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spotsonpele November 22nd, 2003 06:30 AM

Prong vs. Choke collar
Hi there, I own a Dalmation who is a good boy but I was reading about the prong collar discussion that Carina and Lucky wrote in Question about pit bull mix thread. I use a choke collar as a corrective tool. Pele (my dog) usually heals fine except when he sees squirrels. When he notices the squirrel I sharply pull the leash up and say "no" to redirect him. Sometimes it works, usually it doesn't. Even if I notice the squirrel before he does. I have a haltie or gentle leader which works fine but I feel that I'm sort of disconnected with Pele with it on. He becomes so preoccupied with it on that his first two priorities are to get his walk in so that he can "patrol his turf" and to get the "damn haltie off". Though it does work for pulling. So my questions are if you guys think I should continue to use the haltie and work on the look at me command or because I prefer the choke to switch to a prong...and how would I use it intsead of the choke to redirect him. Thanks

Lucky Rescue November 22nd, 2003 09:45 AM

Has your dog been to obedience school? If not, I would start there. No collar or device can take the place of training and should not.

For a well-trained dog with super high prey drive and a tendancy to bolt, I would recommend a prong and not a choke chain. As you are seeing, choke chains don't stop the pulling, they just do what their name implies - "choke".

A prong collar needs to be properly fitted - this is very important or you could injure the dog. You never correct or jerk a dog wearing a prong collar, as the dog corrects himself while wearing it.

But first your dog needs to learn, understand and obey commands. Obedience school teaches YOU how to train your dog. I highly recommend it. It did wonders for me and my dog.:)

Carina November 22nd, 2003 10:53 AM

Hi spots!
A prong collar is much more humane - a German study followed a great number of hunting dogs from puppies to death & then autopsied them when they died.
Almost every dog who had been trained on a choke collar had at least some internal damage. Only two of the dogs on prongs had.
Here's an excellent site on prong collars, including results of that study:

The smaller the links, the more effective the correction. The theory behind using a very effective correction is that it will work after just a few tries by the dog. In a sense it is self correcting, and the dog quickly learns to respect it. This is better (as you are experiencing with your Dal) than multiple jerks and corrections which the dog learns to ignore. It's kind of like nagging a dog.

Dutch gets SO excited when he sees me take hi collar off the coat rack! He knows this means a walk in the woods. :)

spotsonpele November 23rd, 2003 02:46 AM

Hi, thanks for the advice. I plan to go with Pele on Monday to get him a prong collar. I know that a choke chain should be the width of two fingers. I'm thinking the same does not apply with a prong collar. How should it fit?
Yes, Pele has been through obedience and has private training. He's awesome overall except for squirrels and he is very protective of the home which can be annoying. We are also working on that.
Thanks Lucky and Carina and hope to read your thoughts and great advice.

Carina November 23rd, 2003 05:27 AM

Somewhere on that site there's a pictorial of how it should fit...snug, but not tight, and high on the neck above the...thorax, I think.

When you go buy one, take Pele along with buy them in whatever size is closest, and then remove & add links to get a good fit. If you get one that's a tad small, you can buy seperate links.

I've seen tiny ones on tough little dogs like Jack Russell Terriers and MinPins, they look real cute! :)

Luba November 23rd, 2003 07:44 AM

Luba likes the Gentle leader

Murph's Mom November 23rd, 2003 07:47 AM

Hi Spots,

Our Jack Russell "Jake" has the same problem as your dog. He will obey all commands except when he sees something smaller and furrier than him - then look out! Our trainer recommened the prong collar until Jake could learn that he would not get away with this behaviour. The prong works so that when the dog starts to pull the pinch he feels is like when his mother dog would nip him to correct him (atleast that's how the trainer explained it).

It has worked very well. We have added the command " by me" whenever he starts to pull and the collar engages. He is slowly learning that this means he can look but not touch! :D

CanadianK9info November 24th, 2003 11:28 AM

I have been training and competing in obedience for quite a few years and I can honestly say the prong is the best invention ever... it is commonly referred to as the "miracle collar" and it is nothing short of it. I will never use anything else on a dog. When used properly, the prong allows you far more control when working with your dog. Small corrections communicate more effectively and allow you to train without ruining the dog’s attitude. I found that to effectively correct my dogs I was have to give them a really good pop with the slip collar (coke chain) this rarely did anything but confuse the dog and leave me with a dog that didn't like training all that much. I do not like the slip because of were it sits on them.... dangling, this area has no protection therefore when they are corrected it can be quite painful and as already noted leave permanent damage. The prong collar is fitted snugger (not tight) right behind the dogs ears as to effectively control the dogs head. I do agree with what was already mentioned.... go to obedience to learn proper timing of corrections and proper use of the collar. Good luck.

spotsonpele November 24th, 2003 04:39 PM

thanks to all for the great advice! I will keep you posted

daisy18216 December 7th, 2003 08:27 PM

We use a prong collar on our German Shepard when we take him for a walk, and it works very well. Maybe I should use that on my Pit Bull.

Ruger (GS) also wears his choker while we walk him, but the leash is attached to the prong collar. We only use the prong when we take him for walks.

melanie December 9th, 2003 04:10 PM

I use a choke chain, but from your descriptions im not sure if our version is the same as yours. our choke chain is a rather thin chain (around 1cm diameter) and just slips over her head (she is a shepherd X). when we went to dog school (a few years ago now) it was the done thing, but i have a bit of a theory that the muscles in the area where it pulls are very strong, although i do notice her fur in that area is coarser that the rest of her (she is ver soft). but she has never shown any pain reactions ect. we usually only pull it when she is not paying attention or if there is a fight as it is a great way of controling her. If she is not paying attention to me and tries to pull (very rare these days) i just let her go out from me about 1meter and then just turn and run the other way, the chain doesnt hurt it just helps me get her moving, this is a very effective way of reminding her of what we are doing. but we have nerver used a regular collar for walking, just the chain. and i notice if i try to walk her with anything else she is naughty and ignores me as the chain is part of the routine and she knows it, i think it may be the sound and the way it sits that forms part of the routine. I have seen some people do the most cruel things with a choker though, some people see it as trainiing but havent gone to school to teach the dog any different. and if you use a choker NEVER leave a dog tied up with one as they can do just what their name indicates, choke them. but when she hears that chain she gets ridiculously excited so it cant be to bad:D

mona_b December 10th, 2003 10:28 AM

I have always used a choke chain on my Shepherds when they were younger and I was training them.Sorry but I refused to use a prong.Don't like that idea.Once they were trained the heel command,I have never had to use it on them again.And both dogs heel on my left side.As they were tough.They don't pull ot lunge at anyone or anything.I guess it's all in the training.Start then young and keep at it.Teaching them to heel is a very important part in their training.If they can do that then they won't need a choke or prong.And trust me my guys are big boys.:)

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