won't even tell about the solar panels that were on my lawn during install.

He slipped the no slip harness one day.

We tried all positive, we tried food, we tried relationship building games. No matter what he had 2 conditions. A)in my house or yard with no company over ..B ) Flooded

At this point my trainer said in a rather thoughtful voice..correct the behavior. Try a prong.

So we did, and it worked. He would still shut down, but at least he was next to me and still on lead. And the corrections he got were light. I used a Leerburg prong lead with a dominant dog collar for back up in case he slipped the prong which is near impossible to do.

So it worked. And it continues to work. Because fleeing was no longer an option he had to just deal, and when nobody died he got better and better at dealing. We adapted a "nothing is nothing" posture/attitude and just simply did not acknowledge his fear.

The improvement is remarkable. The ONLY time he cowers now is if some idiot persists with the "all dogs love me" gig. He walks with his tail up even on busy streets. He still flinches when manhole covers are run over and go KACHUNK..but he does not attempt to flee or shut down at all. Just a flinch.

If he goes out without the prong? If we attempt just the slip collar? He.Is.Nervous. The prong, properly fitting too, centers him. He has an association with it. It's the nothing is going to kill me while going bye byes collar lol

Is it a permanent part of his life? Yes. Has his life improved for using this tool? Oh Lordy yes. So who cares? So does that make me or my trainer at failure at all the other methods we tried? Or does it make us versatile enough to think outside the box and try what may work on an individual basis?

Again with the congruities in my life..I don't profess do know anyone here for real and hey we can be anyone we want to be on the internet...but if someone is not having a history of training high drive working lines and is knocking choosing tools, it is the same as people with non autistic/ normal kids telling me the got their kids to listen by using a sticker chart. Well booly booly for you!
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post #123 of 173 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by selzer View Post
I firmly believe you have to adjust your training to each dog, and I currently have fourteen, so I am constantly adjusting. I just don't have that connection to adjust the tools I use. I have one leash for my adult dogs. One. I have a couple of martingales because the boys are bigger than the girls. The adjusting for me, is in the motivation, in the mind, because I really don't use treats, or clickers or any tools. I use relationship with each dog, knowing each dog, knowing what expect with respect to their temperament and training, knowing who they are, what they like, what they dislike and how to outwit them. We have the thumbs and we have the brains. We can outwit a dog and never need any physical show of superiority.

Ah well, I am glad that there are others who are not afraid to say "no" to what is considered to be protocol. And, I am glad that others are not just clapping their hands when people are putting prongs on puppies for no reason whatsoever.


Okay trying this again. I thought I had a double post and then it turns out I didnít.

Seltzer can you talk more about that? Iíd be interestrd in knowing how that works. I am a strong proponent of train the dog in front of you, which to me also means that can change as the dog changes. When she was a puppy, she needed firmer hand and more boundaries. Now that she is older I use mostly positive methods and we are mainly teaching new skills anyway without a lot of need for me to step in with jey donít do that.

We are working mostly on transitioning away from a prong to martingale formloose leash walking. She does reasonably well with heeling without a training collar but the loose leash skill would be nice to build. Nothing, but NOTHING is as interesting to this dog as sniffing sometimes. (Not me, not husband, not food, not anything.) obviously this is something we are working on with a trainer but I am intrigued by your use of your relationship with your dog. Does that just mean you work on being more interesting than the distractor (which is what Iím currently doing) or are there other strategies you are using?


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post #124 of 173 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 03:49 PM
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Can I just say its a Starmark and pretend, Lol.
It is a Starmark LOL, no pretending, and I don't recommend it!

Look, I jumped into this "discussion" because Wolfy specifically asked for comments from people who have trained working line dogs without using a prong collar. I have.

What I haven't done is say that these tools you all are so vehemently defending are "bad". I am not an AR person, or a keyboard warrior, or sanctimonious, I just don't use them. And I don't think the average pet owner "needs" them either. But it is a go-to recommendation too often IMHO, for people with undertrained, adolescent dogs. We can agree to disagree on this point, that's fine.

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post #125 of 173 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 04:15 PM
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It is a Starmark LOL, no pretending, and I don't recommend it!

Look, I jumped into this "discussion" because Wolfy specifically asked for comments from people who have trained working line dogs without using a prong collar. I have.

What I haven't done is say that these tools you all are so vehemently defending are "bad". I am not an AR person, or a keyboard warrior, or sanctimonious, I just don't use them. And I don't think the average pet owner "needs" them either. But it is a go-to recommendation too often IMHO, for people with undertrained, adolescent dogs. We can agree to disagree on this point, that's fine.
Can you tell me why you think using a choke on some dogs is ok, but using a prong is not something you will use? How did you convince yourself to use the starmark prong collar (whether successful or not) if you say prongs are not necessary? Iím honestly curious, especially about your use of a choke. I wonít say Iíve never used them, but they are not my go-to collar, unless itís something like a DDC and I am specifically trying to take drive out of a dog. Thanks in advance.

