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Jill -- Maisie's "Mom"
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Maisie is driving me crazy. Her leash manners have disappeared. I posted in the adolescent dog thread about our awful outing at our first obedience class tonight.

We'd previously worked with the trainer who had me try Maisie with a nylon slip (AKA choke) collar fitted properly up behind her ears. It doesn't work very well to stop her from pulling -- even though she's "just" under 60 pounds, she can really drag along. And, I haven't gotten very good at giving a quick correction and then releasing the collar, so sometimes I feel like she's "hanging" herself. Sometimes she does well on a loose leash, others, like tonight at class, or walking to the dog park, she's awful. Every so often, she seems to get it and I can praise her and treat her when she's walking along well, but then she loses it and she's dragging me.

After class, the trainer suggested I try -- for a week -- a light-weight prong collar made like a martingale, but all metal. The prongs aren't sharp, but they are corrective. I put it around my wrist and tried to dig in in -- it doesn't pinch, it doesn't cut, when I pulled it all the way tight it felt sort of like a short fingernail at moderate pressure. I never thought I'd consider using one. The trainer doesn't recommend using one forever -- just until the dog "gets it". Then, she recommends going to a martingale.

I watched in class when she changed a large, rowdy Lab and a huge boxer to prong collars. The difference in the control their handlers had was immediate.

Anyway -- sorry for the too long post. What collar type are you using? have you used or considered a corrective collar, either a slip collar or prong collar? How did it work out?
 

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I have a martingale for Max, never used a prong collar. He does MUCH better walking with the martingale than a regular collar, but not nearly as well as he does with the Gentle Leader harness. I'm surprised your trainer didn't recommend that before a prong collar.
 

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Kye & Coops Mom
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Jluke, for regular walks around others I use a halter (can't remember the name) but when they start pulling it pulls from the front of the dog. Really seems to keep them from dragging you down the street, but not a martingale. For class and training times I use a metal slip chain collar. I learned with Kye to tire her out a bit before class, then I try to always be the first or way last in line. She walks fast, so I walk faster with her and keep my lead short so she is at my side. It takes a few steps to get her in line with me, but I can stop the pulling and dragging. Doesn't stop the B-O-I-N-G, BOING (jumping straight up) but as she tires, that stops too.

Haven't had to go the prong collar route yet but others use it in our class and have good success with them.
 
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Kate
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Anyway -- sorry for the too long post. What collar type are you using? have you used or considered a corrective collar, either a slip collar or prong collar? How did it work out?
I'm smiling over here because there is somebody at our class (advanced obedience practice class, at least 10 dog group) who came to the first class with their 9 month old lab on a regular nylon collar with a nylon leash. The instructor thought these people were in the wrong class. :D

The girl was resistant to putting a prong on her lab (think spastic golden adolescent X 10), but was talked into it when she had no control over her dog and had a hard time handling him with the nylon leash cutting into her hands.

Somebody lent her an extra prong for her dog and she immediately had a dog who was heeling nicely and responding to the slightest finger wiggle from the owner.

A week later she came to class with her dog wearing a prong. I think she borrowed one of my leather leashes during class, so I imagine that's next. :D

I was looking at leather slip collars at a show - and came close to buying one. I didn't because I was not sure if they would be quick release.

I use a choke chain, but do have a prong somewhere at home.
 

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Jill -- Maisie's "Mom"
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Thanks -- More Input?

Thanks! I hope they'll be more input, too.

I've tried Maisie when she was younger on an Easy Walk harness, hoping to deal with jumping and leash tug-of-war. It improved to the situation some, but not enough. That was one of the things that led to our few one-on-one sessions with the trainer who's leading the obedience class ("Basic Manners").

LAprincess -- thanks for your thoughts on a Gentle Leader. I used one very successfully with my first GR, an adult rescue. I'm told the refusal rate is very high and most trainers in this are don't want to start out training puppies using them.

Deber and Megora, thanks for your stories.

