question for those who are experienced with dogs and leash training - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 05-01-2005, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been looking in some dog care message boards for advice on teaching dogs to walk nicely on a leash. My father's golden retriever, Goldie is really active and really strong. She really pulls on the leash so only my dad or my husband can walk her. I am getting conflicting information on the Gentle Leader/Halti and prong collars. I dont like the look of prong collars, but have heard people say they are actually better than the Halti/Gentle Leader. Have you guys tried any of those things? If so, how did they work? Were they effective? Thanks!

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#2 of 11 Old 05-01-2005, 06:40 PM
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When we first go our doggy I was sure I was only going to use positive doggy discipline on him, never a prong or other type of "mean" collar. Then, he got really big and tipped over dd's stroller on a walk by running so hard after a joywalking pack of puppies. She got a contusion on her head and we ended up trying the gentle leader. Did nothing. The prong collar works like a charm. We hooked him up and if he starts to pull, he gets a little tug and we say "easy" and we keep doing it until he gets the message. Dh worked with him around the house and yard for a few weeks with loads of little treats in his pocket for rewards. Then, I took him on walks with dd in the stroller and things have been better ever since. The prong collars actually do no hard, although you should not let your dog wear it all the time and never while playing. I have changed my stance on them. I could not walk our doggy, with or without dd, without the prong collar.

Prong collars are actually kinder than regular collars because dogs will pull so hard that they can do damage to their windpipe. They can't do that with a prong. If they wear it while playing, they can get a poke from it but you would not pull that hard while walking. Same with the gentle leader. My doggy just kept pulling with it.
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#3 of 11 Old 05-01-2005, 06:45 PM
 
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Our vet recommended the Gentle Leader. I haven't bought one yet, so I can't give you a review.

As far as the pronged collar, I definitely think it depends on you and your dog. My dog will walk along beside me OK, but then lunge. I have been scared to use the pronged collar because of this. I do have a friend who uses one with success. Her dog is a very muscular, strong dog. She wouldn't be able to hold her if she decided to really go after something. Her dog has been trainned to heel from the time she was a puppy, so she doesn't usually have any issue with pulling.

HTH!
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#4 of 11 Old 05-01-2005, 06:48 PM
 
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It's going to take a while to correct her leash pulling behavior because it sounds like she has become very used to it. Basically, if she pulls she doesn't get to walk. Period. I know some people are against it but I did do (with just a regular leash and color) the method where you just tug to remind them they're pulling. So, you could tug (hard since she's so strong) to remind her but if she's pulling at all stop walking. She doesn't get to go anywhere unless the leash is slack. You may have to work with her in other areas as well to establish who the boss really is...since it sounds like she thinks she is right now.
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#5 of 11 Old 05-01-2005, 07:09 PM
 
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Personally I am dead against gentle leaders, for a few reasons, first one being that they can do major damage to a dog's neck. I used to work with a veterinary nuerosurgeon who says his #'s on neck surgery's have increased 300% since the halti's and gentle leader's became common place. They basically cause a whiplash type injury to your dog's neck. They were never meant to be used as a correction device but they are now commonly being used as such. By correcting a dog wearing a head halter you whip his head around by the nose and that is far from a natural movement a dog would make.
If the dog is a strong puller a prong collar is the way to go, first off it's a correction the dog understands--in dog language, if he was messing around with a more dominant dog and not obeying that dog's bidding the more dominant dog would bite down, putting pressure on the dog's neck with his teeth-the prong collar simulates this action.
The key is that the collar MUST be fitted properly, it needs to be snug and fitted right up behind the ears. When you're walking with the dog every time he puts pressure on the lead, you stop, let him fall back in and then carry on. He will very soon learn 2 things, 1) if he wants to have no discomfort, he doesn't tighten the lead, the prong collar doesn't feel like anything provided the dog is not tightening the collar-therefore, it is the dog's choice whether she feels any discomfort at all-your job is to ensure she always has the option of a loose leash should she choose one. 2) She doesn't get to go anywhere unless she's walking on a nice loose lead. Dog's only do what works for them, she wants to get somewhere (even if she doesn't know where) and if everytime she starts to pull, the progress stops, she will soon figure out that if she wants to go somewhere, she better do it under your rules. Dog's only do what works for them-they're smart that way, if you make it impossible for anything to work for her unless it also works for you, it won't take her long to see your way

