prong collar: how to?

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Postby arlosgirl » January 20th, 2006, 5:20 pm

i just bought prong collars for my two pitties, i am having problems on how tight they should be around the neck? i know they are supposed to go just under the ears, and thats where they start out, but after we walk awhile beano will shake and it falls down to his reg collar. it looks like if i take another link out it would be too tight. he does really good with it, dont pull or anything, but baby girl pulls a little when by the ears, but when it slides down she will still pull so hard im afraid its gonna hurt her. and they still think they have to walk in front of me. any suggestions? ive only used them that one time cause i wanted to ask you guys before i tried again. thanks guys!
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Postby Maryellen » January 20th, 2006, 5:56 pm

how old are your dogs? a prong collar should be tight enough but not that loose.. you have to train the dog on the prong as well, usually the prong does the correcting, you dont have to do much to make it work. if the dogs are still pulling then the prong is too loose.
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Postby mnp13 » January 20th, 2006, 6:24 pm

the prong should be snug, and not spin freely around the neck. It shoud be just a little difficult to get on.

there are two rings on the chain that connect the collar, one is a fixed ring, also known as the dead ring, and the other has a swivel. The swivel ring is the 'live' ring. Clip your leash to the live ring.

You should have the smallest links that are strong enough for your dog, so that you have the most links possible and still have the collar fit.

the dog should never be pulling into the collar, the only time the slack should be out of the leash is when you are actually giving a correction. It sounds like you and your dogs are new to prong collars. I would suggest that you NOT walk them together for at least a few days, so they learn about the collars and you learn to use the collars for training most efficiently. You will not be able to teach the dogs leash manners if you are walking two at a time.

proper use of these collars is all about timing, and it's very hard to describe proper timing over the internet, but if you need more help I'll do my best!
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Postby arlosgirl » January 20th, 2006, 6:40 pm

beano is 3 and baby girl is 1. i want to teach them that when we go for walks that they dont try to take off everytime they see another dog, cat, cows, or horses. baby girl is the the main problem, she runs at anything that moves, even a plastic bag that got stuck in a barbed wire fence. i am having a really hard time training her and i cant afford the obedience classes. she doesnt listen barely at all. she is so hyper! i cant let her run cause she dont come back and our town softball diamond has holes everywhere in the fencing. im running out of ideas! i get so frustrated with her i just start yelling(she doesnt listen to that either), then i feel bad for yelling and baby her some more :?
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Postby arlosgirl » January 20th, 2006, 6:49 pm

michelle- do you hold them right next to you when you walk? then to do corrections just slacken and snap leash? i tried to slack then snap but shes pulling the whole time and if i try to slacken even a little it still stays tight cause she always pulls....

i had it on the live ring, too. she will just keep going, even if its choking her. she does the same with her reg collar.
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Postby mnp13 » January 20th, 2006, 7:18 pm

Ok, I will try to walk you through this...

first - stop babying your dog. if she's a jerk and gets in trouble and then pouts and you baby her again you are setting yourself up to fail.

How is her other obedience?

She should never be pulling into a prong collar. Until you get her under control, no more walking two dogs at the same time. Period.

I can't get on to that other forum... would someone see if they can find my 'teach a dog to heel' post and PM it to me? I would like to do a few updates and then post it again...
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Postby turtle » January 22nd, 2006, 3:52 am

Here is a helpful link on how to fit a prong collar:

http://www.leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm

And it's a good idea to have another collar on your dog for a safety back up because prongs can come apart. I use a thin nylon "show slip collar" that does not interfere with the prong but if the prong comes apart then it will hold her. I snap the leash clip to both the prong ring and the nylon collar and it works well.


