German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 80 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,348 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've never had a puppy. Grimm needed a prong at age 5 months old. I have SEVERELY impaired hand-strength. Grimm is a strong-minded Czech workinglines boy. Thanks to the prong, Grimm was able to "hear" me-- my weak, limp hands were able to make the slight corrections "register" for Grimm in the prong. The prong permitted us to go outdoors without him dragging us into traffic, as happened when he was a bullish 4.5 month old.

Training walking on a loose lead was and is a challenge. We're doing well, but not perfect. Grimm's 10 months old. Hormones are RAGIN'!
We do sits as he sometimes charges ahead or left circles as he drifts ahead. We work on focus, when we are still. (I can't manage much more than simple walking when I'm in motion, due to my disabilities) Focus is GREAT when we do focus excersises! Focus is not so great on walks with lotsa outdoors disrtractions for Grimm.
But, we can go for a walk pretty much safely now.

When my puppy is an adult, my goal is to transition down to a flat collar (or a fur-saver). How does this transition occur? Does age help? Do puppies mature out of adolescence to be less ditractable, so a fur-saver can be used? Or, does the transition become possible because by endless rutine, the dog simply learns to heed leash pressure and stay beside you better? I guess I'm asking this wrong..
I'm really trying to ask. how does it happen that we can transition down to a fursaver from a prong, and, why does an older dog accept the fursaver as well as the prong, in time?

This is my first puppy. He loves me and loves to please me. He's a bit strong-minded, so, I hope with much work, a fur-saver is in our future. Just trying to learn how this normally happens!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,015 Posts
Patti, I wouldn't even try to do that. Fur saver collar might look 'gentler' to the eye, but it's a choke chain with no stops. A prong, IMO, is safer for the dog.

And knowing you want complete control, even in a confusing situation, I would think the prong would give you that extra security... in case.

I know Grimm will accompany you everywhere and if it's the 'bad dog' look (to those who don't know better) that concerns you, there are prong collar covers made. Here's an example.
http://www.lolalimited.net/Elite.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,348 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the link, Anne.
I admit I'm actually just wishing for the day when Grimm and I are more in synch with one another, and I'll ideally have the option of moving away from the prong. You're absolutely right-- I currently truly do need the prong, no question! My hope, someday, is that Grimm and I will be more connected, and the fur-saver will be effective enough at that point. My wish is that in time, a gentler collar can be used. I favor the fur-saver, as it makes a sound correction "Chinnnnk-chinngg", sorta like "Hey, you!"
I know Grimm will always be a bit of a hardhead. At 10 months, he's distractable and of course not yet fully mature, nor fully trained. He's my first puppy.. my last dog came to me as an adult, calmly heeling in a fur-saver. I'm eager to get to that point in our relationship.

Or, is it unrealistic to hope to transition down from a prong?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,828 Posts
I take in fosters and most of them are wild animals when I get them. One of my goals is to make them easier to walk on a leash. The first thing I do is put them on a prong and walk and walk them everywhere possible. The most important thing in teaching a nice walk on leash is to never, never, allow the dog to pull. By using the prong to correct and then using a lot of praise after teaches them to walk on a loose leash. Once they start to get the idea of walking nice, I will start to walk them on their buckle collar. I still have the prong on just in case I need it, but quickly switch back as soon as the dog forgets himself and doesn't respond to a verbal reminder. This is a gradual process and some dogs will never be good enough to walk entirely without the prong.

My own 5 mos old puppy wants desperately to pull me around, but I don't allow it. I do have the hand strength to keep him from pulling though. With repetition and maturity, he will hopefully get over this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,628 Posts
Patti, if you have weak hands, Grimm KNOWS this! I would NOT take him off the prong ever!

I bought a prong cover for Buddy which looked cool but lessoned the effect of the prong's job! Off went the prong collar pronto after a few days of figuring this out.

Dogs are SO smart - please stay with Prong and reality - Buddy has been on it for 3 yrs and sometimes I alternate to a Gentle Leader which surprises him!! My hands/fingers are somewhat weak from chemo treatments and I need this control for both of us --

As a matter of fact his trainer in IL who is coming to stay for a few days next month suggested that we shoot down to a smaller link - this boy needs total control with the elements and I have no illusions of his prey drive with neighborhood run around with cats and an occasional off leash dog running amok! Save yourself and save Grimm!

