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 Prong Collar Questions

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Stihl1816
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Location : Upstate NY

PostSubject: Prong Collar Questions   Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:24 am

Hi everyone! I'm new to the forum, but not new to huskies. Very Happy

I have a few questions for those who have used prong collars. My pup and I have completed puppy class, intermediate obedience, and advanced obedience all at 100% positive training facilities. We just took a little step backwards and started an advanced obedience class at a new facility with balanced trainers (90/10 positive reinforcement/positive punishment). My pup is obviously very smart, but also stubborn (huskies, amirite?) and has the typical husky selective hearing.

After our first class they suggested I give the prong collar a shot. I'm definitely not against using one, but just want to make sure it's being used in the proper way so as not to confuse my dog.

First Question: We used the prong for the first time during class last night. I got a lot of protesting from Stihl and they said that was typical (especially for huskies), but I also think we communicated better than we ever have. My question: Is there just an adjustment period where he will protest because it's obviously uncomfortable for him, or will this frustration on his part just cause him to shut down? Where do I draw the line? Is there a way to speed up/ease the adjustment period?

Second question: How do I deal with all the floof? I feel bad because it doesn't seem like the prong is really releasing when he puts slack on the leash because it's caught up in all his neck floofs. Is this something I can work around or just something that he'll just get used to? One of the trainers I'm working with has border collies and she said this was just normal with the fluffy dogs.

Third Question: They advised that the prong is mostly self-correcting. I've seen many people who use the prong to communicate that the dog is not doing the command properly with a flick of the leash. Is this something I can utilize or should I just focus on loose-leash walking on the prong for now until he gets used to it?

Whew! That was definitely long winded. Thanks in advance for any advice. This forum has already been so helpful and I haven't even posted yet! sunny
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Prong Collar Questions   Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:07 pm

Excellent questions, Kate! And, btw, I am in Fingerlakes, NY - where abouts are you. Upstate covers a lot of area. You can pm if you want.

I have used a prong for about 3 years and very recently graduated to harness, long line and ecollar for country back roads. Do not know yet how it will go on village/city streets where he will have to go back to short leash and heel.

So - to answer your questions:

1: Protesting. Ami was acclimated to the prong by the shelter so I don't know if he protested at first or not. I do know that I introduced the prong to Archer, my son's husky, at about 7-8 months because I am his intermittent care-taker and he got too big and too strong for me too young. At first he was a bucking bronco but he has always been collar reactive. As in, you cannot take hold of his collar to, say, bring him in the house, stop him from chewing on something..anything. But, once he realized, the prong was self correcting he stopped with the bucking bronco routine. I think you could hasten the adjustment period by taking him out on a long, non-training walk and just let him meander, sniff, scratch, dig...whatever he likes and you not apply any corrections, just let him become familiar with the collar.

2: The floof...well let me tell you, I know fluff. My boy is a wooly and taking the collar off is an exercise in patience. I have to carefull unhook the thing (actually, mine has an aftermarket aluminum side release buckle that I just undo) and then careful untangle the fur from the prongs. As you look at the collar you will see that it has a martingale type chain loop that can tighten or loosen. Even though the fur is all buried in the prongs, the chain loop is not. So releasing tension on that chain allows the prongs and the fur to loosen as well.

3: The flick of the wrist thing. I liken it to using the reins on a horse with a very soft mouth. Just the barest movement and gentle. Not a yank. That's what I used for slow down, no pulling. I was also able to communicate "sit" by a slight upward tension, not exactly a flick but more an upward gentle pull on the leash. I used this on city sidewalks with heel...we walk along in heel, me using the traffic lead portion of my leash, come to an intersection, I stop, command "sit," slight upward pull on the leash, and then praise and treat (early on - that got weaned out as time went on) I still scratch his ears when, though. He's tall enough and I'm short enough that its a natural, easy response.

But - I would not use the active corrections until your pup is acclimated to the prong. I still, 2 years later, have to be judicious with Archer. THough that may be because I only have him part time and son and his wife mostly use a retractable leash. Also - these days Archer is much more compliant and a people pleasing dog than my super independent, at times, SOB but loveable boy.

Hope this was helpful to you.
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Prong Collar Questions   Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:10 pm

PS: Your boy is a beauty. Wooly, too, possibly?
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Stihl1816
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PostSubject: Re: Prong Collar Questions   Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:58 pm

Very helpful, thanks! I was just worried because he seemed so confused and frustrated. I don't want him to hate me. Crying or Very sad Also, up until this point I've only used incentives like food to get him to do what I want. This is difficult because he isn't particularly food driven.

We're located right outside of Albany!

I'm not sure exactly of his mix. His father is a red Siberian husky and his mother looks like she definitely has malamute, potentially mixed with more husky and German shepherd. So he is definitely wooly, but not a pure husky.

Your boy is also beautiful!
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TwisterII
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Location : Missouri

PostSubject: Re: Prong Collar Questions   Thu Nov 10, 2016 4:22 pm

Why did the training facility suggest a prong collar for a dog that has passed basic and intermediate obedience classes? I have tried the prong with my leash aggressive dog and she never took to it. We gave it a couple weeks and I decided she wasn't going to learn anything useful because she was far too worried about the prong to the point she would fight it. If your dog is twisting, spazzing, or trying to back out of the collar I would not use it. Some dogs are not made to be on prongs and I would take that into consideration concerning your training facility. Make sure they know your dog and aren't just putting prongs on every stubborn dog coming through the door so they don't have to do the work to train a dog that isn't cookie cutter eager to please.

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Stihl1816
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PostSubject: Re: Prong Collar Questions   Thu Nov 10, 2016 4:47 pm

They suggested the prong since he's pretty out of control on leash and does not pay attention at all. The classes he passed were at Petsmart. The criteria for passing were kind of a joke and the instructor was very disorganized and lenient. The training facility I'm at now requires a more rigorous test for admission into their advanced classes like therapy dog prep, agility, and competition classes. He would absolutely not sit/down/heel if I didn't guide him with food and the new training facility requires that the dog perform without treats in order to pass into the next classes.

I think it honestly depends on what you want to do with your dog. If I was content with having a dog that is home all the time I don't think it would be necessary; however, it's important to me to be able to bring my dog with me as many places as I can, and potentially do therapy dog work at some point down the road.
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Prong Collar Questions   Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:43 pm

You might want to look into ecollar training if he doesn't do well with the prong. Just be sure tho get one with lots of levels like the mini educator or dogtra. As well add a trainer familiar with its use.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Prong Collar Questions   Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:58 am

Kate welcome to the forum. I would actually ask the trainer at the facility to help you use the prong properly. Another suggestion is using a martingale, many here use that as well, with success. Personally I think your pup is just overly excited and probably needs to blow off some steam prior to class. Once he is more calm then he will focus better. Like Jenn mentioned, some dogs are just not prong wearers, thru constant use with loose leash walking, perhaps he will get used to it and not fight you so much. I am going to be pretty honest with you, some dogs are not cut out for what you are looking for, especially a husky, most just don't calm down enough to train for this at such a young age, and I am assuming he is under 2 years old. If he is then I am going to say you may be setting you and your pup up for failure, when in reality it's the breed. Like I said earlier, I would work with the trainer at the facility on using the prong. I also do not recommend an e-collar for this type of training, you can't necessarily train out puppiness, and/or he may have too soft of a personality to train with one, especially if he is so reactive to a prong. I wish you luck.
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