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I am the devil ...

Esaunders
November 6th, 2006, 10:40 AM
I bought a prong collar.

Why?
- Winter is coming and I can't risk the pup lunging after something while I'm on ice
- He's not picking up that lunging after squirrels isn't an option in a rolled collar, or in a slip/choke. He'll pull to coughing in both.
- I want something that acts similarly and from the same location as a normal collar but something less damaging than the traditional choke.
- After testing both tools around my arm, the prong actually was the less severe.

Regardless, I now understand why it is NOT tool for the inexperienced. Correction (at least for my dog) is as simple as a soft, following, momentary resistance or flexing my pinky into the leash. I can do this without an issue (thankfully) from years of riding experience with a good sense of rein/bit feel. I can't imagine how someone who doesn't have either solid riding experience or extensive dog training experience could avoid serious over-correction with these.

The upside is I'm getting much better focus & response on a loose-leash during each short session than I've ever seen from him. (walking on completely loose leash, close to automatic sit when I stop, less inclined to leap after interesting things) So, after much practise, I should be able to progress to 2 leashes (1 on prong, 1 on rolled collar, or maybe a coupler attaching the 2 together) and then finally to 1 leash and rolled collar alone.

Angies Man
November 6th, 2006, 11:37 AM
Pinch collars aren't necessarily inhumane, but they do require a modicum of training and a fairly sensitive hand.

Like regular (aka choke) collars, there are two setting on a pinch collar. The live setting is where the lead is connected to only one of the rings and the collar is allowed to tighten--this setting should be used only with the most hard headed of dogs. The dead setting is to connect the lead to both rings so that the collar's tightness can't change with leash work.

On some pinch collars, there's a third setting. Some come with rubber tips on the prongs that limit the dig.

For most dogs, the least pinching setting is enough. A light touch on the leash is generally enough while the dog is learning the collar--and later just shaking the lead will remind the dog to behave.

Pinch collars demand a soft touch--better to err towards being too gentle and then escalate the action.

Never slip a pinch collar over a dog's head, btw. Those prongs can injure the dog's eyes. Instead, take a prong apart, put the collar around the dog's neck, and then put the collar back together. The pinch collar should only be on if the dog is going to be on lead--otherwise, take it off. Same with "choke" collars--they can strangle a dog, after all.

Esaunders
November 6th, 2006, 12:59 PM
Wise words!

We were careful to get someone knowledgeable to fit it and go through the fastening & settings (dead ring vs live ring fastening) The dead ring setting is definitely the most we will need.

The combination of cookies for the good and soft correction for the not-so good seems to be working. I do see signs of pouting over my wrecking his fun, though. He's more focused though. He usually gets so distracted at times that he doesn't even process the fact a treat is present, or hear me. Now he's more aware of his close surroundings and less focused on the rest of the world.

I'm keeping his other collar on while the prong is on so that if I need to switch for any reason its there to use. (Like running into a dog friend on the street and needing to bounce around foolishly. He IS still a young dog after all)

Prin
November 6th, 2006, 02:25 PM
You de devil! (Bobby Boucher's mom sez).:D

Just kidding...

I'm not a fan of the prong.. But good luck. :)
And if that doesn't work, try the newtrix.;)

Esaunders
November 6th, 2006, 02:33 PM
lol .. I love The Waterboy!

Prin
November 6th, 2006, 03:18 PM
Phew! :D I thought you'd think I was wacked.:D

Esaunders
November 6th, 2006, 03:57 PM
:D :crazy:
One has NOTHING to do with the other

The Waterboy, Happy Gilmore, Mr. Deeds ... just a few of my cinematic guilty pleasures. :rolleyes:

Nothing like one of these movies, homemade chili & nacho chips on a cold winter day (plus appropriate beverages of choice ... like beer, cheap wine or a strong margarita) :highfive:

dogcatharmony
November 6th, 2006, 04:40 PM
i dont believe that you are the devil........i too use a prong collar and have been taught how to use it. My dog was attacked twice by another dog and it was impossible to take her anywhere. i have had it for two years and only had one correction. She knows that when it is put on to mind her manners very well. I also tried it on my arm to see how it felt when the trainer suggested it. I do not leave her unattended with the collar on, if she wants to play with another dog the collar is removed or if she runs loose in the bush the collar is also removed. I will admit that i have taken alot of crap from people about it, my vet included ( he is a choker pusher) but i know and see the difference. i tried a halti and my dog bashed her nose in trying to remove it. i wish you and your dog the best.

aylith417
November 7th, 2006, 10:02 PM
Some dogs are more stubborn than others, and if you're having better results with a prong collar, then it's obviously a good choice for you.

