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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,
I'm a 2nd time dog owner and it's been a while since I've been in the extreme training stage. My GSD puppy is at 6months approximately and I'm having trouble walking him. I've tried clicker training for 3.5 months but he still leads and pulls.

Methods I've tried:
1. Clicker training
- Walk with me method - if he willingly comes towards me I'd click and reward
- Walk beside me - if he walks at a good pace behind/beside my leg then I'd click and reward
2. If he leads/pulls I'd turn sharply and walk in the opposite direction

With my previous dog my obedience class trainer and my neighbour with a genius dog recommended I use a slip collar (aka choke chain), which worked wonders and now she can be off leashed anywhere.

Is my GSD puppy old enough to start using a choke chain? Again he's at 6 months.
Additional Info: He's 24.6 inches tall (ground to shoulder) and around 60+ LBS.
 

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You will get a ton of different responses here but IMPO choke chains are rarely used properly and they are more dangerous than beneficial. There are so many other options out there. Martingales, prongs, gentle leaders... The real purpose of a choke chain is exactly that to shut off the air supply and choke the dog into submission. I just dont think they are a great tool at all. Diesel took me skiing more times than I can count and a prong collar with in 5 minutes he was healing and has never been a wild man since...
 

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I'd suggest using a no-pull (front clip) harness to mechanically reduce pulling while you continue to work on teaching the manners you want. EasyWalk and Freedom Harness are two good options if you're in the U.S.

As to choke chains I cannot advise you. That is not a tool I choose to use.
 

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If a harness is not cutting it or you are not strong enough, try a prong. I like prongs more than chokes. You can also combine it with the clicker training you are currently doing.

At that big of a size I think he should be fine. I started using a prong collar on my girl at 6 months, but not sure about chokes because I am not a fan of them.
 

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Never. My last choke chain from decades past is used to close the chicken coop.
A martingale or pinch would work well enough.
There was an article somewhere that showed some research that front clip harnesses affect their bone structure as the dog will take the pressure of its front fee. Maybe in the Whole Dog Journal?
 

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Choke chains considered to be unsafe.
For walking for pleasure you need this: The Canny Collar - The Best Collar to Stop Dogs Pulling on the Lead - The Canny Company Limited
For training "heel!" you need this: agitation collar - Ïîèñê â Google
Start walking streets, local woods, whatever using long leash. Use two commands "Walk!" and "Heel!". Run forward a few steps with her when saying "walk!", but stop moving completely every time she pulls the lead when heeling. Walk by the walls of the buildings on your left to correct her in walking close to you enough. Use handle on the collar and don't hesitate to jerk if she doesn't listen to your command. In places where you can put her off the leash run together with her on your left having her ball in your right hand. If not the ball - have a piece of cheese in your mouth and mouthfeed her at theend of exercise. To stop her running around you keep your face turned one direction to your left for her to run on one side. Heeling is an art and it takes time to bring it to perfection.
 

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how about a martingale? I love these and have a few of them, this vendor is also a 'vendor' here.
http://www.ultimateleash.com/about_us.htm

I would use the above on a 6mth old before I would a plain choke.
 

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When my dogs pull I become an immovable boulder. Just stop moving when they pull on the leash and be consistent with leash training.
 

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Berlin is 6.5 months now and doing well on a martingale, we will likely put him on a prong within the next month or two but the trainer doesnt want to push him too young.



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You will get a ton of different responses here but IMPO choke chains are rarely used properly and they are more dangerous than beneficial. There are so many other options out there. Martingales, prongs, gentle leaders... The real purpose of a choke chain is exactly that to shut off the air supply and choke the dog into submission. I just dont think they are a great tool at all. Diesel took me skiing more times than I can count and a prong collar with in 5 minutes he was healing and has never been a wild man since...
Thats NOT the purpose of a choke chain.... it's exactly like a prong, quick pressure applied during a correction and then released. The dogs are more conditioned to respond to the sound of the chain sliding over anything.

You cant dissaprove something if you don't really understand it....

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There was an article somewhere that showed some research that front clip harnesses affect their bone structure as the dog will take the pressure of its front fee. Maybe in the Whole Dog Journal?
No research, and nothing about bone structure, just a guess that longterm usage may not be a good thing based on observations that it changes the dog's gait. I think you're probably referring to this piece: The No-Pull Debate - Whole Dog Journal Article
 

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I really don't like choke chains. You have to use way too much force in correcting the dog and it can hurt their neck if done improperly. I use a prong and use the minimum amount of force necessary to get her attention, which is often just a minor flick of the wrist. I don't know if I would use it on a puppy. You want to teach him that training is a blast.