I know that part of Maisie's "performance" last night in class was because she's been on restriction since her spaying surgery a week ago. She hadn't had any real exercise, so she was primed to be a demon. But when she's got any distraction or incentive like when we're walking the 15 minutes through the people park to the dog park, she's pulling like crazy and the slip collar isn't working. And she's oblivious to my quick corrections -- she'll hang herself on the collar which isn't the techinique or point and I don't want her to be hurt.

So with lots of misgivings I took her for a short walk today on the prong collar --she only pulled when we got to the corner where two big chocolate Labs live and are out behind a fence. They're really rowdy -- I call them the frat boy dogs! But she settled right down when I asked her and continued walking. I'm going to keep going with the prong collar or a few more days and see how it works even though I feel like a bad person. :(
 

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I was wondering about that as well...

With our first golden, Jake, we used the prong collar for training. In fact it was the most used collar in our classes 15 years ago. Jake had extemely thick fur around his neck and so the pinch wasn't much, but enough that he knew what a correction was. I think more than anything he just associated that collar with training and knew when we put it on that it was time to behave and listen.

By the time he was about 6, he was so well behaved (and finally mature :)), that we used just a regular nylon collar and he walked just fine.

Lucy starts puppy class this Sunday, so I'll ask what they recommend for training classes.

Lynne & Lucy (20 wks tomorrow!)
 

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I train heeling and walking on a prong collar. At a show site where prong collars are not allowed he is in a metal choke collar. When he goes in the ring he wears his pretty braided leather collar.
 
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Thanks for this post. We're dealing with pulling also. We've been using an Easy Walk harness and while it gives some control, not enough when he really wants to get to something. We're using lots of treats to keep him focused on us, but sometimes it's just not enough. His breeder recommends a prong collar but I've been hesitant to use one. The training classes we've taken require a harness for class, and they don't like the choke collars or prong collars. But sometimes treats/positive training just isn't enough. If he weighed 20 lbs instead of 60, maybe it would work fine, but he's simply getting too big and strong for me and it can be dangerous when it feels like he's out of control. I think I'll give the prong a try and try not to feel (glad you said it, too) like a bad mommy!
 

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Dakota Katie River's Mom
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I guess I'm an odd one out. I haven't used a choke collar in twenty-five years. I've never used a prong. I have been an obedience instructor though don't have the time anymore. I use food and praise and a ton of patience. I practice in my yard. Dakota isn't ready to walk down the road, my fault, not hers. She will pull if she sees her sister. But she is getting better. I should have started her as a puppy, but the house fire happened, trying to get resettled, etc., and time flew. Now I have to backtrack with her.
 

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Curator of the Coy Zoo
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My trainer recommended a prong collar for Jazz. Immediate and amazing results even with her thick ruff. Soon we only used it where it was critical to have better control, like a rest stop, etc but at this point (2 yrs later) she walks nicely (a majority of the time) on a flat leash or regular harness. Darby never needed it. He's always walked easily on a flat collar or harness. He's very, very receptive to the slightest leash correction.

Different dogs, same person, different collars needed.

How can you be a bad mommy if you are working so hard to do the best and safest thing for your girl and taking her for such exciting walks?
 

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New to Golden Land :)
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I have had pulling issues with several of my dogs....and I have used lots of different measures. The prong collar I believe in.....simply because it doesn't take strong corrective action to get them to respond..and 90% of the time I just walk normally and when they try and pull the collar adds pressure and they stop on their own. To each their own....I have had great success with the prong collar. I also will say that I think the prong collar causes less damange than a regular choke chain.....Good luck!
 

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I guess I'm an odd one out. I haven't used a choke collar in twenty-five years. I've never used a prong. I have been an obedience instructor though don't have the time anymore. I use food and praise and a ton of patience. I practice in my yard. Dakota isn't ready to walk down the road, my fault, not hers. She will pull if she sees her sister. But she is getting better. I should have started her as a puppy, but the house fire happened, trying to get resettled, etc., and time flew. Now I have to backtrack with her.
Well I won't leave you there alone. This is our fifth dog, no prong collars yet. We did use a Halti with the last golden. I am using a wonder walker with Casper, a clicker and lots of treats. I'm very happy with the results so far. Absent distractions, he is doing wonderfully. Haha. I had been training with a flat collar and martingale, but he was still pulling some and I felt there was a lot of negativity around the neck. Sounds weird I'm sure. With the wonder walker I feel like I'm training more and correcting less. It challenges me to out think the dog rather than out power him. And I can tell he is following me, not just responding to corrections.