~Anne
 
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Sorry but I disagree. I think the goal of going to a "flat collar" is ideal and I would encourage that goal. What has been stated about it being another kind of choke collar is not correct. You can buy Martingales or what I like, adjustable slip collars. This is what I train all dogs towards. Prongs are great and for some dogs what will always work best but not needed for all dogs. If the dog is minding well a progression to adjustable slip is fine. Weak hands don't matter either when the acknowledgement that you are in control has been made. Adjustable slip collars do not work as choke collars. They have a limited amount that the compression can be made. I use the Bison brand. Here's an example.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,138 Posts
If a person has physical limitations then a flat collar may not be the best choice and it depends on the dog. I have a strong headed female who is 5 and we are still working to get her off the prong, some days she is fine and others she will try to dislocate my arm.

So I think you need to balance what physical abilities you have and what is needed to control the dog.

When I go to town or the Vet, the prong goes on each one of my dogs.

Val
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,348 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I'm so very greateful for your advice, Anne, Val, and Tom!!! You have no idea how grateful. I'm not experienced with a puppy before now, and you guys have been through this more than I have.

Anne, it's a relief to hear from someone else with diminished handstrength, who has a GSD! I always feel like I'm the only one. Maybe you are right about forever needing a prong with Grimm. I will work towards improving Grimm's focus under distractions, tho-- as my goal really is to have a fursaver or flat collar. But, I will not risk Grimm's safety nor mine. If he never is attentive enough/trustworthy enough, the prong would remain our tool.

Val, that's actually what I did with my last dog, who arrived at age 6 with a BH. I used a fursaver all the time, except when working at an airport, I'd slip a prong on instead. Kinda a situational thing, really-- for extra surety in chaotic situations we'd be in.

Tom, your encouragement means alot to me. I'm balancing it with Anne's wise caution. I was really hoping you'd see this thread, as I really hope for your guidance! My goal really is both safety, but also for Grimm and I to be working together as a team enough, eventually, to use a siple flat or fursaver. Do you think I'm doing the right things to, someday, get to that point?

I've had Grimm sit and look at me ("Schau!") before his foodbowl goes down, before his waterbowl goes down, before he is given his release command, before he is allowed to come through all doorways, before he gets a toy, before he gets a snack. We play the two-fists-with-kibble-held-wide-apart focus game, and we're up to a whole 45 seconds! I'm consistant with this focus work, but, he's 10 months old and really distractactable yet. Also, we do a game where we "Fuss" along a wall or a curb and Grimm and I stop every 4 feet, and he has to sit and look at me before we go further. I don't do this often right now, cos I'm in the midst of moving to Germany... but, I do these things to hopefully make focusing on me a habit. My ultimate goal is what everyone else's is, maybe-- off-lead reliability someday, if that's right and safe for the dog, handler, and given situations, once the dog is 100% rock-solid. Ok, that's a loooonnngggg-term goal LOL!
But for now, my goal is better focus, so ideally, we'll achieve our goal of just having the flat collar or fur-saver.
All ideas welcome, criticisms too!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,628 Posts
Patti, I am glad that you are following your thread -- great input here but I am partial to Val's recommendation most -- we do not live in a perfect world and with disabilities we have more to work with -----

I read of a K-9 GSD with his police handler on a 4th of July who not only spooked with the fireworks but saw a CAT!
The dog jumped the street and was instantly killed by a car -- sad loss for many! A story that I will not forget --- there is NO such thing as 100%!

It is a nice goal for all and we would all wish for same -- Buddy has been through therapy training, CGC, etc., OB for 3 yrs but he has his own mindset that I am not going to ignore in hopes of 'focus' --

My trainer could get him into a 'perfect' robot! and I want Buddy's personality to remain........ goofy and fun!

Oh did I tell you about the 63 yr old neighbor whose GSD took her down in the street when he saw a cat and she broke her fragile wrist and surgery, etc., followed.

At the time I urged the GL for her control and they lived happily ever after for many years -- never on a flat buckle collar again -- I did not recommend prong as she had not had enough experience with OB.

I live in retirement community/peninsula and elderly handicapped dog owners are smart to use their GL or Prong. This enables them to keep their love of BIG dogs and enjoy whatever breed they prefer to the end......

