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Discussion Starter #1
I went to Petsmart over the weekend, and I was supposed to be on a mission. But once I went down the leash/collar aisle, the hesitation began. I wanted to get Apollo a prong collar because he has developed this new habit where about 45 minutes through our walks (on bad days sometimes as soon as 15 minutes) he gets very dificult to manage. He pulls, he jumps all around me, he goes all up on people's grass...it's just not fun, and very dangerous since he could pull loose and run across the street!

We started working on heel, and what I do is, I'll give the heel command and work on keeping him in position for two blocks, and then I'll say, "Ok, it's time to play!" and I'll let him walk infront of me, and let him sniff for two blocks. I'm working on increasing the amount of time he's in the heel position, and decreasing sniffing time gradually because he doesn't have the patience (probably my fault because I've let him walk infront of me, and I haven't been too strict with the sniffing since the day I first put his leash on). I don't think he's lacking time to actually run around because he gets two scampers through the park/day, and a fun game of "Chase Mommy" every night before bed. And that's not including his regular walks. So I'm wondering what his problem is...Am I just expecting too much from his puppy attention span?

I really think a prong collar might help, but they just look so scary! Someone convince me that they're not actually some Medieval torture device...or if anyone has some other suggestions for correcting this problem that would be great!
 

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They are great to use, I have 3. 2 are Herm Sprenger with the quick release feature. When Alex was a puppy I used a choke on him and his neck was red & sore and some of the hair never grew back, plus its not good for their neck, I'll never use a choke again. Try putting the prong on your leg or arm, it doesn't hurt. I don't know why I didn't start using it on Suzy earlier, she was horrible on leash and then as soon as I used the prong it was like a 180, she is a dream to walk now. Here are a couple of links on the prong http://www.flyingdogpress.com/prong.html
http://www.leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm

I got the links from this forum, although I believe someone said the way leerburg describes how to fit is wrong and I agree, too close to the ear is not good.
 

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Any training collar can become a torture device if it's not used properly. A prong collar can be a useful tool if it's sized correctly and you use it right. I used to use one with Ava and it didn't take us long to graduate from the prong to just a regular buckle collar on walks. I think the most important thing to remember that it's a tool, not a crutch so you'll still need to teach him how to walk politely on lead so you won't be using the collar forever.

Have you considered signing up for obedience class? Or depending on how old he is, puppy class?
 

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We use to use a prong collar. It worked great for Gracie. Her only problem was she was the perfect dog with it, but as soon as you take it off she was out of control. We got training for her and now we can walk her with her regular collar on. For the most part we don't have any problems with her.
 

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I know you guys are probably getting sick of me singing the praises of clicker training <g> but here I go again :)
I can only relate though what I've done with Chi and how it has worked for us. If I'm not mistaken Apollo is about the same age as Chi, (bout 5 months) right?
Her heel is a work in progress but walking on a loose lead is down to almost a fine science. Since we don't have a fenced yard and very few safe places to allow her off lead, the vast majority of her excersize is on the end of the leash. Because of that, I don't like to keep her at a heel unless I have to have her under complete control and her utmost attention. For the most part she is free to sniff and walk ahead of me as long as the leash is kept loose. How did I do this, you may ask? With the clicker and lots and lots of dried liver. As soon as we started our walk, before she had the opportunity to pull I would click and treat (that really gets her attention) and then would click and treat sporatically throughout the walk. When she pulled I stopped dead and did not move, as soon as the leash was loose and we were able to get at least a few steps she got another c/t. In a matter of just a few walks she realized that she only got the yummy when the leash was loose. I have found though that about half way through our walks she, like Apollo :) gets a bit full of herself and wants to act out. It was hard initially for me not to pull her back or give her a correction. But now when she does that and gets silly I put her in heel until she calms down a bit and then we try again with the "let's go" walk. I also tend to really slow my pace while she's in heel if she's excited. She's young and we're both still learning so I really try to set her up for success. It seems to be working wonderfully for us. I use only a flat collar but am thinking about switching her over to a harness soon.

