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This came up a few months ago and instead of bumping a old topic I thought I would start a new one and see if we can have a rational discussion on them.

First off until my current dog I have never used a prong collar, it was a well fitted "choke chain" and that was all my soft Aussie needed for a correction, a few clicks of the chain tightening and she was doing exactly what I had asked before the correction came. Frankly it was un-needed but with the rules for 4-H it was part of our equipment for showing.

Currently I have a three year old korthals griffon and with a flat collar and a regular chock collar he has no heel or manners. I was pretty adamate that we were going to work through our issues and he would learn. After months of fighting every time we went to training my SAR trainer handed me a pinch collar, properly fitted it and gave Luke his first walk with it. She then put the collar on my neck and made me walk around it it and she got to jerk on it pretty good. I have pretty soft hands anyway (horse riding) but I learned a lesson.

Now Luke does not go anywhere in public without a prong collar, he heels perfect, no leash pressure and no worries from me about him toughening up and working through the collar. So while we could have survived with a flat or choke collar the prong collar is our power steering and his attention on me is a million times better then when we were working on the flat collar.

Not to mention if he decides to let his prey drive take over while we are walking he self corrects by hitting the leash and I don't have to be the bad guy. I would rather have the prong collar on him and have him do quick self corrections then have me have constant pressure on his trachea during our working period.

So while a prong collar works for me and my dog, they are not for everyone and should not be used by the owner without feel, timing and one who can not watch their dogs subtle cues while on lead.

So yeah, discuss your thoughts, experiences and observations.
 

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I think they're a million times better than a choke collar, but then I had a bad experience. Choke collars really are dangerous and should be restricted to use by professionals or something. Or at least not handed out to children at 4H classes like they are.

I think that, as with most training devices, people use them as crutches instead of as training devices.

I prefer to train without causing pain to my dogs, but then I'm pretty hopeless at training anyway, better I completely avoid anything I could ruin a dog with.
 

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I believe there is a place for prong collars in training, mainly when the dog doesn't seem to be particularly motivated by anything, and the dog just HAS to do what you say.
If prong collars are used to correctly, I'm all for them. They don't exactly cause pain when they are used correctly.
I've personally never used them, because of my inexperience with them, from just plainly not wanting to learn how to use them. I prefer just a collar and leash. If I need to use a choker like device, I can use the leash and loop it.
 

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95% of dogs I've trained has been Prong collar, probably last 45% of the 95% has been with Prong/Marti combo. Used properly a decent tool.
 

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I'm glad you got professional training on how to use the prong collar. They scare me, but I understand that they have a place with hard to control dogs. There's a Weimeraner in my neighborhood that wears one on walks alongside the baby stroller, and he's very well behaved. He was quite a handful when younger.

I use a Gentle Leader on Maddie, my westie mix, b/c she pulls like a freight train (yes, even small dogs can be beastly!). I don't care if these devices are a "crutch"! If I can have a pleasant walk using one, and it doesn't hurt her, then that's what I'm going to use. A former lab I had (RIP Chipper) was walked only in a Halti, after he almost wrapped me around an iron mailbox taking off after a squirrel while using a regular collar/leash. With a Halti on, a three year old could walk him safely. A safe walk is a good walk, IMHO!
 

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I don't love or hate them. I think they have a place. Probably a lot of people use them as a management tool rather than a training tool, but if that gets dogs walked who wouldn't otherwise be walked I don't really care or think that's necessarily a bad thing.
 

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I use them on both of my dogs. Nubs in his prime could pull 6000lb down the road, he could pull my 135lb butt easily. The prong collar was the only thing that I found that would keep him in check when he REALLY wanted to go after something. After trying everything else and having my shoulder hurt because of his pulling this worked, so that's what even to this day I use on both of my dogs.
 

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I dont love or hate prongs. While I do use one on Buster, its another tool to keep us both safe.

The day I ordered the prong Buster left me inches from the bumper of a passing car (thank God it wasnt one of the many 18 wheelers that roar through that street!) while wearing an Easy Walk Harness. The whole thing was all play but still dangerous. A little Min Pin out on her tie out crouched down behind a tall patch of grass. As we got close she playfully pounced, rear end wagging and instantly into a play bow. Busters response was to play bow right back and spin. If I had lost my balance I have no doubt I would have ended up under the wheels of the car.
 

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I used one, briefly, on Hobbes when we were desperately trying to get him to walk nicely on-leash. He's 60 lbs of pure muscle with a hell of a prey drive, and could easily pull me off my feet when he saw a squirrel/cat/bird/leaf blowing across the sidewalk. I became very uncomfortable with it after I was walking him one day and a man just started talking to me about how cruel it was...and after that I just felt like anytime someone saw me walking him with the prong collar they might think I was abusing him.

So I switched to the gentle leader...which had a similar problem in that a lot of people (like, almost everyone) thought it was a muzzle and people were afraid to approach my sweet gentle boy because of his big bad "muzzle." He's large-ish and black and has a square face that looks kind of pit-like, so you can imagine the frustration of having people think I'm out walking my "Pit bull" in public in the city on a muzzle.

Luckily now he's been trained well enough that he only needs his flat collar. Like the others, I think there's a place for these training tools, but they are training tools and not long-term solutions.

