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Oh, that's not the walking in circles I was thinking of. I was thinking of Denise Fenzi's method, which is to go in a circle every time the dog starts pulling.
 

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It hasn't worked with any of my dogs.



Here is an outline of how I train it, I use a prong as a crutch while solidifying it, then I move on to a harness or collar.

I would really like somebody to explain (with evidence) how the proper use of e-collars and or prongs can cause emotional or physical harm to a dog. Just show me.
 

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*I would really like somebody to explain (with evidence) how the proper use of e-collars and or prongs can cause emotional or physical harm to a dog. Just show me. *

Inflicting pain is always going to be a trauma. As soon as any event is linked with discomfort or pain it becomes an unwelcome event.

However the main point is that these things are not controlled any idiot half wit can buy then and use them without any kind of training any sadistic macho fool can inflict pain and un-necessary suffering without breaking any law just by using one of these things.
If for no other reason this is why they should be banned. My own particular breed is a dog known to have nervous traits if trained harshly (including shouting) using a collar such as this would turn the dog into a total basket case and yet if they were legal here I have no doubt some half wit would want to use them.
 

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I admit I'd get dizzy trying the first technique, lol. I do use Fenzi's circle method some, and do a lot of "pulling means we switch directions." Lots of verbal praise for appropriate walking - I'd use more treats with a different dog, but Frodo is highly environmentally motivated and actually tends to respond as well or better to verbal rewards and access to the environment when outside. He's doing really well, especially for a teenager, though he still struggles in exciting situation or when he's walking with his 'brother' Sam. I do let him hit the end of the leash, though I have conditioned a cue that means "you'll hit the end if you keep going". I either stop and brace when I give this cue or straight up do a u-turn, depending on what the environment allows for, and this has really helped with him not hitting the end of the lead hard or continuing to drive forward on a tight leash. He's slowly getting that if he slows down on his own with this cue and doesn't hit the end at all, he gets lots of praise and we keep going the direction he wants. Really proud of him, given he IS a teenager (and a quite immature one in many ways), and so environmentally focused.

Will not use a slip lead or prong on either of my dogs - they're smaller and already gag themselves on flat collars if they're in situations that are too exciting (Frodo) or over threshold (Sam). Not risking those tracheae. I stick to harnesses whenever possible for the same reason.

@Deacon.dog For me, personally, I don't really care if you (or anyone) makes the choice to use leash corrections or ecollars in their training and it works for their dog. It's not a choice I would make for most dogs in most situations (exceptions going out to things like snake avoidance training) that I was responsible for handling, but I do think it's possible to use corrections fairly for dogs that handle them well. I do think it's important to accept that ecollars and physical corrections work by causing physical discomfort or pain to the dog, and appreciate that there are absolutely dogs who cannot handle that kind of training. I honestly think my Lagotto is one of them - he's hard-headed and doesn't care much about verbal corrections in most cases, sure, but minor physical discomfort causes him to melt into a puddle. I have no desire to even attempt training that might associate me and training in general with that kind of extreme negative emotional reaction. I have no desire to suppress behavior, especially in a dog who is generally so happy and eager to work with me, when I could instead focus on teaching that appropriate behaviors are how he gets the best rewards. He is absolutely a dog I could very easily see losing his 'spark' with physical corrections, even if there are other dogs who take the same corrections as feedback and are completely emotionally unaffected.

I also take exception when people (not necessarily you, talking in general here) suggest that total strangers use e-collars for their dogs, without knowing the handler's skill level, understanding of dog body language, or experience with how to use corrections fairly, not to mention without seeing the dog in question to actually determine whether physical correction would be appropriate for the issue at hand. Many people inexperienced with behavior issues, for example, easily mistake fear-based behaviors for disobedience issues, and adding pain or discomfort to a fear-driven behavior can be outright dangerous to the handler or other people/animals.