Good luck and keep us posted :) How are his ears doing? Would love to see pics :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'd really rather not use it...Im just wondering where this is all coming from because he was walking fine on a leash up until about a week and a half ago. Now all of a sudden he has days where we can't even make it to the end of the block without him pulling and jumping around. It's like he's getting bored with the walks, but we don't take the same path every time, and I do let him sniff occasionally, so I don't know. He's almost 5 months old now, and we are starting classes in January.
 

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As I see it, the key to no pulling is making a loose leash more appealing than a tight one. In my case I use liver, cheerios and tiny pieces of hotdogs, those are infinately more appealing to Chi than a tight leash. The prong collar works the same way, not feeling the tightness and the pinch is more appealing than feeling it.
 

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Our puppy class instructor recommended a headcollar (we got a HALTI) and Duke doesnt pull anymore when we walk him. He freaked out at first but is doing well now and walks by our side.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
TracyJo said:
I know you guys are probably getting sick of me singing the praises of clicker training <g> but here I go again :)
I can only relate though what I've done with Chi and how it has worked for us. If I'm not mistaken Apollo is about the same age as Chi, (bout 5 months) right?
Her heel is a work in progress but walking on a loose lead is down to almost a fine science. Since we don't have a fenced yard and very few safe places to allow her off lead, the vast majority of her excersize is on the end of the leash. Because of that, I don't like to keep her at a heel unless I have to have her under complete control and her utmost attention. For the most part she is free to sniff and walk ahead of me as long as the leash is kept loose. How did I do this, you may ask? With the clicker and lots and lots of dried liver. As soon as we started our walk, before she had the opportunity to pull I would click and treat (that really gets her attention) and then would click and treat sporatically throughout the walk. When she pulled I stopped dead and did not move, as soon as the leash was loose and we were able to get at least a few steps she got another c/t. In a matter of just a few walks she realized that she only got the yummy when the leash was loose. I have found though that about half way through our walks she, like Apollo :) gets a bit full of herself and wants to act out. It was hard initially for me not to pull her back or give her a correction. But now when she does that and gets silly I put her in heel until she calms down a bit and then we try again with the "let's go" walk. I also tend to really slow my pace while she's in heel if she's excited. She's young and we're both still learning so I really try to set her up for success. It seems to be working wonderfully for us. I use only a flat collar but am thinking about switching her over to a harness soon.

Good luck and keep us posted :) How are his ears doing? Would love to see pics :)
Thanks for the advice! Maybe I will expand the clicker training to our walks. I used the clicker to teach him to focus on me, and also for sit and stay. It really does work great. He just gets so crazy outside lately, nothing will calm him down. I've tried being a "tree" and he just runs circles around me until his leash gets tied up. I've tried walking backwards and he just charges in that direction instead of going forward. For these last couple days I've just been ending the walk, coming inside, and then waiting a half hour or so and trying again. That seems to be working best, but it's a pain. I don't mind either if he's not constantly in the heel position, it's just the pulling and jumping around that annoys me. I'm also worried that he'll be fine when he has the prong on, but when I go back to the regular collar he'll be a pain again...

As for his ears (thanks for asking btw :)), I posted them both back up because the left one started to flop slightly and the right is still not cooperating. The left one does seem to be getting less flimsy, but the right doesn't seem to be changing much. He still has some teeth coming in, so maybe once he's done teething they'll be more stable. I'll take some more pics of them when I take them down Friday.
 

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I've tried being a "tree" and he just runs circles around me until his leash gets tied up. I've tried walking backwards and he just charges in that direction instead of going forward.
lol Yeah the tree method didn't work for us either.

I know you guys are probably getting sick of me singing the praises of clicker training <g> but here I go again :)
Anyone who has used a clicker before understands. I gush about it all the time because it makes it so much easier on the dog to understand what you want from it. I often wonder how people have the patience to train without using it!
 

