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Old 11-16-2008, 04:15 PM
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Tazwell Tazwell is offline
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Default Opinions on use of Training Collars

I've had some thoughts on different types of training collars lately.

I work as a Pet trainer at Petsmart. Of course, Petsmart philosophy is "Prong collars make dogs aggressive!" And the Gentle leader is used instead.

Obviously, not all of us (and definitely not me,) have that same belief. I see the Gentle leader as a tool to physically control the dog, in addition to training. It's more restraint, than anything. I see the prong as a way of almost doing the same, but with clearer corrections, and with a lot less restraint.

I used to use a prong collar on a few of the rescue's dogs, and also one of my own dogs in the past. One was dog aggressive, and at age 14, I can't say I was confident in the way I was handling him. The past few years, I've been concentrating on learning Positive reinforcement methods-- I'm certainly not "Positive reinforcement is the only way, aversive methods are abuse!" type-believer.

But when the dog sees another dog, and wants to react (whether it be aggression or over excitement), I worry about the pinch that the dog receives as it's viewing that other dog. How do you gain control in this situation, without associating that other dog with the pinch of the collar? I would imagine, slowly desensitize the dog from a distance and slowly decrease-- thus avoiding the need for corrections... I'm just not confident. I need opinions

What are your opinions on use of training collars with reactive/fearful/insecure dogs?
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Old 11-16-2008, 04:46 PM
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if i had it to do over, i wouldn't have used a pinch collar with my dog reactive dogs. with dogs who pull and are strong enough that their owners can't control them, yes. but with dogs who have reactivity issues (especially born out of fear/anxiety), i think that they can amplify the problem by punishing the dog (causing more fear/anxiety) and by causing the dog even more physical arousal in the moment.

i still use one with luce, but she is only very very rarely reactive at this point (and her problem has never been fear, just over-arousal). she still gets her panties wadded when dogs get all up in her face, but i don't really blame her for that.

i have completely stopped using one for mushroom, and have switched to a head halter for walks. i loathe head halters, but i think it's a better option for mr fear-reactive leash-aggressive dog.
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:17 PM
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Personally, I understand that people on this forum use prong collars, and many people who really really know what they're doing use prong collars. But for me personally, I'd probably never use one on a dog I'm working with. (Notice I said probably.... once you start with the absolutes someone comes around to knock you off your feet!) If I did use a prong collar, I'd defintely not use it on a fear reactive dog or any dog with confidence issues. If I did use one, I'd use it for very short periods, just to get the dog under control, then quickly fade it out.

But honestly, between no-pull harnesses and head halters, I just don't see why I'd need to use a prong collar. Show me a dog where a head halter, introduced correctly and used correctly, or a no-pull harness doesn't do any good at all, and maybe I'll think about using a prong. It just hasn't gotten to that point for me yet.
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Old 11-16-2008, 08:34 PM
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I've had a few people tell me to use a prong collar for my DA German Shepherd. I'm a pretty little person, and she's a REALLY big dog... She's quite DA (Or at least that's what they call it), and I tought about a prong for a while, but my GSD does everything else with positive training, clicker and treats, and I figure I can get her working around other dogs with a clicker and treats...

I do, however, have a gentle leader I use at the beginning of our sessions. If I feel she's behaving with the GL on, I take it off, if she's bad, it goes back on, if she's good, we keep going like it was never there.

I believe that people who know how to use prong collars are smart people, and I praise them for finding something that works for their dogs. I think that it might help my dog, but I'm trying other things first... If I have to, I wont use a prong collar.

I'm not against them, as you can see, I just don't like to use them as a first option... But I haven't a problem with those who do!
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Old 11-17-2008, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tazwell View Post
But when the dog sees another dog, and wants to react (whether it be aggression or over excitement), I worry about the pinch that the dog receives as it's viewing that other dog. How do you gain control in this situation, without associating that other dog with the pinch of the collar? I would imagine, slowly desensitize the dog from a distance and slowly decrease-- thus avoiding the need for corrections... I'm just not confident. I need opinions

What are your opinions on use of training collars with reactive/fearful/insecure dogs?
I do use prong collars and I would not use a prong collar on a reactive/fearful/insecure dog. You don't want to create negative associations with something the dog is already worried about.

Slowly desensitizing as you say works well and creating positive associations - dog sees another dog, dog gets a cookie. Dog starts to think that other dogs = getting cookies.

If you're really worried about needing some sort of physical control ~ if he's a big dog ~ I would suggest trying the halti harness. It controls the dog by gently turning their shoulders.
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:03 AM
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I use prong collars, and have problem with them at all. I wouldn't use one in this situation either. If a dog knows what a collar correction is, and that it is coming from YOU and not from the other dog or stimulus it can work. But if you just put one on them and take them around other dogs, that irritation from the collar is going to intensify their dislike of the other dog because they will associate it with the other dog. Kind of counter productive.
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