Transition from prong collar?
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Thread: Transition from prong collar?

  1. #1
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    Transition from prong collar?

    To start, my dog had have a serious pulling problem.

    The buckle collar was just inviting the problem. The martingale collar didn't phase him. The head halter just was too distracting for him. The prong collar ended up being the right tool for him. All of these collars were suggested and tested under the supervision of an experienced dog trainer.

    So I have been using the prong collar during his obedience and home training sessions. His pulling has improved a lot. I'm confident that he could walk on a buckle collar fine, until there is a distraction. (a kid or person, a squirrel, another dog, etc.)

    He definitely knows when a buckle collar is attached, and when a prong collar is attached. Lately I have been randomly switching back and fourth with the leash attached to the buckle collar and the prong.

    I haven't tried the following, but I was told by one of my obedience instructors that you could flip it around, so that the prongs are facing outwards. I've seen those "tabs" that you could hang from it for a needed correction. And I've read one blurb stating to use two leashes.

    Being a training tool, I'm wondering how long I need to be using it? He is about to turn a year old, and I'd think that he would be getting to that transition point soon.

    Those that use or have used the prong collar, how did you go about moving away from it?

    Thanks for any input and advice

    Oh and I'd like to add that he is the first dog I've raised and trained on my own, so every day is a learning experience.

    Please see the questions in bold. Although I appreciate everyone input and opinions on training in general, I'm not interested in hearing if the trainers I've used were creditable. And I'm not interested in hearing a debate on whether or not a prong collar is a good tool. Thanks
    Last edited by doodledude; 11-13-2009 at 07:39 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Transition from prong collar?

    Quote Originally Posted by doodledude View Post
    The prong collar ended up being the right tool for him. All of these collars were suggested and tested under the supervision of an experienced dog trainer.

    So I have been using the prong collar during his obedience and home training sessions. His pulling has improved a lot. I'm confident that he could walk on a buckle collar fine, until there is a distraction. (a kid or person, a squirrel, another dog, etc.)

    He definitely knows when a buckle collar is attached, and when a prong collar is attached. Lately I have been randomly switching back and fourth with the leash attached to the buckle collar and the prong.

    I haven't tried the following, but I was told by one of my obedience instructors that you could flip it around, so that the prongs are facing outwards. I've seen those "tabs" that you could hang from it for a needed correction. And I've read one blurb stating to use two leashes.

    Being a training tool, I'm wondering how long I need to be using it? He is about to turn a year old, and I'd think that he would be getting to that transition point soon.

    Those that use or have used the prong collar, how did you go about moving away from it?

    Thanks for any input and advice

    1st let me preface my comments by pointing out that regardless of the experience any one/group of *trainers* may have there will always be different and sometimes highly contrasting opinion/experiences by another/group of trainers using the same tools. The perspectives, approach, and processes can vary depending on simply who you are talking to.

    With that said I will offer a few opinions on how *I* generally condition with a prong collar although there are no absolutes and depending on the dog and the circumstances I have found solutions in being highly flexible in a customized approach.

    Here goes...

    First of all your experienced trainer should have explained what will determine the right time in which to use/remove the collar and that includes on a permanent basis. I find that a red flag for me if not the case.

    Second. A experienced (good) trainer will/should condition in a way that reduces the likelyhood of the dog learning that the tool is the method rather than learning that the tool is just a tool FOR THE METHOD. With a proper process IMHO using correction based condtioning the dog should be taught in a fair/consistant manner that when you "SAY IT" you will make it happen or for boundary behaviors ....that to exceed the learned boundary the consequence will be at a higher threshold at some point quite quickly.

    Third. Everything is done in stages starting from the least distractions/influences working up to the highest ones while on a regular length leash/prong collar. Your trainer if highly experienced should have explained the value/process of these different stages in PROOFING the dogs behavior/chance of presenting at the higher stages.

    Fourth. It can be highly dangerouis to have the prong flipped out for a host of reasons and regardless it is not a proper process in my opinion to rely on using a DUMMY effect. This would be a reflection of the dog not fully understanding the value of a true correction and would indicate that NAGGING has/is taking place somewhere in the time line which is not good in my opinion.