(Michelle, did you get your "Heeling" post sent to you yet? I can go there and get it for you if needed...)
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Postby arlosgirl » January 22nd, 2006, 12:05 pm

mnp13 wrote:

How is her other obedience?



she wont listen to me at all. if i go to put her in her room for bedtime, i have to drag her or carry her there. if i open the door to feed/water her she tries to run out the door. even if its open just a crack she will shove herself through just to get out. she sits, but only for a second, then she is in my face or off running around the house. she dont stay, lie down, anything. if i try to go out the front door she tries to get past me. i can give her firm commands, yell, or even spank her- dont phase her one bit! the only thing she is scared of is a rolled up newspaper, but she wont listen to me she just runs away. i really think she needs a real trainer. (maybe i need the trainer). im at a loss.
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Postby cheekymunkee » January 22nd, 2006, 2:25 pm

Sounds like NILIF is or order for little missy. Read this site, be diligent in her training & you will turn her around in no time. It's time she learns who is boss. Don't spank her. Spanking a dog never works. She needs to learn from the sound of your voice when you mean business. I have a rather soft voice, until they piss me off. When momma gets loud, they KNOW it is time to walk the line. I don't really yell, but my voise gets low and louder and very strong. You don't need to yell, you just need to be firm.

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Postby mnp13 » January 22nd, 2006, 8:19 pm

Ok, I'll do my best not to be rude... but I'm not always good at that, so please understand before I start that I am just trying to be helpful...

1. Don't hit your dog with anything. Your hand, a newspaper, a magazine, nothing. Dogs don't always understand what they are being hit for and you will quickly make your dog hand shy and afraid of you. That sometimes leads to fear biting, which is a nightmare to fix and often can't be fixed.

2. Using a newspaper for 'disipline' is dominance. 'Training' using dominance only creates power struggles and you will never gain the trust and respect that you want from your dog.

3. I would strongly recommend you get into an obedience class, and as it seems you are a new and somewhat inexperienced owner (we all were at some point!) you should go to a training club, not a Petsmart type place. See if you can find one that has a class in positive training, as you need to establish a good rappor with your dog. Make sure the club is not positive only because you may need to add in compulsion at some point, and positive only is removing an entire type of training and in my opinion, that sells you and the dog short.

4. your dog is running the house. It's boot camp time. cheeky is right, you need to start NILIF. Do it with both dogs and I'd start right this minute. Be absolutely 100% strict with it, and get everyone in the family on board with it.

5. Put the prong collar away. with the amount of control you have with the dog (none) you can not use compulsion training with her. You will just continue the power struggle and things may (and probably will) get much worse. Good training always starts out positive and motivational and then you add in compulsion after a behavior is learned. It doesn't sound like she has any clue what's expected of her, and even if she does, she doesn't care.

6. Until you get in a training class, I would recommend you walk her alone and probably only enough to go potty. Further power struggle with the dog will only keep making things worse.
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Postby arlosgirl » January 23rd, 2006, 3:15 pm

hey, thanks for all the info! ill have to check around for obedience courses. the only one i know of is pretty expensive, they just opened here and they're still interviewing for trainers. its called safe haven. we dont have a petsmart or anything here.

i had to break up a fight between them yesterday for the first time. arlo's cousin was helping him in the bodyshop, and he let his 2yr old son play in the back yard, (we have a separate part of the back yard fenced off for the dogs until we get the whole yard fenced) well, he wasnt watching him and i was cleaning house. i heard the dogs growling and barking so i looked outside. tyson was kicking them through fence and the dogs just started attacking each other! i was pissed! i ran outside and broke them up, baby had welts on her side from beano scratching at her, and beanos mouth was bleeding a little. i took them inside and took tyson back to the bodyshop and reamed will's a**! ive told him a million times that he has to watch tyson if hes in the yard. so i finally told him i didnt want tyson near the dogs until he was older and knew not to be mean to them.

i was scared out of my wits! theyve never done that before!
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Postby GreddyGirl » January 23rd, 2006, 3:36 pm

Here ya go Michelle
jmann4 wrote:Moderator note: Thanks Michelle (MNP13) for sharing this lesson.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(I typed all this out a while ago for another list I'm on, so here you go with a few updates and revisions...)

