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I finally bought a prong collar today and can't wait to try it out once the rain stops. Who here uses them and what are your experiences with them?
 

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Be prepared for a variety of responses. This topic is second only in controversy to the argument about the best food to feed...



I think a prong collar is a great tool when used properly and on a dog that really needs that much collar.

I used one on my own GSD for about a year or so while he was learning to mind his manners on leash. We "graduated" to a plain harness or flat collar now---so a prong collar doesn't have to be a choice forever.

Make sure the collar fits high on the neck.
 

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I agree that they are sometimes a good tool, but shouldn't be used forever. I feel the same about e-collar. They need to be used properly, not dragging the dog around by it.
 

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I think they are a great tool. But as with any other tool, their effectiveness comes down to the skill of the hands using the tool.

In terms of a training collar to allow for corrections, they are the best choice. Far better than the traditional choke collar. They allow the handler to really customize the correction level, and a prong can be used to give both softer and harsher corrections as needed. Something that is far more difficult to do with a choker. Less take up before the correction happens, as compared to a choker, translates to better corrections in terms of timing and now allowing the dog to anticipate the correction. And they are less prone to causing injury as compared to a choke or head halter.

At the same time, I feel too many people use prongs (and every other collar/head halter/harness on the market) as a crutch to control the dog, rather than actually *training* the dog.

They are a useful tool for training, certainly. Likewise, using a temporary crutch to make things easier for the owner to do the training can often be a good idea. But no tool should be a long term means of control, and in the end it should be the training and relationship that influences the dog's behavior, not the collar he is wearing.

2 important things when using a prong.
First, as Tracy said, make sure it is fitted properly and sits high on the neck. I see far too many pinch collars fitted too loosely.

Second, as with any training device, condition the dog to the prong before using it. That means getting the dog used to wearing it by putting it on the dog for several walks, play sessions, etc... without actually using it. This prevents him from becoming collar wise (knowing he has to behave when he's wearing the collar because you can correct him.. and he doesn't have to behave when he's not wearing it because you can't correct him). And it builds a positive association with the collar so the dog thinks of it as a fun thing that means he's going to get to go for a walk or play, and will associate any corrections he gets as coming from you and not being related to the collar itself.
 

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What Chris said. Will also add that some handlers such as myself really do not do well trying to correct with a prong, especially in situations where the dog is tense and distracted. My prong corrections were always poorly timed, too weak/ineffective, and made things worse. For the average handler, having someone guide you with using the collar is good! The prong is temporary in any event, usually.. to train/teach.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the responses. My dog is rather dominant and becomes very interested when he see's a new dog enter the training group and becomes very fixated on that dog. The trainer always lends me his choker because we currently have the semi choker. After reading about that study about damage to the dog from a choker I cringe when using one and try give very slight corrections. I've seen the guide on leerburg, not sure if there are any other guides on the net with pictures and all? He didn't seem to fussed when I put it on him now. Just need to get him used to it as you say.
 

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I use a prong collar on my 98 lb gsdx when I take him anywhere with me - partly because I only weigh about 5 more pounds than he does. He associates it with good times - training, going for a walk, riding in the car. He gets really excited when I put it on him cause he knows he is going to be doing something with me.
 

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How tightly are they supposed to fit? I'm not sure whether I need to order some more links...
 

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The Leerburg site has a good article, with photos, on fitting a prong collar. The collar should be tight enough that it will stay up high on the neck, behind the ears, without slipping down. If it slips down, it's too loose.

Highly unlikely you need to order more links unless your dog has a neck like a buffalo. In all the dog's I've had, I've always had to remove links to get a proper fit. Never had to add more than the collar initially came with.
 

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Originally Posted By: Craig88How tightly are they supposed to fit? I'm not sure whether I need to order some more links...
Here is the link to the article on the Leerburg site on fitting the prong collar.

http://www.leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm

I use the prong as well as the martingale and flat collars. Have not yet completely eliminated the prong collar but tend to use it less and less and use the martingale type collar more.
 

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I have one and have used it on occasion for both of my dogs. I use one with small prongs. Kenya has a tiny neck (she wears 16 or 18" chokes and they slip over her head) so I still remove 1-2 links from the "medium" sized prong collar. I use one with a quick release b/c I hate having to pinch links to get it on and off. Neither of my dogs are reactive and would not lunge against a prong, that's not why I use it. I use it temporarily as a tool to help achieve very specific goals. For instance, I've pulled it back out and used it on Kenya for the past two days, just to clean up her heeling and start to perfect the left pivoting. Today is probably the last day I'll use it for this. I always use it in combination with rewards and praise, so it's clear to the dog what I WANT him/her to do, not only just getting corrections. Most of the time, the prong is self-correcting and I do not give corrections with it. If I want a really close, tight heel I move down on the leash and let the prong define when the dog is forging or lagging and then always mark and reward the dog when she is in the perfect position.

My motto with the prong is that it's a great tool, but like any other tool, the prong does not train the dog, YOU do.
 

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I put mine on Brady everytime we leave the house. I have 5lbs on Brady and if something happens I want to be able to control the situation.
We use to use it as a training device when he hit round 2 of training. Usually though when I am walking him I rarely have to correct him or hold him back.