I've also felt over the years that some trainers see a big dog, especially a golden, and automatically push the prong collar. Casper is so trainable. I just have it as a goal for myself to train him to a flat collar. He has already forgotten about the whole collar/leash connection. It's funny to see him balk when I put the leash on his collar now and then. Like a tiny puppy! I will have to (or get to) retrain him on the collar. Maybe in a few months.

I hope not to make anyone feel bad for his or her choice. I just like to discuss. Thanks.
 

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Jill -- Maisie's "Mom"
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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks...

...for the variety of opinions. I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want them.

I am -- and have been -- using positive reinforcement, both lots of praise and treats -- as well as more traditional negative reinforcement methods like 1.) stopping and 2.) turning on my heel when Maisie pulls no matter which collar she's been wearing. And as I said, I started with a flat collar, went to an Easy Walk harness and then a nylon slip collar. On today's walks with the light-weight prong collar, I continued with the positive reinforcement which -- unless I'm crazy and it's just my imagination (and I may be :doh: ) -- seemed to be working better. Even when we went past the really wildly barking Labs, she pulled once and then settled back next to me. (Sorry if I sound too defensive.)

As you can tell, I'm conflicted about this, and for now will keep reading and considering your posts, using the prong collar for the rest of the week and then make a decision.
 

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Grumpy Old Man
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As you can tell, I'm conflicted about this, and for now will keep reading and considering your posts, using the prong collar for the rest of the week and then make a decision.
This isn't a popularity contest, it's dog training. You're not training somebody elses dog, you're training YOUR dog. Make your decisions based upon the results you're getting with YOUR dog. If you're making progress and getting good results, isn't that the goal?

If the prong collar works for you and your dog go with it. If somebody else got good results using a flat collar and cookies, great, but it isn't relevant. They don't have YOUR dog at the end of their leash.
 

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Apollo & Knightley's mum!
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I train loose leash with a simple nylon buckle collar and a clicker, and do walks with a Freedom Harness by Wiggles, Wags and Whiskers which I also do a little loose leash training - until we do everything on the buckle collar which isn't far off. The average golden is smart and can easily learn to keep a loose leash on a flat collar.

If you must use some sort of no pull system, I think the Freedom Harness is the best option as many no pull harnesses constrict the movement of a dogs shoulder and natural movement becomes impossible. Studies have shown that the Freedom Harness is the best option for no pull harnesses.

Halters of various sorts can have psychological impacts on your dog because of the fact they rest across the dogs muzzle, which is an overt sign of dominance. In many dogs it can cause them to lose creativity and sparkle.

On my previous dog I used a choke chain and *I* feel so ashamed and sorry that I caused pain when there was absolutely no need to. Prong collars I put in the same category, and need more experience than a choke chain to use properly... although can be milder than a choke chain.

However, I train on a no pain, no punishment basis, and that doesn't fit everyone. I just know our dogs are smart enough to learn all this and so much more without all that negative stuff though, you only need a bit of patience and understanding.
 

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Kate
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On my previous dog I used a choke chain and *I* feel so ashamed and sorry that I caused pain when there was absolutely no need to. Prong collars I put in the same category, and need more experience than a choke chain to use properly... although can be milder than a choke chain.
^^^ I really think it should be clarified that if you are causing "pain" to your dog while using a choke chain or a prong, then you are using the collar incorrectly or you are somebody who is too hard handed to use these collars.

It's not the collar that hurts the dogs. It's the hand on the leash that hurts the dogs.

My personal feeling is that the average dog owner who is not going to put the training time in, not going to go to dog classes, not going to learn how to put these collars on and use them correctly <- These people should not be putting prongs or chokes on their dogs.

In the case of the person in this thread, they are being taught to use this prong collar by their instructor. And there was an obvious reason why the instructor recommended the prong.

