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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

So I was posting on a different dog forum for the past six months, and I learned a lot on it, like I do here. I guess I didn't read all the rules as closely as the mediators expected me to, because they banned me from the site when I mentioned the use of a training collar, similar to the ones used in dog shows or on the Dog Whisperer. I'm taking an obedience course with my 8 month old Boxer and was supplied with a fitted training collar for the course. Other than the collar, the course teaches positive enforcement and Oscar loves going. Also his behavior has improved immensely, and being that he's a strong Boxer, it's good to have him not pulling me up the street (no other methods had worked to curb this until the class and the collar).

So I guess I'm confused. On the other site I was warned first, then banned altogether once I inquired as to why there was a problem with this training method (since you see it in professional dog shows and by famous dog trainers). The only feedback they gave me was that I was "abusing" the site's "hospitality." :(

So.

Is there some kind of stigma against these collars, that I don't know about? It's just a simple nylon collar fitted to stay high up on his neck, and we were taught the correct way of putting them on and how to make short, light corrections to get the desired behavior from your dog. Is there something so bad about these collars? I've always been lead to believe that these are a tried and true training item, and so now I'm starting to get a complex, like I'm some terrible person. My dog is so happy and we've formed such a great bond since beginning these classes, can this collar really be so horrible?? I would think that a prong collar would be considered worse....

:confused:
 

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Whatever happens at other forums stays at the other forum. There's no point in discussing the rules of another forum when they are not relevant to this forum. But I will say it is not uncommon for positive reinforcement type forums to discuss positive reinforcement only, and prohibit discussions of physical aversion. Why? Physical aversions are not suitable for novice dog trainers, and largely unnecessary. This is how they are "horrible". They also lend themselves too easily to emotional arguments, and that's why you feel a complex. This says nothing about your training, however.

Lastly, no one collar is worse than another, they are just tools, and each has a proper use and room in a trainer's tool bag - if only to add weight.
 

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I'm sure you've already heard that every collar out there can be mis-used and it makes no difference what kind it is. Ideally, the collar should only be there for safety purposes...not training. Sadly, the statistics on neck injuries are very high. An English study found that over 60% of all dogs examined had either trachea or neck problems. The most common training tool in England is the choke collar.
From a training viewpoint the collar (no matter which one) is only used until you have completed the training and then it just becomes a safety line.
The prong collar is actually better in that it distributes the pressure evenly and very, very little force is required (typically, a correction is applied with only one or 2 fingers which can also be said for the Gentle Leader).
 

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well.... I have to say I'm going back to the prong collar after no success with the martingale. She pulls as hard as if she was wearing her normal collar and trying to bribe her with food just didn't work for the walking, she had no interest in even her raw meat while trying to walk but for her other basic obedience commands treats worked well. She pulled me so hard the last training session even my butt muscles where sore and I couldn't even pay attention to the trainer when she wanted to see the other dogs! I mean really! This gal has seen dogs and played with dogs before and yet everytime we see any she goes wild! I don't know what to do, continue with a class setting even though she's always distracted or get another trainer for one on one? Don't feel bad about the collar you use, ANY collar can be abuse if used improper
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh my gosh! :confused: Sorry, didnt realize I'm breaking so many rules!!! Gosh. I'm only here to learn, and the question is only there for responses that will either help me learn or help me feel better about what I'm doing. Without information and answers, nobody can learn the right way to do anything.

I am only noting that the practice used in my training class has appeared to me to be very widely accepted, and have been confused by the adverse reaction I've received by others when asking for information about it.
 

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If you have done you research, tried a few different methods, found one you like, and are under the guidance of a trainer that you feel comfortable with....then you have no reason to have a complex :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
If you have done you research, tried a few different methods, found one you like, and are under the guidance of a trainer that you feel comfortable with....then you have no reason to have a complex :)
Thanks pugmom. I guess that's all I wanted to hear. Tough crowd tonight, I guess. I'm feeling a little browbeaten...lol :p

Are there others who have used training collars successfully? I'd like to hear more positive things about them, if I can.

Doing a search online only turns up the most popular links, most of which condemn the use of "choke collars" as they call them, deeming them to be cruel and unacceptable. However after much work with my dog, no other collar has helped Oscar and I make any progress on his walking. I feel if I were to use just a regular collar without correction, Oscar would pull me so much that eventually he'd be strong enough to pull away from me and endanger himself.

I don't understand? There is nothing wrong with your post or your training collar
I was responding to Curbside Prophet's response.
 

