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Unfortunately I think it’s time I start using a shock collar with my 8 month old working line shepherd. While walking him today in heel I noticed dogs in their backyard by the fence. So I figured it would be good practice for him (as he is not the best at keeping his cool when other dogs walk by when I try to keep him in heel, he jumps and growls and shows his teeth but he usually stops after I do a few pops of the prong collar). So, I began walking by the fence with the dogs and telling my dog heel and I would give him a correction with the prong collar every time I would see his attention go to the dogs and of course when he would start growling and jumping. However around the third pass I did he bit my leg. I don’t know if this was accidental or on purpose but he snapped at the dogs when he was on my left side and the dogs were on the right and my leg was in between. He broke skin and bit me pretty good. This same thing has also happened to my sister were he bit her by accident when snapping at another dog at his socialization classes. I believe its time for him to get a shock collar to end this behavior. I understand you need to really know how to use them correctly so I wanted to get some tips from you guys on how to use them properly were I won’t do more harm then good.Also is this a good shock collar I understand the more levels they have the better. Dogtra 1900S
 

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It sounds like your dog was getting too worked up by the other dogs. You might want to try working him at a greater distance from the dogs - a distance where he is not growling and jumping, but you can tell he's aware of them and you can still capture his attention. Be exciting, so it's not worth worrying about the dogs and then gradually move closer.

I personally would be very careful about using the e-collar in this type of situation. You don't want your dog to associate the e-collar with other dogs because that will just make his reactivity worse and, if he is too amped up, he might redirect and bite you anyway.
 

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It sounds like your dog was getting too worked up by the other dogs. You might want to try working him at a greater distance from the dogs - a distance where he is not growling and jumping, but you can tell he's aware of them and you can still capture his attention. Be exciting, so it's not worth worrying about the dogs and then gradually move closer.

I personally would be very careful about using the e-collar in this type of situation. You don't want your dog to associate the e-collar with other dogs because that will just make his reactivity worse and, if he is too amped up, he might redirect and bite you anyway.
Ok I’ll do that next time. However I still think it would be good for him to use the shock collar for his obedience training in general because he is very high drive and once something really gets him going it’s hard to snap him out of it.
 

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I would use it for all the commands he has down already just to perfect them as well as his heel training. Because he knows all of these commands he just doesn’t want to listen sometimes
 

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I have a feeling you need to do a lot of learning before you use what you call a “shock” collar.
Using it incorrectly can ruin a good dog.
Do yourself a favor and learn exactly how to use it.

By the way, he is only 8 months old.

Do you have treats on you when you go out with him?
 

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I get where you're coming from - I'm not opposed to e-collars, I have one for my dog and it's been very useful. It's just not necessarily the right tool for every situation and it's something that can easily make things worse.

But if you're going to get one to work on obedience behaviors or things like that, I watched the Michael Ellis video about 3 times before I ever started using the e-collar on my dog. Even now I use it sparingly and only when I'm confident I can get the timing right. Definitely do your research and maybe find a good trainer who has used e-collars to help get you started with it.
 

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I have a feeling you need to do a lot of learning before you use what you call a “shock” collar.
Using it incorrectly can ruin a good dog.
Do yourself a favor and learn exactly how to use it.

By the way, he is only 8 months old.

Do you have treats on you when you go out with him?
I’ve tried but he usually isn’t interested in eating them while he’s walking and all tired and panting.
 

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You’re working way over threshold and you should take a step back. It also sounds like the corrections were either not strong enough or too late. This isn’t an issue I would recommend you working with an e collar. While it can be done, I don’t think you have the timing to do so.
So then what should I do? I correct him the second his attention goes to something during heel. And I correct him right when he starts acting crazy, giving slack on the leash right after the correction. I do them pretty hard when I see it’s necessary. I also adjust the prong whenever I see a dog coming so that it’s right below his ears. What else can I do?
 

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You need to reward more than correct.
Sounds to me like you are pushing him too hard.
Outings are supposed to be FUN.
He’s still a puppy!
Right now the most important thing is to build up your relationship and earn his trust.

I think you need to do other sorts of things with him instead of forcing him to heel and harsh correcting.
Also, your stress is traveling down the leash.
You say you adjust the collar every time a dog shows up, that’s kind of setting him up to react.
 

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You need to reward more than correct.
Sounds to me like you are pushing him too hard.
Outings are supposed to be FUN.
He’s still a puppy!
Right now the most important thing is to build up your relationship and earn his trust.

