German Shepherds Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 332 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31,877 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Our breed is loyal to their handler, intelligent, biddible, and bred to work with humans. How come it is considered not only acceptable, but typical to require prong collars or e-collars to control them? Is this a flaw in leadership, training, or genetics?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
646 Posts
As with humans leaning concepts, maybe dogs are similar

Some people learn best when reading/ told. Others, including myself, are visual learners and hands on to learn best

It's possible that some dogs can understand training with just a normal collar while some are a bit harder to control and then need a prong or e-collar to get the point across

However, it could be human error. Not all of us are pros at dog training, and don't have the money for an actual trainer, so we do the best we can from reading and watching videos. Our timing is not perfect, so that can cause some issues that eventually need to be corrected with other methods
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,432 Posts
JustI have never used either...and I've been working with GSDs for nearly 50 yrs. But I don't think either tool is a/the problem. Instead a prong or e-collar is a "quicker" solution to many many age old issues that the rest of us have struggled with forever! Don't blame the tool...its always the human in the training that needs to learn the most!

One great thing about both of these tools is how fast dogs/puppies catch on! Used correctly, I think they're awesome training aids. And you're absolutely correct on your thinking about learning styles...always, always work the dog in front of you! You don't need experience to do this, just careful observation! And hey, why not use the latest and greatest tools....i can think of no good reason...except, not knowing how to use a tool correctly....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
775 Posts
There's no flaw in leadership or genetics because you choose to use a training tool. Be it prong, electric, choke, etc. Its not required to use one and lots of people get by just fine without it. A car isn't required either, but it's a **** of a lot easier and faster to get where you're going.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
849 Posts
I think it may quicken the learning process using one of the tools mentioned above. I have an older dog who is almost 13 now that I've had since he was 10 weeks old. He never needed a choke chain, prong, ecollar, etc. He's been on a flat buckle collar his whole life. But he was never a puller and responded very quickly to leash training.

However, my 11 month old GSD needs a stronger approach, and I needed a quicker solution.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
177 Posts
The moment I put a prong on my 7 mo he was instantly a new dog on walks with only a couple of very gentle corrections. I have learned that when walking him with his prong, my touch on the leash has to be super loose and gentle. If he wants to stop and sniff he is able to pull loose slack through my hand without any tension on the leash, and always comes back to heel when I tell him lets go, then I shorten back up that slack. We were able to walk by another dog! Calmly! Something we had never done before without drama. I am proud of him on walks now and he is proud of himself!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,739 Posts
Growing up I never used a prong. We did use Choke Chains. They were common back then, but we didn't really choke the dog with them. As an adult I had a rescue GSD that walked perfectly on a flat collar. His previous owner must have trained him well and it must have broken her heart to let him go.

Fast forward to the pair of dogs I have now. if I had done the stop and start walking routine on a flat collar or martingale with my big-boy as a pup, we would never have left the yard for a long long time. Yes, I was impatient and wanted to go for real walks, so at 6 months we went with a prong. Honestly, it is an illusion of control. The other day my big-boy went way over threshold and even with the prong on he yanked the leash out of my grasp. Most of the time the collar reminds him of his limits. He expects to wear it now. I really dislike using discomfort to get him to pay attention, though. I use encouragement and reward more often.

My female wears one on walks but often I don't even have the leash attached to it. It is just there if I feel the situation requires a bit more, "hey, pay attention to your limits". One day I had her on her martingale and she desperately wanted to go meet and greet our big-boy. She pulled on her collar so hard it started to make her gag. I had to swing around and gather her up to keep her from hurting herself. If it had been the prong collar she would not have pulled that hard.

So in my limited experience, 90% - 99% of the time the prong is not needed. It is there for that tiny percent of times when adrenaline rushed power needs to be controlled...and even then it might not be enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
867 Posts
I'm old school--I've always used a choke collar--long before "positive reinforcement" was the new phrase of the day. Ultimately if there's a new tool and it works for you and your dog-- than use it. As far as genetics-- I've had dogs from 100% Schutzhund pedigrees to mainly show lines and they've all turned out to be great family dogs. When people ask out in public --What do you do with your dogs they're so well behaved??--I just smile and thank them----but in my mind I credit it to leadership, training and the "bond" that's developed over time. Day to day it wasn't always a perfect ride--but in the end it was worth it.

