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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Karma is now getting to the age where I can begin some serious training and I'm wondering what type of collar is best for the transition. I'm just beginning to give a short "pop" correction when she starts lunging forward on the leash but she seems to be getting immune to it and I'm reluctant to do a harder pop with her nylon puppy collar.

I've seen a lot of photos in the gallery and there seems to be a wide disparity between the ones used. I've mostly seen wide, leather collars but I've also noticed the nylon slip type collars I've seen in conformation trials, in addition to the standard nylon collar I'm using now and even some metal "choker" type collars as well.

I refuse to use the metal choker or prong collar and I can't find a wide leather collar in her size anywhere locally, except for the one's with metal spikes which look riduculous. So I'm thinking about trying the thin nylon slip collar but wanted to get some experienced advice before I do.

So what collar do you use and why?
 

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Prong because with it you can make very gentle corrections that get a message across. They're also much easier on a dog then a regular flat collar (leather or nylon) and especially a choke. I don't like chokes, metal and most especially nylon. They require very harsh corrections that are much harder on the dog.

Some one on another forum did an experiment once. She put a metal choke around a mellon and did a number of corrections. She then put a prong on another mellon and did the same number of same strenght corrections. The melon that was wearing the choke had marks, and guages where the choke chain had been, the prong mellon had no marks.
 

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I use the prong collar with mine. They could choke themselves all day long with any choke out there. It is on for the simple reminder and to use if I need to.
 

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Throughout the years and on different dogs, I've used just about every type of collar there is - to include the head halti. I was so very opposed to a prong collar - they just look evil! But after lots of struggle, research and debate, I finally caved and bought one for Chihiro when she was about 7 months. She is a sled dog at heart. Even at 7 months, she wouldn't pull if I had her at heel but the concept of a casual walk on a loose lead was beyond her understanding (or my ability to teach).
The prong is now our primary collar. She wears it with her flat leather collar and sometimes during walks I can switch the lead over the the flat collar with no pulling. But, the difference between the amount of force I used with the prong compared to slip collar is insane. The tiniest pressure on the prong is enough to remind her where she should be. Let me add too, the prong I bought it smallish and I have the rubber caps on the points still. After reading that many prongs come apart at crucial moments, I've recently started putting her choke collar on too and have the leash attached to both (the choke is just for a back up in the event the prong comes apart).
When deciding on what collar to use, I think a lot of it depends on the dog, the handler and their experience and what it is exactly you want to accomplish....
 

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I recently discovered the wonders of the PRONG collar! Toro has been a very stubborn boy on the leash...yes, I tried a choke chain, but he used to do just that, choke himself, and I was afraid he may injure himself permanently.

I recently bought a prong and it's like night and day. A quick "snap" and he's back on track! And pulling is greatly reduced..
 

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Prongs here also, I tried the choke and like the others mine choked herself and that had to go, I also used the halti with Da'Kari with great results but with Nash it was a no go, he could care less LOL. Da'Kari finally outgrew the halti and besides, I didn't want to use it forever. The prong works with both and they are so well behaved with them on.
 

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Different collars for different dogs. It depends on many things what collar you want to use. I worked at the leads and collars shop for awhile at our training club and it really depends on the dog's level of training and your ability to train and handle your dog plus what type of training you are doing and what you are wanting to accomplish with your dog (like titles, just pet training, just to walk on leash, etc.).

My sled dog at heart wore a prong while in training from a young age, but after a few months he was trained off of it. Now he is great on or off leash and can wear a leather buckle collar for anything and everything. Sometimes we use the nylon martingale training collar for shows sometimes a nylon choke.
I only use a choke chain on a trained dog, not for training as it does what the name says it does unless the dog is trained. A fur saver is used for Sch. training and harness for tracking. He knows different collars mean different things.

If you go with the prong have it fit up at the top of the neck, not too tight and not too loose and don't get a huge one, the smaller the prong, the more control. Also, please note DO NOT take this collar off over the head of the dog, it has clasps to pulls apart so this does not have to be done. I can't believe the number of people who don't that and hurt their dogs accidently. And be careful with the prong and make sure you know how to use it right, no need for hard pop's, the collar has the potential for self correction for pullers. The AKC doesn't allow prongs on their show grounds so if you are training for show you can't use them and have to train off of them. Same goes with head halters. They are training tools and you shouldn't have to use them for the life of the dog (in the majority of cases).

My other Doberman isn't a sled dog and I use a regular buckle collar for her obedience training and a nylon show lead for show training and harness for tracking. We might use a training martingale later, but she will never need a prong. Each dog requires something different IMO. Your training club should be able to help you out a lot with the fitting of various collars and how to properly use each one.
 

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prongs here too for walks around the neighborhood - Velma is a major sled dog and always has been. She is obedience titled and training in open......but forget it when going for a "walk". Louise is a tad better but pulls also. The prong just keeps them from pulling.

I use the smaller prong also, and buy the good german ones. Herm Sprenger is the brand name (not sure if I spelled it right). No cheapy prongs from petsmart for me.

I do use a choke for training - but had to use a prong for Velma for awhile. She literaly would choke herself in puppy class walking on her hind legs pawing the air. She was the only puppy who never got to play off leash with the other puppies at the end of class because she treated them all like bowling pins and she was the bowling ball :) She was/is my high drive girl! Now when we train, she is pretty good, but it is like training with a coiled spring....... sometimes the energy just bubbles over.
 

