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Discussion Starter #1
Found a very well written and easy to follow basics of using a prong collar:

http://www.fsas.ca/DogInfo/Training/Prong_Collar_Use.htm

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Does your dawg do any of the following ….. Drags you around. Walks on its hind legs choking on a strap or slip collar while it goes. Continually lunges. Refuses to follow unless you drag the animal on their butt. Then consider the prong/pinch collar.

The pinch/prong collar is NOT for every dog and/ or every owner/trainer. Use the minimum collar to get the response you want from your dog. Be it bungee, cord, slip, strap or prong. You should be able to get the response you want from your dog if you are using the right tools and techniques. You should be able to control and work with your dog without constantly 'reminding' him what to do... (nag nag nag nag, jerk jerk jerk pull) Nagging a dog on any collar does nothing to train your dog.

If you are nagging then the dog is IGNORING your corrections! All you are doing is effectively training the dog to ignore you. (this goes hand-in-hand with nagging 'sit-sit-sit-sit-SIT!') We all remember what nagging does to us. Most of us tune out, ignore or fight back against nagging. Dogs are much the same in this regard.

The prong collar is made of interlocking links, each with two blunt prongs that pinch the dog's skin when the collar is tightened. Unlike the chain slip collar, it puts even pressure around the neck by pinching the skin in a band about a half inch wide. No pressure is put directly on the trachea with the prong collar. The prong collar may look intimidating or as if it could be a favourite of Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition. It isn’t. In point of fact it is less likely to cause injury to the animal than a slip/choke or strap collar. However the prong collar is different and requires that you learn a slightly different approach to handling your dog.

There a two basic types of prong collars. The standard prong collar and the quick release. I don’t recommend the quick release type for large, strong, or intractable dogs as the typical quick release point is a very weak point in these collars. As well don’t choose a prong collar that does not have a swivel attachment ring. Variations of these two do exist.

In selecting a prong collar choose the correct collar for your dog. Collars with “large” prongs should be used on large dogs (over 70 pounds), have long hair, or have thick skin. “Micro” collars are available for small high intensity dogs, Jack Russell Terriers and Toy Poodles immediately come to mind.

The fit of the collar is of primary importance. The length/diameter of the prong collar is adjustable, remove links to shorten the collar and add links to increase the length of the collar. Fit should be such that you can slip one adult finger width under the prong. It should be snug, but not tight, midpoint high on the neck.

NEVER EVER slide a prong collar over your dogs head. One eyed or blind dogs lose a lot in their quality of life. I caution letting any dog run free wearing a prong (or slip collar) unless under close supervision. While the prong collar is less likely to choke your dog if it hangs up on obstacles; ie brush, sticks, fencing; the action of the prong collar will deter your dog from pulling itself free. I have seen a dog in a slip collar jump through brush , a branch got stuck in the ring effectively hanging the dog.

Don’t use the prong collar with a strap collar in place, it can easily interfere with the proper function of the prong collar. Place the prong collar around the dogs neck, switch the lead from the strap collar to the prong collar, remove the strap collar and put the strap collar in your pocket or pack. If you wish a safety in case of the prong collar failing, thread a nylon slip collar through the links of the prong collar and attach it to the same lead.

A note on commands. Heel is the only command to use more than once and don’t over do that one either. Give the heel command “Dimwit Heel” for each change of direction. Give commands in a clear, firm, deep voice. Give commands only once. Anything else is just noise. You know Charlie Brown and the teacher? Wawwa Wawwa Wawwa Blah Blah Bah Blah. That is what you will sound like to your dog and they will tune you out very quickly.
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Heeling

The secret to the prong collars use in heeling is slack. At a heel there should be six inches of slack in your lead. As you walk lightly twitch the lead with your left hand. This lets the dog feel the collar is there but adds no pressure. If your dog falls off or moves ahead draw your hand back and up smoothly and released quickly. Don’t hold pressure. Give the command as the pressure is increased. “Dimwit Heel”. Don’t use a happy voice. Voice should be firm and deeper. Heel is the only command that should ever be repeated more than once.

A soft motion should be all that’s needed. If it doesn’t elicit the response you want snap the lead quickly, sharply, and firmly. Don’t be surprised if your dog yips. This is surprise at being corrected. They likely have never really felt it before. As soon as your dog responds correctly praise it. “Good Heel Dimwit.” Use a happy voice. Higher pitched.

