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 Prong Collars

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lynnroth
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Female Join date : 2016-12-05
Location : Pennsylvania

PostSubject: Prong Collars   Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:04 pm

Background story: I walk Jethro every morning 2.5 miles, I use a harness that hooks in the back. I've been walking him with the harness every day since we got him at 8 weeks, he is now 5 months. I do the red light green light method where if he pulls I stop walking until he releases. For the most part he does well, but he still darts at birds and tries to run ahead, and is basically always at the end of the lead. We've started training heel, but he looses interest in any treat and it's slow going. This has been fine, I am dedicated and consistent and will not give up, however this morning everything changed. At the tail end of our walk, when Jethro is getting tired and tends to not listen or respond to treats his harness broke. The metal ring bent and released the fabric, I'm guessing because of all the pulling over the course of his life. Jethro has a collar on always with his tags, and I was able to hook him before he noticed he could slip out of the harness. However his collar is not taught around his neck and isn't used for walking, he can thrash about and work his way out of the collar in a matter of minutes. He was not happy, trying to dart and pull, chase birds etc. keep in mind that we were at the last half mile towards home and this is the point where he is ready to be home and take his nap. Meanwhile I am having a heart attack that he will slip out of the collar, dart onto the main road, and that would be the end. I'm on the verge of tears, just trying to get Jethro home safely, with no options. My husband was at work and I couldn't call him to pick us up and drive us home, Jethro is too big to be carried, nor will he allow it, he'd just twist and wriggle because he likes walking more. On our way back we ran into a woman walking with her infant in a stroller, Jethro loved walking with her and after sharing my predicament she walked with us towards our house, back to her own home. When we got to her house, she offered to loan me a prong collar. Having 2 large labs herself she said these were a life saver while training them to walk. I was apprehensive because I never ever want to do harm to my dog, I won't use an e collar or shock collar or anything that can be painful. But I was desperate and so scared and just wanted to get home safely that if this got us the last bit home and then never to be used again then that would be it.

Now, once on Jethro pulled once, felt the pressure and then walked at my heel or just barely away from me the entire walk home. It was as if I had a different dog, the prong collar was loose and it was as if he was walking off lead, no pressure no pulling, and no fear. We got home safely, took it off, and that was it.

My question: what experiences do you have with using a prong collar (correctly) during walks.

My biggest fear in using it is causing harm to Jethro, making him fearful, and overall causing my dog to not trust me and hate me. Yes extreme, but that's what my fears are. Any advice and help on the subject would be greatly appreciated. The woman who gave me the collar said her vet recommended it, and her dogs are better for using it while training that they no longer need it, and that Jethro is at the perfect age for it.

Please only provide helpful insightful advice, if your claim is that they are bad, please support your claim.

Thank you!
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jalepeno
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Location : Portland, OR

PostSubject: Re: Prong Collars   Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:21 pm

I don't use one, but the only way that my wife can walk Bodhi is with a prong collar.
He is very obedient with it on.
Otherwise, he would pull her down.
She has a replacement hip and Bodhi is a very exuberant boy..

Our trainer at obedience classes recommended it.
He also said to make sure it is Herm Sprenger brand, as others can bend.

The tips are rounded and can't break the skin.
I tried it on my own neck to be sure.

One problem I did have with the prong collar is that it can open inadvertently through operator error when putting it on. I fashioned an additional "safety" that attaches to Bodhi's collar as seen here:
http://www.itsahuskything.com/t3638-prong-collar-popping-open?highlight=prong+collar

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aljones
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Location : Terlingua, Texas

PostSubject: Re: Prong Collars   Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:24 pm

Lynette, I hope your heart has calmed down some, sound like you had quite a harrowing experience!