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I didn't see any brow beating. Whatever collar you use is fine to give you the temporary control while you're doing the training. The training consists of showing the dog EXACTLY where you want him to walk (by your side, slightly ahead, slightly behind, whatever). You reinforce that position with treats and praise. It's not the collar that does the training.
 

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I don't think Curbside was saying that you'd broken any rules. There are no rules against discussion of any training theories here -- positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, dominance theory -- as long as it stays civilised with no mud-slinging or personal attacks. You are perfectly welcome to talk about whatever tool you wish to use.

For the most part, it's not the tool itself that people have a problem with... it's the people who use the tool without knowing how to. There is nothing inherently immoral about getting an aversive tool (like a choke, or a prong) and going to a class to learn how to use it appropriately from a professional. I would say that it's not necessary to use those tools in some situations, and personally I can't think of a scenario in which I would use a choke or a prong...but unnecessary doesn't always equate to wrong. It's a personal choice. As long as you're not just going out to buy a choke from the pet store and then jerking your dog around every time he does something you don't like, there's no reason for you to be criticised.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I didn't see any brow beating. Whatever collar you use is fine to give you the temporary control while you're doing the training. The training consists of showing the dog EXACTLY where you want him to walk (by your side, slightly ahead, slightly behind, whatever). You reinforce that position with treats and praise. It's not the collar that does the training.
Well I do believe it is exactly the collar that does the training Or, more accurately, it's my use of the collar along with my voice and positive reinforcement. If I brought treats on my walk with Oscar I'd have to give him so many that he'd be overweight in a month, and I consider letting your dog get overweight extremely harmful and unnecessary.

I suppose most of us can agree that there is no one way to train a dog, some need little training, and some really need absolute consistency and leadership. I consider my dog in the latter category...if you don't absolutely MEAN heel, then he's 6 feet ahead at the end of the collar, pulling away full force like a horse on a carriage. I had gotten to my wits end and found walking Oscar an absolute nightmare. I tried regular collars, harnesses, martingales, gentle leaders, if a dog could laugh he'd have been laughing at me the whole time. But when I put on that training collar, it's like his thinking cap...he becomes serious and attentive, his tail and head are up like a proud show dog, and his pulling is minimal.

Which is why I felt so confused the first time I heard someone call the tool cruel.

Thanks for letting me babble!

I don't think Curbside was saying that you'd broken any rules. There are no rules against discussion of any training theories here -- positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, dominance theory -- as long as it stays civilised with no mud-slinging or personal attacks. You are perfectly welcome to talk about whatever tool you wish to use.

For the most part, it's not the tool itself that people have a problem with... it's the people who use the tool without knowing how to. There is nothing inherently immoral about getting an aversive tool (like a choke, or a prong) and going to a class to learn how to use it appropriately from a professional. I would say that it's not necessary to use those tools in some situations, and personally I can't think of a scenario in which I would use a choke or a prong...but unnecessary doesn't always equate to wrong. It's a personal choice. As long as you're not just going out to buy a choke from the pet store and then jerking your dog around every time he does something you don't like, there's no reason for you to be criticised.
Good, I'm glad about that...I guess I was a little gunshy posting this, hoping to open up some discussion about it here and get opinions. I'm glad this forum is open to giving information about all subjects rather than banning them.

I agree with you that there are people who misuse the tool. Even some people in the obedience class would have to be corrected each class because they would use the collar wrong or put it on backwards. However, I feel if there was more constructive information hanging around about these tools then more people would be using them correctly, no? And the prong collar is an excellent example of this: until someone in this thread mentioned the positive aspects of the prong collar I thought that it was taboo, after all the internet is flooded with negative opinions on them.
 

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Well I do believe it is exactly the collar that does the training Or, more accurately, it's my use of the collar along with my voice and positive reinforcement. If I brought treats on my walk with Oscar I'd have to give him so many that he'd be overweight in a month, and I consider letting your dog get overweight extremely harmful and unnecessary.
Teaching the dog to walk near you is called proximity training. You're the center point of that proximity. When the dog rushes out to the end of a 6' lead and gets stopped there is no reference point/no training marker/no visual cue of where he should be. As far as the dog is concerned the handler iwas left in the last county and the lead could be 10' long or 30' long...he still won't know where to walk. The reference point/focal point for the dog must be you.
Two ways to teach it....either stop the dog after moving only one or two feet ahead or treat/reward the dog for staying within an arms length of your body or use a combination of both.
Treats are not bribes to stay in position. The treats are used to lure/show him where he should be and then randomly given when he starts to understand/stays at our side without pulling. Training treats are very small...half a fingernail sized tidbit...only a few calories.
 