However, it sounds like your doggie might not understand the rules of being on a leash. You said that when you use a choke chain that your dog will pull to the point of coughing--that's very normal for a dog that does not realize that as the owner, it should obey your rules. I don't know if you've ever watched the show "the dog whisperer" but the guy gives really good advice for how to teach your dogs not to run after cars/chase other animals/etc when it comes to being on a leash. If you can convey to your dog that it is to be totally obedient to you when it is on the leash, you can go back to a choke/normal collar while the dog is on the leash--esp if you're feeling guilty over the prong collar. Getting a professional dog trainer to help you would definitely be a good thing because in cases where a very stubborn dog is involved, sometimes it can be painful to see the dog struggle for dominance on the leash, and they will struggle to the point of almost suffocating themselves. My boyfriend has a pitbull/rottweiler mix, and when we broke her to a leash, it was a very difficult proccess because she DID NOT want to behave. However, after a few weeks of training, and a lot of dicipline, she is now absolutely wonderful, and we no longer have troubles with her chasing cars or the neighborhood animals--mainly cats and squirrels. But like I said, it was a very painful process for us to watch her fight the leash, and we had a lot of rough times-thus the professional dog trainer.

Best of luck to you and your doggie!! :)

MyBirdIsEvil
November 7th, 2006, 10:20 PM
sometimes it can be painful to see the dog struggle for dominance on the leash, and they will struggle to the point of almost suffocating themselves.

Are you suggesting people let their dog choke themselves on their collar until they stop struggling?
:frustrated: That's extremely bad advice. There are other ways to tell your dog where it should walk and what's appropriate without letting them choke themselves at the end of a leash. In a rare case where a dog is violent and in danger of biting someone a dog may need to be held still until it submits, but things like that should NEVER EVER be recommended to normal dog owners, and if you have a dog with those kind of violent tendences it's probably not suited for a normal household.
The point is to teach your dog NOT to pull, not that it should pull until it has to submit because it's suffocating. Some dogs will actually pull until they completely pass out, and obstructing an animal's airway is VERY unhealthy.

mafiaprincess
November 7th, 2006, 10:32 PM
Yikes. If someone who hadn't done enough research took that post at your word and tried it and damaged their dog permanently. Wow.

Esaunders
November 8th, 2006, 10:26 AM
Yes, the stubborn part is accurate, english setters are well known for being sweetly stubborn. The bigger problem is the intense outward focus of a young bird dog.

In other words, for a 1 year old english setter he's pretty normal. :rolleyes: Young setters are pretty much ADD. (as is my bf, so I'm used to it :cool: ) They have very short attention spans in the beginning (like until age 2-3 :D ) and you simply work within that frame.

Once his focus has gone into what I call outward focus, he doesn't hear, respond to food or anything. The most interesting thing about the work with the new collar is that his focus stays 'close.' He hears me better, he notices the food rewards and (even better) will eat them. That is occuring even when the leash is completely loose and has been remaining that way.

Essentially, the wide world has become less interesting leaving him more opportunity to realize that the close world has benefits too.

*warning, soapbox moment ahead*
I'm not so much feeling guilty as putting my experiences with this tool and my reasons out there while acknowledging that I may well be lambasted for them. By talking about what I'm doing and why I have to think about these things again and re-evaluate my position on my own decisions. If I am still comfortable, great. If I'm not, then a change of direction or tweak of application may be necessary. (though I definitely review the suggestions of others)

Better to discuss, debate and examine methods than to work in isolation.

Lots of people are buying them, not alot of people are talking about:
- why they are using them
- what their observations are
- how their dogs are reacting/interacting
- when they use them, when they dont
- how they have evaluated the different tools

I would hazard to say out of fear of reprisal. The kindest thing we can do in training is to be as clear, consistent & humane as possible while maintaining safety of dog & trainer. It would be interesting to hear from more people how they strike this balance.

MyBirdIsEvil
November 8th, 2006, 03:05 PM
I used one on Walnut for a long time to teach her how to walk.
She used to be REALLY bad about getting distracted, so that's what I used it for, to get her attention.

If she tried to wander off or was about to lunge towards something I corrected her. Every time she gave her attention back to me I praised A LOT.
I of course used it along with other training though - stopping if she tried to go ahead of me and putting her into sit, not moving unless she was in the right position, etc..

I think it's a very valuable tool for getting a dogs attention and immediate correction, but you have to transition from the prong to a normal collar at the right time or else a hard dog will become dull to it. That's what happened Walnut, so I left it off of her for a few days then started over.
I think if you start feeling like you have to overcorrect you've left the prong on too long. As soon as the dog is responding well to the prong collar it's important to start concentrating HEAVILY on other forms of training, and like you mentioned start working them in both a flat and prong collar, and then transition them to just the flat, or else they prong collar will start losing its effect.

So that's my experience with it, but I don't have the benefit of a professional trainer so I made several mistakes while learning about training.

Oh, and I think it's important for anyone that buys one to know their dog. If your dog is sensitive it's probably best you don't try one unless you consult a professional trainer. You don't have to pull very hard with most dogs, and in some dogs it could actually cause them to be fearful if you constantly overcorrect.
Like I said, it's a valuable tool, but on some dogs it's just not warranted and could be misused if you tend to be a bit rough.

Esaunders
November 8th, 2006, 04:09 PM
Thanks for the input. The "too long" part is important, distinguishing when tool becomes crutch.

Nice to hear about mistakes too and how you handled them. How many people turn their dogs over to a professional trainer for the hands-on training? Most people still handle their own dogs in class with the professional teaching the owners to teach the dogs.

... and we all make mistakes.