    With that said all I can offer as to a time period is what I have experienced in using a prong collar on many many dogs over the years. I can be on and off of the prong collar in less than a week at most after having used heavy distractions in the condtioning process. OF course this requires a good number of resources to accomplish in such a short time so I am sure it can take much longer otherwise depending on all of the 100,000,000 's of it DEPENDS.

    good luck
    Last edited by sparkle; 11-12-2009 at 10:02 PM.

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    Re: Transition from prong collar?

    I appreciate the input. It's always nice to hear everyones advice. Until I have years and years of experience, listening to others and seeing the results by applying them is all I can do. I can ensure you that the place I take my dog for obedience is creditable, you'll have to take my word on that

    In regards to the stages, I'm not sure what you mean by this. I'm thinking this might be related to some of the excercises we do. (we being a class of about 15 dogs in a portion of a 10,000 square feet facility) We put the dog in a sit-stay, or a stand-stay, then have someone come up to pet, and to correct if he doesn't stay.

    Another excercise would be heeling in a clockwise circle, and on command they will say "right turn" and we all turn right at the position we're in. Causing everyone to be passing by one another, having to slow down when needed so there are no collisions, and to keep the dogs attention the whole time. Correcting if needed.

    Figure eights, where the two "poles" are people with their dogs sitting.

    And I guess I'm not sure how the prong flipped out can be more dangerous than flipped in. I just tried this out around my arm and couldn't see a way that this could be more dangerous than say a choke collar. (when used correctly)

    Thanks again

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    Re: Transition from prong collar?

    Credibility is of course always a questionable judgement call and considering what you have supplied in terms of data there is not much to go on (IMO) in making that determination.... other than to reflect on the reason why you would be asking the questions that you do. When *I* choose to teach anyone the use of a prong collar I follow a golden rule. IF I cannot take the time to explain the important pitfalls, the importance in proofing exercises, and especially how and when to jetison the use of the prong collar... I simply do not..for to do so will surely come back to bite me and possibly someone else.

    I hope your training class includes the proofing processes in heavy distractions/influences so that you can deal with them more safely effectively
    and that you are just trying to get ahead of the class otherwise I would question the trainers ethics and credibility.

    The problem/difficulty with anyone giving you a solid answer as to the details is unfortunately ALL in the many details to a particular process which I do not feel can be done in this medium..in a safe manner.

    just my opinion however. I am sure others might feel differently and can give you some pointers. As far as your examples of administering a correction in the class environment I cannot make much of a judgement one way or the other in terms of the total picture. When/before a student of mine walks away (using a prong collar) I make a point in teaching them when and how to make corrections and how to determine when the process is finished in the proofing process(generally) . From what I can glean from your questions this was not/has not been done..

    That is something I would never do as using these types of tools as physical aversive corrections can be risky enough even for a skilled trainer.
    I could show you some pictures of scars and stitches.

    I really apologize for coming across as someone who will not offer details, judgemental, and critical but you did ask for opinions and mine is just one in a million.
    Last edited by sparkle; 11-12-2009 at 10:36 PM.

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    Re: Transition from prong collar?

    Like i said, you'll just have to take my word that the place I have been going for the past 7 months every week is creditable. I'd be happy to provide you with any specific information that would help to do so. In my opinion you'd probably have to attend classes there to fully make your judgment. The same thinking could be applied to your replies, where I don't fully know your experience, so it's hard to say if your information is creditable. I just take thing for what they are worth.

    As far a introduction to the prong collar, they spent a lot of one on one time with me teaching how to use it. Showing me the exact instance when I should correct. (In fact they still do that today). I'm almost certain that they told me a time frame on when I should be switching from it. But I've been overloaded with details and exercises, and whatnot. So it just slipped my mind, and it was something I was thinking about this week. I'll definitely be asking them this exact question on next weeks class.

    With all of that aside, I'd like to go back to the main topic of switching from the prong collar. You were saying that you could have your dog off of the prong collar within a week? I'd be curious to how you were able to do this. Such as the type of breed, age, dogs prior experience with obedience, etc.

    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by sparkle View Post
    I really apologize for coming across as someone who will not offer details, judgemental, and critical but you did ask for opinions and mine is just one in a million.
    Just saw this part. No offense taken at all. I love to know how others feel on things that I am passionate about.
    Last edited by doodledude; 11-12-2009 at 10:45 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Transition from prong collar?