It's makes me feel very sad for the breed (based on the many behavioral threads here) that there's that many GSDs out there with BIG issues. There's no magic pill or quick fix. IMO it's about being a leader--training and teaching boundaries.It's very sad that so many of these dogs end up in shelters/rescues with behavioral problems--- simply because the breed was popular at the time the owner got their new puppy---when the problem IMO is that the owner couldn't lead a one man parade on a bet---and there was no "magic" pill to be found online. The dog and the breeds reputation is what really suffers and that's SAD
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,915 Posts
I think the objection to prongs is that people don't use them as a training tool but as a device they use to walk their dogs forever and ever and ever.

Selzer's point is that most German Shepherds are too easily trained to walk on a leash without pulling so why not train the dog instead?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,598 Posts
Different tools are needed for different dogs and different jobs. Not every GSD is biddable or bred to work with humans. Some are harder, more aggressive, higher drive and need more control.

I guess my question would be that all cars are designed to be driven by humans, why do we need anti lock brakes, air bags, power steering and all wheel drive on cars? My first car had none of those and I got around safely. Some cars simply have more power and these advances in technology make the average person safer and able to control cars with more power than they might be able to handle otherwise. The cars are safer, more reliable and perform better. When you work with GSD's with significantly more power and drive than the average GSD that most people are used too, you will see the need for options in equipment.

I own, train and work with GSD's that are not couch potatoes. I dislike like choke chains and will not use them. My dogs do wear a thick flat leather collar, they also wear a prong collar. Some days my males may have an E collar on them or a harness. I do a lot of different things with my dogs on a daily basis. I use the correct tool for the job. When out in public, whether on a walk or working they always have a prong collar on. There is nothing wrong with the proper use of a prong collar, it is a very safe and effective tool. Especially for those wanting a higher degree of performance from a stronger, drivey dog. Not all dogs need a prong, some are fine on flat collars, it depends on the dog.

You simply can not lump this breed into one category these days anymore, or say all GSD's should be this way. There are soft, biddable dogs and then there are strong dogs. My dogs are strong and biddable with me, wanting to please me, happy and high in drive. They would be far too much for most GSD owners to handle. Certainly, you are not handling Boomer on a flat collar. It is just not going to happen. When you see dogs like this work and perform the level of hardness, drive and aggression is way more than the average GSD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
888 Posts
Tradition?

Punishment is very effective when done correctly. Punishment works very well to suppress behaviors people do not want. Punishment is also very reinforcing for the handler/owner. If you can pop a leash or push a button and get an immediate change in the behavior of your dog, that it is reinforcing to the handler/owner because they got rewarded.

How someone trains their dog is their choice. There is no one "right" way to train a dog. I don't think prongs are evil or that the people who use them are bad trainers. Choosing to use or not use a certain collar doesn't mean anything about how good a trainer you are. If you train your dog to walk on a loose leash with an prong, but the dog will only walk nicely when wearing a prong and pulls without it, well then that dog doesn't truly understand what is expected of them. Same with using food or toys. It's not what tool you use, it's how well you use that tool to accomplish your end goal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,243 Posts
I agree with Slamdunc....there are dogs and there are DOGS.
I use e-collar for the distance work. When the dog is running blinds you aren't there to give a correction if they decide to blow a blind. The e-collar is a reminder to do it correctly.
E-collars are also good for not bringing emotion into the correction. Lowest stim, it isn't like I'm jolting the dog with electric, but enough to bring communication. Always fair corrections.
I've also used a prong when necessary during protection when the dogs drive state is very high, flat collar or harness doesn't work during the secondary obedience learning phase.
But the goal is always to work the dog with no line, no collar and just verbal commands as that is what happens during trial in IPO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,915 Posts
I agree with Slamdunc....there are dogs and there are DOGS.
I use e-collar for the distance work. When the dog is running blinds you aren't there to give a correction if they decide to blow a blind. The e-collar is a reminder to do it correctly.
E-collars are also good for not bringing emotion into the correction. Lowest stim, it isn't like I'm jolting the dog with electric, but enough to bring communication. Always fair corrections.
I've also used a prong when necessary during protection when the dogs drive state is very high, flat collar or harness doesn't work during the secondary obedience learning phase.
But the goal is always to work the dog with no line, no collar and just verbal commands as that is what happens during trial in sport.
Exactly! The goal should be to train the dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,126 Posts
Very interesting question, Selzer! I'm also a member of gsd forums in Great Britain and France. No prong collars or e-collars and their gsds are trained. Also those forums do not have the aggression threads that occur here.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
18,686 Posts
The GSD was created to be a utilitarian working dog using 4 regional types, some that had strong genetic obedience and others that were far less biddable. To think that all dogs in the breed were the same and could be handled with a strong voice is very naïve and shows a lack of understanding of the history of the breed. One is also not taking into consideration the differences in the dogs brought in and now used from the former Eastern bloc countries. Training tools have been developed to replace what used to be rather brutal methods to control the stronger dogs (dogs that have always existed). Our dog is a working breed and while a desire to work with man is what made the dog so popular as a working dog the world over, it was NEVER meant to be a soft low drive couch potato.