Have you covered all of the more foundational bases first? For example, does he get enough exercise, have you established self-control and deference in the house (through a method like NILIF) and finally, are you sure you didn't expect too much too fast? If clicker training didn't work in the living room, it can't work outside. So, before jumping into corrective collars, make sure you gave other methods a fair shake.


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Discussion Starter #14
Hi people,
thanks for your responses. However, this is a very controversial topic it seems like.

I've been watching tons of videos on prong collars and how to introduce it and use it.

What I'm worried about is what happens if something really surprises or gets my dog excited and pulls hard trying to get at it? What if it jabs him really badly?
 

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Thats NOT the purpose of a choke chain.... it's exactly like a prong, quick pressure applied during a correction and then released. The dogs are more conditioned to respond to the sound of the chain sliding over anything.

You cant dissaprove something if you don't really understand it....

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Choke chains are made to choke... Cut off blood flow. The way I use them is slow increasing tension, and slow released tension upon compliance. Also always back tied when I'm using one. Rapid pops is not what they are designed for. Rapid pop doesn't provide meaningful stimulation unless it is very hard. Rapid pops on a prong does, and that's why you use it that way.
 

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What I'm worried about is what happens if something really surprises or gets my dog excited and pulls hard trying to get at it? What if it jabs him really badly?
Then your dog will be hurt. And, being hurt, should learn not to do it again. That's how prongs work, just like chokes work by causing a different variety of pain to a dog.

If you are using a sufficiently large/broad prong, there should not be any actual physical injury (no puncture wounds) -- that is why some people sharpen prongs to deliver a more painful "correction" and other people put little rubber stoppers on the ends of the prongs to blunt their impact on dogs who have little fur to protect them.

Obviously I'm no fan of prongs. They're another tool that I choose not to use. But they're less likely to cause actual damage to your dog than a choke collar is.
 

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Hi people,
thanks for your responses. However, this is a very controversial topic it seems like.

I've been watching tons of videos on prong collars and how to introduce it and use it.

What I'm worried about is what happens if something really surprises or gets my dog excited and pulls hard trying to get at it? What if it jabs him really badly?
Imade a thread awhile back about sudden lunging at squirrels lol. I got a prong on my girl, fitted properly, and she has hard lunged into it quite a few times. Every dog is different but if it reassure s you at all it has never bothered my girl. She has never yelped from the prong and even a huge correction like that seems to just be an annoyance and not pain. (She is weirdly pain resistant though - shots, getting stepped on tripped over, etc I've never seen her show pain). She stops trying to get the squirrels. She also is still happy to see her prong even though she has laid into it a times- she would run and hide from her headcollar

I DO think that would be dangerous if the prongs are too sharp. Make sure they are rounded.

I also do think he is old enough. Whatever you decide, good luck :)
 

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Hi people,
thanks for your responses. However, this is a very controversial topic it seems like.

I've been watching tons of videos on prong collars and how to introduce it and use it.

What I'm worried about is what happens if something really surprises or gets my dog excited and pulls hard trying to get at it? What if it jabs him really badly?
When fitted correctly it doesn't jab. It closes in a pinch mechanism. It can only close so far, unlike the choke. My dog has accidentally hit the end of a prong hard when a long line got stuck on a car tire. I felt really bad but she was fine. Bounced right back to come train once i untangled her. I combine prongs with marker (or clicker)training


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Then your dog will be hurt. And, being hurt, should learn not to do it again. That's how prongs work, just like chokes work by causing a different variety of pain to a dog.

If you are using a sufficiently large/broad prong, there should not be any actual physical injury (no puncture wounds) -- that is why some people sharpen prongs to deliver a more painful "correction" and other people put little rubber stoppers on the ends of the prongs to blunt their impact on dogs who have little fur to protect them.

Obviously I'm no fan of prongs. They're another tool that I choose not to use. But they're less likely to cause actual damage to your dog than a choke collar is.
SOME people don't sharpen their prongs. It's not common and it's abuse and not at all what using a prong collar is all about. Also I think the rubbery ends would cause more friction on the skin and hurt more when it pinches than a slippery well rounded prong.
I always make sure the prongs are rounded and not at all sharp.


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SOME people don't sharpen their prongs. It's not common and it's abuse and not at all what using a prong collar is all about. Also I think the rubbery ends would cause more friction on the skin and hurt more when it pinches than a slippery well rounded prong.
I didn't say it was common. I used to think that sharpening prongs was just an urban legend, but then I saw that technique actually recommended in Sheila Booth's book on Schutzhund obedience. So I guess it is in fact a thing people do, and I'm sure if you asked the people who do it, they would say it is not abuse at all.

Rubber ends are, as far as I've seen, typically used on pit bulls and other dogs who have very thin, flat coats.
 
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