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IME, I never used a prong, but used the front clip no pull harness when Jackson was a (younger)puppy. It worked VERY well. BUT, it was difficult for my kids to get on him and it slipped (I've seen other threads about this and I think it's the harness I bought that is the issue.). Anyway, my point is, he was great on the harness, but wasn't learning how to loose leash walk. When I stopped using it, I had to basically start all over with loose leash walking. I somehow thought he'd have learned where/how to walk, but it didn't. It was definitely a band aid, not a cure. Now I have a bigger, stronger puppy to loose leash train, and I'm wary to let my kids walk him. I want Jackson to learn how to behave and walk correctly, without needing a device to do it. This way he will behave appropriately if off the leash as well.

Just my thoughts.
 

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As a child my siblings and I would fit and lead each other around by our dog's prong collar regularly. I have since both allowed people to lead me, and led other people and have not experienced ANYTHING like what is described in the link Crock supplied. Does this make this trainer's experience invalid, of course not, but it is certainly not the same as mine.

That said, I do not use a prong on my dogs now, largely because I don't use any type of collar on Tribble being a brachyocephalic breed and Rocky does not respond to pressure well. However, both my dogs are reactive, and they pull. They are getting better, but it still happens. Both have developed orthopedic problems and misalignment from the front attaching harnesses. Both of them need chiropractic work, which is costly, and Tribble is having knee problems from wrenching against the harness. I have gone back to a regular step in harness from a Sensation for Tribble and have ordered a Sporn for Rocky to replace the Easy-Walk. There really is no tool without a downside, so care needs to be taken so that ALL tools and methods are examined critically.
 

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Hi All,

I recognize that the rules of this site clearly state that any training method intended to inflict fear, intimidation, or pain onto a dog should not be endorsed. I am not seeking endorsement for any of these tactics--that is terrible. Instead, as a first time, learning, and loving dog owner, I am looking for second opinions that I would very much appreciate.

My girlfriend and I adopted a puppy from our local shelter at about 8 weeks. Our vet's best guess is that he is an APBT and lab mix, and at his last checkup at 13 weeks, he is a solid and stocky 20 pounds.

The pup has transitioned well into our home and I am really proud of his improvement. We haven't had any bathroom accidents including nighttime in 2 weeks, and he is learning what is OK to chew and what isn't. He is starting to "get" his name and basic commands including sit, down, watch, leave it, drop it, take it. He walks fairly well on leash as well.

What our pup doesn't do so well is contain his excitement when we come across people or other dogs on our walks. He is so thrilled to see them that he will pull on leash (flat buckle collar) to the point of choking himself (you know, that terrible "ack ack" sound!). For weeks we have tried everything from going to the commands (sit/stay), to briefly redirecting with enthusiasm or food and nonfood rewards, but nothing seems to phase him. Please note that I DO NOT yank and pull on the leash to keep him back. When we come across people and dogs, I try to keep slack in the leash so that he doesn't feel any added tension from me. But as soon as he sees them--BAM--he's pulling pulling pulling while I either hold the leash in a static position at my side, or enthusiastically run to the side and try to redirect him with his favorite treat.

As a first time dog owner, I'm very naive but do my best to research extensively from varying sources in order to learn. From what I've read, it's great that he's so pumped to meet everyone--we want him to be excited to see people and dogs, right? He's becoming super socialized at an early age which is terrific. Many sources say this high energy is just a "puppy thing", too.

Still, the behavior is concerning to me because I love the little guy and he is clearly putting himself at risk for injury by pulling so hard to get to people. I would love to just let him go as we do when he sees our neighbor's dog who we know is a safe playmate. But when we see large aggressive males, or people who don't look interested in meeting him, it is just not safe or appropriate to release him.

We started seeing a trainer in town who we really like. His group trains dogs for K-9 work, protection, and obedience competitions, but they also do obedience classes. His methods have been humane, thoughtful, based on scientific evidence, and he is clearly an advocate for raising stable and intelligent dogs. He's been great with our pup and we REALLY like him. We have started marker training this week as well, and have quickly seen a significant improvement in our pup's focus, engagement, and drive to learn and produce rewards.

I presented our leash-pulling issue to our trainer, who suggested a prong collar. He warned that many people view the prong collar as inhumane, but that the mechanism provides a small "pinch" that the dog likely does not interpret as pain--he likened it to a mother using her mouth on the pup's neck. Our trainer fitted the collar properly high on the neck behind the ears and taught us when and how to properly use it. It is not a quick-release collar, which I know can be dangerous. It's one of the solid Sprenger ones. Our trainer said that he normally wouldn't use a prong collar on a 13 week old puppy, but that our pup is so robust that it is appropriate in our case (e.g., when he put the collar on the pup for the first time and tried it, our pup didn't respond in any way--he said that most puppies his age would lay down and cry immediately). We agreed to go ahead and give it a try.

So, we have been using it for several days now, and it's true, we have seen an improvement; our pup does not bolt after the runner or biker going by, or walks with me to greet a doggy friend instead of bolting at it. What makes me happy is that the collar does not seem to elicit any sort of pain response--he's never yelped, whined, or cried. He'll occasionally just sit down and scratch at it, but that's it. A little itch--if that is what he is truly feeling--does seem more humane than choking himself with the normal flat collar.

Still, I am struggling with the idea of the prong. When so many people have such strong feelings about it, I can't help but second guess the method. As I said, we have recently introduced marker training, and he is doing so well with that. He is more focused and seems happier as he is better engaged during our time out of the house. But I can't decipher if that improvement is from the introduction of the prong collar, the introduction of marker training, or perhaps a combination of both. I wonder if he would continue to do well if we tossed the prong collar, remained diligent with marker training, and then introduced one of the front-attaching harnesses to aid in those times when he wants to bolt to greet someone.

I realize that there are other threads about prong/choke collars, and I have read them--but I would really appreciate advice for our particular situation. I also recognize that this subject can elicit strong feelings for some people on either end of the spectrum. Please note that this is NOT an invitation for distasteful mud slinging or personal attacks on people who may post. Neither is it an invitation to condemn our trainer, who I am confident is a kind, competent, and experienced professional. Lastly, I am not asking for members to violate site rules and endorse methods of training that are not in accordance of the site. My girlfriend and I simply need constructive insight from others with more experience than us in this realm.

Thanks!
What's wrong with a harness? No damage, no pain, no risk to the dog.

It's not easy to train loose leash walking to an adult dog, let alone a fiesty, flighty puppy. It takes time. Look up "silky leash", buy a harness to protect your puppy's trachea, spine and esophagus and get to work!
Dog Harnesses: The good, the bad and the ugly stay away from front clip harnesses! They can cause serious arthritis. Backclip harnesses won’t help the pulling issue at all.
 
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