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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the regulars at our local park has an adorable GSD. I first met this pup when she was 5 months; she's now 10 months and a really lively, intense, beautiful girl!

The owner has told me several times that the pup pulls on the lead a lot and that she also gets very excited when she sees another dog. I've tried to reassure him that this is pretty common with young dogs and that training will help.

Yesterday I ran into them at the park and the owner told me he's been meeting with a trainer. The trainer has told him to get a pinch/prong collar for this 10 month old GSD as this will 'stop her pulling etc'.

Must admit I was shocked - surely there are kinder ways to train a young dog?!

I told the owner that of course it's up to him but that personally, I would not use one of these and that I would keep training and if the pulling etc was really bad, to consider a headcollar.

Apparently this trainer uses a pinch/prong collar on his own dog, a Malamute. What sort of trainer recommends this for a puppy though????:eek:
 

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Anyone recommending a prong collar is to me an awful trainer with no clue what they're doing. I wouldn't give money to any trainer who supported such stupid methods. Woe betide anyone manages to train a large dog properly without putting torture devices round their necks, I wonder how all the other malamute, doberman, german shepherd etc. etc. owners manage to do it? :rolleyes:
 

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I had actually never seen or heard of these so just looked them up. They look barbaric! 20 odd years ago we used choke chains at puppy training, then the Halti became popular for stubborn pullers. I guess pinch-prong collars are an American idea? :rolleyes:
 

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They do look barbaric, like medieval torture devices. You can teach a dog to walk nicely on a flat collar with treats for bribery as long as its fitted correctly, I was told by one trainer. It just needs to be on tight enough so you can't pull it off over the dog's head.
 

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I don't use prong collars or choke chains, or headcollars when I teach loose lead walking. :( I re-educate the owner, then the dog, then teach the owner to lose the habits that encourage the dog to pull even when it's trying to walk walk nicely...
 

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I don't use prong collars or choke chains, or headcollars when I teach loose lead walking. :( I re-educate the owner, then the dog, then teach the owner to lose the habits that encourage the dog to pull even when it's trying to walk walk nicely...
I know it's all different this time at puppy training. Our trainer does subscribe to the pack leader - feed yourself first then the dog etc. But all the training is treat based and humane. She is fab! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't use prong collars or choke chains, or headcollars when I teach loose lead walking. :( I re-educate the owner, then the dog, then teach the owner to lose the habits that encourage the dog to pull even when it's trying to walk walk nicely...

Personally I would never include headcollars in the same category as prong collars. There are some dogs who simply do not respond to training and will pull regardless, no matter what the owner does or how hard they train. Headcollars are a very humane way to break bad habits in dogs, such as pulling and jumping up. Completely different to prong collars.
 

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Personally I would never include headcollars in the same category as prong collars. There are some dogs who simply do not respond to training and will pull regardless, no matter what the owner does or how hard they train. Headcollars are a very humane way to break bad habits in dogs, such as pulling and jumping up. Completely different to prong collars.
I agree, headcollars are different.
 

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Personally I would never include headcollars in the same category as prong collars.
Sorry, maybe I should clarify, for teaching purposes we don't use anything other than a flat collar (unless the owner wants to use a harness). Gentle no-pull harnesses or head collars as a management technique for walks when the owner can't be training are of course completely acceptable.
 

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they look horrible how could you put that on a puppy or a dog! all our adult dogs have choke chains but they dont really pull i personnaly like choke chains and find that dexter pulls less when hes got his choke chain on suppose its personal preference.
 

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they look horrible how could you put that on a puppy or a dog! all our adult dogs have choke chains but they dont really pull i personnaly like choke chains and find that dexter pulls less when hes got his choke chain on suppose its personal preference.
Yeah, personal preference between training your dog and using the fear of choking it out.
 

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One of the regulars at our local park has an adorable GSD. I first met this pup when she was 5 months; she's now 10 months and a really lively, intense, beautiful girl!

The owner has told me several times that the pup pulls on the lead a lot and that she also gets very excited when she sees another dog. I've tried to reassure him that this is pretty common with young dogs and that training will help.