I have problems when people use the collar incorrectly, that pisses me off
 

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I just came across this thread and have several questions. I have never used or seen a prong collar in person. We have some issues with Max's behavior (when it comes to cats) and DH ended up buying an e-collar. I am against it so have managed so far to stave off him using it. So how exactly does a prong collar work? Does it actually have prongs on it that pinch the dog? How does it do this? Is it like a choke collar that can slide and tighten if you pull up on it? Would a collar like this be effective for us to use in the situation with the cats?
 

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Personally I recommend high and tight on the neck only if the dog's regular collar is high and tight on the neck. Less risk of becoming wise to when it is on or off, in my opinion. Also, there is "live action" (lead attached to one ring on the chain) and "dead action" (lead attached to both rings on the chain - doesn't constrict but rather applies a directional correction). Both actions have merit.

It is a training tool, not an end all.

By the way, they are not allowed on the grounds of an AKC event, nor are they allowed at USA trials.

We have alot of different versions - some are actually quite nice looking.


Christine
 

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Originally Posted By: maxismomI just came across this thread and have several questions. I have never used or seen a prong collar in person. We have some issues with Max's behavior (when it comes to cats) and DH ended up buying an e-collar. I am against it so have managed so far to stave off him using it. So how exactly does a prong collar work? Does it actually have prongs on it that pinch the dog? How does it do this? Is it like a choke collar that can slide and tighten if you pull up on it? Would a collar like this be effective for us to use in the situation with the cats?
Honestly I think the e-collar would be better. To effectively use punishment in this situation, you need to issue the correction within one second of the dog doing the undesired behavior. With a prong, that means somehow your dog is always on a leash and you are holding the end, anytime there might be a cat around.

Our dog chases cats (not really anymore) and we use neither technique, but if those were my options I'd use the e-collar.
 

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Originally Posted By: Liesje
Originally Posted By: maxismomI just came across this thread and have several questions. I have never used or seen a prong collar in person. We have some issues with Max's behavior (when it comes to cats) and DH ended up buying an e-collar. I am against it so have managed so far to stave off him using it. So how exactly does a prong collar work? Does it actually have prongs on it that pinch the dog? How does it do this? Is it like a choke collar that can slide and tighten if you pull up on it? Would a collar like this be effective for us to use in the situation with the cats?
Honestly I think the e-collar would be better. To effectively use punishment in this situation, you need to issue the correction within one second of the dog doing the undesired behavior. With a prong, that means somehow your dog is always on a leash and you are holding the end, anytime there might be a cat around.
For this situation, I agree. One of the biggest keys to effective training is consistency. Every time the dog gets away with chasing a cat, the behavior will be reinforced. Even if 90% of the time it's corrected, if 10% of the time the dog gets away with it the behavior will be likely to repeat. An ecollar is easier to achieve consistency with, solely because it doesn't require the dog constantly dragging a leash around AND you being able to hold onto the end of that leash.

But as with any tool.. prong collar, flat collar, ecollar, Halti... the effectiveness, safety and humane use of the tool rests solely on the skill of the person using it. So whichever type of collar you choose, it is important to find a trainer to teach you how to use it properly. The dog must be taught how to respond to the collar, and must be conditioned to the collar so as not associate the correction with the collar itself (becoming collar wise... obeying when the collar is on, ignoring commands and doing what he wants when it's not).
 

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http://www.leerburg.com/Photos/prong.jpg

that's what they look like.

The prongs are against the dog's neck. They are not sharp. When a correction is given the prongs provide a "pinch," which has been described as similar to the feeling one dog might give another with a bite--or if you were to grasp the ruff with your fingers in a claw motion. Not a comfortable feeling...but also not dangerous, like a choke chain would be. It provides the ability for a person with limited strength to control a dog that they might not otherwise have. "Power steering" for dogs.

There's a ring stop that prevents giving a correction that chokes or hurts the dog.

Most of the time the dog will self-correct wearing this kind of collar. If they pull against the collar even a little, it pinches. if they don't pull, it is comfortable.

But as Lies said, the dog has to be on a leash for this to be effective. If the issue with cats is occasionally seeing one while on walks, it might be a good tool. If it's your own cat in the house, then probably not.

The very best use of this collar is for teaching a dog to walk with a loose lead.
 

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Another thought - NEVER leave a prong collar on your dog unattended, or while playing with another dog. The prongs very easily get stuck on things, and could be really disastrous if tangled up with another dog.

Personally, I never leave collars on my dogs, period. They wear collars when we go out to do something, and I am right there with them.

Christine
 

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I found the prong very useful for breaking Taedyn's attention on something, ie: dogs, rocks, sticks, motorcycles, etc. During these situations *nothing* would break her attention, and she'd quickly go up to berserker levels. I mean, nothing. Food, moving her, blocking vision, getting face to face with her, nothing would work.

With a prong, I correct, she breaks her attention on the object and then will listen to me. It was a life saver, honestly.

She then "suddenly" learned the "drop it" and "leave it" commands without any formal training. I think she actually knew what they meant, but was unable to comply due to her obsession.
 

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When used properly, a prong collar is a fantastic tool to break bad habits.

It's also like power steering if you have an exuberant, powerful dog. My dog Luther weighed about 10 lbs less than me, he knew he could over power me so to the day he died, he never left the yard without one.

2 don'ts - don't leave him tied out on it. Take it off after training and walks. Don't let a petstore clerk fit your dog unless they seem extremely knowledgeable.
 
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