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However I felt I wanted to start my own. I have never owned a pure breed dog. I've always ended up with "pound puppies" of sorts or just dogs that have simply found me for lack of a better phrase.

Anyhow, while at Petsmart someone simply walked in and dropped off two beautiful German Shepherds. The female looked like skin and bones (and just had puppies) and the male was out of control. Nobody wanted to take these dogs, nobody even wanted to look at them.

So I took them to a GSD rescue not too far from where I live. Anyway, during the drive I got pretty attached to the puppies. I ended up bringing one back with me a little female a named Pandora.

My question is about e-collar training and I don't know if this is the right section or not as it is my first time here. I have used strictly positive reinforcement so far and the puppy is now 6 months old. I feel like my trainers are simply close minded. I asked about a prong collar and was told it would turn my dog mean and that no respectable dog owner would put their dog through that and I found it a bit harsh considering how many professionals have used them for years.

Against their judgement I bought an e collars. I however, have not used it. I have ordered a few DVDs on the how to of e collar training and I want to make sure i'm not going to be going backwards with my dog.

It's not that I havent tried using positive reinforcement. She has learned a lot but it's not as solid as I would like and from what i've read an e-collar can greatly help with proofing everything.

All I really want is a reliable recall and her to walk nicely on a leash. She does fine in front of my house but as soon as we go out more in public to the park or pet store it's another story.

I also don't want to have to always have a certain collar on her for her to learn the commands. I want to eventually be able to phase it out I guess if that makes any sense.

I just want to make sure i'm not considering this when my dog is too young. I also don't want to hurt her but I just feel she isn't getting too much out of strictly positive reinforcement.

Any information would be helpful or website links etc...

Thank you in advance.
 

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Originally Posted By: Innuendo I feel like my trainers are simply close minded. I asked about a prong collar and was told it would turn my dog mean and that no respectable dog owner would put their dog through that...
I agree those trainers are closed minded. Positive reinforcement is a great training tool, and should always (IMO) be used first. However it can't always stop there.

I currently use a prong collar on my dog Freyja. It does not and has not made her mean. She is a great big love bug. I would NEVER hurt my baby, and if I, for one second, thought that the prong or e-collar was abusive, I would never use them.

HOWEVER, they must be used correctly. You are doing the right thing by getting the DVD's for the e-collar first. If you are considering using the prong collar, go to THIS LINK to learn how to fit them properly. I don't agree with everything that website says, but they show you how to fit the prong collar, and as of now, I don't know of any other website that does.

Most people see a prong collar and think "medieval torture device" but when used properly is actually much safer than a regular choke chain. What I did, before buying one, I put it around my thigh muscle and gave a good tug. I get a lot of weird looks when I tell people that.
But it didn't hurt. It didn't feel good, but it wasn't painful either. And eventually I will get her to using a regular collar, but for her teenage rebellious days, she needs a little more.

I'm not an expert, I'm just sharing my own personal experience, but I'm sure you'll get a lot of good advice from the others on this forum.
 

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Lou Castle: <span style="color: #3333FF">The only guy I'd learn e-collar usage from</span> is a board member right here. He's written more posts on more boards in the sanest manner than any other. <span style="color: #3333FF">His site</span>

I have never used an e-collar, but if I were to require it, I'd become a student of Lou's before I ever pushed a button.

That said, I do use a prong. I do fit it per leerburg's page. I do let a butthead dog lunge and self correct while walking, and it takes about a New York minute for them to realize doing so is dumb.
After that, it's simply control, as in if they forge too far it starts to tighten, they slow, and leash gets slack. That quick, that simple.

Compulsion and correction have their place, but not with a puppy.
I feel the same about e-collar usage on a pup. Praise will get you farther, faster.

A six month old is a pup. But I like my shoulder in it's socket, too,
so use a prong to help teach self control or correct for any inappropriate aggression.

Never correct for recall. Never correct for any command not thoroughly understood through marking and praise over and over, so you know it's disobedience rather than confusion.
Otherwise corrections are punishment, and break the bond and trust and that leads to failure, abandonment, and shelters are already full of failures, so please, just don't go there.

As for the "trainers" who want to tell you how to train your gsd, ask them how many they've trained. If the class is full of purse dogs, find another trainer.

My not so humble opinion...but then again is any opinion really humble?
 

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Did you guys just buy your prong collar at the store or order it online?

I should get the extra large for a GSD right? My pup is 8 months old, 80 pounds.
 

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Originally Posted By: wrennyDid you guys just buy your prong collar at the store or order it online?

