Prong collars

frostfell

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#61
late to the party as usual, and im sure what i have to say has already been hashed, but:
i use prong collars. not on every dog. there is no tool i flatly refuse to use, none, never. every dog is different. every dog handles stimulus and positive and negative in a different way. some dogs need a given tool. some dont. some situations require a certain tool where they arent needed in a different place.

to be a versatile trainer you have to use everything at your disposal and nothing can be off limits. you are going to own a dog at some point or another that is going to either be impossible for you, or require you to break your "never ever"s. beware putting your own ego in front of the needs of the dog in front of you.
 

BostonBanker

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#63
to be a versatile trainer you have to use everything at your disposal and nothing can be off limits.
I will proudly stand here as a non-versatile trainer in that case. There are lines I will not cross with my dogs, and there are absolutely things that are off limits. I will learn more, I will find better help, or I will change my requirements for that dog. I have been humbled beyond belief with Gusto, and have left behind the only dog training 'world' I knew, and I drive 3 hours each way for the help I need for him. I have different goals for him than I had 2 years ago. But one seminar with one top-notch trainer showed me the line I won't cross to "fix" him. So we backed up and are looking for a different way.

And no, I would not put prong collars in my "never ever" pile. "Hopefully never", for sure. It would have to be a genuine "this dog is going to get hurt or hurt someone without immediate control on leash" situation, but I can see a situation where it could happen.
 

Dogs6

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#64
I honestly wonder if, in countries where they are banned, the dogs just don't get walked. Or people do more off leash walking.

Sure, DOG people in the other countries find a way to train, because they know what they are doing and where there is a will there is a way and I'm sure the harnesses and gentle leaders we have are used by the general public to deal. Doesn't mean it's necessarily better for the dogs or the people, just reality of having to deal.

But I do wonder if it does just result in dogs that are too hard to walk, not being walked. Not sure how that's better really though.

Also, I seriously would not be surprised if they are still used by people who like them. Just, hidden.

I live in the UK. I had never heard of a prong collar until I started visting Chaz. I've never seen one used either. I doubt very many of the people I know would know what they are either. We do manage without them here but it's a different culture. I don't know very many people whose dogs have good leash manners. Only one of my dogs do. But every single person I know walks their dog offleash. Every walk usually has at least part of it offleash. I took 4 dogs on a two mile walk the other day and didnt even lift a leash. Even people with sighthounds and huskies usually are able to let them offleash. It's just normal here. Even dogs with no other training whatsoever are generally pretty good offleash. And we don't have dog parks or anything like that that I know off. Almost anywhere I can think off is legal to have your dog offleash. So we take advantage of it.

Maybe I have a different outlook on it because I'm from a more rural area but even my friends in urban areas still have their dogs offleash. When I go into towns or if I'm staying somewhere with my dogs they're (usually) on a lead when we're walking along the roads but as soon as we move away from the road they'll be offleash again and so will most dogs we come into contact with. It's just the way things work here. So we don't have to worry so much about leash manners because dogs don't really need to be on a leash as much.
 

Kat09Tails

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#65
I honestly wonder if, in countries where they are banned, the dogs just don't get walked. Or people do more off leash walking.

Sure, DOG people in the other countries find a way to train, because they know what they are doing and where there is a will there is a way and I'm sure the harnesses and gentle leaders we have are used by the general public to deal. Doesn't mean it's necessarily better for the dogs or the people, just reality of having to deal.

But I do wonder if it does just result in dogs that are too hard to walk, not being walked. Not sure how that's better really though.

Also, I seriously would not be surprised if they are still used by people who like them. Just, hidden.
Covers and covert prongs are all the rage in some places. Also making them look friendlier by making them rubber covered or out of rubber is also common.

Another way to hear fun commentary is to walk a dog in public wearing a basket muzzle for any reason.
 
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#66
to be a versatile trainer you have to use everything at your disposal and nothing can be off limits.
I don't necessarily agree with that. You can be a versatile trainer and still have limits (and honestly I hope every trainer out there has limits for the sake of the dogs and people).

It's ok to have lines you aren't willing to cross and tools that you aren't willing to use. If you aren't comfortable with them or educated it's probably a good idea you don't use them. I'm perfectly ok with people that say they that they are willing to work harder (or just differently) and in a different direction with a dog to avoid using a tool they don't personally like or agree with. That doesn't make them a bad trainer nor does it mean they aren't versatile. They probably have been made better for that work.

Yes, you should structure your training after the dog you are training. And that should be flexible. But, in what direction you flex or how far you are willing to go is completely up to that person and I don't think that makes someone better or worse. And, if you are a talented trainer, many times you can get pretty far, if not as far or further as those who used a different route.

