German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
367 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've had a prong collar on my 10 month boy ever since he turned 6 months. it has stopped him from pulling and whenever he misbehaves i just give it a good yank to fix the problem. he is really well behaved and has free run of the house already. he stays home alone all the time and doesnt mess up anything. he walks well on a leash and doesnt pull.

But does a prong collar REALLY fix the problem? I'm beginning to think he doesnt pull because he doesnt want the pain. He still doesnt know what i want from him. i'm starting to think clicker/positive is the way to go to get him to understand what i really want. i want to get rid of the prong all together. but if i use a clicker and tell him to sit and he looks at me and says MAKE ME, then what? what is the most effective way to make a dog understand what you want him to do?

the prong has been extremely effective but im not sure if its correcting the problem or just masking it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,084 Posts
It sounds like you aren't working with a trainer, and therefor have no formal training on how to use the prong collar. It sounds like you are using it WRONG.

Unless it is a very hard dog requiring such a correction, there should be no pain involved. A light pop, "leash correction", with instant release. NOT a hard tug.

My trainer had a great way of learning. Take a chair with wheels and put it on a tile/laminate/wood floor. Tie your leash to it and give a leash correct. If the chair moves across the floor at all you are PULLING, not giving a proper leash pop.

I'm a firm believer that most dogs will never be proofed an solid without some form of correction. Some do fine with verbal. Many require physical. Again this does not automatically mean PAIN. Read above, a slight discomfort and pressure to the neck to mark negative behavior is very different from hanging your dog up. Berlin, my pup, is on an easy walk harness while we work on leash training with a regular flat collar during training. Zeke was put on a prong about 1 year of age and now is walked easily with a choke chain.

Good luck :) My best advice, find a GOOD trainer in your area.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,368 Posts
I agree with Anubis above:)

For me, a prong collar is a tool for training IF needed, you phase it out with training and I end up going with either a flat buckle collar or martingale type collar.

I also agree you need to find a good trainer to help YOU teach your dog as well as the dog will learn
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,325 Posts
Collars, leashes and walking seem so basic, don't they? I thought so until I found a good trainer. There is a proper way to fit the prong, there is a proper way to hold the leash with or without the prong, and as others mentioned a proper "popping".

Both of our trainers told us our dog was extremely strong willed. When she was younger using the prong was the most effective method for training, and just because she was strong willed does not mean we gave her pain. None of the trainers popped her to the point where she yelped.

Are you using verbal commands and/or hand signals while you walk? like heel? Our dog is well trained now, she is almost three and I stopped using the prong when she was about 2 yrs old, but it took lots of training to get to this point.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,124 Posts
All training methods really depend on the dog. If your dog will do things for praise (clicker) than it works, but there are situations where a dog won't stop a behavior just for praise or a treat. In those situations, and for those kinds of dogs, you need some reinforcement. GSDs are known to be stronger willed dogs, and although they are willing to please, many people still like them to think for themselves once in a while.

I don't correct with a prong unless I KNOW 100% my dog knows what is expected from him. The way it sounds you were "yanking" was that the dog didn't understand you expected him to either be in heel or not pulling. If I tell my dog "heel" and he doesn't come into heel...he gets corrected with a quick tug on the leash. But he knows heel...before he didn't know heel...I didn't correct him and guided him there with a treat. Once he was there he was praised.

The way it sounds you're using the prong is the way 95% of people use the prong. My dog pulls, this tool makes them stop pulling (due to the correction/pain), so they just strap it on and go. It's for control rather than training. But when used properly, its a great tool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,657 Posts
I am a firm believer in the prong. Up until a little while ago I was using positive only training, clicker or verbal. This was wonderful for learning new things and learning fun tricks. BUT it did not stop dog reactivity. A prong correction is what works for us in that situation. Stella knows fus, watch me, sit, etc etc but forget it when another dog is coming towards us. So a couple of pops and she stops the nonsense. This has been a looooong process and we are now at a point where the prong is on her with a short tab attached. I use the flat collar but when she starts "poofing" I will grab the tab and give a correction.
But the dog absolutely needs to understand what is being asked. I don't know if we will ever go "prongless" due to her dog reactivity. But she is better than she was a year ago....so who knows....:)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,367 Posts
But does a prong collar REALLY fix the problem?
If all you're doing is correcting him for pulling then no, it's probably not fixing anything. If he still pulls when he's NOT wearing it, that's your answer right there.