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post #126 of 173 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 04:33 PM
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I'm not defending a collar. I'm defending the choice of people to use the easiest most effective, humane equipment and method possible, even if its just for their convenience without the implication of they've failed or taken short cuts from something better.
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post #127 of 173 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 04:51 PM
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I use anything that works for the dog. I don’t care what it is. Prong, E, flat, choke, slip lead, makes no difference to me as long as I’m getting the desired results from the dog. As already stated, the tool doesn’t matter, but how they’re used.

As for training a working dog without a prong. I didn’t have a correction collar on Areli until I had the eight year old girl handling her. She need it for control. When I work Areli I don’t. Areli has been mostly through modivation. It’s what seems to be the best for her. Even with teaching the retrieve. For the most part, corrections seem to make Areli hectic. Almost like she doesn’t understand them. Not saying she doesn’t get any, but she doesn’t need a ton usually. I’ve been leaving a prong on her these days, but it’s rarely used.

Now my other dogs use prongs and E. My pit uses a choke as that’s what makes sense to him. Kimber works best on E, and we use her prong to bring out aggression. Xander uses a dominant collar or E. All depends on the dog.

I 100% agree most issues in the pet world are caused because of who’s on the end of the leash. I deal with it daily. What it comes down to for me, is the people aren’t going to change a whole lot, so if using a prong or E, makes it so they can have a well behaved dog the. So be it. It doesn’t matter how good the dog is in my hands. I only have it for training. The rest is on the owner. I can do things most pet people can’t. That’s why they pay me to fix it. So....
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post #128 of 173 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 05:05 PM
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I'm not defending a collar. I'm defending the choice of people to use the easiest most effective, humane equipment and method possible, even if its just for their convenience without the implication of they've failed or taken short cuts from something better.
We (GSD owners) tend to have strong opinions. We got into this endless loop originally because of the proliferance of new posters who want to slap prongs on puppies. I don’t think any experienced German Shepherd owner agrees with that. Also, most of us get a puppy, then don’t get the next one for years. @selzer is a breeder with a lot of dogs, so she has had to learn and has had the opportunity to work with more puppies in a few years than most of us have in 10 years.

I am in awe of @MineAreWorkingline, who has a pack of very high drive, very well bred intense WL dogs and a SL, all of which were trained off leash and who are very responsive and well trained. That is both talent, an innate understanding of dog behavior and the opportunity to learn and try things on many puppies in a short time.

I know I made some poor choices with my WL because I was used to much easier dogs. My rescues have all been relatively easy, other than some HA. My trainer even said I will never have another puppy as challenging as he has been. My other breeder dogs have all been less intense. All WGSL. Lines are different dogs are different. I completely agree with your comment above.

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post #129 of 173 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 05:57 PM
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Can you tell me why you think using a choke on some dogs is ok, but using a prong is not something you will use? How did you convince yourself to use the starmark prong collar (whether successful or not) if you say prongs are not necessary? Iím honestly curious, especially about your use of a choke. I wonít say Iíve never used them, but they are not my go-to collar, unless itís something like a DDC and I am specifically trying to take drive out of a dog. Thanks in advance.
Good questions! My use of a choke chain is mostly due to the fact that it was very popular, the current go-to recommendation, back when I was doing the training. I got my first dog in 1969. In the 70s the choke collar was still the go-to for all the people I worked with, so use them I did. I have not used one since the mid 80s. My first 2 dogs never had another collar. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them, but the Martingale or a flat collar is my preference now.

I did not ever say I won't use a prong collar! What I said was, I haven't.

My choice to try the Starmark collar was spurred primarily by reading comments on this forum. I'm not opposed to trying something new LOL, and all the glowing success stories I was reading here started making me feel out-of-date.

My intention at the time was to give a prong collar a try, but my puppy was still pretty young, about 5 or 6 months old at the time, and the Starmark had been recommended by a trainer friend as a good compromise. So I bought one.

The Starmark has little plastic triangles fixed on the inside of the collar, which quite frankly do nothing. There is no pinch effect using this collar, and it took my puppy about 2 days to realize that! I still use it because I'm a cheapskate, but my dog is now 19 months old and very very rarely needs any kind of correction. When she does, I use my voice. At this stage she responds well to that even in drive.

A good friend of mine has titled many dogs in IPO, and trained LEOs and their canines for many years. She has 2 dogs that are never outside without their prong collars on, and her Doberman is also always muzzled because she's a bit reactive at times LOL. I don't question her choice to use those tools, she knows what she's doing! Beyond that, they're her dogs, and I don't tell anyone how to treat their dogs unless they ask me. BTW she's given me excellent advice many times, for which I'm eternally grateful!

Again, I joined the discussion because Wolfy specifically asked to hear from people who've trained WL GSDs without a prong. I have. I never said I thought the tool was bad, but I do think they are over utilized. And I'm glad I didn't buy one because other methods worked nicely for my pup. If that makes me out-of-date so be it, I'm over that fear LOL!
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post #130 of 173 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 07:40 PM
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Clicker and treats Gandalf! You thought that I used a mini E-collar or mini-prong?
I kid you not we nearly got mauled by a tiny whippet with a prong collar on the trail once, Gandalf was pulling and I was on roller blades and we rolled right on past. The dude let the little whippet lunge at us while we passed by. I had to double take, couldn't believe what I had just seen. .
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