Be consistent with your dog. Don’t let your dog walk where it wants then snap it to heel without giving the dog the command “Dimwit Heel” and the opportunity to respond. Do expect immediate response to the command however. Don’t expect your dog to “heel” (?) a yard behind you or in front of you at one point, then expect the animal to know it’s supposed to heel beside you the next. Heeling should be with the dogs shoulder not past your knee. Consistency is key.

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Lunging

On a prong collar if you hold the six inches of slack in your lead you shouldn’t have to worry about your dog ever lunging. Your dog hits the end of that six inches of slack and is immediately self correcting itself. (Yes it can startle the heck out of your dog and may be even a bit painful the first time or two. Lunging will quickly become a thing of the past) Twitch the lead as it does so and say NO. Firm voice growling voice. And “Dimwit Heel”. If at all possible immediately change your direction. You must get your dog under control immediately. Such behaviour is NOT to be tolerated.

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Sit

Snug up the slack on the lead as you come to a stop from heel. Tap your left foot firmly on the ground (soft stomp?) as you come to a stop. “Dimwit Sit.” Lift the lead up and slightly back. This causes the dog to lift its head and the back end to lower.

If your dog doesn’t sit immediately, keep light pressure on the lead with your right hand. Run your hand over the dogs back pushing down tightly over the haunches and then cupping the tail. If this doesn’t cause your dog to sit, apply pressure to the hind quarters with your left hand while lifting the lead up and back with your right hand. Give the command only once. Put the dog in the position you want. Once there praise the dog. “Good boy Dimwit.” Lots of praise pets and pats. All praise should be in a happy-happy voice.
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Down

Achieving a down with a prong collar is the easiest of all whether your dog is in a sitting or standing position. Remove the slack from the lead. Give the command “Dimwit Down” and pull down on the lead sharply and firmly. Maintain the pressure in this instance. Resisting? Place your hand or foot on the lead, about a foot from the collar, and push down with your hand or foot while pulling up on the lead. Hold the pressure down until your dog will stay when you release the pressure with your hand or foot. Again lots of praise and pats for doing what you want. Never reward poor behaviour or responses.

If you have to physically lay on your dog to get it down do so. This shouldn’t be necessary with a prong collar. At least I’ve never seen it to be. Do NOT let the dog up until you decide/choose to and give it the release word or another command. If you have to force it down, don’t let the dog up while it is struggling. Doing so will only reinforce that if it fights it can get its’ way.

The key to all dog training. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Consistency. Consistency. Consistency.

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Discussion Starter #2
Theres one VERY important thing to remember that wasn't mentioned:

On a prong collar, there are 2 rings. One will be able to spin around and the other is a part of the chain (as you can see in the picture on the web site). The problem is that most people hook the led to only the swivel ring. This defeats the purpose of the prong collar (which is correct/release and the consistent pressure around the neck). The collar is now working as a choke chain and creating a time delay on the correction.

When a correction is needed, there may be times where your dog will yelp. People will most often believe that your are hurting the dog, and that is not the case. This is the dogs way of disagreeing with the situation.

You must also remember to not correct your dog feeling frustration or anger. The dog will sense your energy. You must remain calm and assertive when you correct. You don't want the dog to associate the collar with something negative. My dog goes crazy when i rattle the prong collar as he's associated it with something good (like they do with the leash and the car). He knows that when the collar comes out, we're going for a walk or going to work.

In order for this collar to work, the handler (you) has to have the right frame of mind and energy when you use it. The biggest problem I see is that the people think that this collar is going to really hurt the dog. I see that just by the comments I get from most people I meet. The all get that "ooh, thats going to hurt the poor dog" look on their face. For starters, just remember that these prongs won't penetrate human skin, so it DEFINITELY won't penetrate the dogs neck.

The other problem I see is people not correcting hard enough. There will be a time (especially in the early stages of training) that a simple little tug wont work. the main purpose of this collar is to set up the leader/follower relationship with your dog. A hard correction really sends the message to the dog that he just did something that I didn't want him to do. Remember that this collar simulates a mothers bite. Thats how a dog is corrected in the wild by his mother/pack leader. A little tug only serves the purpose of redirecting your dogs focus and getting his attention.

