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    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    Default Training Collars

    I am writing to see what people's experiences are with the choke and prong collars. I've been using martingale collars on Kit. My trainer said that it worked better when she was a small puppy. She recommended the choke collar. When I asked my other dog friends, they said the prong collar might be better.

    I don't want to use anything that will backfire and make Kit aggressive. All of these people do not own LGD. The choke and prong collar seems very forceful and I don't want to hurt her. Is this the wrong attitude to take?

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    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    What is the reason that your trainer is suggesting you need to move to the choke / prong?

    I used choke for years before switching to the martingale. While theoretically choke is supposed to deter the dog from pulling, it doesn't actually do that in practice for some dogs. Some dogs pull anyway; they just learn to pull to the extent they are not completely cutting off their airway. Also, with the choke collar, the dog has to stay on one side of you in order to use it properly. People are usually trained to use the choke with the dog to your left. I found that to be inconvenient for everyday walking.

    With a prong you don't have the same issue with the dog having to stay specifically on one side. But I've never used a prong with my dogs so I don't have any useful to contribute on this.

    Bijou was a puller. She had very little impulse control. What I did with the martingale was when she pulled I would pull the collar high up to her neck, right underneath her throat and walk her on a short leash until she got a hold of herself. Usually that took a minute or two and before she was able to be more civilized. Having said that, the same thing has not worked nearly as well for Ren. But Ren is a bigger dog and significantly stronger being a male - though Ren also has more impulse control overall.

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    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    Update:
    I ordered a StarMark prong collar just to test out because it was made of plastic. Here is what I've learned:
    DO NOT USE A PRONG COLLAR ON AN LGD!!!

    I posted about training collars on a LGD group on facebook. Many swore by the prong collar. I figured I should give it a try. Here are my results on my two dogs:
    Maremma:
    Kit got very mad and threw a tantrum because as she lunged, the collar pinched her neck. She got frustrated and tried to eat the leash.
    I believe that the negative stimuli might trigger aggression for this breed. I've done a lot to socialize Kit so she would not react this way to one use. However, I can really see this going HORRIBLY wrong for other guardian breeds. They are strong-willed and have high pain tolerance. The pinching is not a positive reinforcement.

    Poodle Mix:
    I tried the exact collar on my Goldendoodle and it took two corrections for him to no longer pull. He responded immediately and quite well. By the end of the walk, he actually started correcting himself. It was very different. I don't think it is completely a breed thing because I can definitely see an energetic teenage retriever could be resistant to a prong collar. I think a lot is dependent on their personalities but I don't think any guardian breed should be trained with negative corrections based on this experience.

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    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Was wondering... did Kit go through an adjustment period where she learned gradually what the prong collar can do if she pulled? I can see that if she only found out the consequences suddenly when she lunged, given her personality, it is consistent that she would throw a temper tantrum. On the other hand, a lot of LGDs aren't high spirited like Kit and aren't prone to temper tantrums and thus they might react differently. So I think results can differ greatly due to an individual dog's personalty. As to the aggressive response issue, to use a prong on a known reactive/aggressive dog can make the dog act even worse. But that applies to all breeds, not just LGDs.

    I've never used a prong to walk my dogs. But I did put a prong on Bijou once for obedience class. It didn't work for us because Bijou found the prongs itchy and kept stopping to scratch her neck. Thinking about it... I suppose it did achieve the objective of making the dog not pull... since she would stop every few steps to scratch...

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    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    Actually, that was what someone else said. It takes an adjustment period. I suppose she should wear it around until she gets used to it. I might want to do that for Lucky. He will still pull with the prong on. It depends on the stimuli. If he sees something very fun like a squirel, it is like the prong collar isn't there.

    Kit is a reactive dog but not aggressive. Kit doesn't pull and has a perfect heel. Her problem is that she will jump at things that she can interact with usually people and small dogs. One time a guy came over and started baby talking to her in a high pitched voice and she freaked out and wouldn't stop jumping for five min. She was so happy and excited by his voice. I swear she can read people's eye expression. If they show her interest in any way, she will go bananas. If she was off leash like at the dog park, she would go right up to the people and RIGHT UNDER THEIR HANDs in a very stealthy way. When off leash, if a stranger opens up their arms to give her a hug, she would jump on them. I must have taught her this at some point when she was smaller and now it is painfully difficult to break.
    I kinda miss Sahara, when people showed her attention, she would just walk away or give them stink eye.