~Anne
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,348 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Anne, VERY wise cautions! I take them very seriously. I know I will never throw away my prong. My goal is to be able to walk in my own neighborhood on the fur-saver or flat collar at some point when Grimm is an adult. But, the prong would be for going into town, on the bus, or in ANY new situation or location. I don't want to take chances. As for Grimm's personality, my trainer feels that when mature, he is the type who WOULD tend to listen to me. But, I won't know myself about that until of course he is more mature, and has more training in place, before I ever make a judgement call to transition collars, even in the neighborhood. You make great points, Anne-- especially about falling and being dragged, getting injured. I've caught heck from people for having my dog in a prong. But as you said, we really do need to be a SAFE team.

I'd love to hear any and all methods for working a dog towards the goal of a flat collar from a prong.
I can work towards that goal, and see where we are in a year or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
362 Posts
With my lupus, I have periods of exacerbation and remission where my joint pain/strength and energy level can be all over the board, so I use a prong collar when we're out and about in an "inperfect" world (as Anne pointed out) for the safety of both me and my dog.

I wish I were one of the people who are on this board that could take my dogs jogging or on mountain hikes, but my health doesn't permit that. My dogs do get lots of play time with frisbees, balls, etc... and walks. I also belong to a dog obedience club and we go to classes weekly for socialization and training. I worry sometimes, however, that I've "limited" my dogs' potential by not being more active or having them in a home where I am single and take care of my elderly parents; but then I read the rescue section and know that my dogs have a great home and lots of love. My niece brings her children (skin & fur) over often, so they get play time with other dogs and kids.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,348 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
True, Rayna. There are situations, especially for those who have impairments, when we are paired with strong-minded dogs in unpredictable situations where we need effective, safe control, and a prong is a tool that can help that.
 
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Originally Posted By: Brightelf
Tom, your encouragement means alot to me. I'm balancing it with Anne's wise caution. I was really hoping you'd see this thread, as I really hope for your guidance! My goal really is both safety, but also for Grimm and I to be working together as a team enough, eventually, to use a siple flat or fursaver. Do you think I'm doing the right things to, someday, get to that point?
Yes, I do think it is the best thing to work towards an adjustable slip. By far the majority of dogs I have trained (and the number is in the hundreds) have started training with nothing more than an adjustable slip. There are occasions given where it is best for the dog, the handler or both to use something else and I have used the prong then as well as tension harnesses and recently the Gentle Leader. All have their merits. It is the rare case though that dogs who start training with something other than an adjustable slip cannot be progressed to its use at a later date. That said though what is best is what works for you and your dog. If you know you are in a situation where you feel the need for something else such as a prong then by all means use one.

It is my goal in training to have dogs obey because they want to not because they have to. I think only then can you truly be assured that they will do as they should. Any device that makes a dog obey can be defeated. The love and trust of your dog never will be and that is why I train for that goal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,348 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the input, Tom. I'm so grateful to you!! I'm using food and toys as motivators for Grimm. They get him into position, or reward after he's done something right. I use praise sometimes in place of that. We're very, very close. (he's one of those dogs who GIVES as much affection as he eagerly takes)

What other games should we try? (guess I call training "games," cos even though Grimm gets corrections, it's a fun thing we do together.) Does age help in making a dog more suitable for someday a flat collar? Does it simply take time, in addition to the stuff I'm doing? As this is my first puppy, I was astounded when he grew out of leash-biting, as a baby.
Will he be more responsive to me, provided I am consistant, after he gets through his wild adolescence period? I simply have no idea what makes a dog more responsive. Currently, he only seems to "hear", or respect, the prong at this reeeeally distractable, unusually temperamental, hormonal age.

Anyone have a success story for me to model after?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,628 Posts
Patti, we are veering you off track LOL

You asked 'How' and not 'what if' -- I will share my K-9 cops' training tip for fast recalls and stays --

Pick up a 20' lead, let dog wander a bit and DOG COME! (with prong) it has to be fast and precise and with treat if you wish --- whatever motivates him to move to you fast --- over and over until you become the center of his world -- (like I wish) ---

After a week keep shortening the leash and be sure he is getting the COME and reward fast --- heel some and do it over and over ---

I have not tried this myself as it is not a priority as other things are at the time and I do not think that ANYONE will be the center of Buddy's world other than friendly dogs and a hand-out LOL!

We are one of very few on the beach sans a leash and I am envious but not to the point of risk ----keep doing research in the meantime keep those wrists and fingers strong!

I found some unknown strength in my hands earlier-- my family walked in the door unannounced, Bozo Buddy got excited, jumped on the couch and planted his butt on my wireless keyboard! I found power in these hands to grab an 85 lb GSD by the scruff of the neck off the couch onto the floor and have a long discussion eye to eye!! 'yes, mamamam' and off to kennel!