You also need to remember that after you correct the dog, that you give him a reason as to why. I use the terms: heel, leave it, I see that _____. Over time, he will recognize those words (much like sit, stay, down) and will know that those terms mean.

From personal experience, my dog is 100 times better than when I got him. Using the prong collar allowed me to take over the pack leader role and DK is much happier because of it. Its unfortunate that people just look at the collar and think its a torture device and think of me as a horrible and cruel dog owner. If used properly, this took is great. I'm always getting comments on how well behaved and how well trained he is.

Its quite the sight to see when I walk my dog and some local dogs at the park. I have 5 "dangerous looking dogs" (my Pit, doberman, 2 rottweilers, and a king Sheppard) and all 5 are walking calmly behind me (as they are all trained with a prong collar as well).
 

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Some additional opinion and suggestions.

1. prong collars can be made of plastic or of metal links.
2. prong collars come in various styles and qualities to include the addition of attaching plastic or rubber tips for less aversive value for sensitive dogs or dogs with little or no coat..
3. cheaply made/machined prong collars have flat sharp cut off edges verses smooth rounded tips on the high quality machined collars.
4. prong collars that are cheaply machined with flat cut off tips in fact can and quite often do pierce or cut into a dogs neck when too much force is exerted.
5. prong collars have a stop link that prevents complete constriction and sizing the collar collar correctly will have a bearing on where the plate sits in the loop connector.
6. thier can be two different leash connection rings one of which is the primary and the other the secondary which reduces the amount of aversive stimuli delivered under a equal amount of force.
7. If not used along with a proper conditioning process dogs can and often do become collar smart and only adjust behavior while the collar is on.
8. It should only require a few corrections to modify a particular behavior least the use of the tool and method is considered nagging and can be considered abusive if used for a prolonged period or as a management tool verses a training tool..
9. this collar should only be needed for a few weeks at most IF USED CORRECTLY to condition/eliminate (CORRECT) undesired behavior.
10. It is important, most fare in many situations, and sometimes critical to associate words before administering a correction with this collar so that the dog can learn to make a choice in not recieving the correction. For example commands like wait, leave it, sit,down,off,ect. This helps in establishing off collar/leash control.
11. some behaviors should not require a warning or verble for the infraction such as pulling on leash.
12. A dog on a prong collar should never be allowed to pull against the collar especially with steady tension or the dog can develop what is termed as "dead neck" diminishing the effectiveness of the collar to deliver a stimuli at or above the threshold to change a targeted behavior.
13. A smaller prong collar link/size can be used on a larger dog to deliver more aversive stimuli as in more prongs per inch and more aversive due to smaller tip size. Also using a smaller prong size can benefit in acquiring a snug fit that may not be possible with the larger prong size. In some cases a larger prong size can be used to reduce the amount of aversive stimuli on a smaller dog althought the fit may become a problem.
 

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Hmmmmmm! As a avid prong collar user, I sense a possible debate/war coming.

Herm Sprenger collars are very well made.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hmmmmmm! As a avid prong collar user, I sense a possible debate/war coming.
Nothing wrong with POSITIVE debating. :cool:

thanks for adding those points sparkle. You're spot on about the quality of these collars playing a big factor. A lot of these big box pet stores sell crap and they are very cheaply made.

Proper fitting is also key. You don't want it to dangle on the dogs neck, but you should be able to fit you finger between a prong and your dogs neck.
 

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I've used prong, choke and other collars and harnesses, Honestly, I don't recommend prongs or collars for inexperienced people just due to the possibility for mishandling the dog and causing throat damage. As far as teaching a reliable heel or loose leash walk, I like to use a Sensible halter which redirects the pull to take the reward out of it.
 

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This is sort of interesting..

The best heel I ever saw on a dog (position, attentiveness etc.) was taught with no collar or leash at all (golden retriever). <shrug>

The best behaved dog I ever had (GSD) never wore a collar or a leash, no matter where we went (stores, city streets, hiking in the woods, vet visits and working cattle). She went on in later years to be a hearing dog and the handlers were in their late 70's and she never wore a collar at all for them either.

That is my standard goal with every dog... a collar used for ID and nothing else.
 