Yesterday I ran into them at the park and the owner told me he's been meeting with a trainer. The trainer has told him to get a pinch/prong collar for this 10 month old GSD as this will 'stop her pulling etc'.

Must admit I was shocked - surely there are kinder ways to train a young dog?!

I told the owner that of course it's up to him but that personally, I would not use one of these and that I would keep training and if the pulling etc was really bad, to consider a headcollar.

Apparently this trainer uses a pinch/prong collar on his own dog, a Malamute. What sort of trainer recommends this for a puppy though????:eek:
What sort of trainer recommends them full stop? As far as I am concerned though I am proud to say I have never used one, there is no training whatsoever involved in using one of these. Dog pulls, neck gets stabbed, dog stops pulling. Take the thing off and he'll still pull. That is not training because it has no results. Training a loose leash walk with a good headcollar, however, when the dog is too strong for the usual methods, does actually have the result of your being able to walk the dog with just a collar at some point.

Horrible..
someone on here posted on the CM thread that their trainer gave them one for their puppy, and it worked :(
Of course it bloody worked! I am of the opinion that there is no such thing as a dog trainer, there are people who know dogs and there are bullies who need someone to put a prong collar on them:mad:
 

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I don't use prong collars or choke chains, or headcollars when I teach loose lead walking. :( I re-educate the owner, then the dog, then teach the owner to lose the habits that encourage the dog to pull even when it's trying to walk walk nicely...
I had a nice loose-lead walk trained into my dobe pup using nothing but rewards and 'stop/start' methods. I was so proud.

Then when he hit adolescence, it all went to crap, literally overnight. Which I was not expecting, because I'd always carried on with the training.
Carrying on with the treats and stops/starts, which had always worked so well in the past, did nothing once he had his teen head on.
He didn't care about treats, he didn't care how often we stopped and started. And when a dog is so 'in the zone' that treats do nothing, where do you go?

Add to that the bad habit that popped up at the same time of him jumping up and biting me when he got overstimulated on walks, and frankly, this was not an issue that training alone would solve.
You can't train a dog when it is so ramped up it is unable to listen or learn.

Oh sure, it had worked wonders before this phase, when he was able to keep his focus on me and was all about treats. But when a dog gets over excitement threshold in the blink of an eye, without any clear trigger, and is pumped full of adolescent hormones, treats and praise alone will not do much to solve the problem in many cases.

So yes, I use a headcollar on him. Because, right now, its the only thing that allows me to walk him without being yanked along, nipped, or dragged into the road.
Having it on puts him in a different mindset; a calmer, more relaxed mindset, and since using it, I have not had him go over threshold ONCE. Prior to this, it was many times each walk. Thats a huge thing.

And once again, I am someone who has trained, and did have a non-pulling, well behaved dog for a couple of months, I am someone who is a firm advocate of putting the donkey work in instead of just resorting to a tool from the offset, and Im someone who kept up the training every day.
But I challenge anyone who thinks all dog problems can be solved with a few treats, to take this dog out on a collar and lead at his worse, and tell me how you do with that.....

Using a head collar does NOT mean someone doesn't know how to train, or hasn't trained the dog. It can simply be a tool to help a dog through a phase, or re-mould their behaviour, used alongside treats.
Sure, I persevered with the collar and lead when the problem first popped up, figuring it had always served me well before, why not now?
And all I got was a dog who actually learned as a habit to jump up and bite me when he got excited, who learned I had no way of stopping him from doing this, who learned he got away with it.
Because he did.
Because I couldn't stop him once he started. And you can't always avoid triggers, nor can you 'reward for calm' when calm never comes, or the dog isn't interested in treats at that point.

I fully intent to return to a collar and lead when Dresden is over this stage. But I also would highly recommend a head collar to people who have dogs that are doing this. NOT in place of training, but alongside it.
With his head collar on, Dres keeps his focus enough for me to be able to use treat rewards and to show him what to do.
Without it, not a chance right now. The treats wouldn't register.
I can almost guarantee you, you would do the same with Dresden, so never say never to head collars; you might need one too someday.

