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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've searched the boards to read up on prong collars, but I'm looking for specific instructions on how to use them, and administer a leash-pop. I went to the site (leerburg) that shows how to properly fit them, but didn't see instructions on how to use them. Can anyone help me with step by step instructions, or direct me to a website?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I didn't know how to edit my first, but another question I had was regarding what age people started using prong collars? It seems like 6 months was common from reading other posts. Is it OK to start earlier?
 

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Personally I would not use a prong collar on a dog under 6 months - they're the equivalent of human babies/toddlers at that age. It's hard to give advice without knowing what your dog knows so far (ie. has it been to an obedience class? how old is it exactly? is he pulling like a freight train or just tugging after exciting things he sees?) and what you're aiming to have (a dog who's heeling at your side the whole walk or just one who won't pull you off your feet when he's chasing birds).

Before you expect puppy to walk politely on a leash as well you should be sure he's well exercised. The following is what worked with Jake: When he begins to pull, call his name, clap, squeak a toy, whatever gets his attention, and run the other way. You want the puppy to get used to following where you walk. When it starts to pull, do the same thing in another direction. When he's walking beside you, talk to him, praise him, pop a treat in his mouth, etc. Teach him that being by you is the best thing in the world. The "watch me" command is especially useful for teaching polite loose leash walking.

Once the dog understands what is expected of it you can use a prong collar if necessary. A prong collar should only be used with a regular 6' or shorter leash, no flexi-leashes or long lines.

Jake started out on a flat buckle collar, but since he could back out of that (little bugger) we used a harness on him. After he had been through a general obedience class I would work with him in a prong when I felt I needed extra control (I'm not very big compared to 75 lbs of hulking lab) or as a refresher course to commands he already knew (that being the operative part). Now he walks on his flat collar and flexi, and when we're in the city he's on a 6' lead and a gentle leader harness, which I far prefer to a prong.

I hope that helps until some of the real training gurus on the board can come lend a hand :)
 

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I agree with the above advice on not to use a prong until your dog is at least six months old. You will find lots of people like them and lots more dislike them so I am not going to get into that debate. It is up to you to decide of a prong is a TOOL you want to use or not. I believe like any tool, it can be abused if not used correctly. Since you are asking advice and doing some research, you seem to be going about it right...congrats.

I am a fan of the prong and have been using one off and on with Morgan since he was about 7 months. You will sometimes hear the prong collar called "power steering for dogs" and I think this is correct as well. The thing I like about the prong collar is that it makes things black and white for the dog...when they are doing something wrong, a little pop from the prong is often enough to let them know they are doing something wrong.

I think your best bet would be to take a good basic obedience class and have an instructor teach you when and how to give a correction. When you figure that out, transfer that knowledge to a prong collar.

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. She is 14 weeks (on Tuesday). We start class on the 19th. I was thinking of using the collar now more as a tool to help with the biting. Not only does she bite us all the time (often drawing blood), but she occasionally gets into this mad frenzy where she is racing around while barking and growling. She then starts to lunge at me and bite me very HARD. She just keeps coming at me. We've tried all of the tricks to stop the biting (holding muzzle, pinch nose, yelp, etc.) and always say "no bite". She is very dominant and stubborn. My mother in law is visiting right now and is afraid of her. I never thought a lab puppy would be so crazy!
 

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I would look under "Our Best Advice" in the puppy section of the board to find more information on the pinch/prong collar and the biting issue. Constant biting is completely normal, so it has to be consistently corrected. When Toby was little, I would wrap my hand around his muzzle firmly and say, "No Bite!" in a strong voice, but not yelling. I never needed to do much more than that, but sometimes if he was really wound up, I'd have to repeat what I'd said. Because he was trying to get attention, sometimes I'd just leave the area and it would diffuse his mood. I also have kids, and their hands were too small to get around his muzzle, and I wasn't certain they would do it correctly, so I had them say "No Bite!, kisses please!" and it would redirect him to giving licks. Now that he is 18 months we have a very kissy dog, but we all like it so it isn't a problem.

One other thing -- the board gets a lot more traffic on the weekdays, so if you post a question in the training section, you'll surely get more than one response from very experienced folks. They saved me during the puppy months!!!
 