    Quote Originally Posted by doodledude View Post

    With all of that aside, I'd like to go back to the main topic of switching from the prong collar. You were saying that you could have your dog off of the prong collar within a week? I'd be curious to how you were able to do this. Such as the type of breed, age, dogs prior experience with obedience, etc.

    Thanks



    Just saw this part. No offense taken at all. I love to know how others feel on things that I am passionate about.
    1. off of the top of my head a majority of breeds...I would say there are but a small percentage of breeds that I have not used a prong collar on to include mixes ...never found a breed that I was not successful in using one on for specific issues to various degrees.

    2. A few cases 6 months.... to 10 years old.


    3. Most often on dogs with no prior obedience training or on ones with prior obedience training that had not worked. From non-agressive dogs to severly aggressive dogs to include highly sensitive/reactive dogs.

    Unfortunately the details in how I do it would be like writing a book.

    I hope that you might re-read my comment/perspective in judgment of a credible/ethical trainer as I think you might have missed the point.

    7 months ? I would hope that your dog has not been on a prong collar that long or even near that length of time.That sounds to me more like management verses training when considering the method verses the tool.


    I too would be interested in reading other opinions as to your question/s
    Last edited by sparkle; 11-12-2009 at 11:15 PM.

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    Re: Transition from prong collar?

    I would never have recommended using a prong collar on a puppy. I had never seen or heard of a prong collar until 7 yrs ago. They are not sold in Australia to my knowledge & anyone that does have one bought them from overseas on the internet.

    For uncontrollable dogs at my obedience club we use head collars (not so much now) & harnesses that attach at the front. They have really helped anyone with a strong puller.

    So as to your question, I don't know, as I have never used a prong collar.
    Last edited by DogsforMe; 11-13-2009 at 02:36 AM.
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    Re: Transition from prong collar?

    Quote Originally Posted by DogsforMe View Post
    I would never have recommended using a prong collar on a puppy. I had never seen or heard of a prong collar until 7 yrs ago. They are not sold in Australia to my knowledge & anyone that does have one bought them from overseas on the internet.

    For uncontrollable dogs at my obedience club we use head collars (not so much now) & harnesses that attach at the front. They have really helped anyone with a strong puller.

    So as to your question, I don't know, as I have never used a prong collar.
    I appreciate your input, but I'm not looking for information regarding if a prong collar should be used, or if people think they are a good tool.

    I'm more interested in the techniques people used to switch away from the prong collar.

    Quote Originally Posted by sparkle View Post
    1. off of the top of my head a majority of breeds...I would say there are but a small percentage of breeds that I have not used a prong collar on to include mixes ...never found a breed that I was not successful in using one on for specific issues to various degrees.

    2. A few cases 6 months.... to 10 years old.


    3. Most often on dogs with no prior obedience training or on ones with prior obedience training that had not worked. From non-agressive dogs to severly aggressive dogs to include highly sensitive/reactive dogs.

    Unfortunately the details in how I do it would be like writing a book.

    I hope that you might re-read my comment/perspective in judgment of a credible/ethical trainer as I think you might have missed the point.

    7 months ? I would hope that your dog has not been on a prong collar that long or even near that length of time.That sounds to me more like management verses training when considering the method verses the tool.


    I too would be interested in reading other opinions as to your question/s
    It sounds like from your experience, there really is no set amount of time, age, etc.
    Last edited by doodledude; 11-13-2009 at 07:36 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Transition from prong collar?

    Quote Originally Posted by doodledude View Post


    It sounds like from your experience, there really is no set amount of time, age, etc.
    Like I said ...*I* (many people would not) have used a prong collar a few times on a 6 month old dog for specific reasons. If I had a gun pointed at my head and had to give a age limit I would go with 8 months as a min. Again it all depends on a host of factors to which skill set of the handler being the most critical factor for success/failure.

    As far as a set amount of time in usage I would say 2 weeks MAX depending on the issue/s and generally much less. Depends on the issue, the dog, the number and quality of the proofing sessions, and the skill set of the handler. (other factors also). So many variables.