Because I, too, used to be a bit snobby about things like head collars. I used to think 'why can't the just train the dog rather than attaching all these gubbins to it?!' Because after all, I'd trained my puppy a nice loose lead walk using nothing but treats and stop/starts. Why couldn't everyone do that?

And boy did Dresden change my view on it when adolescence hit, and I realised that I was completely wrong, and for some dogs, it was absolutely necessary.
I still think training should be everyone's first port of call, and should be stuck to and worked at.

But my dog has a good foundation of training; he's just going through a hyper adolescent phase, coupled with the second fear imprint period, which is making him extremely reactive and apt to go over threshold in a second, which manifests itself by jumping at me, biting my arms and thighs, ragging on his lead, and pulling me into roads.
This is a dog that weighs over 30kilos, and when he wants to do this, there isn't much you can do to stop him. And I sure as hell wasn't going to let him carry on practising the behaviour, because that's exactly what he was doing (it became clear, because the behaviour got worse and worse each walk).

With a head-collar, and a double ended lead, one attached to his regular collar and one to the dogmatic, I can actually walk my dog again. And carry on training him as we always did, because he remains calm enough to focus and learn, AND I can get control back in a second if he does try the old ways again.
I challenge ANYONE to tell me this is wrong, or that this wasn't necessary.

Its always very easy to judge other dog owners until you've been in their shoes.
I was the worst. I was so dam judgemental before I got Dresden. Anyone I saw struggling with their dog in the street, I thought 'awful owner, hasn't even bothered training!'
Im embarrassed at how snooty I used to be.

So while Im not a fan of choke chains or prongs, I see head collars as not even close to being in the same category.

And even though I am opposed to prongs and choke chains in 99.9% of situations, I still retain the belief that somewhere, there may be a dog who needs a prong. It would be arrogant of me to say I know enough about every single dog on the planet to conclusively say what they should and shouldn't have used on them.

I actually had someone tell me a story on a dobe forum about a GSD that had been shifted from home to home to home for being extremely lead reactive, dog aggressive and impossible for anyone to walk.
He'd been trained again and again using the 'traditional' methods, for many years, and never improved.
The dog was due to be put to sleep, because no-one wanted him or was prepared to put up with this any more.
They tried a prong as a last ditch attempt, and the dog walked like an angel.
The guy telling the story said something about how even a 9 year old girl could take him out without any issues once the prong was on.
The dog, obviously, wasn't put to sleep.

Now, I don't know what other people think of this, but for me, this seems like a situation in which a prong is better than death.
No, prongs aren't the sort of thing I think people should be using routinely, nor are they something I'd ever use, nor do I like how commonplace they seem to be in the USA, and Im not putting myself forward as any kind of lover of them.

But what I am saying is that I believe a properly used prong has the potential to do far less damage than a badly used choke chain.
And how often do we see choke chains used in the street by people who have no idea what they're doing, yet they don't seem to come under the same attack as prongs.
If I walked my dog on a prong, I'd get comments. If I let my dog drag me along on a choke chain, wheezing and doing god knows what damage to it's neck, few people would say anything, but I know which I think is more damaging.
And I have heard of a couple of dogs that were not responding to traditional training/reward based training, and were in very sticky situations regarding their future.
I'd rather see a dog on a prong on a lead walk than a dead dog.

Oh, I know, I'll probably get people saying 'omg you approve of prongs!' now because I've dared to even hint that there might be a very small minority of dogs that are better off on a prong that dead. Thats not the case.
I don't like them.
But I am open minded enough to know that with so many dogs in the world, there might just be a handful for whom a prong is the only answer.
We'd all like to think not, of course, and so would I. But.....I dunno. I'd not feel comfortable slamming my fist down and saying 'NO! NEVER EVER EVER!'

On a puppy though? Hmm....no.
 

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i dont choke any of my dogs they all got trained on normal collars then switched to a choke my rottie is hardly ever on the lead anyway, as hes so old he goes at a snails pace.
Sounds like you need a choke collar on them then!