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Two quick points....The prong collar delivers 250 pounds of pressure per inch with just a 4 pound jerk of the lead. That's an incredible amount of force (and why the collar works so well) so, 'finger checks', not hard jerks, are more than sufficient correction.

Because the collar delivers such force, there is no reason to place it high on the neck where it rests on the nerve bundles (ganglia) in that area.
 

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Two quick points....The prong collar delivers 250 pounds of pressure per inch with just a 4 pound jerk of the lead. That's an incredible amount of force (and why the collar works so well) so, 'finger checks', not hard jerks, are more than sufficient correction.

Because the collar delivers such force, there is no reason to place it high on the neck where it rests on the nerve bundles (ganglia) in that area.
Tooney
Very good point I don't understand the high neck placement (said this before) of collar. I also prefer a loose rather than tight collar. Not preaching or advising or even saying it's correct, just saying it's my collar use.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've used prong, choke and other collars and harnesses, Honestly, I don't recommend prongs or collars for inexperienced people just due to the possibility for mishandling the dog and causing throat damage. As far as teaching a reliable heel or loose leash walk, I like to use a Sensible halter which redirects the pull to take the reward out of it.
The same can be said for any training collar, really. If used improperly, the can cause harm to the dog.

One thing is for certain though, prong collars are much safer than a traditional choke chain.

1) Theres no chance you can put a prong collar on backwards. A choke chain on backwards can cause severe pain and will choke your dog.

2) A prong collar allows for even pressure around the entire surface of the dogs neck. There is no pinch point like there is on a choke chain.

3) There is no time delay with a prong collar (granted that both rings are hooked with the lead). Its a simple correction then a release.

4) Choke chains are well known to cause damage to the dogs neck, like trachea and soft tissue damage.

Not every dog is going to require the use of these collars. I got the min-pin next door to walk loose leash and behind me but simply giving him a small tug backwards and a "heel" command. It took less than a minute to correct the dogs walking behavior.

My suggestion is to actually find a trainer that is well known and respected. they will be able to teach you. The trainer I use, specializes in using the prong collars. He taught me the proper technique and when/how to give proper corrections to my dog. After our training, my dog is much happier (I can see it in his face) and is very well behaved.

Like i said, these collars aren't for everyone. What I don't like is that people dismiss these collars just based on the looks. EVERY training tool, if not used properly, will cause harm to your dog.
 

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I like the fitting instructions, but find the instructions for "sit" and "down" using force to be outdated. So far, I've been able to teach every dog I've trained those two basic commands without even touching the dog at all. Not a fan of using force when you don't have to... But that's just me.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Tooney
Very good point I don't understand the high neck placement (said this before) of collar. I also prefer a loose rather than tight collar. Not preaching or advising or even saying it's correct, just saying it's my collar use.
I prefer a mid-neck placement. As for the fitting, its just tight enough to not slide down him neck, but loose enough to put my finger under a prong. Its like its just sitting on his neck.

I like the fitting instructions, but find the instructions for "sit" and "down" using force to be outdated. So far, I've been able to teach every dog I've trained those two basic commands without even touching the dog at all. Not a fan of using force when you don't have to... But that's just me.

Define "force". That word is a bit drastic for actually teaching these commands. I would use the word "slight pressure". To get the dog to sit, put "slight pressure" upwards. It will force the dog to lower his back end. To get the dog to down, you simply drop the lead and place it under your foot. Then simply put some "slight pressure" by pulling the leash upward until the dog lies down. There no extreme tugging or force going on. I feel that its only slight pressure put on in the direction you want the dog to go.
 

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This is how the Sled Dogs train their servant.

Each Collar goes with a set of keys... and depending on vehicle, the sled dogs use the appropriate collar.

The prong is for the Servant when he is driving the Corvette...
 

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This is how the Sled Dogs train their servant.

Each Collar goes with a set of keys... and depending on vehicle, the sled dogs use the appropriate collar.

The prong is for the Servant when he is driving the Corvette...
elana, I do believe a Prong, e-collar, and a J.A.S.A. force collar will be needed for that particular sled dog servant. I understand sometimes the dogs have to chastise him with a frozen fish to side of head. At least that's the rumors/guesstimates here in IL. Of course we're not too smart in IL just check our governor record.
 