I don't want to side-topic here, but corrections - as I see them - are "interruptions". They do not automatically mean "pain" to the dog.

Putting your dog in his crate is a correction. Depending on how you do it, it could be more hurtful to your dog than if you did a "hey knock it off" verbal or leash correction.

I've seen a lot of people using choke chains incorrectly - and I am 100% sure that's why so many injuries have been reported in connection to that collar. It's not the collar. It's the trainers.

Prior to the prong becoming the newest coolest training tool at obedience classes, my instructor refused to let anyone put it on their dog if they were hard handed. If somebody routinely yanks on the leash or lets their dog pull (even with the prong on), that's going to cause injury.

As far as which collar is harsher...

A correction with a choke chain is a quick pop. If you hold your hand in a closed grip, it's a quick rotation one way and release the other way. That is a good pop correction. Another pop correction is if you are holding your hand in a closed grip and quickly pull towards yourself and immediately release. Again a good pop correction.

Unless you have your dog on a very loose lead, there should be no reason to be yanking on the leash. If the collar is put on correctly (P shape) and is a well made chain (not one of those cheap bulky ones from Petsmart), it will instantly release and again hang loose around your dog's neck. As I said, the pop correction is an interruption.

The prong collar - my old instructor described it as the jaws of an attacking dog closing around your dog's neck. It's very effective. The correction involved is just a tightening of one finger and instant release, vs a wrist rotation.

The reason why I prefer not to use it with my dog is that as I see it, just wearing the prong is a constant correction to a very soft dog. I like the choke chain because unless I actually want to correct my dog, I do not want any pressure around his neck at all. And the other thing is that I don't want to use a collar for training that I can't use in the ring.

There are martingale type prongs out there. And I suspect that the OP has one of these. Instead of being fit to a specific position around the dog's neck, this prong operates like a choke chain. It loosens up a smidgeon when not being used for a correction. I have one of these at home and prefer it to the actual prong.

*** I am in no way recommending that anyone use either choke or prong without going to classes and being watched like a hawk by an instructor. As I said, they can be used incorrectly very easy... and that's when the dogs get hurt.
 

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I started a similar thread a couple weeks ago regarding our 8 month old, Tucker. I was hesitant to use the prong the trainers at class suggested for us, but after a couple weeks now, I love it. I'd been using the easy walk harness for walking, and we still do, but for training exercises and an occasional shorter walk, the prong is an excellent training tool. I never thought I'd be one of "those" people either, but now I know they're a really useful training device. And I really don't think they hurt. Tucker sure doesn't act like it! And he is so much more attentive at class now. Well worth the money spent. :)
 

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Kodasmomma
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We tried the Easy Walk Harness at first and it was working but started to see the old habits coming back. My DH was convinced it was the cause of the jumping and biting the leash (but I don't think so as she has still done that since).

Our obedience class requires a training collar (preferrably the prong) which we switched to a few weeks back. We have noticed a big difference. Most of the time she corrects herself without us having to do anything. She will go to the end of the leash, feel it tighten up without our little pop and she will slow down back to our side. I think you are doing it all right with stopping if she is pulling too hard or turning around to get her back to your side. All of that stuff helps! We are planning to continue on with the prong collar until she fully understands what it means to heel next to us.

I am fine with her walking loosely on a walk as it is supposed to be a fun experience and when we walk in the park we let her do that but we want to get a good heel walk too for when kids come along and we have a stroller to push as well. I don't want her pulling me all different directions and I think the prong will do just that! :) Good Luck!!
 

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Until the weather turned cold, I had my two year old with me and Tucker on every walk, being pushed in her stroller. As Tucker got bigger, even with the easy walk harness on, he was big enough that his occasional lunges were really lurching the stroller. Some extra training with the prong has really helped! I know this is off the topic - but I just have to say - it's so much fun taking Tucker and my little lady out together. Tucker LOVES walking alongside the stroller. It's almost as if it's giving him an extra little "job" to do, walking with his favorite little lady... can't wait till the weather improves again! :wave:
 
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