I'm beginning to think he doesnt pull because he doesnt want the pain. He still doesnt know what i want from him.
Exactly. Correcting a dog for doing it wrong isn't necessarily teaching him how to do it right, and that's the part of the equation that seems to be missing here. All you're doing is using the prong as management. As long as you're aware of that and are okay with it, that's fine. But if you'd like him to know how to walk nicely on leash you're going to have to actually show him what you want, and that's where rewarding him for getting it right is much more productive. Once you determine your criteria for a LLW, there's only going to be one right way to do it, but a lot of wrong ways, which is why it can be much clearer to the dog to mark and reward the behavior you want.

If you already have a big strong dog (vs a young puppy) with a propensity to pull, you can still have him wear the prong to manage pulling while you train loose leash walking.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
367 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
my dog does NOT pull. i can walk him down a busy street with my hands by my side and a completely lose leash. if he starts to get in front of me all i have to do is say eh ah heel and he'll immediately slow down and be at my side. if i see another dog coming i can tell him to sit and he'll sit until released.

but this weekend we went fishing and he saw the water and pulled like crazy. he forgot what heel meant. i popped his prong as hard as i could and he just looked at me and then started pulling. i made him sit and the moment i took a step forward he started to run towards the water. he just straight up chose not to listen and pain didnt slow him down. i highly doubt a treat would've either.

when he chooses not to listen, what is the most effective way to make him listen?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,124 Posts
In your situation...you turn around and walk the other way. Could take an hour, but you only want them to get to where they want to go on your terms and not on their terms. So you go the other way from where he clearly wants to go. At one point he'll realize that he needs to listen to you in order to get what he wants.

You're right, a treat might not have distracted him from the water, but a toy might have. Or something else he really really wants. Something you can withhold easily until he does what you ask him. That is the key to training, figuring out what your dog can't live without and using it to get them to do what you want.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
This thread is really interesting. I have been going to a trainer for 6 sessions - 4 private and 2 group - and i still don't understand how to use the prong collar that the instructor recommended. She showed me how to "snap" it a couple of times, but it is not really something I can practice in front of her so I don't think she realizes that I don't know what I am doing. I scheduled the lessons so that I could get Ranger over his fears, but she didn't work specifically on those fears with me, just basic obedience. I can understand that I need basic obedience to tackle these fears, but I just don't get how to do it. Ranger is better with the prong collar but he still pulls. And as for the fears - I have figured out some strategies on my own. I have just decided to switch back to the gentle leader harness for general walks and the prong for training. Hopefully I can figure out how to use it properly.

Man, I wish I were as smart as Ranger and I could figure out this obedience stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
710 Posts
You have a prong collar on a dog 24/7? It should only be on for training. Then take it off. The prong is a crutch. You'd be better off training without one unless you truely cannot handle the dog without one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
710 Posts
but this weekend we went fishing and he saw the water and pulled like crazy. he forgot what heel meant. i popped his prong as hard as i could and he just looked at me and then started pulling. i made him sit and the moment i took a step forward he started to run towards the water. he just straight up chose not to listen and pain didnt slow him down. i highly doubt a treat would've either.
No, a treat would not have helped. This is where patience pays off.

When he starts pulling hard in one direction, stop and wait for him to stop pulling. He will eventually. Maybe in 5 minutes, maybe in 20 minutes. Then you can take a step forward. He will probably lunge again and start pulling. Stop. Wait. Repeat above. It will take a long time the first time. It will take less time the second time. But remember, if you give in, you will have to start over from the beginning.