I have talked to trainers from countries where training tools have been banned and other far more physical methods are again used or the tools are used in secret.

Please explain to me this obsession with how others train?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,703 Posts
Our breed is loyal to their handler, intelligent, biddible, and bred to work with humans. How come it is considered not only acceptable, but typical to require prong collars or e-collars to control them? Is this a flaw in leadership, training, or genetics?
In Shadows case likely genetic. After multiple close calls, I went with a prong for her safety and mine. Although she is now manageable, I use the prong for neighborhood walks. She remains on a martingale for hikes and woodland walks where I keep her on the long line. I had never used a prong before her, and oddly she is the smallest GSD I have owned. She is a hunter, likes it when they flee. Absolutely ruled by a biological imperative to track, chase and kill. Ingrained and unstoppable fear/dislike of other dogs, the result of owners who can't or won't control their dogs and allow them to rush and often attack other dogs.
I had a poorly bred, genetically unstable dog to start with. Circumstance and bad luck combined to work against me. The prong was vital to getting through to her, as the second we walked out the gate she was on high alert. You cannot communicate with a dog in a panicked state with out first snapping them out of that state.
I think the prong is a tool, like any other. An air ratchet does the job quicker and with less effort then a wrench. No one says the mechanic is lazy, or using a short cut. It is just a tool.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,296 Posts
Very interesting question, Selzer! I'm also a member of gsd forums in Great Britain and France. No prong collars or e-collars and their gsds are trained. Also those forums do not have the aggression threads that occur here.
I follow several blogs of U.K. and European trainers.Whole different story:)Livestock chasing/killing is a big problem and how to train your dog humanely to never engage in that behavior is discussed often.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,726 Posts
Our breed is loyal to their handler, intelligent, biddible, and bred to work with humans. How come it is considered not only acceptable, but typical to require prong collars or e-collars to control them? Is this a flaw in leadership, training, or genetics?
Why do you associate the need/desire to use tools with some sort of flaw?

The breed is not only intelligent, biddable and loyal - but also drivey and energetic. Sometimes you need a stronger form of communication with the dog than what you can achieve with just your voice or a flat collar - especially when the dog is all keyed up.

Even if the dog isn't in drive and is clear headed and in a biddable mood - I still find tools to be far more effective and easier to use in some situations. I can immediately reinforce behavior with an e collar when my dog is 100 yards away. Both positive and negative (I use the tone on mine in lieu of a clicker). I'd wear out my voice trying to reinforce things at that distance verbally.

Even well trained dogs have off days at some point in their lives and might need some guidance from their handler or to be reminded when something is not appropriate. I like to have my dogs off lead. Wearing an e collar is a back up plan. Just because a dog has it on doesn't mean the owner is zapping it every 5 minutes.

Also... a few places that I hike my dog the authorities are more likely to over look a leash law violation if the dog has a remote collar on as they feel that the owner has more control over the dog than if it were sans collar. I think it's less stressful for my dog for me to toss an e collar on him and let him off leash than walk him on a leash with a flat buckle. My comfort pace isn't his. This way he can do all the sniffs and get in some good trotting. Everyone wins thanks to the e collar.
 
1 - 20 of 332 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top