    The important point I am trying to make is a dog should not need but a few attempts at reaching a correction otherwise it becomes nagging and in my opinion abusive. 2 weeks max should in most cases provide ample opportunity to proof the dogs understanding as to the rules in both a specific and general way for a host of behaviors.

    If we are talking about ONLY a issue of pulling on leash I would say a max of 3 DAYS at about 3 sessions per day.

    I make it very clear to anyone ( in a very firm warning) that I provide instruction for .....that I should not see or hear about them with a prong collar on their dog at some later point. I will tell my clients things like ....."I have lots of eyes in my community that are watching including the many vets that will tell me if they see you come in with a prong collar on your dog and then I will disown you and send the thought police after you" I have often thought of requiring the return of the collar after a short period of time but then we all know that that approach will not work. I also will NEVER sell or give a prong collar to anyone unless the instruction goes with it. I often get calls from people or past clients (that have recieved no extensive instruction) that ask if they can "get one of those collars" .


    As far as time on a prong collar....

    To need the use of a prong collar (or dummy factors) for more than a very short period of time in my opinion is indicative of improper usage and is a abuse of the tool/method in my personnal opinion.

    The use of aversive physical corrections in my opinion are not meant to linger on over a period of time. I would hope that your trainer has explained the definition of a correction to you in terms of the usage of the prong collar or any other tool used for the (method) delivery/administration of a correction.

    good luck!


    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by sparkle; 11-13-2009 at 09:18 AM.

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    Re: Transition from prong collar?

    I connect a Prong and a Marti collar to lead at same time as they both have the exact same closures. When correcting a dog the Marti/prong collars each take up half the correction, this helps with soft dogs. With hard headed dog at first I may disconnect the Marti and just use Prong until dog calms down and can be worked with both connected.

    Next step as training advances is to disconnect the Prong but not take it off neck as it can be reconnected if needed and still is on neck as a reminder to dog while you are correcting with just the Marti

    Last step is just Marti collar work with Prong removed.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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    Re: Transition from prong collar?

    Quote Originally Posted by doodledude View Post
    I appreciate your input, but I'm not looking for information regarding if a prong collar should be used, or if people think they are a good tool.

    I'm more interested in the techniques people used to switch away from the prong collar.
    I'm going to address a couple of issues here. It is always most important to understand why you were using this training tool in the first place

    Let's say the dog was pulling on the walk, i.e., loose-leash walking. This is a socialization issue and a lot depends on just how much pulling you will tolerate. Would you be satisfied if your dog walked with a loose-leash for five minutes and then pulled once? Ten minutes? Do you want your dog to walk with you for an hour with a loose-leash? Obviously, it is going to take longer to achieve the longer goals.

    Will you tolerate a slight tightening and then relaxing of the leash but never tolerate a hard pull? Or do you want no tightening at all? Again, different goals.

    Some people end up always using the pinch collar as a walking collar. I don't agree with this because IME any dog can be trained away from a pinch collar, but that does work for a lot of people so I won't say not to do it.

    One thing I would insist on in that case, though, is that the pinch collar be removed after the walk and not used as a permanent collar.

    On the other hand, maybe you weren't so concerned about socialization as much as obedience, for example, you were training your dog to learn the competition heel position. Let's say you have a large-breed, heavy-necked dog and initially had used a heavier pinch collar to help teach the heel. Your dog has progressed quite a bit - has actually done some off-lead work in training, for example - and now you want to get ready for competition. Again, this is a different goal and we must actively eliminate the pinch collar completely because many venues don't allow it. You would first go to using a very light pinch collar for a while and then on to using only an approved collar.


    Quote Originally Posted by doodledude View Post
    It sounds like from your experience, there really is no set amount of time, age, etc.
    That is true. However, let me say that it is difficult for an inexperienced handler to determine when a dog is ready to move on. An experienced trainer will usually be able to tell by observing how the dog-handler team is behaving but this is obviously difficult for a new handler.

    Try the dog in different situations. First, try keeping the pinch collar on but have the lead attached to the regular collar, being ready to attach it to the pinch collar if things seem to be getting out of control. Then try completely removing the pinch collar but carry it with you if you need to put it back on. Etc.

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