If you want him to stay at your heel correctly when walking there is an EASY way to do it with a prong. It takes about 15 minutes and your dog will teach itself. You can NOT do this with a choke chain. They are useless as soon as the dog is on the wrong side of you or at the wrong angle. This will also not work with a flat collar, because all you do is jerk the dog's neck which is uncomfortable but not much by way of 'correction'.

I wrote this for heeling on the left, but you can do everything on the right if you choose.

Anyway, about the heel. Put a prong collar on the dog and hold the leash in your left hand with the dog on your left. Do not hold the leash with two hands, left only. The collar should be right up behind their ears, and the leash should be slightly slack. There should be a 'J' between you and the dog - i.e. no pressure on the collar at all

Now walk straight ahead, do not give the dog a command, do not look at the dog, just walk at a steady pace. Watch the dog out of the corner of your eye. When he gets ahead of you QUICKLY turn around. As you turn, let your left hand/arm trail behind you and then when you are facing the other direction bring your hand forward quickly. Continue to walk at a steady pace. Go at least 30 steps so that the dog is walking in a straight line, then turn again if necessary.

Do not turn and then take three steps and then turn again. You will just frusterate and confuse your dog. You need at least 10 steps to get both of you going in a straight line, then a bunch more to give your dog a chance to think about things.

You dog will yelp and may fight the first time you do this. The second time he may yelp as well. You are not hurting him, you are surprising him. You are teaching him through his own actions that he must walk in a position where he can see you and respond to your movements. After two or three turns he should turn with you with no trouble. He will teach himself that getting ahead of you makes him unable to see you turn, and if he can't see you turn he gets a correction. By not giving him a command he is not obeying or disobeying you - he is responsible for his actions - he also can't decide to disobey you and that is very important as well.

Try this out without him on the leash a few times. The turn must be smooth and controlled for it to work. You need to be confident as well, you are letting your dog know that you are the one in control of the walk and if he doesn't want to pay attention to you then he corrects himself for it. I'm sorry if this is hard to follow, I just do it automatically and it's hard to describe completely. (I did think of making a movie and posting it, but both Ruby and Connor are completley unwilling to misbehave while wearing prong collars!) If you are not getting a short 'pop' on the collar when you turn you need to work on your timing. The correction should be quick and short. If you do a long slow pull you will not 'get the point across'.

This may sound mean, but if your dog doesn't yelp the first couple times you do it you're not doing it right. Because the correction is short and fast and only comes when you turn around it sends a very clear message to the dog 'stay with me or you won't like the consequences'.

By making him responsible for tracking your movements you get a very willing 'heeler'. When he is where he belongs, say 'good dog, heel'. Then start saying the command when he is next to you walking. When you say 'break' allow him to roam to the end of the leash sort of push him away from you to get the point across that it's now ok to be out of his heel position, then say heel (and if necessary, turn) to get him back where he belongs.

With the dogs I train there are no 'stay' commands, there is only a command that the dog is to obey until another command is given. So he should heel until told to break, or if you have a 'go ahead and sniff every tree you see' command use that.

You may need to start off a few walks with this method before they get it down pat.

Let me know if you need further details on what you're doing or why you're doing it, I am aware that you can't read my mind through your computer screen.

Let me know how it goes!!!!

Michelle
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Postby a-bull » January 23rd, 2006, 10:34 pm

mnp13 wrote:Ok, I'll do my best not to be rude... but I'm not always good at that, so please understand before I start that I am just trying to be helpful...

1. Don't hit your dog with anything. Your hand, a newspaper, a magazine, nothing. Dogs don't always understand what they are being hit for and you will quickly make your dog hand shy and afraid of you. That sometimes leads to fear biting, which is a nightmare to fix and often can't be fixed.

2. Using a newspaper for 'disipline' is dominance. 'Training' using dominance only creates power struggles and you will never gain the trust and respect that you want from your dog.

3. I would strongly recommend you get into an obedience class, and as it seems you are a new and somewhat inexperienced owner (we all were at some point!) you should go to a training club, not a Petsmart type place. See if you can find one that has a class in positive training, as you need to establish a good rappor with your dog. Make sure the club is not positive only because you may need to add in compulsion at some point, and positive only is removing an entire type of training and in my opinion, that sells you and the dog short.