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Duchess is a multicollar girl...
we like never use her prong anymore...
we use a slip collar when she has class...
I like using a regular harness more and more lately on walks cause it easily reminds her where her WHOLE body is suppose to be...not so much yanking at the neck...
we tried the gentle leader...but I felt so bad when her head would twist a little...so we never use it anymore...

....as for our fearful coco...he likes a harness...I think it makes him feel secure...
 

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Zucker said:
I don't like chokes, metal and most especially nylon. They require very harsh corrections that are much harder on the dog.
That really depends on the dog and the trainer, IMO.

As I said, I use nylon chokes. My dogs always learn on them pretty much from the get-go because they show when they are younger and I use the nylon show leads. When I start doing obedience, I just use a thicker nylon choke.

Since I've raised many a Doberman (and a few GSPs) in the last 25 years, I try pretty hard not to allow bad behaviours that require harsh, hard corrections to develop in the first place.

So, I don't agree with your blanket statement about nylon chokes.
 

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I agree with Mary that it really depends on the dog and a trainer. During the younger years of my girl, we used a no-pull harness from premier. It helped alot but was not cure all. Loose-leash walking was the hardest thing to learn than anything else we learned in class. I would have to say it took many many months of constant, consistent training to get my tow truck to stop towing me around. The anchor method, changing directions, etc was included with the type of collar we use. We use martingales collars now as our standard. Plus with the hours of hours of practicing to walk nicely on the leash will pay off eventually....
 

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Java would pull like crazy when she was first put on a leash in Obedience Classes. Dobes have dominant personalities, they want to be the lead dog. As I've posted before, during the second class the trainer put a prong collar on her (or the medieval torture device as she jokingly called it), and after two or three gentle corrections and accompanying indignant yelps and looks from 6-mo-old Java, she got the message and started to relax at the end of the lead. She only wore it during Obedience Classes and/or if she was pulling during a walk. Amazing how Java's attitude would change when she knew that it was time for her to 'work' and not play. As with anything, it takes a lot of practice with and w/o a training collar, but as your Dobe matures training will become easier. I also bring it out and practice 'leave it' exercises, so that if we come across something vile (dead bird) or potentially dangerous (hot food that has dropped from the stove) I can keep her safe.
 

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I think Java's post pointed out something important, and that is that a lot of people, especially novice owners, make the mistake of waiting until their dog is 6 months old or some other magic age to start training them. And by then, a lot of undesirable behaviours have already started. Especially pulling on the leash. People let it go because it's a "puppy" and then hey, the dog gets bigger and stronger and gee, they don't like it.

This has nothing to do with collars (or dominant personalities, IMO) and everything to do with letting undesirable behaviours begin and take hold.

When my babies are little and just starting on their first leash walks before they even go home, I'm leading them around on flat nylon buckle collars on a leash with food as a lure to get them into the right position. Praise for doing it right and verbal corrections and food to lure them back into position when they are wrong.

When it's time for me to start "doing obedience", they've already been taught right from wrong when it comes to leash walking so it makes no difference what collar I use really.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
"I was so very opposed to a prong collar - they just look evil! But after lots of struggle, research and debate, I finally caved and bought one for Chihiro when she was about 7 months...
When deciding on what collar to use, I think a lot of it depends on the dog, the handler and their experience and what it is exactly you want to accomplish...."

"I worked at the leads and collars shop for awhile at our training club and it really depends on the dog's level of training and your ability to train and handle your dog plus what type of training you are doing and what you are wanting to accomplish with your dog (like titles, just pet training, just to walk on leash, etc.)."

"Since I've raised many a Doberman (and a few GSPs) in the last 25 years, I try pretty hard not to allow bad behaviours that require harsh, hard corrections to develop in the first place."

Thanks to all who responded to my question. I should have given more detail but because I have a tendency to be long-winded in posting here, I tried to keep it as short as possible. I quoted the comments above because they were most appropriate to our situation.

I guess I should have explained why I won't/can't use a prong collar. In researching this topic, I first read about them at the leerburg.com site. While I don't agree with all of Ed's techniques, most of them seem logical and make sense to me. I understand they are not as evil as they look but my wife is absolutely adamant about not using them. Her quote to me was (and I mean no disrespect to anyone who has offered their advice nor do I want to offend anyone so _please_ don't take this the wrong way), "With a dog as intelligent and eager to please as a Dobe, anyone who has to resort to using that thing is the one who needs to be trained, not the dog." I couldn't argue with her on that point. And yes, we are both experienced in handling assertive/dominant large dogs.

In addition, I should have said in my original post that Karma is not a sled-dog. The breeder we got her from put a collar on her at 4 weeks old and had her dragging a leash around starting at 6 weeks. Since we got her at 8 weeks, she has always been on a leash when she's outside (except for play sessions after training) and I also do a lot of training with her on the leash even when we're inside the house.

But she is starting to grow up and is no doubt testing our pack leadership by pulling/lunging more. This is only occasionally and usually happens when Dogma (who is never on a leash) is running around, so this is only natuual behavior for a young puppy. The "Easy! Easy!" and "Ugh, Ugh's" are having less effect now and as I said in the original post, I'm having to give her the occasional pop with the leash. I want to nip this in the bud before it gets worse and I know she needs another collar rather than her flat nylon puppy collar. I intend, if I can find the time, to do formal OB work with her. Even if I can't do formal training in the ring, I'll at least have her do everything she would do in formal competition up here at the house.

I think I'm going to go with a braided nylon slip collar now while she's still young and eventually fit her with a Volhard collar when her growth rate slows down.

Thanks to all who shared their experience with me!
 
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