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ok

op this isn't me browbeating or trying to insult you or put you down, though it may read with that inflection.

in my opinion the most common way people misuse ANY training collar is that they expect the collar to do the training for them and it becomes a sort of crutch.

any training collar, from prong to head collar to choke etc, is *management* tool. to manage the behavior until training can be achieved. the goal is to be able to walk the dog without the training collar.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
ok

op this isn't me browbeating or trying to insult you or put you down, though it may read with that inflection.

in my opinion the most common way people misuse ANY training collar is that they expect the collar to do the training for them and it becomes a sort of crutch.

any training collar, from prong to head collar to choke etc, is *management* tool. to manage the behavior until training can be achieved. the goal is to be able to walk the dog without the training collar.
I absolutely agree with you and I don't believe I have ever made any references to expecting the collar to do the work for me. As I have mentioned a few times I am taking weekly obedience courses which train ME as the owner on how to train my dog, using a combination of training collar correction and positive enforcement.

And I also agree that the collar should be considered a temporary tool. The main goal of the intermediate class I just started is to reduce the dependence on the collar and leash altogether.

Teaching the dog to walk near you is called proximity training. You're the center point of that proximity. When the dog rushes out to the end of a 6' lead and gets stopped there is no reference point/no training marker/no visual cue of where he should be. As far as the dog is concerned the handler iwas left in the last county and the lead could be 10' long or 30' long...he still won't know where to walk. The reference point/focal point for the dog must be you.
Two ways to teach it....either stop the dog after moving only one or two feet ahead or treat/reward the dog for staying within an arms length of your body or use a combination of both.
Treats are not bribes to stay in position. The treats are used to lure/show him where he should be and then randomly given when he starts to understand/stays at our side without pulling. Training treats are very small...half a fingernail sized tidbit...only a few calories.
That sounds like a fantastic approach, TooneyDogs...in fact it was my primary method for 5 months with my dog. And after 5 months of shoulder pain, many bags of treats and mile long walks that took almost two hours to complete, I finally decided to take an obedience course, and that's what got me to where I am now. :cool:
 

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"If I brought treats on my walk with Oscar I'd have to give him so many that he'd be overweight in a month, and I consider letting your dog get overweight extremely harmful and unnecessary."

If your dog becomes over weight from training treats, you're doing something wrong. My seven dogs (including a Boxer and a Boxer mix) get all sorts of treats every day and yet they remain on the lighter side of ideal in great shape. My dogs work for their food, play, praise, etc. and the results are fantastic.

If your experience with marker training for loose leash walking had you going on mile long walks that took two hours to complete, I would have suggested reducing the criteria drastically and not going a mile or taking two hours. You have to set your dog up for success. Start with short, fun sessions in your home, progress to your yard, then up and down your own street, then work gradually around the block. I would suggest working your dog in a flat buckle collar, or a Sense-ation type harness if the pulling has been really reinforced. Ideally you want to do some of the work off leash. It won't be long before you can go further, take your dog to new places to help generalize the behavior, and add more distractions, duration, etc. Mark the behaviors you want (loose leash walking, attention, etc.) Keep the reinforcement high. Pulling = no forward motion. That's all very basic and truly doesn't need to get any more high tech than that.
 

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reevz

my comment wasn't in direct relation to you. I suppose I should have alluded to it better but the general thrust of what I was saying was that misuse happens. you may have gotten ostracized(sp?) because many misuse these tools and it makes people who are concerned about such things a little suspicious.
 

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reevz
1. Get a tougher skin.
2. Have the courage of your convictions. It sounds to me like you're trying to do a proper job with your dog. Think about it, you stated your dog is much better and you are with a trainer that uses positive motivation programs. Sounds to me you and dog are going to be fine.

As probably the top user of prong collars on DF, I just want to welcome you to your new home away from home. You are going to learn and even have some fun
 

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Discussion Starter #19
reevz
1. Get a tougher skin.
2. Have the courage of your convictions. It sounds to me like you're trying to do a proper job with your dog. Think about it, you stated your dog is much better and you are with a trainer that uses positive motivation programs. Sounds to me you and dog are going to be fine.

As probably the top user of prong collars on DF, I just want to welcome you to your new home away from home. You are going to learn and even have some fun
Thank you, wvasko. I definitely need a tougher skin, when it comes to this subject. This is my first dog and I am very unsure, reading so much conflicting information out there! Just want to do the right thing, and these pups don't come with user manuals, nor can they tell you when you're doing something right or wrong!!

Also thanks for the warm welcome! I look forward to learning a lot from the informative and helpful members of this site.
 
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