Or is it because they're big 'ard dogs that they have to have a cool choking chain on? :confused:
 

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Sounds like you need a choke collar on them then!

Or is it because they're big 'ard dogs that they have to have a cool choking chain on? :confused:
oh yeah here we go stero type me because i have big dogs and they wear a choke i must use them as status dog ay?? :nono:

i like the look of them thats all it comes down too. i dont see why a dog needs a full on body harness but other owners put them on i personally dont like them and none of my dogs have ever had them.

its personal choice.:p
 

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oh yeah here we go stero type me because i have big dogs and they wear a choke i must use them as status dog ay?? :nono:

i like the look of them thats all it comes down too. i dont see why a dog needs a full on body harness but other owners put them on i personally dont like them and none of my dogs have ever had them.

its personal choice.:p
Yeah righto.
 

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I had a nice loose-lead walk trained into my dobe pup using nothing but rewards and 'stop/start' methods. I was so proud.

Then when he hit adolescence, it all went to crap, literally overnight. Which I was not expecting, because I'd always carried on with the training.
Carrying on with the treats and stops/starts, which had always worked so well in the past, did nothing once he had his teen head on.
He didn't care about treats, he didn't care how often we stopped and started. And when a dog is so 'in the zone' that treats do nothing, where do you go?

Add to that the bad habit that popped up at the same time of him jumping up and biting me when he got overstimulated on walks, and frankly, this was not an issue that training alone would solve.
You can't train a dog when it is so ramped up it is unable to listen or learn.

Oh sure, it had worked wonders before this phase, when he was able to keep his focus on me and was all about treats. But when a dog gets over excitement threshold in the blink of an eye, without any clear trigger, and is pumped full of adolescent hormones, treats and praise alone will not do much to solve the problem in many cases.

So yes, I use a headcollar on him. Because, right now, its the only thing that allows me to walk him without being yanked along, nipped, or dragged into the road.
Having it on puts him in a different mindset; a calmer, more relaxed mindset, and since using it, I have not had him go over threshold ONCE. Prior to this, it was many times each walk. Thats a huge thing.

And once again, I am someone who has trained, and did have a non-pulling, well behaved dog for a couple of months, I am someone who is a firm advocate of putting the donkey work in instead of just resorting to a tool from the offset, and Im someone who kept up the training every day.
But I challenge anyone who thinks all dog problems can be solved with a few treats, to take this dog out on a collar and lead at his worse, and tell me how you do with that.....

Using a head collar does NOT mean someone doesn't know how to train, or hasn't trained the dog. It can simply be a tool to help a dog through a phase, or re-mould their behaviour, used alongside treats.
Sure, I persevered with the collar and lead when the problem first popped up, figuring it had always served me well before, why not now?
And all I got was a dog who actually learned as a habit to jump up and bite me when he got excited, who learned I had no way of stopping him from doing this, who learned he got away with it.
Because he did.
Because I couldn't stop him once he started. And you can't always avoid triggers, nor can you 'reward for calm' when calm never comes, or the dog isn't interested in treats at that point.

I fully intent to return to a collar and lead when Dresden is over this stage. But I also would highly recommend a head collar to people who have dogs that are doing this. NOT in place of training, but alongside it.
With his head collar on, Dres keeps his focus enough for me to be able to use treat rewards and to show him what to do.
Without it, not a chance right now. The treats wouldn't register.
I can almost guarantee you, you would do the same with Dresden, so never say never to head collars; you might need one too someday.

Because I, too, used to be a bit snobby about things like head collars. I used to think 'why can't the just train the dog rather than attaching all these gubbins to it?!' Because after all, I'd trained my puppy a nice loose lead walk using nothing but treats and stop/starts. Why couldn't everyone do that?

And boy did Dresden change my view on it when adolescence hit, and I realised that I was completely wrong, and for some dogs, it was absolutely necessary.
I still think training should be everyone's first port of call, and should be stuck to and worked at.