I should get the extra large for a GSD right? My pup is 8 months old, 80 pounds.
We always order them on-line since we only use the Herm Sprenger ones. The pet store brands (Costal, Titan, etc...) are lower quality. I've never seen stainless steel or curogan collars in the stores, and these materials are much better than the chrome plated you can find in pet stores. Also, the HS collars are well made and the tips are rounded, whereas the pet store ones often have sharp edges and burrs.

Get the large size, not x-large. The large size is plenty strong enough. The x-large size is unnecessary unless you've got a St. Bernard. More, smaller links is better tha fewer, larger links both in terms of being able to size the collar properly, and in the collar's effectiveness.
 

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Hi there first of all
to the board!

I have no experience with e-collars but I do have some experience with pinch (prong) collars.

Our B'EL, when much younger, was what a lot of trainers would refer to as "sharp". In simple terms. She was a tough customer. We went through the basic negative reinforcement training, which is still very widely practiced. B'EL seemed to rebel against this training and her rebellion increased with each day. We started with a flat leather collar then a choke chain and finally the trainer told us that the only way we would ever gain control of this dog is with a pinch collar. Let me tell you that the only thing that this collar did was PISS HER OFF!!!.

Out of total frustration I spoke to a fellow breeder and she was appalled that we were using this type of training and encouraged us to switch to positive reinforcement. We did - also switched from the pinch collar to a Greyhound collar - the result was absolutely immediate - the rest is history. Here we are eight years later and we have trained several dogs using nothing more than a Greyhound collar and positive reinforcement methods.

I’m not necessarily suggesting that you switch to a Greyhound collar. This is our experience. I will say this, IMO the pinch collar is a great deal safer than a choke collar. The pinch collar when used correctly simulates the “bite” of the mother when she disciplines her puppies.
Hopes this helps.
 

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So which are you wanting to use? An e-collar or a prong collar your post was confused about this point.

For the walking on a leash the prong collar would be more useful They are a great tool when used correctly for teaching a dog to walk nicely on a leash. They can also be used to proof just about every command if you are creative enough.

I'm not against the use of an e-collar but I do tend to work up in price and difficulty of use. E-collars are at the top of both charts.

By the way your dog is still far to young for either to be used extensively I would introduce a prong at that age and maybe us it to keep control when out in public, but I wouldn't start to proof or train with it. An e-collar waits till later.

A word about your trainers; They are probably not the best out there. Its not just their opinion about prongs though the level of misinformation there is stunning. It's not even their closed minded attitude about a training tool. Its the demonstration of complete ignorance about dog psychology inherent in their statement "it will turn the dog mean."

I would find another trainer.

I would buy an introduce a prong. Introduce it by putting it on but not using it. Put it on for play sessions in the yard. to go to the store, etc anything fun but don't snap a leash to it until the dog sees it and gets excited about the fun she will have once you put it on her

Keep working at the motivational obedience I assume you are using treats? keep at it. Six months is no time. She has a lot of learning left to do and a lot of maturing as well.
 

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Innuendo, Welcome!!!!

I second going to Lou Castles web site, better yet, e-mail him or call him. He is wonderful. I also agree that at 6 months your pup may be a bit young for either of those tools, but, your trainers should no better than to come at you with scare tactics. A dog will not be turned mean by the proper use of either of these tools, the proper thing to do is to find out HOW to use them properly, and I think you deffinately came to the right place. There is a ton of information out here and lots of people willing to help.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you guys for the wonderful information and I will be sure to check out both websites listed.

I agree my pup is still just that, a pup. This is the first dog I have ever had to raise from a puppy. I've always adopted older dogs that never had too much trouble pulling on the leash, etc... they were never perfect by any means at obedience but they were polite in public and that's all I wanted from a family pet.

Anyhow, I had asked my trainers about the prong collar and just got dirty looks and horror stories about how it turns dogs mean or injures them horribly, etc... so that's when I started to look into the e-collar.

Currently I use a martingale (sp?) on her. It works all right but not with heavy distractions. I do, however, like it because I know she can't slip out of it.

I will wait until she is a bit older to use either full time. It will give me time to do the research I need. I ordered two e-collar DVDs. One I can't remember the website name but I have it saved at work and the other was a Leeburg (sp?) dvd. So if either of you have information about his training that would be great. I browsed his website for awhile and found a bit of useful information but some of it I didn't really agree with. I guess that's any trainer though. I also found that I like his leather leashes the best.

Also, Pandora has recently started snapping at other dogs/puppies. It almost seems random but lately i'm thinking it's other dogs or puppies that are very alpha. She is not alpha in my household my other rescue dog is but she seems to be pretty bossy in places like Petsmart or at the park around other dogs.

I'm not sure if this is a stage she is going through or possible signs of future dog aggression? When she snaps I correct her and then praise her for calming down. She has gotten to the point where when she wants nothing to do with a dog she will show teeth and raise her paw but not snap and I let her do that just fine. I feel that is a proper way for her to tell another dog that she wants to be left alone.