I have no comments one way or the other. We have members who have used the prong and benefited from it's use. The best suggestion I can make is to learn from someone who knows how to use them correctly - my understanding is that when used properly there is little real opportunity for damage while used improperly there can be. You sound as if you have a first hand source for "how do I do this right!" and I'd make the most use of her that her time and child (and dogs) will allow.
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TwisterII
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Location : Missouri

PostSubject: Re: Prong Collars   Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:32 pm

Prongs depend on the dog and the user as to whether they are the right tool. At only 5 months old, I wouldn't use a prong yet. He is growing and still learning. Rather than going prong I would look into a martinggale collar. With the prong, fitment is key. You don't want it to be loose. You want it high on their neck, right under their chin basically, and just snug enough it will stay there. Each dog responds to them differently. My male is fine with the prong, but my female will lock up then freak out.

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lynnroth
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Location : Pennsylvania

PostSubject: Re: Prong Collars   Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:13 pm

The collar she gave me is a Sprenger with the blunted tips, so that's good and why I considered continuing to use it, it looked as if used properly wouldn't harm him.

As for his age and waiting until he learns I'm not entirely sure I agree, currently with a harness he still pulls hard and significantly enough that it has pulled my tricep on multiple occasions and almost pulled me to the ground, we live where it's very hilly and I can't keep my ground when he pulls me down the hills. And sometimes when I stop when he is pulling he runs back and forth as fast and hard as possible at the end of the leash causing both of us to not be very happy. He doesn't do it often, but often enough I've been asking his trainer for tips and being concerned that the pulling on the harness could actually be harming his growth. He's at least 40lbs already and still growing, if the prong collar used correctly will help him understand the acceptable behavior, why not do it now? I'd understand not doing it on a dog less than his age, but if he shows the appropriate reaction to it, how can it not be helpful with his learning. I'd hate to wait until he is a year old when the behavior is worse and he weighs twice the size more than capable of running me down the street before taking it out again. I'd like to assert that I am in charge now while he is impressionable and before a other incident or serious injury to either of us. However I will look into the martingale, I just want to make sure they are tough e light to withstand a pull, because he broke out of his harness and can slip out of his normal collar
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Prong Collars   Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:43 pm

I absolutely love my prong. I also graduated groping prong to ecollar with my 4 yr old.. the shock does not hurt...I can't even feel it at his level. The stimulation is more like a TENS unit used for pain control on humans. However, your pup is too young. I have no problem with a prong, well fitted as Jenn details, in a 5-6 month old pup. That's the age archer became to much for me.

Ditto the herm sprenger and a fail safe as Michael suggests. Leashes by design sells herm spegers modified with side release buckle (not quick release!) and also a 6 inch mini leashes to go from ptong to flat collar. For what it's worth, I also use a safety backup from flat collar to harness.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Prong Collars   Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:49 pm

At young ages when pups are still growing anything harsh can cause damage to still forming muscle and vein tissue. That is why I suggest a martinggale collar over a prong at his age. You do not want to damage anything that hasn't reached it's mature growth or hardness. Bones, esophagus, skin when still growing is softer than it will be when older making it much easier to damage if you do anything wrong.

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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Prong Collars   Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:29 am

I will just add this regarding the prong and possible injury - I use the medium herm sprenger and found that, at least for Ami, there was far less stress on his neck with the prong then his regular flat collar. He pulled so hard and the flat collar put all the pressure on his larynx and trachea, so much so that it would make him cough and gag at times. I imagine the martingale would do similar. The prong collar is designed for a uniform squeeze around the whole neck and dramatically reduced the coughing and gagging.

All of this being said that the prong is used self correcting or at the most, a slight flick of the wrist as in used with the reins of a horse with a soft mouth. No hard yanking or pulling.
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jbealer
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Female Join date : 2009-05-29
Location : Denver, CO

PostSubject: Re: Prong Collars   Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:03 pm

what about using a gentle leader?
We got Jack at about a yr old, we started with just the collar and he was so bad, we then tried the gentle leader and it worked till he learned to still pull with it on. we then went to a prong collar and used that for a few years, he either got better at walking, i got faster or he slowed down and i did not have to use it any more, i will say once or twice i did have it come undone on me.
if you go the harness route go with a good brand, i would look into Ruff wear and the urban harness, i love it. there is also an option to clip in the front of the chest that may help him slow down.