But my dog has a good foundation of training; he's just going through a hyper adolescent phase, coupled with the second fear imprint period, which is making him extremely reactive and apt to go over threshold in a second, which manifests itself by jumping at me, biting my arms and thighs, ragging on his lead, and pulling me into roads.
This is a dog that weighs over 30kilos, and when he wants to do this, there isn't much you can do to stop him. And I sure as hell wasn't going to let him carry on practising the behaviour, because that's exactly what he was doing (it became clear, because the behaviour got worse and worse each walk).

With a head-collar, and a double ended lead, one attached to his regular collar and one to the dogmatic, I can actually walk my dog again. And carry on training him as we always did, because he remains calm enough to focus and learn, AND I can get control back in a second if he does try the old ways again.
I challenge ANYONE to tell me this is wrong, or that this wasn't necessary.

Its always very easy to judge other dog owners until you've been in their shoes.
I was the worst. I was so dam judgemental before I got Dresden. Anyone I saw struggling with their dog in the street, I thought 'awful owner, hasn't even bothered training!'
Im embarrassed at how snooty I used to be.

So while Im not a fan of choke chains or prongs, I see head collars as not even close to being in the same category.

And even though I am opposed to prongs and choke chains in 99.9% of situations, I still retain the belief that somewhere, there may be a dog who needs a prong. It would be arrogant of me to say I know enough about every single dog on the planet to conclusively say what they should and shouldn't have used on them.

I actually had someone tell me a story on a dobe forum about a GSD that had been shifted from home to home to home for being extremely lead reactive, dog aggressive and impossible for anyone to walk.
He'd been trained again and again using the 'traditional' methods, for many years, and never improved.
The dog was due to be put to sleep, because no-one wanted him or was prepared to put up with this any more.
They tried a prong as a last ditch attempt, and the dog walked like an angel.
The guy telling the story said something about how even a 9 year old girl could take him out without any issues once the prong was on.
The dog, obviously, wasn't put to sleep.

Now, I don't know what other people think of this, but for me, this seems like a situation in which a prong is better than death.
No, prongs aren't the sort of thing I think people should be using routinely, nor are they something I'd ever use, nor do I like how commonplace they seem to be in the USA, and Im not putting myself forward as any kind of lover of them.

But what I am saying is that I believe a properly used prong has the potential to do far less damage than a badly used choke chain.
And how often do we see choke chains used in the street by people who have no idea what they're doing, yet they don't seem to come under the same attack as prongs.
If I walked my dog on a prong, I'd get comments. If I let my dog drag me along on a choke chain, wheezing and doing god knows what damage to it's neck, few people would say anything, but I know which I think is more damaging.
And I have heard of a couple of dogs that were not responding to traditional training/reward based training, and were in very sticky situations regarding their future.
I'd rather see a dog on a prong on a lead walk than a dead dog.

Oh, I know, I'll probably get people saying 'omg you approve of prongs!' now because I've dared to even hint that there might be a very small minority of dogs that are better off on a prong that dead. Thats not the case.
I don't like them.
But I am open minded enough to know that with so many dogs in the world, there might just be a handful for whom a prong is the only answer.
We'd all like to think not, of course, and so would I. But.....I dunno. I'd not feel comfortable slamming my fist down and saying 'NO! NEVER EVER EVER!'

On a puppy though? Hmm....no.
As you quoted me, I hope some of that wasn't directed at me? I'm neither snobby nor snooty! If either of my messages were so unclear they were misinterpreted then I'm sorry for that, but it wasn't my intention to slag off anyone who uses one, only that we haven't needed to use one in our training. I've used balanced harnesses and no-pull harnesses for in between training with my own dogs, and my first dog I used a gentle leader because I didn't have the breadth of knowledge I have now, but for training *classes* I haven't needed to use anything, which is why I was amazed another trainer recommened a prong without making an effort. And yes we've had big dogs who jump up, including one who has learned to jump up and pull the lead out of the owners hands with his weight. I've got a lot of different methods to train lead walking, it may be in the future I exhaust them all on one particular dog & owner combination but so far I haven't needed to use them during a training class.
 
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