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Discussion Starter #1
My 7 month old Toller is doing great. She knows a dozen tricks and loves agility.
But she doesn't do well on walks. Every little thing distracts her, and she wants to smell everything. Trying to get through a 2 mile walk (twice a day) can be agonizing.
The breeder suggests using a prong collar. She tried it on her and it seems to be very helpful.

I have some choke collars last used with my first dog 20 years ago. I never used them on my second dog, or on this one. Back then, prong collars were the next step up for dogs that didn't respond to choke collars.

Breeder says I should throw the choke collars out because they can be injurious, but that prong collars are both harmless and effective. The only time I could see using it is on walks.

I did a search here and found that some people admit to using them, but there were no good posts.
Any comments would be appreciated.
 

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Have you tried a head halter? Those are usually a lot better than prongs and flat buckles. The head halter will turn her head back towards you whenever she starts pulling, effectively stopping her pulling immediately. Now I only suggest that because I usually try to avoid using aversive training tools (prong collars). That being said, I have used prong collars before (one of my dogs couldn't be in a head halter), and it's effective for most dogs and as long as it's used properly it is fairly safe. Properly being the key word. You should never "pop" it and have it big enough that the prongs aren't digging into the dogs skin (when the dog is relaxed/not pulling). Remember, a prong collar is just a training tool; your goal should be to teach your dog how to walk nicely on a leash while on a walk so one day you won't have to use it.

I would never use a choke collar since I've heard so many horror stories with them.

This is just my experience/thoughts, I don't have the most knowledge on them, but I hoped that helped some
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She doesn't pull much. Mainly she just stops moving; sometimes to smell stuff, but frequently for no apparent reason.

We tried a front attachment harness and that made walks simply difficult rather than impossible; but have not tried a head halter.
Naturally the goal is to go to a flat collar and ideally off leash. Our first two did that well.
 

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Unless the dog is pulling and you are in danger of falling over, there is no need for a prong. If you're having trouble with her stopping and sniffing, why don't you just lure her forward with a treat? A prong will do you little good there. They're typically used on dogs who are large and have issues with pulling. Stopping and sniffing is a very normal puppy behavior. I taught my dog a "let's go" command to get him moving again when he started getting really interested in a scent.

Also, if she stops moving and won't budge she may be tired and not want to go farther.
 

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She's a 7 month old PUPPY. Of course everything distracts her. She's a DOG. Of course she want's to smell everything. Stopping for 'no' (apparent) reason? Well..... there must be a reason - FOR HER. If she's not lunging/pulling to the extent that she is putting your body at risk (she's yanking you into traffic, or face-down into the asphalt) but simply stopping to smell the roses (or what amounts to doggy roses), then you need to work WITH her to make walking with you more interesting. Reward (heavily with the highest of high-value treats) her 'checking in' and focusing on you. Make 'go sniff' time contingent on a **short** (as in, a couple of seconds, - at least at first) stint of "Let's go!" where you both motor along together.

But a puppy that stops for NO reason? Yeah, doesn't exist. You just aren't recognizing the 'reason' and working to help her through it. If she's tired, or frustrated, or scared, or simply doesn't want to walk with you - well, 'forcing' her to via the use of a pain-inducing collar sure isn't going to help any. (IMO) Make following along with you *worth it* to her? Then you're going somewhere.
 

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She's a 7 month old PUPPY. Of course everything distracts her. She's a DOG. Of course she want's to smell everything. Stopping for 'no' (apparent) reason? Well..... there must be a reason - FOR HER. If she's not lunging/pulling to the extent that she is putting your body at risk (she's yanking you into traffic, or face-down into the asphalt) but simply stopping to smell the roses (or what amounts to doggy roses), then you need to work WITH her to make walking with you more interesting. Reward (heavily with the highest of high-value treats) her 'checking in' and focusing on you. Make 'go sniff' time contingent on a **short** (as in, a couple of seconds, - at least at first) stint of "Let's go!" where you both motor along together.

But a puppy that stops for NO reason? Yeah, doesn't exist. You just aren't recognizing the 'reason' and working to help her through it. If she's tired, or frustrated, or scared, or simply doesn't want to walk with you - well, 'forcing' her to via the use of a pain-inducing collar sure isn't going to help any. (IMO) Make following along with you *worth it* to her? Then you're going somewhere.
This. A 7 month old puppy does not need a prong collar.

Have you taken her to puppy classes? A good trainer should be able to help you through this without the need for increasingly severe tools.
 

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First off, you need to be more interesting than the environment.

Second, you likely need to be more rewarding than you currently are. Up the frequency of rewards while walking.

Third, your breeder is wrong, as far as prongs being harmless. That's way too broad of a generalization. And effective? meh, not so much in my opinion.