ETA: Just to clarify, I am in no way saying or implying that pit bulls are aggressive or mean or bad in any way - in fact I love them. But many people around here (probably everywhere) seem to think they are horrible dangerous creatures and my mutt looks kind of like one, so by default he must also be scary/dangerous.
 

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I think "hate" may be too strong of a word. Perhaps "disapprove of" is more like it. They seem to really stifle the creative training process.

Personally, I have no need for prongs, chokes, haltis, GLs etc. I can get my dogs to do everything I want, without their use. Although I've always believed in the premise "if it works for YOU, then it works for me", figuratively speaking. Problem is, most people fail to recognize and admit that it actually ISN'T working for them, as determined by my own observations.
 

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he self corrects by hitting the leash and I don't have to be the bad guy..
I just don't understand the concept of "the dog self-corrects, so I'm not the bad guy." The dog didn't put the collar on himself. It isn't my favorite piece of equipment - in the long run, I'd rather teach the dog loose leash walking and attention than be equipment dependent. But what I am not big on is people absolving themselves of responsibility for their training choices.
 

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I can see them being useful in rare instances...when the dog to human weight ratio is high, or there are no options left for the dog (i.e. a death row dog). Other than in those instances, I value more humane training over crutches.
 

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But what I am not big on is people absolving themselves of responsibility for their training choices.
This is interesting. I totally don't mean this in a snarky way, but I honestly don't think people have a responsibility to train specific skills like loose leash walking. If all the homes where people aren't interested in or capable of training heeling or LLW went away, I don't think many people would have dogs at all. So if a piece of equipment is the different between a dog getting exercised (which I DO think is a responsibility) or not, then I really don't care as long as people aren't going nuts yanking their dogs around.
 

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This is interesting. I totally don't mean this in a snarky way, but I honestly don't think people have a responsibility to train specific skills like loose leash walking. If all the homes where people aren't interested in or capable of training heeling or LLW went away, I don't think many people would have dogs at all. So if a piece of equipment is the different between a dog getting exercised (which I DO think is a responsibility) or not, then I really don't care as long as people aren't going nuts yanking their dogs around.
I'm wondering if you actually read my post, or understood it. My point was not about training choices. It was about taking responsibility for the choices one makes. If you're (general you) okay with a prong, or it's the best tool you can come up with for your particular dog, I'm not criticizing that particularly. What I am uncomfortable with is people choosing equipment that is designed to create discomfort and then saying it's not their fault if the dog hits the end of the lead and is made uncomfortable. Bull. You (general) choose the equipment. You put it on the dog. You are holding the other end of the leash. You are directly responsible for the results. It's sort of like the old Koehler book describing longe line work. It suggests that if the dog hits the end of the lead, it's his decision and so he is causing his own discomfort (haha). Bull. You are on the other end of the leash, headed the opposite way at a brisk pace. The decision is yours (again, hypothetical "you'). If I can blame the discomfort on the dog, or call it his choice, when I am the trainer, it can make me feel less responsible for the choices I make. I chose the equipment, I chose the method. Whatever happens, it's on me. And I think that makes me more careful about the choices I make than if I am able to say "hey, it's the dog's fault! He did it to himself" No, I did it to him.
 

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I use a prong collar when I walk Moe. For one thing, he pulls so hard when just on a flat collar, that both the trainer and the veterinarian were concerned about damage to his esophagus and neck. I pulled him from the shelter as an adult (3 years old), and he acted like he had never had a leash on before.

For another thing, Moe does not like strangers. He has gotten much better, but he is much more focused and in control of himself when wearing the prong collar, and I feel like I have more effective control if I need it (he is also double-leashed, one attached to his flat collar and the other to his prong, just in case the prong collar pops apart). I have tried to wean him off the prong collar, but have not been able to do it effectively so far. In my case, Moe does not seem unhappy or in pain when he is wearing it, and I feel like it helps keep him and others safe, so I am okay with using it as I need to.

I don't think that training or training tools are one size fits all. I think that you use what works for your particular dog (as long as it isn't abusive, of course).
 

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I don't buy that they don't hurt. You can't say "they don't hurt" and then say "the dog corrects himself". Um, what's a correction, then?

I don't like them. I hate choke chains. My last dog had a scar all the way around his neck from a choke chain and came to me with some serious behavioral issues because of it. After that, I refuse to use corrective collars of any kind. There are many harnesses that prevent pulling without causing pain or potential injury, so if you can't train loose leash walking, use one of those.

And don't tell me silliness like "it doesn't hurt" or "the dog corrects himself". The dog didn't choose to put a prong collar on, nor is he capable of the sort of cause and effect thinking necessary to understand how it all works.
 

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I don't buy that they don't hurt. You can't say "they don't hurt" and then say "the dog corrects himself". Um, what's a correction, then?

I don't like them. I hate choke chains. My last dog had a scar all the way around his neck from a choke chain and came to me with some serious behavioral issues because of it. After that, I refuse to use corrective collars of any kind. There are many harnesses that prevent pulling without causing pain or potential injury, so if you can't train loose leash walking, use one of those.
Of course, some head harnesses that are commonly used and hailed as safe (halti, gentle leader) have been shown to cause neck injury. I think almost any tool can be abusive in the wrong hands.
 

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I use a prong collar to give quick easy corrections and can vary the degree of the correction easily as well. I am a Positive Punishment and Positive Reinforcement trainer.
 
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