This is the issue I always end up with. If you don't like prongs or using them that's ok. If you do like them and using them ok. Neither one has a moral high ground in my opinion and neither should be looked down on for it.
 

frostfell

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#67
Is your bladder considered a training tool?
yes. pee on all the things.

to reply to several other people: i really hate seeing prongs considered the ultimate and end stage "where nothing else has worked". its not torture. its not the rack. its not barbed wire. its not a lip chain. its a tool that allows a high degree of finesse and control, based on its design. if youre a horse person, its rather like the double bridle. you can drape your lead over your pinky and flex your hand and the dog will feel it and understand that its a signal. to get that same degree of finiteness from a flat collar you have to practically flail your entire arm. a prong does not hurt. its not brutal. its not cruel. its a tool. and one that works far more effectively than a flat collar. i know its very inspiring to be able to proudly proclaim that you did everything on a plain flat collar, but its like boasting you carve sculpture with a sledgehammer and spurn the use of chisels and tiny picks. yeah you CAN. but for the little teensy tiny fiddly stuff, you need precision. a prong offers precision. thats literally what it was made for.
 

BostonBanker

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#69
Huh? The two bits on a double bridle have completely separate functions from each other. The aren't just stronger than the average bit. The more accurate comparison would be that going to a prong from a flat collar is like going from a smooth snaffle to a single twisted wire snaffle. Another tool I would only use in a "someone is about to get hurt" situation. Maybe not even then, because it is easy enough to say "don't ride the horse until you figure out a better solution".
 

frostfell

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#70
Huh? The two bits on a double bridle have completely separate functions from each other. The aren't just stronger than the average bit. The more accurate comparison would be that going to a prong from a flat collar is like going from a smooth snaffle to a single twisted wire snaffle. Another tool I would only use in a "someone is about to get hurt" situation. Maybe not even then, because it is easy enough to say "don't ride the horse until you figure out a better solution".
I never said a single word that could possibly be used as a synonym for "strength" I said finesse and precision. which is what the double bridle offers. the ability to give minute cues by using one bit or the other or both. neither a double bridle nor a prong are about brute strength.
 

xpaeanx

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#71
I had bought a pony who wasn't responsive to the snaffle so the prior owners kept uping the intensity of the bit. By the time I bought her her bit was quite extreme and she was barely responding to that. I clipped reins to her halter and rode her around the pen and she responded 100x better than with the bit.

On the flip side my aunt used to do carriage rides as a side job. She trained in a snaffle and then switched to a more severe bit for when she was out working the horse. She wanted to make sure he would respond to the bit because their were often children running around at these events and the thought of what could happen if her horse decided to ignore the bit was too much for her to just use a plain snaffle.

It all goes back to who you are as a trainer and what you're ok with. You don't need a lot of aversion to train something, but you need to know where you stand with things so you can make your own choices.
 

BostonBanker

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#72
Having to flail your entire arm vs using a pinky seems like a strength comparison to me; nothing to do with finesse. If the arm is flailing on a flat collar, no finesse is happening. Strength is being used. I can assure you, I have seen upper level dressage work finessed with a snaffle just as well as with a double, and nobody was flailing. And people are far more impressed to see it happen in a snaffle. It is all to easy to use the leverage a double provides as a crutch to compensate for a lack of actual skill and training.
 

milos_mommy

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#73
I am by no means a horse trainer at all but I know that the horse training world is pretty "behind" the dog training world as far as applying proven methods and using psychology and ethology and such on a day-to-day basis. Also, horses are prey animals, which have an EXTREMELY different psyche and ability to learn and process information than dogs do.

Also, I can't go back and find the comment, but on the topic of putting a dog in a crate when they act up during training/trial/refuse to listen even though they know the command....yes, that's punishment, but it's not positive punishment (unless your dog HATES the crate). I don't see going into the crate as the punishment, but the removal of the freedom and ability to participate.

And honestly, I don't see a halter as the same or even comparable to a prong. Yeah, it can be really aversive if the dog isn't accustomed to it or is horrified by it, but most of the dogs I put it on don't really mind it....and if you use a halter on yourself (even on your arm or something), it's an EXTREMELY different sensation than a prong or e-collar (and I've done all three). A halter, used properly, shouldn't be unpleasant to the dog past not being able to have the freedom to move around.

Also, on a reactive dog (who's reactivity isn't enough to have them injure themselves on any training tool or restraint), a halter is bringing the focus away from what they're reacting to. With a halter, if we approach another dog, and my dog gets upset, and I turn away, they are coming with me and no longer looking at the other dog. They're going to automatically be calmed and more comfortable and basically forced to focus on something else. With a prong, they're still able to stare at the other dog and get worked up, they're just feeling an unpleasant/painful sensation every time they react. Yeah, a head collar might be annoying if you're barking in it or pulling on it, but I just do not believe it causes the same level of discomfort or pain a prong causes.
 