Corrections are very powerful. Not going to deny that. Single event learning is usually the result of negative events, and corrections can take advantage of that, especially when it comes to dangerous (but not emotionally driven) behaviors. But my opinion is that it takes a lot of understanding of dog behavior and body language, learning theory, and excellent timing to deliver them effectively and fairly, and the fallout for messing up can be much more severe precisely because of that single event learning phenomenon (eg accidentally correct a dog who's pulling or unresponsive to recall when they're fixated on another dog, or child, and you may suddenly have a dog who associates other dogs/children with a negative stimulus). Not going to go after someone for choosing to use it on their own dogs, but also not going to agree with them being techniques everyone can or should use, nor do I like them being promoted as quick or easy fixes to common behavior issues.
 

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It hasn't worked with any of my dogs.



Here is an outline of how I train it, I use a prong as a crutch while solidifying it, then I move on to a harness or collar.

I would really like somebody to explain (with evidence) how the proper use of e-collars and or prongs can cause emotional or physical harm to a dog. Just show me.
Here you go -
I'm sure there are more, but this was quickly available and includes several different studies.
 

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I would like to add, that prong collars are SAFER for the dog to pull on (even though they shouldn't) because its evenly giving out pressure. If your dog is pulling on a flat collar, THAT causes discomfort and I don't know how thats any different me not even allowing my dog to GET to the point of gagging itself.
 

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I would really like somebody to explain (with evidence) how the proper use of e-collars and or prongs can cause emotional or physical harm to a dog. Just show me.
Isn't your dog, that you've trained with these tools, a fear biter that needs a muzzle around other animals and is shy around most people?
 

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Isn't your dog, that you've trained with these tools, a fear biter that needs a muzzle around other animals and is shy around most people?
I do not correct my dog for fear biting, or being shy around people. I use it when training obediance. He doesn't fear the prong, or the e-collar. He loves it, because he knows he's going somewhere fun. if you know anything about training, you know that when a dog is reacting, you don't correct the reaction, you correct not listening to you, and then reward for listening to you and watching you. I can ASSURE you that my use of tools hasn't hindered my dogs temperment at all. He is what he is, and if anything the tools make him more comfortable because I am in control, not him.

And he doesn't need a muzzle around other animals, just other MALE dogs. He lives with cats and chickens, he's snuggled with rats and ferrets. He's just nervous around mature male dogs, due to the fact that all three times he has been attacked it was by other male dogs.
 

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I would like to add, that prong collars are SAFER for the dog to pull on (even though they shouldn't) because its evenly giving out pressure. If your dog is pulling on a flat collar, THAT causes discomfort and I don't know how thats any different me not even allowing my dog to GET to the point of gagging itself.
I mean, it's a moot point in my case because both prong collars and e-collars are banned in the country I live (though there are a few specially trained people allowed to do livestock avoidance training with e-collars under an exception). But I'd still not want either my sensitive teenager or my high-stress adult with arousal issues to feel sharp pain or discomfort when they hit the end of a leash. Especially when they both are prone to pulling towards other dogs or people/kids (for different reasons), and I don't want them to associate any of those situations with negative stimulation (well, more than my older dog already does, in his case). Pulling on an appropriately fitted harness distributes the pressure better than any collar, so that's what I've chosen for my dogs. The exception being when we were working through Frodo's harness aversion due to (undiagnosed for a while) muscular shoulder pain, and then we stuck with a short lead and worked intensively on limiting sustained pulling. Using circling, ironically, among other methods.

Also doesn't address the fact that a collar pop or self-correction will absolutely cause some dogs to shut down, melt down, or disengage and teach them to absolutely hate training or walks altogether. It would not at all surprise me if Frodo were one of these, but I sure as heck am not going to experiment to find out when he learns so quickly and so happily with less invasive methods. I want him engaged and willing to try new things, not flattened on the ground unwilling to do anything at all because it might hurt, and the latter is 100% how he acts when he experiences minor sharp pain (bug sting, pulled muscle, etc). Corrections working for your dog doesn't mean they'll work the same for every one, just like some dogs will do a backflip for a treat and another will only work for praise and a butt scratch. Good trainers need to see the animal in front of them and be willing to adapt to that dog's needs, even if it requires experimenting or learning new things that are outside their usual toolbox.
 