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Define "force". That word is a bit drastic for actually teaching these commands. I would use the word "slight pressure". To get the dog to sit, put "slight pressure" upwards. It will force the dog to lower his back end. To get the dog to down, you simply drop the lead and place it under your foot. Then simply put some "slight pressure" by pulling the leash upward until the dog lies down. There no extreme tugging or force going on. I feel that its only slight pressure put on in the direction you want the dog to go.
In bold, you said it yourself.

Training using "force" to me is any method that requires you to physically manipulate the dog into position. I feel that it doesn't allow the dog to learn how to do it on his own, to think for himself. I have found that, in training my own dogs etc., they seem to learn much more quickly when they are rewarded for doing something themselves, rather than being physically put into the position by me.

I also feel that too much training where the dog is always physically manipulated can teach a dog learned helplessness and that many dogs become dependent on having to be touched or have their collar pulled on in order to do something as simple as lying down. I had to retrain my boyfriend's dog, Axle, how to sit and lie down, because for the first 6 months of Stephen owning him, he was taught by having his back and butt pushed on, and STILL wouldn't sit without being touched first.

But of course, this is just my opinion, based on my own experience.

In the underlines, I've seen dogs go into a complete panic and/or shut down as a result of using that method. I'd NEVER do that to make a dog lie down. There was actually a thread about that a few months ago, where somebody went to a trainer, and the trainer did this to their PUPPY. The dog felt trapped, started screaming and flailing around, and the only reason he finally downed is because he was too terrified and exhausted and had no other choice. This trainer had the owners repeat this method over and over at home, and now their dog is terrified of them.
 

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Two quick points....The prong collar delivers 250 pounds of pressure per inch with just a 4 pound jerk of the lead. That's an incredible amount of force (and why the collar works so well) so, 'finger checks', not hard jerks, are more than sufficient correction.
Best to use the lightest correction that will get the job done, but "finger checks" won't even register on many dogs. I know, I got one. If that woulda worked, I wouldn't have bothered with the prong collar in the first place.

I didn't see any "self correcting" goin' on, either.
 

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In bold, you said it yourself.

Training using "force" to me is any method that requires you to physically manipulate the dog into position. I feel that it doesn't allow the dog to learn how to do it on his own, to think for himself. I have found that, in training my own dogs etc., they seem to learn much more quickly when they are rewarded for doing something themselves, rather than being physically put into the position by me.

I also feel that too much training where the dog is always physically manipulated can teach a dog learned helplessness and that many dogs become dependent on having to be touched or have their collar pulled on in order to do something as simple as lying down. I had to retrain my boyfriend's dog, Axle, how to sit and lie down, because for the first 6 months of Stephen owning him, he was taught by having his back and butt pushed on, and STILL wouldn't sit without being touched first.

But of course, this is just my opinion, based on my own experience.

In the underlines, I've seen dogs go into a complete panic and/or shut down as a result of using that method. I'd NEVER do that to make a dog lie down. There was actually a thread about that a few months ago, where somebody went to a trainer, and the trainer did this to their PUPPY. The dog felt trapped, started screaming and flailing around, and the only reason he finally downed is because he was too terrified and exhausted and had no other choice. This trainer had the owners repeat this method over and over at home, and now their dog is terrified of them.
One time I took my dog to someone for a training session. Atka had been taught "lie Down" with those words and I had generalized it to every place we went as I wanted it to be her default.

This was trained with a clicker and if I give her the lie down signal, (hand, whistle or voice) she enthusiastically THROWS her self on the ground and looks up with her mouth opening as if it is the most fun thing on earth.

FF to the training session. Said trainer used the method described for prong use (foot on lead and pulling lead up). Atka FREAKED and struggled like a banshee. She had NO idea what was being asked. Thank doG she did not have a Prong collar on.. she would likely have fought harder.

I stopped everything and showed the trainer how to put my dog in a lie down.. all three ways.. She said she never had a dog so eager to Lie Down on cue.

As Cheetah indicates.. there are easier ways.. on both dogs and people.

Some dogs, when subjected to the lead and foot force method may actually BITE the shins to the trainer. I submit this is not something to be "tried at home."
 

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Stepping on the leash, to get a dog in a down, involves very poor body mechanics. You ought to get bit if you pull that on a dog. There are ways to manipulate a dog that don't risk injuring or hurting him. Some dogs will snap or bite in any event, but that's a different bag o' worms.
 
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