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Prong Collar

8881 Views 78 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  Cooper&me
Some of you may not like what I have to say, but...

My 11 week old pup has been giving me some problems while outside for potty breaks. I do not have a fenced yard and the road is pretty close to the area I'm using for a "Relief Zone", so I need to have her on a leash.

Anyway, I've been using a flat leather buckle collar and Riley just will not behave outside. She hops around, picks up sticks, leaves, acorns, just about anything she can pick up in her mouth. If she sees the cat, or a car, or anything else for that matter... Well forget it, she goes bonkers, and will totally forget why we are out there.

So I put a small sized prong collar on her, took her out again.... Whole new dog! I used a prong on my first GSD many years ago, but she was bigger and older at the time I first used it. But my little Riley was so much better... all it took was a few gentle tugs to get her attention. When it was just the flat collar, she would ignore any kind of correction "pops" I gave her. But with the prong... she got the message!

I thought it might be a little harsh for such a young pup, but she's a pretty stout dog already. I am fully aware if possible injury to her neck, so I really don't pop the leash, I just hold it and let her do the popping to herself if she gets boisterous. But with the prong on, she is much more mellow, she knows the difference.

Some may argue that she's too young for it, but it works and she shows no signs of distress or anything like that.
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SHE IS WAY WAY TOO YOUNG. Trust me you are traumatising her. Let her be a puppy. It goes by too fast. Very sad.
I am in no way against useing a prong collar. It was invaluable with my boxer. I am against useing it too early. IMO it is a lazy fix that you will regret down the road.
I am a prong collar advocate, I you are right I do not like what you said.

11 weeks old is WAY, W A Y, W A YYYYY, to young for a prong collar. Yep you are getting the results you want now, but you are ruining the drives of your dog. GSD's have drives, like play and prey. You can teach a dog while it is play or prey drive.

An 11 week old ins't SUPPOSED to behave. They are supposed to hop around, try and grab stuff, want to chase things. So what if she pulls on the collar? Have you introduced focus training with treats? It takes longer, takes more work, but it teaches your puppy to focus on YOU, and it makes learning fun! It makes YOU fun and the center of the universe. Using a prong at this age is going to make her afraid to do anything, and could cause developmental problems. She might just shut down completely. Not something I would want to risk.

Prongs are for older dogs when they are more mature, why should an 11 week old puppy be corrected for being a an 11 week old puppy?

Give yourself more time for potty breaks so she can have a bit of fun. Give her outlets for her "chase" energy.

She does sound like a handful though! Just have fun with her, teach her, reward good behaviour. Corrections come much later.
Agreed WAY too young.

She is an 11 wk. old puppy, they have NO attention span. It is normal. Maybe you need to move your "go zone".

I use prongs on my gsds but NEVER until they are older.
You are right, I don't like it.

You have to understand than Riley is not misbehaving, she is simply acting like a normal 11 weeks GSD pup, so there is no need to punish her by being happy. I understand your reasons to keep her on a leash, but in this particular case there is no difference with using the prong and slapping her in the face by being jumpy.

I'm not worried by the injuries to her neck, I'm worried by the injuries to her healthy development. You call it mellow, I call it inhibited.

ETA: And a pup, not behaving like a pup by fear to be punished IS a sign of distress.
Aww she is just a baby..and way to young for a prong.
She sounds like a normal and crazy young GSD. And I also love the prong BUT use it when my dog is older and STRONGER. So I need the advantage of the prong to level the field in that way (and usually more like 6 months or older).

For my younger dogs that were also full of crazy ENERGY, what I would have to do is bleed off their energy so they would listen. Young pups have the attention span of a gnat and the vigor and energy of a Tasmanian Devil. So if I can work LONG bouts of real exercise (by the way, I just went on an over 2 mile long hike in the woods with an off leash 8 week old German Shorthair Pointer, who's mom just reported back the puppy wasn't any more quiet than normal when they go back home......). 'Real' exercise is what I can see in my pups. If they are tired, really tired, I should see it. They should nap more, focus more, be so well behaved!!!!

And their attention span increases as well! I'd prefer to use food treats, praise, the clicker while they are still young and supposed to be puppies.