Simply teach your dog to pay attention to you, along with teaching a release for when the occasion calls for it. It's not that difficult.
 

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You have a 7 month old puppy who sometimes demonstrates a lack of desire to walk - via stopping - and you think the solution to her not wanting to walk/stopping on the walk is to cause her pain when she walks.

Wow, that takes some mental gymnastics.

I'm sure it'll really, really make her want to move, too, and the typical response to d a dog being corrected by a prong isn't to stop moving or anything, either. Yes, that's sarcasm. Because there's nothing in here that makes any sense.
 

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Your breeder is right - prong collars are a million times safer than check chains.

Check chains can damage the trachea and run the risk of choking the dog if they get caught. Prong collars, on the other hand, are designed to distribute pressure evenly around the neck which reduces the risk of tracheal harm. That was their original purpose - to be a safe alternative to a flat or choke collar.

I know you had a suggestion for a head collar, but in my experience, they are far more aversive than a prong. To use one responsibly takes a lot of conditioning, and why is that? Well, because they are uncomfortable. It baffles me that force free trainers can condemn the use of prong collars while recommending a tool that functions the same way.

When a dog pulls on a head collar, their entire body is pivoted by their nose, which is not remotely natural. It can also cause severe damage to the neck if the dog hits the end of the leash with a lot of force while wearing this "humane tool." Nothing about it can be considered positive or even safe and I refuse to use them on my dog.

If you choose to use a prong collar, I suggest looking into conversational leash work with Tyler Muto. There is a right and a wrong way to use these tools, and when used correctly they will not harm your dog. In fact, they can be extremely valuable - nothing else had any impact on my personal pup.

P.S. 7 months is not too young for a prong collar and prong collars should be fit tightly. Attaching a photo of a well fit prong.

 

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Your breeder is right - prong collars are a million times safer than check chains.

Check chains can damage the trachea and run the risk of choking the dog if they get caught. Prong collars, on the other hand, are designed to distribute pressure evenly around the neck which reduces the risk of tracheal harm. That was their original purpose - to be a safe alternative to a flat or choke collar.

I know you had a suggestion for a head collar, but in my experience, they are far more aversive than a prong. To use one responsibly takes a lot of conditioning, and why is that? Well, because they are uncomfortable. It baffles me that force free trainers can condemn the use of prong collars while recommending a tool that functions the same way.

When a dog pulls on a head collar, their entire body is pivoted by their nose, which is not remotely natural. It can also cause severe damage to the neck if the dog hits the end of the leash with a lot of force while wearing this "humane tool." Nothing about it can be considered positive or even safe and I refuse to use them on my dog.

If you choose to use a prong collar, I suggest looking into conversational leash work with Tyler Muto. There is a right and a wrong way to use these tools, and when used correctly they will not harm your dog. In fact, they can be extremely valuable - nothing else had any impact on my personal pup.

P.S. 7 months is not too young for a prong collar and prong collars should be fit tightly. Attaching a photo of a well fit prong.

I do use prong collars. When I feel they fit both the dog and the situation. I do not consider myself 100% aversive free but I think the key to any dog training is read the dog. Build trust, know the dog. And I wouldn't recommend Muto either.

That said--

No, no, no, no. This situation with this puppy is NOT the right place for a prong. This is a puppy that has already proven to be soft, somewhat fearful even. A puppy that just wants time to explore and experience the world. This is not a dog that is creating a risk to the owner or others where the short term use of a punishment might outweigh the dangers. Nothing described can't be handled with a basic harness or a wide flat martingale collar and some treats. Personally, I'd go for a nice H-style or Roman harness that is hard to back out of in case the puppy gets startled by something and a pocketful of "trail mix" (kibble mixed with cheese bits and hot dog bits or similar to make it more enticing) and meander down the road.
 

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Ok maybe this is crazy but...why not let her sniff? If the issue isn't pulling, then I don't see why a prong would even be considered. It's using force. There's no need for that. Remember that dogs explore the world through their noses. She's young and curious. Why not let her BE curious?

Work on a "with me" or "let's go" cue so you can let her sniff for a moment and then you can cue her to keep going (I do this with both of my dogs). But is adding something that hurts really the best way to approach this? It seems like a surefire way to kill her curiosity all together. I walk my younger dog on a harness (not a front clip no pull one, just a regular harness that doesn't restrict his movement...it's made by Balance) and he gets to sniff until I say "Ok let's go" and then he's on his way with me. My senior gal gets to sniff as long as she wants, within reason (I do sometimes still use the "let's go" cue, but she's going deaf so doesn't always hear it).

You could keep rewards on you and reward her for leaving sniffing to follow you. Make her WANT to stop sniffing. Not force her to stop sniffing.
 