Anyway, i've rambled on long enough.. but thank you again for the information. I think i've already found out more here in 2 minutes than previous trainers I have used.

Here is a photo of my two pups (well one is 6 mos, one is 6 years) The big furry one is a rescue we think she is part collie and part Great Pyr but some people see aussie instead. She's about 102lbs so she'd be a big aussie. lol


 

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Basic puppy training....

Innuendo, if you can do us a favor and up where it says 'My Stuff' you can get into 'My Profile' and scroll down to put your GENERAL location. Don't need any stalkers knocking at your door, but your closest town/state is a huge help when we give suggestions.

I didn't really get what general dog obedience training you've completed. 6 months is actually still a puppy and when I just start up real dog training. Prior to that it's socialization and puppy kindergarden. With my MAIN goal getting a close bonding relationship with my dog in any and all locations. Tons of car rides and meet and greets rather than 'obedience'.

And when I do start classes around 6 months I'll have shopped around for the best classes in my area. Truthfully, for my area that means an hour drive for the best classes, but if I have to drive then I do so.

I LOVE the prong collar, but use it in conjunction with a good trainer so I fit it properly and use it right. And if I do NOT have to use it, that's fine too (it doesn't make dogs aggressive). I also use the e-collar, but that's WAY down the line in my training when everything else has been tried (really tried with a good trainer, not just me fumbling along doing my best, I am NOT a dog trainer so I go to one when what I know isn't working). I have met too many dogs that have either REALLY been screwed up by improper use of the collar or that the collar isn't working right on the dogs because the people didn't train as they should have.


Quote:I just want to make sure i'm not considering this when my dog is too young. I also don't want to hurt her but I just feel she isn't getting too much out of strictly positive reinforcement.
For a 6 month old baby puppy (and that is what you have) I wouldn't be too concerned at this point with the positive training. Once again, your main goal with a young puppy is to have it become confident and happy in any situation........not OBEDIENT. Not yet. And during this time you need to be working on YOU YOU YOU (though it is easier to 'blame' the puppy and think they are the problem
).

A puppy should be joyful, happy, and have the attention span of a gnat. They aren't supposed to really listen and be perfect in a standard we want later on in the training. And if you gain the leadership role for your puppy, working on having training being FUN and working with you being THE BEST, then when you dog step up the training it will go well also. Hey, I use treats/toys and have one of the top agility dogs in the USA! Was she perfect at 6 months? Not even close!

Here's what I'd be working on if I were you....

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/puppack.html

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/leadership.html

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/relationshipbased.html

They really are puppies for such a short time, so as long as I can allow my dogs to have their puppyhood, the better. Real life (and real training) are coming along...
 

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Re: Basic puppy training....

Quote: Also, Pandora has recently started snapping at other dogs/puppies. It almost seems random but lately i'm thinking it's other dogs or puppies that are very alpha. She is not alpha in my household my other rescue dog is but she seems to be pretty bossy in places like Petsmart or at the park around other dogs.
This also shows me that I'd concentrate way more on 'socialization' than hard core obedience at this point. This behavior isn't 'alpha' remember she's a baby. What it is is she's afraid and overwhelmed by some dogs (sounds like by confident and overwhelming dogs). And our puppies DO go thru different normal 'fear' stages the first year or so that we need to be aware of, prepare them for, and guide them thru. Once again, how WE behave is key, not so much what the puppy does. Here's some sites on the 'socialization' and fear stages:

http://www.doberman.org/articles/puppy.htm

http://www.vanerp.net/ilse/GSDINFO/understandyourpuppy.htm

http://home.flash.net/~astroman/primer1.html

http://www.gsdhelpline.com/willis2.htm

http://www.dogshome.org/docs/G852_GermShepherd_FactsheetQXD.pdf
 

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Re: Basic puppy training....

I haven't done any formal training with her. I work at Petsmart as a stocker/cashier part time between going to school, etc... as an employee there I get all the training classes for free. I had seen them advertised before ever working there and they aren't the best (and I would have never paid for any of it beforehand) but nonetheless it was a chance for me to get Pandora around other dogs. That's why I don't understand the snapping. Since I got her around 8-9 weeks old she has been going up there with me several times a week surrounded by other dogs and puppies.

The trainers there arent the best but I do like the fact that I have a place where I can bring her to visit with other dogs. There are a few she loves to play with and others she wants nothing to do with them.
 

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Re: Basic puppy training....

Wow, Pandora looks so much like my girl as a pup, I will have to find the pics and get them posted, I've been meaning to....just am not that great with the whole uploading pictures thing....I know that look too! LOL
 

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Re: Basic puppy training....