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If it didn't work for all my dogs, then I wouldn't do it. Balanced training is also not JUST about tools. My dogs don't melt down or disengage. They look up at me when they feel the pop or leash pressure. Its never a bad thing for them. I will ALWAYS use balanced training, but balanced training is more than just training tools.
 

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I've worked with very sensitive dogs (border collies and rough collies) and I adapted my balanced methods to help them. I didn't use a prong or a e-collar, I used a slip leash and verbal corrections.
 

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Yup, hence why I've been saying from the beginning that if it's working for you, it's fine, and that my personal issue with corrections is when people recommend them inappropriately or insist that physical corrections are the only way to teach anything with any dog. Physical corrections will never be first line techniques in my personal training toolkit. It's not how I enjoy working with dogs, and for many tools I do not have the timing and experience to use them well.

I can imagine theoretical situations where I would implement corrective techniques or tools, assuming my first line training has failed to the point where I feel the dog, handler, or other humans/animals are potentially at risk (not just talking aggression but like blowing off recall or jumping on people) in a way that cannot be reasonably managed, but I've never had to make that choice. Maybe I will some day. Maybe I won't. But I firmly believe that physical corrections have a greater capacity for negative consequences than most training techniques and therefore it's irresponsible to market them as fast and/or easy training solutions to the general public (with unknown training knowledge/experience handling dogs with unknown motivations behind the 'problem' behavior, whatever it may be).

I'll also argue until I turn blue that positive does not mean permissive, that a good reward-based, force free trainer still sets boundaries and rules for their dog, and that there are very few things that literally cannot be taught without corrections if that's the route someone wants to take.

For the record, I also believe it's irresponsible to give out force-free, reinforcement based, whatever you want to call it training suggestions to strangers asking about actively dangerous behavior (eg severe resource guarding, human aggression, etc) for the same reasons I don't like suggesting physical corrections to strangers - there's too many ways well-intentioned advice could make things work and actively endanger someone when you can't observe the dog and handler and give instructions in real time. People should go to an in-person, qualified trainer to work with high-risk behaviors, and I also believe people should learn how to use corrective tools and techniques in-person under the guidance of a qualified and experienced trainer if they want to learn how to use them effectively and humanely.
 

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I agree with you. Also, I don't understand the "use of tools" refrence. Aren't harnesses, and even leashes tools too?

and, wouldn't a dog see a head-halter as aversive? Why do R+ trainers stand behind them, rather than other options? Same with the Easy walk, which pulls the joints backwards and can cause damage. If I where I am not a R+ trainer I'd work with a Y-front harness.
 

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Deacon just summed up my point a second ago. I have a swinging bench in my backyard. I was wiping something off of it and deacon took it as me inviting him up. He jumped on, the the swing came backwards, he lost his balance, and fell off. Three seconds later, he was up off the ground and trying again. That had to have hurt, falling like that (or atleast scary) ... but it didn't phase him. And YES this is the same fear biting and stranger warey dog, who flung himself at a swinging chair, fell, then tried again (the second time without me brushing anything off the chair, I was freaking out because he just fell off the chair). If he can be flung off a chair and be fine, I think a little pop on the collar is just fine

He's on the chair with my right now demanding (sA.. from deacon) Attention, as if he didn't just fly off the chair twice
 

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I think you mean the line "corrective techniques and tools?" I meant corrective techniques and corrective tools, just didn't make it super clear. EG a collar pop would be a technique, while a prong would be a tool, but you don't necessarily have to use collar pops if you are using a prong.