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    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    After doing extensive research, I've decided that I'm just going to use the gentle leader. I feel very uncomfortable with prong collars.

    My mini rant:
    I've also posted about Kit on poodle forum and people are terrified of this breed. I get this impression that people think LGDs are very aggressive, wild, and untrainable. I really don't appreciate people lecturing me about a dog breed I know quite well and have owned before. I'm having some lunging issues with Kit because she likes to lick people in the face. I cannot tell you how many times I've seen this behavior in a retriever and no one gives them a hard time.

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    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    I wrote the last post right when you posted. Thank you Jewel! I really appreciate your post. I am so happy to get feedback here. Your advice has been invaluable. Everyone here is a lot more relatable. Regular dog people seem to think I own a wolf or something. ugh!

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    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by snow0160 View Post
    Everyone here is a lot more relatable. Regular dog people seem to think I own a wolf or something. ugh!
    I totally relate! Bijou jumped on EVERYONE within 5 feet of her until she was about 2 yrs old. But I was pretty sure that once she grew to a certain size, she would stop jumping. So I just had to ride through the teenage period.

    But to try to get some control of her jumping I did put her on the GL when she was 6 months old. It did help - because if her head couldn't go up, the body didn't follow. She took to the GL pretty easily.

    Poodle people are a very different group. They literally would not understand why anyone would choose a breed that is wired NOT to listen and thus reputed to be untrainable...

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    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Antonia's Avatar

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    As absurd as it may seem, my Tyro with his severe CHD, LOVES to jump on people. Only problem is, it's not every person. He is very selective and you never know when he will strike! Both Tyro and Ru were trained to accept a Gentle Leader head collar for the simple reason that due to my history of neck surgery and permanent nerve damage in my shoulder/arm, I could never hold them should they decide to go somewhere I didn't want them to go. The head collar is primarily worn when we go to the vet since there is little need for them to be on leash at home. I did actually test out the prong with Tyro. His outweighs me and has little to no impulse control at the age of four. It just didn't really make that much of a difference and I didn't want him having any negative associations in regard to people. He wore his head collar anytime we left my room when he was recovering from his paw surgery. It was the only way I could make sure he didn't go bounding off somewhere and tear loose his stitches! It's worth the extra time to make the head collar a positive experience when you start working with it. Both Tyro and Ru prefer the Halti head collar over the GL. It has an extra strap on the side that keep the nose band from riding up towards the eyes. If you go out with her wearing a headcollar, be prepared for a million questions on why your dog is wearing a muzzle... You will be asked, even when Kit has her mouth wide open and her tongue hanging out. I've found the easiest way to explain the head collar is to compare it to the way a halter is used to control a horse. Most people seem to be able to grasp that concept once they figure out your dog is not a maniacal, biting monster...

  10. #10
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    Thank you guys so much. Anatolia, wow that your post is particularly helpful. I'm so sorry about the nerve damage. I understand what that feels like because I feel off a ladder doing Christmas Decor in 2016 and suffered severe nerve damage on the thigh. My family says I should be thankful to still be alive because I could have fallen off the roof. The nerve damage was quite extensive because it still hurts when I touch the side of my leg. I've never heard of the Halti collar before. It looks much like a horse collar. Does this one also cause a weird line across their nose? My MIL's lab has a crazy lab and her dog pulls against the GL and it has a permanent notch on his nose.


    Update: Great News Guys!! Kit is a little angel with the gentle leader. She does not jump, lunge, or bark at people. The problem is that she doesn't look so happy and keeps rubbing all over me. The rubbing makes people laugh because it looks inappropriate. LOL Every walk includes some crotch rubbing lol. I can't make it stop but this beats the bad behaviors. I wonder if she will remain this good on the gentle leader. Or is she gonna get used to it and start jumping again.

    I also have a question about the GL, it does not feel like I am teaching her not to jump. She knows not to do those behaviors only when this is on. Although I suppose she does not jump on anyone indoors and typically it is just strangers who starts petting her. Once people go "aw" and smile, is when she lunges for the face. I've never been able to walk her without at least a few people stopping by to pet her. She is a people magnet. Maybe we just own a Gentle Leader forever because it fixes all the issues.

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