I would love to see them. Also, where do most people here get their dogs from? Local or online breeders. I'm looking at getting another GSD in the near future but the one I have is a rescue but I love her to death. I'm going to wait until Pandora is at least 15mos old before considering another dog.

Here are Pandora puppy pics.

 

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Re: Basic puppy training....

Quote:That's why I don't understand the snapping. Since I got her around 8-9 weeks old she has been going up there with me several times a week surrounded by other dogs and puppies.
Since you've now (I'm sure) read the sites I posted about socialization you realize that this is NORMAL for many of our puppies as they grow the first year.

It's important for us to read up all all the stages our pups go thru so we aren't surprised and can help ahead of time to make things go smoother.
 

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Re: Basic puppy training....

Originally Posted By: InnuendoI haven't done any formal training with her. I work at Petsmart as a stocker/cashier part time between going to school, etc... as an employee there I get all the training classes for free. I had seen them advertised before ever working there and they aren't the best (and I would have never paid for any of it beforehand) but nonetheless it was a chance for me to get Pandora around other dogs. That's why I don't understand the snapping. Since I got her around 8-9 weeks old she has been going up there with me several times a week surrounded by other dogs and puppies.

The trainers there arent the best but I do like the fact that I have a place where I can bring her to visit with other dogs. There are a few she loves to play with and others she wants nothing to do with them.
I too used to work for Petsmart, and their training is worth a little less than you are paying for it. You can tell your trainer I said so. I actually turned down a job as one of their trainers (it would have been a raise) because of the way they require their trainers to teach.

You've had some great suggestions from Maggierose, I suggest you listen to them and keep reading as well as looking for a quality training class.
 

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Re: Basic puppy training....

i didnt read all the posts so sorry if u read something over again. for the positive recall, this is what i have found to work for me. example: ill take tyson outside to go potty. he's out in the middle of the yard running around and i suddenly call him "tyson come". he comes and i give him a treat. i keep treats on me when im at home just simply to reward good behavior. but say he just walks up to me, maybe expecting a treat, i just pet him and say good boy. if i call his name and he comes, he gets a treat. just make a habit of calling ur pup to u and rewarding. when ur sit'n on the couch and watchin tv, every so often call her, when/if she comes, reward.

and for the nipping, i cant tell u how bad i wish i could get tyson to stop. so far his worst stage was from 8 weeks to 11 weeks (we have been working on bite inhibition) he's doing better, but he still likes to play bite, which in the back of my mind im thinking, hey at least he's not mad biteing..lol but its still a no no
 

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Re: Basic puppy training....

Originally Posted By: InnuendoI would love to see them. Also, where do most people here get their dogs from? Local or online breeders. I'm looking at getting another GSD in the near future but the one I have is a rescue but I love her to death. I'm going to wait until Pandora is at least 15mos old before considering another dog.

Here are Pandora puppy pics.

im not sure because i dont know the breeder that well but i could probably say he is a BYB. the puppies were taken care of and for a hillbilly farmer he did a good job..both sire and dam were AKC registered plus the litter. the only thing is, no x-rays for HD from sire or dam. other than that i like my pup and wouldnt trade him for the world. ive also been considering another pup but seeing how my daughter is about to be born here in the next few weeks and tyson is still a pup, we're gonna wait until tyson is old enough to where i dont have to keep an eye on him so often, that way i can make sure to keep both my eyes on the new pup. im looking to get a female..prefferably black
 

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Re: Basic puppy training....

I am doing puppy kindergarten at PetSmart, but my goal was socialization more than anything. I have learned a lot, and I think the fact that they are strictly positive reinforcement is a good thing so I can get that down cold. No harm in that.
HOWEVER- I had an issue that I had asked my breeder for help with, and she suggested a prong collar. Lucy lunges after cars, and is so fixated on it that no amount of correction with my regular collar or positive reinforcement was having any effect. My breeder said I should be near the road and if Lucy looked at a car I'd give a quick correction as well as my "no" sound and then when she looks at me just hold eye contact. When she ignored a car THEN I should reward. She said do that till I got three ignores, and on to something else, but to keep doing that over time. It made sense to me.
So, being the responsible but oh so ignorant pet owner I am, I decide to wait till puppy class to buy this item, so I can get some help and be shown how to use it properly. The Petsmart trainer said she could not help me with that because it was against their philosophy. Yet they sell them??????
Anyway, I left with a gentle leader. The feeling I got from them was it was better because they will self correct- like the human can't make the correction but if the dog does it it is OK? They said once you start with a prong you can't get the dog off it. I was talking about using it for a specific problem that unless I correct it might get my dog killed, not all the time. Not sure how I like the gentle leader yet, but I do not feel it will address the specific problem I had as well as the prong would.
 
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