4. your dog is running the house. It's boot camp time. cheeky is right, you need to start NILIF. Do it with both dogs and I'd start right this minute. Be absolutely 100% strict with it, and get everyone in the family on board with it.

5. Put the prong collar away. with the amount of control you have with the dog (none) you can not use compulsion training with her. You will just continue the power struggle and things may (and probably will) get much worse. Good training always starts out positive and motivational and then you add in compulsion after a behavior is learned. It doesn't sound like she has any clue what's expected of her, and even if she does, she doesn't care.

6. Until you get in a training class, I would recommend you walk her alone and probably only enough to go potty. Further power struggle with the dog will only keep making things worse.


This is a fabulous post. Two thumbs up!! #5 is particularly key.

Good luck with the pup!!
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Postby mnp13 » January 23rd, 2006, 11:30 pm

Thanks Greddy...

However, I don't really want her to even attempt it. the dogs are far past the stage where this would be productive.

Arlosgirl - I know training is expensive, but it's worth it just to get rid of the headache of dealing with your dogs as they are now.
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Postby arlosgirl » January 24th, 2006, 6:16 pm

thanks for all the help. ive put away the prong collar and started NILIF. shes not liking getting ignored when she jumps on me or gets in my face, but it works for the most part. shell get down for a while, but she will keep trying to get my attention. im gonna be checking everywhere for an obedience course. maybe ill have enough left of my tax return to pay for it.

THANKS AGAIN EVERYONE!!!
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Postby cheekymunkee » January 24th, 2006, 6:26 pm

I'm glad it is helping! Keep it up, don't let her get away with anything! That little girl is GROUNDED! :twisted:
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Postby mnp13 » January 24th, 2006, 7:47 pm

arlosgirl wrote:thanks for all the help. ive put away the prong collar and started NILIF. shes not liking getting ignored when she jumps on me or gets in my face, but it works for the most part. shell get down for a while, but she will keep trying to get my attention. im gonna be checking everywhere for an obedience course. maybe ill have enough left of my tax return to pay for it.


Good for you! If she is that sensitive to being ignored, this will work very well for you. Make sure you stick to your guns and give it plenty of time to make an impact on her.

I am impressed. Please keep us updated on her progress.
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Postby arlosgirl » January 27th, 2006, 2:13 pm

its working, slowly, but it is. she wont listen to word commands at all. so when i ignore her she gets mad. then after a while, ill call her and shell try to jump up and i hold her down and say no! then she gets mad and leaves. that happens once or twice a day then after that when i called her she will come and sit on the floor by my feet and lets me pet her for about 30 seconds then she runs off again. all she wants to do is play all the time. she wont sit still for more than that 30 sec.

do you think when she gets spayed that will calm her down a bit? i had to reschedule her appt for later cause nate hasnt come to get the puppy yet.(my sister decided not to take her) and since the pup still tries to nurse the vet said i should wait till the pup goes so she doesnt hurt her.
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Postby mnp13 » January 27th, 2006, 3:10 pm

She'll wean the puppy when she wants to. Please get that pup neutered before you get rid of him.

Her behavior may or may not change after she is spayed.
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Postby DemoDick » January 29th, 2006, 3:05 pm

To add to what Michelle posted:

You need to also motivate this dog to want to be with you and perform basic obedience. I would start with food. Make sure the dog is very hungry. Use a treat that the dog absolutely loves. At first, give the dog a treat for no apparent reason to build the dog's curiosity. At the precise moment you treat the dog say the recall (or "come") command and praise the hell out of the dog. Continue with this a few times a day until the dog actually looks forward to running to you to get a treat. Next, start saying the command first and allow the dog to figure it out. Then begin extending the amount of time (in tiny increments) you make the dog wait for the treat.

I highly recommend the Balabanov method of motivation for a dog like the one you describe. Just remember, it's just a dog, and never take anything the dog does personally. The clearer you communicate, the more obedient your dog will become.

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