I think you need to do other sorts of things with him instead of forcing him to heel and harsh correcting.
Also, your stress is traveling down the leash.
You say you adjust the collar every time a dog shows up, that’s kind of setting him up to react.
Ok what other sort of things do you think I should do?
 

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Thank goodness we are far away from the road and the dogs are in the fenced back yard and supervised. I personally would be very upset if someone without my permission would walk a lunging barking dog back and fort next to my fence aggravating my dogs.
 

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I would use it for all the commands he has down already just to perfect them as well as his heel training. Because he knows all of these commands he just doesn’t want to listen sometimes
Ok I’ll do that next time. However I still think it would be good for him to use the shock collar for his obedience training in general because he is very high drive and once something really gets him going it’s hard to snap him out of it.
Let me be blunt. Your dog isn't trained. If your dog listens except when he is excited then he isn't trained, he's bored.
You need to take a step back, or several. The way you are using the prong is probably amping him up more.
There is a huge difference between a dog knowing what a command means and a dog knowing that it must obey that command. Somewhere along the way you have disconnected. You need to go back and start again.
How did you teach your dog to heel, what steps did you take?
 

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Let me be blunt. Your dog isn't trained. If your dog listens except when he is excited then he isn't trained, he's bored.
You need to take a step back, or several. The way you are using the prong is probably amping him up more.
There is a huge difference between a dog knowing what a command means and a dog knowing that it must obey that command. Somewhere along the way you have disconnected. You need to go back and start again.
How did you teach your dog to heel, what steps did you take?
I tell him to sit, I tap my leg twice and say heel and then would start giving weak tugs on the leash to guide him were he should be. I did this for a while and then eventually when he knew what he would supposed to do I would start giving him corrections when he would walk too fast or too slow. I then would do sharp turns and zig zags making sure he stayed by my side.
 

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You are inadvertently amping him up with prong collar pops.

This dog has redirection issues and possibly handler aggression in him. The potential for a bad situation for your dog if you continue the way you are is high.

Find a professional trainer experienced in working dogs and start working with him/her. Ask for recommendations here, people can usually tell you if a trainer you are looking at is good/bad for your situation and dog and/or recommend someone in your area.
 

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OP this is becoming a theme in your threads - you somehow skipped over building a relationship with your puppy. I'm hoping you will reread the responses, take a few steps back and start over.
 
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So then what should I do? I correct him the second his attention goes to something during heel. And I correct him right when he starts acting crazy, giving slack on the leash right after the correction. I do them pretty hard when I see it’s necessary. I also adjust the prong whenever I see a dog coming so that it’s right below his ears. What else can I do?
Imho your boy needs a breather from situations that he over reacts to. Every time he does, his brain floods him with stress hormones and without the 3 day ish rest to allow the hormones to exit the body, all it does is build up and he ends up in a state of perpetual stress. I think the hormone is cortisol.

What do you do or what could you do that would indicate to him that you have his back?

It’s an honest question. I’ve been where you are and have done what you are doing. It wasn’t fun.
 

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Ok what other sort of things do you think I should do?
I think you should research how to build trust and how to engage your dog.
You start with this forum. Do searches.
And do it now because he’s already 8 months old.
Asking, “OK, what do you think I should do?” is too general of a question and cannot be answered in a forum post.
Look for a good trainer in your area, one that specializes in the breed.
No one can do your work for you, and raising a GSD is a lot of work and a lot of mental work, as well.

PS— set him up for success. Definitely don’t repeatedly drag him by dogs he reacts to.
He was trying to tell you something by turning on you. Corrections must be fair. These dogs know when they aren’t.
 

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E collars (or shock collars) can be wonderful tools if used properly. I learned from a trainer, and I am glad that I did because it's not an easy thing of master. And there is a lot of misinformation about them. My neighbours were quite surprised when I explained how they work, because they did not realize that it was this complicated. They thought you just put them on and are good to go. This is not the case.

I have one and I use it. I have a reactive ACD/beagle who fixates on other dogs. But I do not use the e collar to correct him because he may think the pain is coming from the other dog. This could lead to dog fight and/or reactivity in my dog. While some individuals I am sure use them to "snap the dog out of it", that is not their best use esp in the situation you describe.

At 8 months, your puppy has a lot of growing to do and may at some point soon (8 - 12 months) enter a second fear period. You may make this issue worse.

Have you tried rewarding with a ball during walks? Or making the dog carry a ball while he's walking? These are things that have helped me and are better solutions IMHO.
 
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