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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So we were at our first puppy class yesterday where we were introduced to the prong collar. And I have a lot of questions. Hoping someone will help me with this.

Is the prong collar necessary for training ? I have been using positive reinforcement, but of course I want to do whatever is best for our puppy, for him to be well mannered and gentle with everyone. I understand a dog will sometimes need a strong correction, and I am open to it. It just feels like right now our puppy is pretty much well behaved. He has been getting gentler with us in general and even more so with the kids.

Today for the first time in a long while he bit me very hard on my hand, and I felt this was a result of a kind of tension built in him because of the collar. When I removed the collar later, we visibly saw him relax. I felt that using force in his case would result in him getting used to it and then upping the ante. And although I can be firm and stand my ground, I know I am not the kind of person who can use a lot of force. It will leave me frustrated and miserable.

If I wait till later to introduce this collar(if he needed it) would that be a problem(as in too late)? Would it be okay to use a remote collar if he gets to a point where he won't obey without physical correction? I feel ours will be easy to correct, but I am guessing all dogs will eventually go through a stubborn phase where they disobey/ test/ try to dominate the owner.

He does pull a lot on leash when we are all (us and the kids and the puppy) walking together. But if I take him out to a park on my own the walk has been getting better. We run a bit, and I also use treats to get him to walk loose leash. He has been improving on solo walks with me. Our trainer tells us the prong collar will help with this as well as many other corrections, especially mouthing. I understand the puppy will be too strong for me to physically manipulate even with a leash in just a couple more months and training him well right now is imperative. He is already quite strong at 3 months.

What do you all suggest?
 

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3 months old? So around 13-14 weeks and the trainer is already having a prong collar being used?

No I don't agree with that at all, I didn't use a prong collar until 7 months with Delgado. Firstly, you need to teach loose leash walking, practice practice practice in the house, backyard, driveway, then out on walks for short periods. If the flat collar isn't working you can try a front hook harness that is specifically made for pulling or a head halters like a gentle leader can be a useful tool.

I agree with keeping things mostly positive, reward the good behaviour and ignore the bad (within reason of course, sometimes a time out or light scruff is warranted). If you haven't started already, look up clicker training on youtube and utilize the tool to mark the good behaviours and encourage them.
 

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You absolutely can do it with out a prong collar! I'd be very uneasy with a trainer that recommends a prong collar in a puppy class.

You need to teach before you can correct and your dog is still just a baby and learning all of the new rules. If you started a new job and were just learning everything in the first month, would you think it fair to receive a correction from your boss for mistakes you made?
 

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I think 3 months is a little young for a prong collar. We waited until 6 months to introduce it to Jade.

And like gsdraven said it is totally possible to teach walking on a loose leash without a prong collar. There are lots of good threads in here about teaching it to puppies, i'd take a look at some of them and give those methods a try
 

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Today for the first time in a long while he bit me very hard on my hand, and I felt this was a result of a kind of tension built in him because of the collar.
You are already seeing negative effects from using corrections on such a young dog without him clearly understanding what is expected of him.

If I wait till later to introduce this collar(if he needed it) would that be a problem(as in too late)? Would it be okay to use a remote collar if he gets to a point where he won't obey without physical correction? I feel ours will be easy to correct, but I am guessing all dogs will eventually go through a stubborn phase where they disobey/ test/ try to dominate the owner.
It is never too late to fix a problem but preventative is always better. Jumping right to force however is not the answer. Using positive reinforcement and motivation while TEACHING the puppy the proper way to behave will go a lot further than just correcting him when he doesn't.

If he gets to a point where he won't obey physical correction, he won't obey a remote collar and the training has failed somewhere. Collars are tools and used appropriately are great but if you don't understand them and use them incorrectly they can cause a lot of harm.

NO. All dogs do not eventually go through a stubborn phase where they test/dominate their owners. Dogs that have been raised with understanding and respect and have been shown clearly what is expected of them in a fair and rational manner do not need to disobey or "test" because they have a good relationship with their owner and know that their needs will be taken care of and respect the rules and the fair consequences that accompany those rules.
 

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I bought a Caesar Millan harness from Petco and it's made a world of difference with our puller. I also bought a leash that attaches around my waist and can be used as a long lead or short lead. I LOVE it. This combo has made our walks way more enjoyable.

For the biting issue I used pet corrector spray. It's just a can of forced air. I used it 2 times with a stern "NO BITE" and the word "air" . Now all I have to do is say "NO BITE"..followed by " do I need to get the air" She looks right at where I keep the can and then gives nice licks and kisses. I also hand her something she can chew because I know this is puppy behavior and teething so I want her to know what she is allowed to chew on other than my hand.
 

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You don't need a prong collar. I've never used one and never felt like I needed one on either my own dogs or my fosters.

I agree with everything gsdraven posted.

And yes, frankly, I'd be looking for another trainer. Somebody who goes around putting prongs on puppies in their first session is not somebody I'd ever want handling my dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
NO. All dogs do not eventually go through a stubborn phase where they test/dominate their owners. Dogs that have been raised with understanding and respect and have been shown clearly what is expected of them in a fair and rational manner do not need to disobey or "test" because they have a good relationship with their owner and know that their needs will be taken care of and respect the rules and the fair consequences that accompany those rules.


Thank you. This is what I have been instinctually feeling. But I do hear a lot of people talk about how everything will change once the puppy is older and stronger than me and knows it. And how certain behaviours, especially biting, growling need to be nipped in the bud right away. Yes, I use all of the nonforce techniques people are talking about. But is there a 100% guarantee that a dog will never bite a human being, even if it was taught not to do so with force!

The prong collar, btw, is not sharp, it has rounded and smooth edges. We tried it on our upper arms to feel the pressure of the jerk, it was painless. just a pressure and a release.

Anyway, I have decided to not use the prong collar. And I will ask the trainer(chose her because she was recommended to me on this forum),
if we can choose not to use it for the classes as well. Perhaps he wont do as well as the other dogs, but he still has ways to go, he is just a puppy. And the most important reason for us to attend the classes is for the socialization with other dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I bought a Caesar Millan harness from Petco and it's made a world of difference with our puller. I also bought a leash that attaches around my waist and can be used as a long lead or short lead. I LOVE it. This combo has made our walks way more enjoyable.

For the biting issue I used pet corrector spray. It's just a can of forced air. I used it 2 times with a stern "NO BITE" and the word "air" . Now all I have to do is say "NO BITE"..followed by " do I need to get the air" She looks right at where I keep the can and then gives nice licks and kisses. I also hand her something she can chew because I know this is puppy behavior and teething so I want her to know what she is allowed to chew on other than my hand.

LOL. How cute about the licks and kisses. I will look into getting the collar. And I do agree on the re-directing.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
However, mine tries to bite me when I don't let him do something he really wants to do. (like running out the front door or through the back yard gate.) Is this also normal puppy behavour?

I should add that nowadays I put him in the playpen before I open the front door. He wont yet 'stay', even though he would 'stay' when there are no distractions.
 

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I also use a Gentle Leader, it works great once the dog gets used to it. :)
Mia is almost 9 months old and I've never used a prong collar with her, so I say you can definitely do without one.
 

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I am all for the prong collar, but if your trainer at puppy class had your dog wear one at 3 months old, I would find a different puppy class. Our dog's breeder always trained with a prong, but he said a dog at that age is not physically developed enough for a prong and the type of training it requires. He recommended starting between 4-5 months, depending on your dog.
 
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