A good force-free/reinforcement-based trainer, just like a good balanced trainer, is going to listen to the dog and see what the individual in front of them finds aversive. Many dogs do find head halters inherently aversive - they display avoidance behaviors around getting it put on, try to paw it off, maybe refuse to walk in it, etc. They can also result in neck damage if you have a dog who lunges hard and give them too much lead so they hit the end and snap their head around. Easy walk and other harnesses that tighten when pressure are, yes, also capable of causing damage. Both of these are rather controversial among force-free trainers, and many won't use either. It's not like everyone who prefers reward-based training has exactly the same opinions, approaches, and experiences, after all!

That being said, sometimes you need a tool for short-term management of a problem to keep dog and handler safe, and need to make some concessions. Say I go out and adopt an adolescent large-breed dog in January - right in the middle of icy season here - and he has zero leash manners. I need something right now, in the short term, to manage his leash walking to keep both of us safe. Ideally, we'd still be training alongside the management tool so we don't have to use it any longer than absolutely necessary, reducing the possibility of injury by reducing the time the dog has to spend in the tool.

Personally, I'd look at the dog, his behavior, and what he finds aversive or not. Does he pull pull pull but doesn't do a whole lot of lunging or show reactive behavior on walks? I might try a head collar, introduce it with as much counter-conditioning as I can to reduce the risk of him getting distressed by wearing it, and just keep him on a relatively short lead. Does he hate the head collar but respond well to a front-clip harness? I'll go with the (non-tightening) front-clip harness. If that doesn't work well enough, maybe I'll try something like an Easy Walk, assuming he doesn't show any signs of the Easy Walk being aversive or highly uncomfortable to wear. Still having trouble? I, personally, may try a prong at that point (ignoring the legality for the moment in this hypothetical). I can't train this dog to walk nicely if I get dragged down the icy stairs to my apartment and wind up in traction (and might even need to rehome him in that scenario), so using something that works causes pain might be worth it just to get past the early stages of leash training with both of us in one piece.

I should mention here that I follow more of a LIMA (Least Invasive, Minimally Aversive) philosophy than some reward-based trainers, in that I will consider corrective tools/techniques in some scenarios where less invasive/aversive solutions aren't working - like the one above - where others may not.

The difference between the head collar and non-tightening front-clip harness compared to the prong is mainly that, when used correctly, the first two should not cause pain. They work by making the dog unable to put force into the pull, because forward momentum gets redirected to the side. Throwing their weight forward just swings them around towards the handler. They have risks (especially the head collar, imo), but when introduced appropriately and the dog's typical behavior and responsiveness to the tool is taken into account, you can minimize that a lot. The Easy Walk is kind of in-between. It does cause discomfort as well as redirects the force of the pull, that's the whole reason it tightens. With prongs, causing pain/discomfort (depending on how sensitive the dog is) is why it works. It doesn't do anything to redirect the physical force of the dog's pull, and relies entirely on pulling against the prongs being uncomfortable enough that the dog decides not pulling is better.

Obviously, success with any of these tools can also depend on the training used alongside them, and the prong is the only option listed that allows for collar pop style corrections if that's your thing, but for a fair comparison I'm just talking about the passive effects each tool has on pulling that would give immediate results in this hypothetical scenario where I'm looking for an immediate solution to allow me to get this dog exercise without killing myself on the ice.
 

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I don't think prong collars hurt ( in my opinion ). Uncomfortable, yes.. but so are easy walks and head halters. I have put the prong on myself and did a pop with the force i'd put on my dog, and yanked it as hard as I could, the yank hurt, but not bad. the pop didn't hurt at all, I just felt the pressure of the collar around my wrist. As we know, the prong isn't pointy, the prongs are rounded. And they are even, so the pressure is evenly around the dogs neck, which means the prongs shouldn't be pushed into the neck, it should just tighten and if anything pinch just a little. I do not see the use of a prong any more discomforting than a front clip, a choke chain, a head halter, etc. I see it as #1 Safer than all other options other than a y-front harness, and #2 causes very minimal discomfort and with some dogs (I've noticed in my poodle he HATES the front clip, doesn't mind the prong) and no discomfort at all (i've seen dogs continue to drag their handlers down, disregarding the prong). I don't think we should see prongs as anything different as a flat collar, harness, head halter, ect because ALL of them can cause pain and discomfort. ALL of them. Every single one. So I don't see how a prong, that unlike all of these other tools evenly distributes pressure limiting the pressure on the trachea is picture as barbaric and abusive.
 