ACooper

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#74
I think we know my opinion on them. :p

One other thing that I think of when I think of these types of tools, is in the areas in which they are banned or used a lesser amount - many people still own all these breeds, and personalities, and dog's with certain behaviors people think the type of collar is needed for - but somehow can do without. Or heck, plenty of people in areas where they are more common a tool, even. Interesting. :rofl1:
....... But I do wonder if it does just result in dogs that are too hard to walk, not being walked.......
^That is exactly what I was going to respond to Brushnazzy. And honestly, THAT was about where I was with Orson's pulling.

As I stated before, I struggled with him for TWO YEARS of walks EVERY DAY. He acted like a dog who never got walks each time! The crazy dink even pulled with a gentle leader on and scared the daylights out of me thinking he would break his fool neck! NO JOKE.

I am no dog trainer, I teach the basics (sit, stay, down, lay, etc) and I can normally get the dog to have some form of leash manners until Orson. At more than 80lbs and my bad ankle, his walks were nearly eliminated. The prong collar is the ONLY thing that saved his walks, and he gets excited when it comes out just like any dog seeing his leash.

Nobody can make me regret using it for him or even feel bad about it.
 

milos_mommy

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#75
@ ACooper, see, I'd never judge a typical dog owner who researches a prong's usage and uses it correctly fitted without jerking the dog around or putting it on and being otherwise ridiculously irresponsible for using it.

As trainer, and someone who is, albeit small and not particularly strong, physically capable of handling a dog up to about 90-95lbs, it's not something I'd use. And honestly, if a client came to me with a dog like Orson, I'd not recommend a prong collar to begin with, and if the walks were a severe physical struggle I'd recommend a halti...but if the dog wasn't responding well, yeah, I might say for safety reasons a prong is a good temporary tool.

Like others have said (with or without a prong), it can take a few weeks to a few months, depending on how ingrained the behavior is, to train a dog to LLW. On my personal dogs, I'd probably try to get them exercised and stimulated in a manner that didn't require walking on a prong during the first stages of training, but I know that's not always possible for everyone.

Not everyone can afford to pay for a professional trainer, not everyone has the time to devote to training, not everyone has the opportunity to get their dog alternative exercise. Like others have said, a dog choking themselves out on a flat collar is just as unpleasant as a prong. And observing the general public, I'm not about to make judgements about the (unfortunately small) population that uses a prong safely and correctly. But as a trainer, I'm very unlikely to ever recommend or use one as an aid to training.
 

xpaeanx

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#76
Also, I can't go back and find the comment, but on the topic of putting a dog in a crate when they act up during training/trial/refuse to listen even though they know the command....yes, that's punishment, but it's not positive punishment (unless your dog HATES the crate). I don't see going into the crate as the punishment, but the removal of the freedom and ability to participate.

And honestly, I don't see a halter as the same or even comparable to a prong. Yeah, it can be really aversive if the dog isn't accustomed to it or is horrified by it, but most of the dogs I put it on don't really mind it....and if you use a halter on yourself (even on your arm or something), it's an EXTREMELY different sensation than a prong or e-collar (and I've done all three). A halter, used properly, shouldn't be unpleasant to the dog past not being able to have the freedom to move around.
Right, so because you decided you are ok with these things that makes them ok. There are +R trainers only and they're not ok with anything that might upset the dog (such as crating, no reward markers, etc).

If someone does their research on prongs and chooses to employ one, that's their choice. They decided what they were ok with.

And this is coming from someone who walks her dogs on harnesses. I rarely even have any type of collar them. Muffin has a few because I think they're pretty but that's all they're really for... Being pretty.
 

milos_mommy

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#77
Right, so because you decided you are ok with these things that makes them ok. There are +R trainers only and they're not ok with anything that might upset the dog (such as crating, no reward markers, etc).
That still doesn't make those things positive punishments, which a prong collar is. You can be a positive-only trainer and use methods like crating and time-outs and such, but you can't be a positive-only trainer and use a prong. They're just totally different types of punishments and one is exclusive to training with aversive corrections.

I suppose since so many people consider halters and front clasp harnesses aversive or painful, that using those tools in positive only training is debatable...but I consider myself a positive only trainer, and I use them, and all of the other positive only trainers I know do as well. I think generally in studies where aversive corrections or tools are used to train, they don't generally consider halters and front class harnesses as a positive punishment. At least I've never seen a study doing so. I know for a fact removing the dog from a situation and crating (without any other corrections) is not considered a positive punishment. It can somewhat come down to what you believe in, but there's also a scientific aspect to what is consider positive punishment VS negative punishment. You can't say that a prong collar isn't going to hurt your dog because of how strong they are (which may be true) so that it's not a positive punishment. I suppose you can say crating your dog IS a positive punishment, but the scientific/animal behavior/training community isn't going to agree with you.
 