So glad that Leslie will be here in 12 days for 4 nice training days!!

~Anne
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,348 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Anne, I LOVE your Buddy stories!!
Thank you for sharing about him.
I'm delighted you get leslie coming soon, and more intense training sessions coming up for both you and Buddy to enjoy.

Grimm's normally extremely bonded to me. He is still gently nursing on my wrist as he falls asleep when we watch TV together at night. He nurses on my wrist, eyes gazing up at me, whenever we cuddle and he's laying down. He loves me to brush him, pet him, etc-- and, he reciprocates by using his tiny front teeth to scritch me in return. He's a kisser, a gentle, non-pushy leaner, too. I feel grateful for our deep bond.

YES!! I am gonna practice the rapid recall more often! We currently play a game where I have 2 identical firehose-section dog toys. I toss one, say "Bring!" and off he shoots, races to get and bring to me.. he then sits, i say "Aus," and reward with tossing the other toy.

OK, now AFTER the "bring" game, we can play "Hier," cos then he'll have some crazy momentum going, right? If he's sitting and i walk 20 ft away and hold the toy horizontally at my chest and "HIER!!" he ZOOOOOMS at terrifying speed to a sliding-stop sit, gets the toy tossed down to him IMMEDIATELY. (be careful of your private parts doing this game, because the doggler runs REALLY FAST to you and it's hard to stop on wet grass)


Will that get him into the habit of a good come? I can practice that this week, all week! I'll do/try anything to enhance our bond, encourage his focus during his teenybopperhood!!


THANK YOu for the suggestions Anne-- you ROCK!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,628 Posts
Sweetie, Grimm sounds like a real lover! and you are doing great with your bonding! I would take everything that you are doing a step further in watching handlers in class who have their dog's total focus and that is EYE contact --- no treat until a 5 sec eye hold and further -- so that Grimm is wanting that hot dog every second!

Eye contact! COME, SIT, EYE CONTACT - GIVE TREAT! The reward is for the SIT, but not for the COME! ironically! This was a tidbit just passed in class not long ago. -------- a perfect sit at your feet gazing into your eyes! LOL

You are doing super! You are doing your homework for the future and I hope that other members join in and give their bonding tips!

PS. You can plan on seeing videos of Leslie at work with Buddy! I got my work cut out for me!


~Anne
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,451 Posts
If you are looking for the sound correction you would get with the fur saver, I'd use a martingale with the chain loop. That will make the sound, but won't choke (and possibly damage the dog's trachea) like a fur saver or other choke collar.

I think it would help to work on attention. At the shelter, I like to train dogs loose-leash walking without using a leash and collar at all. We let them out in a run and just work on their desire to come back to heel (lots of praise and treats) and then slowly taking 1-2 steps at a time. It takes a while for the concept of attention and staying at heel sinks in, but when it does it's a real pleasure to see the dog catch on and really WANT to be at your side. I've found that it's more effective than using corrections. With leash corrections, the dog will learn what NOT to do, but might never really understand what you're going for or have his own desire to be at the handler's side.

I've used a prong in the past and know of one dog that I will probably never trust on just a flat (her drive and strength is just so great that I can't reasonably expect to overcome it, especially since she is a working dog and it's important for that drive and strength to be there). This dog has learned that flat collar = running (she jogs out in front, my uncle runs 5 miles every other day) and prong collar = expected heeling or loose leash walking, NOT running or pulling out in front.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,415 Posts
Hi Patti -

I, too, have difficulties with my hands - actually it's fingers, wrists and shoulders that have the most pain (rheumatoid arthritis). I rarely use a prong collar, NEVER use a choke collar, and have dogs that are pretty darn obedient without being robots.

The more you teach your dog to depend on a corrective collar the less likely you are to have a dependable dog that can be walked without the corrective collar. The majority of people I see who start using a prong end up using it for the rest of the dog's life, and it's because the dog was never properly trained. It's VERY easy for us to become dependent on that correction instead of training. If I have a dog that wants to pull, I will use a GL HARNESS (the kind that has the leash clip on the chest strap) and then I have to make sure that I still train and not just let the harness do all the work. It's easy to get lazy for ALL of us.

Dogs mature but the training is what makes them give you the behaviors they want. There isn't a natural progression that makes the dog stop pulling - it's a trained behavior.