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I used a prong collar on Bella (don't really need it anymore) and I tried over and over again to wean her off of it, but it's the only way she would stop pulling and being generally unruly. The trainer who provided it to me at the time thought it was the only way to get her attention. As much training as I did, other tools I tried (including the "gentle leader") nothing would keep her from making walks miserable. From pulling me over so she could eat things on the side of the road (like someone's left over fried chicken legs) and pulling me into traffic to go smell a blade of grass across the road that another dog peed on, stopping on a dime when finally getting a good pace going and swinging me around (I slipped on ice a couple times because of that maneuver) etc...
It got Bella's attention when nothing else did....and it didn't upset her in the least. She saw the collar come out and knew it was time for a walk! oh boy!! :) And it probably saved her trachea a lot of harm in the long run and my shoulder sockets, too.

They are a useful tool if you use them correctly on the right dog for the right reasons.

I agree with the others and don't think a shy puppy who wants (needs!) to explore his world is a good candidate for this type of tool. Sounds like he needs to be allowed to gain confidence in his world - this tool could cause more harm than anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok maybe this is crazy but...why not let her sniff? If the issue isn't pulling, then I don't see why a prong would even be considered. It's using force. There's no need for that. Remember that dogs explore the world through their noses. She's young and curious. Why not let her BE curious
She walks 3 miles a day. If she stops every 10 feet for 1 minute each stop, the walks will take 4 hours. I don't think so. I know where my old dog stops to sniff; I let her stop there.

Since she doesn't pull, I didn't get a prong collar. Oddly, her walking has improved dramatically in the last couple days; today a 2.5 mile was was like walking a real dog. Sure hope it stays that way.
 

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She walks 3 miles a day. If she stops every 10 feet for 1 minute each stop, the walks will take 4 hours. I don't think so. I know where my old dog stops to sniff; I let her stop there.

Since she doesn't pull, I didn't get a prong collar. Oddly, her walking has improved dramatically in the last couple days; today a 2.5 mile was was like walking a real dog. Sure hope it stays that way.
I guess to each their own. I'd rather walk less miles and let my dog sniff. I have one dog (older) who takes 45 minutes to walk a mile. It's her walk, so I'm happy to let her sniff to her heart's content for the most part. When it gets a bit ridiculous, I use the "let's go" command and off we go. I always figuring not letting dogs sniff is a little like taking us on a scenic walk and then telling us we can't look out at the overlooks or stop to admire a pretty flower. So I guess I just take a very different approach to dog walks.

I'm glad you didn't get the prong collar though and that she is walking the way you want to.
 

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She walks 3 miles a day. If she stops every 10 feet for 1 minute each stop, the walks will take 4 hours. I don't think so. I know where my old dog stops to sniff; I let her stop there.

Since she doesn't pull, I didn't get a prong collar. Oddly, her walking has improved dramatically in the last couple days; today a 2.5 mile was was like walking a real dog. Sure hope it stays that way.
Sniffing is good mental exercise, and it reduces stress. It would probably be more beneficial for her to walk a shorter distance and be allowed to think/explore than to walk 3 miles at a brisk pace.
 

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She walks 3 miles a day. If she stops every 10 feet for 1 minute each stop, the walks will take 4 hours. I don't think so. I know where my old dog stops to sniff; I let her stop there.

Since she doesn't pull, I didn't get a prong collar. Oddly, her walking has improved dramatically in the last couple days; today a 2.5 mile was was like walking a real dog. Sure hope it stays that way.
She's 7 months old..she probably doesn't need to walk 3 miles everyday. Really, I would encourage the sniffing and the exploring, even if it means you don't walk as far. She's very young and has things to learn! Sniffing can actually be more tiring than the walking, not to mention its a natural calming behavior.
 

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She walks 3 miles a day. If she stops every 10 feet for 1 minute each stop, the walks will take 4 hours.
Your math doesn't add up lol.

Seriously though, I'll say this again: If she stops way too frequently then you're way too boring, at least for her liking. Simple as that.

You've worked on tricks and agility. Have you also worked on doggy zen exercises, statically, and then tried applying it to walking ? I mean, if your goal is a dog who walks steadily you need to train for that. You can't just expect it to happen the way it might have with your other dogs.

Personally I'd try to find a happy medium between walking and sniffing.
 

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She walks 3 miles a day. If she stops every 10 feet for 1 minute each stop, the walks will take 4 hours. I don't think so. I know where my old dog stops to sniff; I let her stop there.
Wait, what does your old dog's favorite sniff spots have to do with the new pup...? Am I reading that wrong?
 

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You're walking a 7 month old puppy and you're surprised she's trying to stop and sniff?

You do realize she's still a puppy and you should stop trying to treat her like an adult dog for like, oh, another year and a half or so, right?
 
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