If you have any questions on how to fit a prong collar, feel free to pm me or ask them here (you need a medium for a golden--don't go to a large or x-tra large-I don't go bigger than medium sized prongs for the largest of dog's, I just buy extra links to fit in.)
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#6 of 11 Old 05-01-2005, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks!!!!!! I had questions about the Gentle Leaders becuase I saw one in action and it does seem pretty uncomfortable. Now I have even more concerns after hearing about neck injuries from it. One question about the prong, does it keep tightening as the dog pulls or do they stop before they do damage?

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#7 of 11 Old 05-01-2005, 08:30 PM
 
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Ouch, I did not know that about the Haltis. Hmmmm, may have to toss that. Tell me, does the injury come from any use, or just the correcting tugs? I do not pull on it for correction, I just hold it steady when my exceedingly stubborn and strong Shepherd tries to pull me around. It's about the only thing that keeps her from attempting to pull my arm out of the socket.

boricuaqueen327 , yes, the prong collar stops before it does any damage, it's got a little ring so it can't keep closing after it hits a certain point. That's why, even though it looks scarier than a choke chain, it's actually much safer. Try putting one around your arm and pulling on the leash end, then try it with a choke chain. You'll see the difference immediately.

I had good sucess using the prong collar on the Boston Terrier we used to have. It hasn't made a darn bit of difference on the German Shepherd. Shannon, I'll be PM'ing you on how to fit it, now that I think about it, the size might be the problem.
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#8 of 11 Old 05-01-2005, 08:33 PM
 
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I 2nd what Shannon0218 said

I used to think prongs were "mean" until I was taught how to use them correctly.

Way quicker results with little harm to dog.
As She said, they MUST fit correctly and you must learn the correction action backed with positive reinforcement

Good luck

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#9 of 11 Old 05-01-2005, 10:06 PM
 
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Our lexy dog is still working on it, but she's getting better. She was beaten with a leash and for the longest time would hide, shake, and urinate on the floor if she saw anything that looked like a leash (jump rope, string, belt etc) It was awful :headshake

Fast forward a bit and things are much better. She wears a harness kind of like this http://puplife.com/plugins/MivaMerch...ng_harness.jpg

and we use a retractable leash. Two things have worked best for us:
1. Having just one word/short phrase to use when she is pulling. For us it is "back".
2. Stopping when she pulls us. We just stop moving totally, and use the "back" word. Once she has come back to us and there is slack in the leash we move again.

She's getting better!

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#10 of 11 Old 05-01-2005, 10:55 PM
 
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Josie, another aspect of the sizing on the collar is that a lot of people purchase the larger size prong collar for a large dog-you are better with a smaller size prong, so always go with the medium size links and just purchase extra links.
Head collars can cause damage even when they aren't used to correct, especially if a dog pulls against them once they tighten. I cringe everytime I see a dog (usually a golden or a lab) hauling ass dragging his owner behind on the halter-they learn to pull with their head cranked sideways and once they've used it for 6 mos or so you can often feel uneven muscling on one side of the dog's neck.

There was a study done at a few of the veterinary schools comparing long term damage of various training collars at post mortem in dogs. Most damage was from choke collars, second was flat collars, third was haltis and last were prong and martingale collars (a martingale has the same action as a prong without the prongs so it's an excellent collar to move to once the dog is under good control with the prong)
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#11 of 11 Old 05-02-2005, 01:03 AM
 
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We raise, show and breed weimaraners. We have used prong collars with our girls on walks and they work wonders. No lasting damage.

What actually works best for us was taught by another owner of hunting dogs. You take a 4-6' leash (Leather works best...not a Flexi type leash) and wrap it under their belly. Loop the handle under the leash as you go around and then hold the handle as you walk. When the dog pulls, they pull on their withers and not you. I have been able to control at least two at a time while dropping them off at the kennel or the vets. (We own three currently and that is just TOO hard to get all three in to the office at once).
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