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sblab said:
Thanks for the replies. She is 14 weeks (on Tuesday). We start class on the 19th. I was thinking of using the collar now more as a tool to help with the biting. Not only does she bite us all the time (often drawing blood), but she occasionally gets into this mad frenzy where she is racing around while barking and growling. She then starts to lunge at me and bite me very HARD. She just keeps coming at me. We've tried all of the tricks to stop the biting (holding muzzle, pinch nose, yelp, etc.) and always say "no bite". She is very dominant and stubborn. My mother in law is visiting right now and is afraid of her. I never thought a lab puppy would be so crazy!
14 weeks is WAY too young to be using a prong collar for walking - and you should not be using it to give corrections for teething. I would also guess your puppy's problem isn't dominance or being stubborn - she's being a puppy! Please heed the above poster's advice and read the training/puppy section of the forum. At this age, your pup is the human equivalent of a baby, certainly not ready for a prong collar. Unfortunately lab puppies aren't called land sharks for nothing - their little teeth are sharp, and broken skin isn't uncommon for most puppy owners. Right now your puppy is teething, so expect lots of chewing on whatever is available (yes that includes you unless you train her to chew something else) until at least 6 months of age when the baby teeth fall out and adult teeth come in.

When she chews you, tell her firmly "no chew" or whatever your command will be, then redirect her attention to something else she can chew on. This may take some creativity: we slathered peanut butter on nylabones, soaked washcloths in chicken stock then froze them, froze carrots and bananas, filled puppy kongs with frozen treats, and used empty water bottles. You might have to play with her with the treat to get her to enjoy it or pay attention to it. If she continues to chew on you, stand up off the ground, puff yourself up and ignore her. Close supervision is still key here though, because she will find something to chew on to ease the pain in her mouth - be it that nylabone you bought for her or the kitchen table leg. This will be work, it will not magically solve the chewing problem, you must react this way (or as described below) every single time she begins to be mouthy with you.

Another option is to teach her "give kisses" and ask her to do that instead of chewing on you. Slather some butter or peanut butter on your palms (fingers can be bitten more easily than palms so I avoid those) and let her lick if off while you praise often "good kisses, puppy give kisses." Repeat this often and eventually you can redirect her to give kisses as well when she's feeling frisky.

Above all, please do not use a prong collar to correct biting in your puppy. Explain to your mother in law to get up and ignore her when she's acting like all puppies act (excitable!!) and try some of the advice from the training section.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the additional replies. I have read through that best advice post...a few times :) We use "no bite" and re-direct her to a toy. She tends to get in more of a frenzy with techniques like holding her muzzle. We have been working on the "kisses" thing too. It works some of the time, if she is not in too much of a frenzy. We use a lot of the frozen things you mentioned too. I'll have to try the PB on my palms. It is also hard to get away from her when she is lunging and biting at me :(
 

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I wouldn't use a prong until the dog is AT LEAST one year old. And by that time after many obedience classes you shouldn't need one! Good luck with your training.
 

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When Oona was 6 months she was 60 lbs. It was the middle of winter and she would pull like a horse on the leash, walks were anything but fun and with all of the ice, dangerous. We took her to a trainer and it took two times around the room and she got the prong collar. It was the beginning of everything as far as her training.
Olie
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the new replies!

Wow - 60 pounds at 6 months!? That sounds big!

I'll be waiting to use it until she is older and I make sure to have a trainer show me the proper way to use it.
 

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You are starting training at about the earliest age you can. generally 4 months is considered the absolute minimum due to timing for shots and such things. Generally a minimum of 6 weeks of training before the pinch collar is introduced. Not all dogs require a pinch but some really do either because they are big and powerful and strong headed or because the owner is small or old or frail. Some dogs require more of a correction than others. My first dog I trained on a flatbuckle and she was fine with it. Amber I use a prong on after going up the scale of tools. I now have a flatbuckle, a nylon martingale, a chain martingale, several different chokes, a micro pinch amd an E-collar. With Amber the micro-pinch works the best for teaching and correcting. It takes far less corrections to achieve the same level of proofing as a with a simple slip collar. I am all about doing things with the least amount of corrections.
Some dogs ignore small corrections some don't. Just remember to use the smallest correction that is effective for your dog. Only you will know what is effective but go to at obedience class and talk to the instructor to make sure you know how to use each tool correctly. Most good obedience instructors will help you with all problems you have with your puppy.

Kelly and Amber
 

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Great advice here. I started using a prong collar on Tal once we started going to training class. He was 7 months at the time and was pullling like he had a carriage behind him!

I am now starting to wean him off the prong collar. Never would I use one at less than 6 months of age. I'd also learn how to correctly use one in a training class or under the supervision of a trainer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I'm certainly not small and frail ;D, so that won't be a problem! I'm excited to see how she does in class, and what advice the trainer gives us. We struggle to get her regular collar on most of the time, unless I'm able to sneak it on her while she is eating. Little things like that and her wild biting/barking/growling frenzies are wearing me out!
 
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