Since you're using the prong now, what I would suggest is to take every opportunity to reinforce calm behaviors, loose leash walking, attention/focus, recalls, etc. Try to use the pressure of the prong as little as possible so that your dog doesn't think that the command/cue is "don't pull" followed by a pop on the collar (or on the recall, "come" followed by a yank). What you want to build is that desire to respond to you instead of just a desire to avoid the pain consequence supplied by the collar. It sounds like you've got a dog with a lot of drive - capitalize on that and hide toys/balls in your clothes and pull them out randomly as rewards. You can find lots of things to motivate your dog and it will really pay off in the long run.

You might also want to have two collars on him - a flat collar and the prong collar (with two leashes). Try to work him as much as you can with the flat, and have the prong as a back-up only if necessary.

I'm a firm believer in doing off-leash work as young as possible. My 3.5 month old GSD (German/Czech lines) is already doing off-leash work, especially recalls and retrieves. We started in a fenced area but now can go out the door and she is right with me. We have a long way to go but my end goal is off-leash dependability (something that I've had with all of my GSD's).

There are some recall tips on my website, along with attention training (http://www.kippsdogs.com/tips.html). There may not be anything there that you don't already know, but then again maybe there's a tip that will help!

I know how difficult it can be to work with an energetic puppy when you have weakness and/or pain. With me it's both - some days my joints flare so badly that I can't close my hands and you can see the visible swelling in my fingers, knuckles and wrists. I have to really work to make myself train instead of just depending on something to stop behaviors I don't like but in the long run it's absolutely worth it. Good luck to you -

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,348 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Melanie, actually, I read your webpage about training tips way back when I began focus work with Grimm, and I was trying to collect ALL the new ideas for focuswork that I could find!
I am doing the following to prevent any future prong dependancy:


1)Focus work, began 2 months ago, and doing this consistently
He gives me eye contact BEFORE:
*he gets a treat
*gets the "komm,komm!" command allowing him through all doorways
*he gets his foodbowl set down
*waterbowl is set down
*he is given any toy
*any snacks
*he is given his release command.

2) Focus increasing duration game: I stand with two fists closed, wide apart, hiding kibble. Grimm must sit and gaze up at me, eye contact, before I say "Frei!" and he gets a fistful. Initially, all I got was a brief flicker of eye contact.. now we're up to about 60 seconds.

3) We play "Throw your WAIT around."
I "Fuss!" Grimm along a wall, stopping every 4 - 6 paces. Grimm sits, must give eye contact, and off we fo again, Fuss'ing for another few paces.

4)Sometimes, when Grimm slowwwwwly drifts ahead while we're loose-lead walking, I'll have us do a few LEFT CIRCLES. I keep my eyes up, because I don't wanna get dizzy... I'm already "ditzy."


5)By My Side = Goooood Stuff!
I take his fave tuggy toy or jumbo toy canvas snake, and zip it in front of Grimm's mouth, allowing it to "escape" from Grimm around my body as I stand, letting the snake toy STOP at my left shoulder. (this just lures him into sitting at my left side) The SECOND his bum hits the ground-- and I get EYE CONTACT-- I throw the snake toy for him.


6)We play a recall game off-lead.
I get him riles with his canvas dummy toys, then have him sit. I walk away from him, carrying a toy. About 6 yards away, I turn and make sure he's lookin' at me. Then: "HIER!" (toy is horizontal against my chest) Grimm ZZZOOOMS to me, sits fast, eye contact-- and YIPPIIIEEE, he gets his canvas bar toy!

7)Bond-building
I slavishly work and toil to snuggle, cuddle, kiss him.
Not always, but enough that we have a real connection going, off and on throuout the day. BRUSHING is a big, wonderful tactile TREAT for Grimm. He LOVES it-- and even lays down for this! Oyr main method of deep bonding is the ritual of him falling asleep nursing on my wrist in front of the TV as we relax together at night, his jaws gently holding my wrost as his eyelids flutter closed, his mouth gently sucking at my wrist as he falls asleep.

Anybody have good ideas for helping us, guiding us? How am I doing, everybody? Grimm DOES walk pretty well on-lead for a hormonal Czech lines 10 month old puppy... just much etnhusiasm and zip and zing makes him distractable and sometimes slowwwwly surge forward. (yup, I stop,<prong correction does happen here> have him sit, look at me, praise!! and off we go again)
 
1 - 20 of 80 Posts
Top