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Fury is 1 year, submissive, and reactive while on leash but otherwise gets along very well with other dogs and people.

Our first set of classes at the local humane society taught us to only use positive reinforcement. The instructor explained how she never corrects her dogs but constantly rewards good behavior.

Fast forward to the present. We just started a class at the daycare that Fury attends. This instructor has been training dogs for forty years and has multiple wonderful dobermans. The first thing he did in class was hand out prong collars.

We learned how to teach the heel command using impulses from the prong collar. Unfortunately, Fury is incredibly sensitive and one small tug is often enough for her to tap out. While working with the collar in a stress free environment she'll constantly stand and try to kiss my face the way she does when apologizing. In our last session she dropped to the ground and would only crawl alongside me. She's never been less obedient.

The instructor says she needs to be subordinate in order to look to me for direction when other dogs appear on walks, which I agree with. The ultimate goal is to give Fury the confidence to simply ignore other dogs, but the negative reinforcement method seems to be just stressing her out. Maybe it's too early to tell. I've been told that she will get used to it and have reluctantly agreed to keep trying. It's heartbreaking but I do my very best to keep my feelings in check so as to not bias her during training.

Anybody have any advice on how to proceed? I'm getting mixed signals from every angle. I need her to obey me on leash while around other dogs but I don't want her forming any negative associations that would cause further stress.
 

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I have never had to do anymore than a very gentle tug on the prong to get results. Most of the correction has been the dog correcting himself. Incorporate a lot of praise and treats at first. get Fury to realize that she is doing good through treats and praise. Maybe she will start to focus on the fact that she is doing good rather then the fact that she thinks you are correcting her.
 

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are you in Northern California?
Heh, I am. Did you get that from the instructor I described?

I have never had to do anymore than a very gentle tug on the prong to get results. Most of the correction has been the dog correcting himself. Incorporate a lot of praise and treats at first. get Fury to realize that she is doing good through treats and praise. Maybe she will start to focus on the fact that she is doing good rather then the fact that she thinks you are correcting her.
Thank you, this is what the instructor taught us as well. It may simply require more time but the fact that she's taking to it so poorly in a safe environment with lots of praise and breaks concerns me. Couple that with only being supposed to train her for 15 minutes a day gives me a lot of downtime to dwell :p
 

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Try this experiment:put the collar on her with the prongs facing wrong side out.This would be like a martingale collar(works like a prong without prongs).See if she responds better to that.The prong is obviously too harsh for her.I don't like the sound of this trainer at all:(Better results will be had if the training is tailored to the individual dog's temperament.
 

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yes FuryPuppy, from your description.
I will send you a PM... but it's along the same lines as the above poster suggests, of training the dog in front of you.
 

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The prong may be too much for your dog. From what you describe a flat collar is probably more than enough. If the dog is shutting down as you describe, then I would avoid the prong.

Short training sessions are best, 10 minutes at a time. But, you can do this multiple times a day, if you are doing it properly and the dog actually enjoys the training.

JMO FWIW
 

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I agree with DogMa and SlamDunc, the prong is probably too much for her. If the instructor won't listen or demands the prong, I'd suggest finding another instructor.

FYI I was shown a book recently, that was written by someone who was very respected back in the day, the trainer wrote how to deal with a dog that dug holes; he'd bring the dog to the hole, fill it with water, and hold the dogs head under water while it bucked like a bronco. This was repeated for several days, even if the dog hadn't dug anymore. Moral of the story, even bright experienced and highly regarded people can be very very wrong. We have to be our companions advocate and protector.


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Lisa maze is in Vallejo. I would look into training with her. Several members on this forum have gone to her. And she always has multiple dogs with her to work on reactivity issues.
 

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Try this experiment:put the collar on her with the prongs facing wrong side out.This would be like a martingale collar(works like a prong without prongs).See if she responds better to that.The prong is obviously too harsh for her.I don't like the sound of this trainer at all:(Better results will be had if the training is tailored to the individual dog's temperament.
Great idea! I've been thinking about doing this with Summer. She became "prong savy" and only pulls harder when it's fitted properly. When it's looser - she responds. It's like "hey you up their on the other end - we're going to work together and you're going to teach me period". "None of this pain carp to get your point across". I get it!

So now, lol - I picture this; 2 prongs on - 2 leashes. One prong turned inside out and the other prong and leash for emergencies (she is very dog reactive). How's that going to look to the PO or un-knowledgeable person on the street:laugh:
 

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I deal with a lot of sensitive reactive dogs. I use prongs on all of them and usually E Collars as well.
I dont know how your instructor trains so its hard to say what exactly is going wrong.

With a sensitive dog its important to never make any kind of deal out of a correction. Even if you over do it, never acknowledge that or act upset in anyway. Simply praise the dog for becoming correct then reward.

Jumping up and "kissing" you is a protest behavior. Lying on her belly is a protest behavior. Giving in by stopping only enhances the behavior and teaches her that she can escape the pressure by exhibiting these actions.

If your dog is sensitive you must ensure you properly balance correction with reward and give the dog breaks between exercises to blow off steam. A good trainer knows how to do this. At most if your dog is that sensitive I would use the collar on the dead ring.

One of the worst things you can do is teach a dog that offering protest or stress behaviors makes the pressure stop. Only being correct makes the pressure stop. Help the dog be correct remove pressure, offer reward.
 
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