Also I go to puppy classes to get the help from the instructor. See what the other puppy owners are having to deal with, how we are doing in comparison. What we are doing well in and what we need to work on. The general socialization from the car ride, extra time with me, excitement from the class and other puppies, and the learning ALSO help my puppy be better behaved for the rest of the day!
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Your puppy is just showing natural curiosity and eagerness at what delights her.

She is a baby and holding her to the standards of an adult dog is analogous to expecting a toddler to show decorum.

If you squelch her natural drives and desire to explore and play she will never grow into her potential.

If you do not like having or cannot care for a puppy, please rehome her.
you're kidding right? 11 weeks old and going bonkers. hops around, picks up sticks, leafs. it's suppose to act that way. start socializing your puppy. at 11 weeks old my puppy was in puppy classes and they had cats there so the dogs could get introduced while they're young. now when my dog sees cats theres no bad reaction. not to long ago my trainers cat came into the room where my boy was. my puppy went over to him and licked his face and started playing. of course the cat was use to dogs. no prong, train your dog and let it be a puppy.
I agree, way to young for the prong collar. I use them on our dogs but only when needed. The first time they got a prong collar put on them was when they where about 1 year old. Puppies are puppies and puppies are going to act like puppies.
I agree with the others. WAY too young for a prong collar, and it sounds like your expectations are far above and beyond what an 11 week old puppy is capable of. Her behavior is perfectly normal for a happy, healthy, well adjusted puppy. It is unfair and inappropriate, and may create trust and relationship issues between the two of you down the road, if you continue to punish a young puppy for acting like a puppy.
WOW! I guess I should let you all know that the only time I use it is for potty breaks when she's being unruly. I put it on, take her out, she does her business, we go in, collar comes off.

I do NOT use it to discipline her, 5-10 minutes tops, and then it is off. She acts normal otherwise.

I am doing focus training, she will be in a class in two weeks, in the house she plays, lets me handle her ears, feet, teeth, tail etc...and is a normal pup. I give her lots of love, and she returns it ten-fold.

I'm not new to this, I've had dogs before, a GSD, a Lab, and two Italian Greyhounds.

I don't believe for a second that she's being "traumatized", she is being taken out for a reason, (potty), and the prong reminds her of that fact. For walks I use the flat collar and she does great, no pulling or veering off... right beside my left leg all the way.

In the two weeks I've had her, I've only had to use it three or four times when she was acting up. Jeez... I don't drag her around the yard with it!

I realize a lot of you feel like I'm doing it all wrong, or that I'll hurt her or create developmental problems. Well, I don't envision having to use it all the time. Just until she realizes that when we go to that part of the yard, it's for a reason and I expect her to do her business. Like I said, my yard is NOT fenced, and there are some dog owners in my neighborhood who let their dogs roam free, and they cr*p all over my yard. Although I clean up my dogs' poop, I can't always pick up the "stray" dogs' stuff. It's a potty break, not playtime, and I don't want her rolling around in mud and pee and poop. If the collar helps reach that end, then it's done it's job and I'll put it away.

I respect your views and concerns, and I hear what you are saying. I really do. I myself feel that 11 weeks is too young and I wish that it wasn't necessary to use it, but, the difference in the way she behaves is why I use it. Potty trips only, and only when she's acting up. Most of the time she's fine and the flat collar is acceptable. But sometimes she needs a little extra control, and that is when I use it. I love my dog to tears, and would never hurt her just so I can have an easy time. She is well loved and cared for. I posted this for general information for those who might be thinking about it for their own dog.
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I don't believe that people are saying that you don't love your dog. I believe that people are concerned at the use of corrective based training in such a young pup. And I also believe that people are recommending patience on your part and a different approach to the whole "potty" business.

I find that reward based training works really well with dogs of all ages. When the dog pees or poops I say, "Good pee (or poop)" or mark the behavior with some praise word. Then I give the dog a treat. Pretty quickly you can attach a command to that and they will go on command.
Sorry but your pup isn't allowed to be a pup when she is outside for a potty brake or when she is out for a walk she has to be glued to your left leg. When does she get time to explore, sniff the ground, check out things. I agree with Chris I think you are expecting way to much from an 11 week old pup.