This website explains in more detail.
Does Your Dog Pull on Leash?

Ditch the prong and train instead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
Flyaway, I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I want to make sure I understand. So instead of turning around and going the other direction just stop, wait for him to stop pulling, then proceed. Repeat if he starts pulling again?

If I am understanding correctly I like that technique because I get dizzy turning around and around.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,124 Posts
Flyaway, I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I want to make sure I understand. So instead of turning around and going the other direction just stop, wait for him to stop pulling, then proceed. Repeat if he starts pulling again?

If I am understanding correctly I like that technique because I get dizzy turning around and around.
Turning around helps take the dog's attention away from the thing they want to get to. If they're just pulling in general...to get to whatever is in front of you no matter what direction, the turning around helps redirect them.

But the basic idea behind both methods is the same, and you could do either or. I've noticed turning around helped get my dog to figure it out quicker than just stopping.

If you get dizzy turning around, turn the other way?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
I was kind of kidding about the getting dizzy, but in any case I appreciate having another tool in my tool kit.

I am just not very good at this. I had hoped the trainer would train me, but she is pretty much "one size fits all". I guess i will have to figure it out on my own. Just a bummer that i spent $270 on her sessions. Luckily, Ranger is not "out of control" by any stretch of the imagination so hopefully I can get him to be even better.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
367 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
You have a prong collar on a dog 24/7? It should only be on for training. Then take it off. The prong is a crutch. You'd be better off training without one unless you truely cannot handle the dog without one.
hahahha no i dont have it on him 24/7. he doesnt wear any type of collar at all while in the house or yard. he only has his prong on when out in public. i want to phase the prong out completely. but if he gets focused on something while outside, without a prong its almost impossible to get his attention.

i dont know how cesar millan does it. if i give my dog a hard "touch" with my fingers onto his side, i swear he thinks im tickling him. it doesnt break his focus at all. im just standing there calling his name and poking him like an idiot while hes looking straight ahead. its just hard to get him focusing on me instead of the outside world. inside he's an angel and will do whatever i say.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,124 Posts
I suggest not rushing your dog off the prong...if you need it, you need it. With a strong minded, driven dog, sometimes a prong is the only thing that will get through to it.

I didn't want to use a prong...but my dog didn't react to any other type of correction. A trainer came to me and just said, you have to use a prong, your dog just doesn't care about the corrections you're trying to give. On top of that...a correction with a flat is delayed and not as effective which is also counter productive to training.

My girlfriend still walks our boy on a prong, I have transitioned to a flat or choke depending on what's on hand. I also use a choke for trials as a prong isn't allowed. I had started to train with a choke but now have gone back to a prong because the corrections are so much more effective with less force on my part.

To answer your "post question" a prong doesn't fix any problems...it does how ever offer an excellent way to remind a dog of a correct behavior they have already learned. Until the dog learns that behavior, its not fair to use pain to force that behavior on the dog. At the same time, you'll get a dog that isn't very happy doing the work as its only doing that because of fear of pain rather than wanting to please you.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,283 Posts
use a prong first, a 6mo puppy and a "good yank" then post questions about how to use one????


this is why i avoid these threads, end up saying something negative and people call me negative for it.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
367 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
use a prong first, a 6mo puppy and a "good yank" then post questions about how to use one????


this is why i avoid these threads, end up saying something negative and people call me negative for it.
Hahah no you aren't negative. You're just a complete buffoon. You say you avoid these threads yet you had to post a reply. Where did I ask how to use a prong? I'm not an idiot. I trained him with treats and positive encouragement and only used a prong to reinforce. Learn to read before you go acting like you know everything. All I asked was when a prong is ineffective, what other methods do people use to gain control?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,283 Posts
yep roger that boss, as for the buffoon thing i don't call people names on the internet, kinda cowardly but whatever, carry on.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top