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Then we'll have to agree to disagree. It's oversimplistic, in my opinion, to compare a stimulus on the wrist or neck skin of a single human and assume that that's how 100% of dogs experience the same stimulus on their necks. I can't see how, if a prong isn't any more uncomfortable than a flat collar, it makes many dogs less likely to pull with it on. I also can't see how a collar pop on a prong is both no more uncomfortable/intense than a pop on a flat collar but somehow also more effective at giving corrective feedback. Sure, some dogs blow through it. Some dogs blow through e-collars, or run agility with their pawpads torn open, or get hit by a car and keep running. The fact that dogs ignore pain under some circumstances isn't a good argument to say that they're not experiencing pain at all. You'll see that I did NOT, personally, ever say prongs were barbaric and abusive. But they work solely by causing negative stimulation. We're not doing our dogs or ourselves any favors by ignoring that fact.

I addressed that Easy Walk and similar no-pull harnesses work by combining discomfort with physically redirecting the force of the pull. No argument here that part of their function is to be uncomfortable for the dog. But a head harness used correctly on a dog who is a good candidate for the tool absolutely should not be uncomfortable in its action to prevent pulling (again, I addressed that many dogs find wearing one inherently uncomfortable, but I'm talking here about a dog who wears it happily, and just addressing what happens when a dog tries to pull). A little confusing, perhaps, until they get used to it. It's not meant for jerking the dog's head around, just to prevent the dog from being able to throw force into pulling. If a dog is behaving in a way that makes a head halter inherently uncomfortable, such as a fearful dog who lunges, pulls, and spins when it sees other dogs, than that makes that dog NOT a good candidate for the tool.

Actually, my whole point in the ramble above was that there's no one tool that works for all dogs in all situations. We have to look at the dog we're working with and figure out what works for them while still keeping them and us safe. Saying a prong or a non-restrictive harness are the ONLY "safe" options for EVERY dog in EVERY situation ignores the fact that all dogs are individuals, and that their owners will have different lifestyles and handling needs and capabilities.
 

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When I did rescue (of Rottweilers), one of my first lessons was taking a small Rottie bitch from a shelter, and having her pull me off my feet on a martingale collar. After that I always used a prong from shelter to car and car to my own yard or house. It is, in my opinion, one of those keep dog and handler safe situations. However, I have heard a dog yelp when a prong tightens. No one will convince me they don't work via pain, and most Rotties are not particularly sensitive souls. In the years I did rescue, I'd never heard of no-pull harnesses. My experience was that head halters took conditioning, some dogs never accepted them, and I didn't like them myself.

As to my e-collar experience, when I first began tracking with my dogs, my mentor strongly advised snake-aversive training, so off I went and did it with my older girl, Story. After hearing her scream and seeing her huddle and not only not want to go near the snake but anywhere near the whole area, after seeing her jump back and act afraid of anything strange on the ground for months after that experience, I decided never again. If I lived somewhere where poisonous snakes were a looming and large danger, I might have decided differently, but while there are rattlesnakes in my part of Colorado, I've never seen one on my property. I'd rather take the chance and rush my dog (or self) to an emergency clinic if a bite occurs at the location of most tracking trials here, where the chances of snake encounters are higher, but not IMO high enough to put a dog through that again. You have to ask yourself why the snake training people use electric collars to impress upon dogs that snakes are to be avoided at all costs if an e-collar merely tickles?

So some of this is a personal choice, but when anyone starts telling me how these things don't hurt dogs, I roll my eyes.
 
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