When I went back and read your post again, I don't see where you really asked for any advice, so we are all just wasting our time posting this for you to read.

You can do what you feel in right or you could take the time to see what might be the right thing for the pup. An 11 week old pup is suppost to be full of life bouncing around exploring everything it can, not a little wind up robot at your side.
I don`t use a prong till 5 to 8 months BUT I have an acre and a half and I`m not on a busy road. I guess I would have to see how it`s being used. If there is little or no correction and the feeling of it around her neck seems to let her know that potty breaks need to be done expeditiously them maybe it`s not all bad.
Just know that a gentle tug is very different then even a gentle pop and make sure that your pup does have plenty of time and freedom to be a puppy full of energy.
Teaching the dog to wait until you aren't around to eat all these things and explore these places it can't while you keep that collar on.
Brimauster, I think you love your puppy! I really do! And I think you believe you are doing the right thing with the collar.

Our point is, that we would prefer you praise, treat, reward your young puppy when she does RIGHT. Rather than feeling you have to use the prong to correct when she does wrong.

I know I train all my puppies to go right outside immediately to their poo/pee place to squat. So they take care of that as soon as we exit the house. With the puppy party I give they learn to LOVE to go pee/poo for me. Then we play and continue to stay outdoors for awhile.

I have had some friends (not saying this is your situation) that accidentally 'taught' their puppies that as soon as they are done with their business the fun of the great outdoors is OVER and they immediately get taken back in the house. So the owners started noticing a similar situation to yours, the puppies started NOT pooping/peeing immediately cause they realized the longer they took to squat, the more time they got to have fun in the yard. So weird how we think we teach our dogs one thing when they are learning something else entirely!

Most of us love and use the prong collar. We just feel that for such a young puppy, that is clearly just showing 'play' behavior, it's not appropriate. Punishment for play, on a puppy, isn't clear. You may THINK you are 'teaching' your puppy to focus/pay attention and pee. While you may actually be teaching your puppy that normal play behavior with you is wrong. Or sniffing is wrong (not good in a tracking dog LOL).

Do you have a local park/fenced in area you can play with when you take your dog out? So you can just be playing with the pup and she'll just poo/pee when she has to. And no leash even needed if the area is safe and within a fence.

Interesting side note: when I first started owning dogs and training them, it was all about seeing my dog's do something wrong so I could then correct them to show them that wasn't right. So it USED to be (and this was also with trainers and in dog classes) all about actually setting up our dogs to do something wrong so we could 'correct' them with a choke or prong collar. So my poor first dog spent her training career doing wrong wrong wrong and being corrected corrected corrected..............(poor baby).

The current mindset for most dog training, especially for puppies, is to have an active and thinking member of the dog training 'team'. And the 'team' is made up of the pup AND the handler. With both of us having to THINK come up with ideas and being innovative. Because, and listen to this cause it rocked my world initially
It's about 'How can I THINK of ways to have my puppy do something RIGHT?'. Not just pop/correct on a leash (which is way easier and my instructor told me was the lazy way to train). I need to come up with a plan and see if it works. Using praise, treats, toys.

I want my pup to WANT to listen, want to learn, want to try new things to find out which of the new things is RIGHT! To earn my praise and reward. Rather than them end up being cautious and always getting corrected for being WRONG.

And I do correct my dogs. There are things that are wrong. But it's more along the lines of safety (jerking me off my feet by pulling the leash when they are adult? Running after a deer? Attacking another dog?) rather than almost any general training issues. Positive training isn't permissive....

Frankly, I want to be my dogs leader. And someone they want to listen to, learn from, and have guidance from. Not someone they feel they HAVE to listen to, or else.......

Some good sites to look at are:
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I can't quite figure out why you would need a pronged collar for potty breaks. Being a puppy is not bad behavior, and exploring does not equal unruly. Discounting the dog's age, using a pronged collar for potty training just doesn't seem right.

When my GSD was a pup I would get up 2-3 times every night, go ouside with the dog and wait until he went potty. Because I am retired I never had to cage train the dog, yet he was house broken at about 11 months. My yard is also unfenced.

When I first signed on to this board, every now and then I would say something that literally everyone disagreed with. Eventually, I figured out that they were right.
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