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lynnroth
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PostSubject: Re: Prong Collars   Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:12 am

Update on Jethro, we went to get him an EZ harness on the recommendation of his trainer, unfortunately the store was out of his size and we had to order it, waiting for it to come in. In the mean time we got a different harness that I'm not sure I like, at the time it was nice, but after using it yesterday it doesn't stay tightened and loosens with even the slightest pull. This week has been difficult for walks because yesterday he pulled so hard and started his running and darting routine not even ten minutes in, I spent 15 minutes in front of some neighbor's house trying to regain control of Jethro. No treat, command or anything would calm him down or get his focus. Be jerked me around so much that he pulled my hip muscle so badly that I couldn't walk home without limping and crying. After wrestling with him I got the prong collar on (I carried it with a gift to return to our neighbor, but didn't even make it that far) just so I could walk home with my injury. I am so fearful today to walk him, but I know he needs it. I'm currently trying to exhaust him a little with some training and indoor play before attaching his harness and heading out. I don't want to use the prong collar, because it became clear he doesn't like it when he wouldn't let me slip it over him yesterday, but again I was desperate to get home safely.

This isn't my dog, he has never been a bad walker, has never blatantly ignored me, and I am at a loss. I know he is teething, he most another tooth this morning, so I'm hoping that is the cause, but if not I'm hoping a front hook harness will help. The pulling is one thing, I can handle and work on that, but this new thrashing about and jumping trying to escape and darting left and right until the leash ends, running in circles around me, is just too dangerous for both of us. Any tips would be appreciated!
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MiyasMomma
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Location : west Texas

PostSubject: Re: Prong Collars   Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:55 pm

Lynn, I do highly recommend the front clip harness, it is awkward, but when he pulls it will instantly turn him around. 2 threads to read that is on the right hand side of current topic list is "puppy Aggression" and "new husky owner 4 months" where I listed some tips. Before any walks I will say you need to wear him out a tad, I recommended some games to play that will encourage training and exercise. If he is a little tired prior to walking his energy will be less. You need to also teach some focus, most puppies like the noise of a squeaker, get a toy that has one and can fit into your pocket. Work on focus at home first and build up to more distractions, squeak the ball when he looks at you point to your eyes and say watch me, if he looks at you tell him good boy treat. Eventually you will want to be at the point of Jethro watch me and if he looks at you treat. This also can be done with Jethro sit watch me, he sits looks at you treat. This builds focus on to you. At 4 months old a structured walk of 20 minutes is really recommended, so the energy drain must come from play and training. Do you have a fenced in back yard?
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Prong Collars   Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:23 pm

I have a different take on front clip harnesses - tried one with Ami early on and did not like the way it changed his gait. On researching a bit, I found that front clip harnesses are not totally benign, either, they DO change the gait and can cause some shoulder problems. Since I walk the dogs for them to get exercise, I want them to have full, long stride. Which is why I like the prong. Personally - if the prong works for you and your not yanking hard on it, I say go for it. And, like Renee suggest, tire him before the walk - can you take him to the basement or a garage and throw a tennis ball and let him chase and have zoomies.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Prong Collars   Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:41 pm

Amy, I wonder if it has more to do with size? Ami was full grown so the front clip may have changed his gait. But teaching a puppy, I think wont make as much of an impact. I have 0 issues with a properly fitting prong and the owner knowing how to properly use it on a full grown dog, just not a puppy. I have to agree with Jenn on that, it is more harmful for a puppy using a prong vs a front clip harness for a puppy. I know casey had a lot of success when her Loki was a puppy on the front clip, and it did indeed teach him not to pull, I also know a few other here that used the front clip on puppies to train nor to pull with success. As an adult yea I would go with something different, as a puppy and because the cost of the harness is fairly inexpensive, I would try it first on a puppy before trying something else.
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