PWCorgi

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#78
A year ago I would have been in the "I'd never use one, I'd find a better method camp!" and then I got my current job and started working with the general public and their pets. For 95% of my leash walking/leash reactivity clients we still end up with Gentle Leader or flat collar, but there have been a couple where I have fitted a prong for them, taught them how to use it (well, how we use it), and then helped them to get rid of it. I think every client I've fit for a prong has been off of it after about 3 weeks.

We don't use it as "power steering," we don't let the dog pull into it, we teach them to walk next to the person (which we teach first sans collar), and then apply a correction when needed to keep that criteria. We keep the regular leash connected to a flat collar, and then the prong with a training tab.

It's also hugely a matter of who I'm dealing with as a client. If they have poor timing, no, they don't get a prong. If they get frustrated easily, no, they don't get a prong. And I'm clear with them, this works because it hurts, timing and judicious corrections are required. If they don't seem to understand that, no prong.

Do I love using the prong collars? No. Have I used them on my own dogs? No. I haven't felt like I needed to. Has it made a world of difference for the people who needed them? Yes.

Two weeks ago I met with a client with an adolescent lab mix who was just ridiculous on a leash. The dog had pulled so much that at one point the leash had sliced open her hand. The dog wasn't aggressive, just OMG EVERYTHING!! PEOPLE DOGS BIKERS SQUIRRELS EEEE!! And they live on one of the busiest parkways (and an amazingly beautiful place to walk), and she wasn't even able to walk the dog. Her family actually STAGED AN INTERVENTION and told her that they were taking the dog back to the rescue from the intervention. :yikes: Owner was like NOPE! and so instead they offered to pay for training. Fit the dog for a prong, taught her how to use it, and yesterday she posted on my job's facebook page "I owe these slack leashes and wonderful Sunday walk to Lauren. She's great." with a picture of both of her dogs walking nicely by her side.

Could she have accomplished that through positive training only? Yes! But it would have been a long and probably really frustrating road for her. Instead, she has spent 2 weeks working hard and now she can walk her dog on the busy parkway, which means her dog is going to get walked a lot more. And I'm sure that makes them both happy.

So again, do I love using them? No. Will I use them in certain situations? Yes.
 

xpaeanx

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#79
That still doesn't make those things positive punishments, which a prong collar is. You can be a positive-only trainer and use methods like crating and time-outs and such, but you can't be a positive-only trainer and use a prong. They're just totally different types of punishments and one is exclusive to training with aversive corrections.

I suppose since so many people consider halters and front clasp harnesses aversive or painful, that using those tools in positive only training is debatable...but I consider myself a positive only trainer, and I use them, and all of the other positive only trainers I know do as well. I think generally in studies where aversive corrections or tools are used to train, they don't generally consider halters and front class harnesses as a positive punishment. At least I've never seen a study doing so. I know for a fact removing the dog from a situation and crating (without any other corrections) is not considered a positive punishment. It can somewhat come down to what you believe in, but there's also a scientific aspect to what is consider positive punishment VS negative punishment. You can't say that a prong collar isn't going to hurt your dog because of how strong they are (which may be true) so that it's not a positive punishment. I suppose you can say crating your dog IS a positive punishment, but the scientific/animal behavior/training community isn't going to agree with you.
I think you're missing my point. There are things you are comfortable using that others are not. So it would make sense that there are things others are comfortable with that you are not. And that's fine, but each person needs to evaluate themselves and what things they are comfortable with/need.
 
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#80
And honestly, I don't see a halter as the same or even comparable to a prong. Yeah, it can be really aversive if the dog isn't accustomed to it or is horrified by it, but most of the dogs I put it on don't really mind it....and if you use a halter on yourself (even on your arm or something), it's an EXTREMELY different sensation than a prong or e-collar (and I've done all three). A halter, used properly, shouldn't be unpleasant to the dog past not being able to have the freedom to move around.
Except that a dog wears a head halter on its face. So testing it on your arm isn't really fair IMO. I see a lot of dogs really shut down in a head halter or spend a lot of time rubbing their face in the grass, rubbing the nose strap with their paw, etc. I just can't believe that those individual dogs don't find it aversive and uncomfortable.

Don't get me wrong, I see plenty of dogs do great in head halters. But for many dogs they are just as aversive as a prong would be on another dog. And vice versa.
 

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