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I have Prong collars for Takira. I will say that like any other training tool if used correctly it can be great! I taught Takira to walk very nice by using a prong collar, now I use any collar and she is fine. It doesnt take long for the dog to realize that pull = uncomfortable.

In any case when I take Takira for a walk she knows it is all business, we dont play, we dont sniff and we dont poop. I use the time that I take Takira for walks as an extension of OB training. She gets to play when the work is done, it makes it much easier for me to get her exercise and practice OB without having to constantly correct her for stopping and sniffing.

I have noticed also when I take her to public events where there is alot of people and perhaps other dogs she knows that if she is on leesh it is work time. She wont go sniffing around and trying to say Hi to people or other dogs, leesh is on = worktime.

This works for me because I have a big fenced yard and she has plenty of room to run around and play either before or after her walk. If the walk is the only time you get to play then I suppose you do need to let your dog sniff and poop and stuff. :D

TD
 

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Discussion Starter #12
TakirasDad said:
I have Prong collars for Takira. I will say that like any other training tool if used correctly it can be great! I taught Takira to walk very nice by using a prong collar, now I use any collar and she is fine. It doesnt take long for the dog to realize that pull = uncomfortable.

In any case when I take Takira for a walk she knows it is all business, we dont play, we dont sniff and we dont poop. I use the time that I take Takira for walks as an extension of OB training. She gets to play when the work is done, it makes it much easier for me to get her exercise and practice OB without having to constantly correct her for stopping and sniffing.

I have noticed also when I take her to public events where there is alot of people and perhaps other dogs she knows that if she is on leesh it is work time. She wont go sniffing around and trying to say Hi to people or other dogs, leesh is on = worktime.

This works for me because I have a big fenced yard and she has plenty of room to run around and play either before or after her walk. If the walk is the only time you get to play then I suppose you do need to let your dog sniff and poop and stuff. :D

TD
He's free to run around and be a silly puppy when we play at the park. I would like our walks to also be "business" (no constant nose to the ground, sniffing everything and everyone who walks by), but he can't seem to focus for very long, and I wonder how much pushing from me is too much at this age.
 

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For my experience, we have a command especially and only for heel (no nose to the ground, no potty, and right beside me) and then we have a command for being on leash but relaxed. She can go ahead of me and sniff, pee, whatever, just as long as she doesn't pull at all. It's worked great for us, as I take her to the state park alot, she MUST be on leash, but I like her to have the freedom to enjoy herself. Lexus knows her "go easy" command, as soon as I issue it, she heads right out in front of me.

I use a harness for her "free time". I use the collar for work. When I walk her in her harness and she in on her free time, if she does start to pull or tug, she is recalled and has to walk in the heel. We start and stop, she must down, then go back into the heel, reverse, etc. All this for a good few minutes, then I release her again. It took a while, but she rarely pulls anymore now.

I do have a prong, if you do get one, make sure the prongs are very short. Mine are only about half and inch long. As mentioned above, make sure it is fitted well, as that is the key. I prefer her prong to a choke, I never use that anymore. I really only use the buckle collar anymore, as she's really come along in her training. Very rarely do I need the prong anymore. Used in good hands the prong is better and safer than a choke.
 

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Loose leash walking is probably the hardest thing to teach a dog. There are a lot of different factors involved with this. Our girl was a big puller at first. Even though she's over a year old, now, she still has her moments of not walking the way I would like. We used a No-pull harness on her as a pup. It kinda restricts there shoulder movement and when she did pull, she was turned into us. This harness showed immediate improvement, but still we had to teach her what we expected of her. Here's the No-pull harness link

http://www.premier.com/pages.cfm?id=74

Somethings to consider:
Who's leading the walk? Some dogs will think since they are in front of you, they decide where to go. I never let my girl walk directly infront of me. She needs to be on my side and maybe a half a body length in front.

Do they follow your lead? When you stop, do they stop? When you change directions, do they follow you. I start with changing direction with no notice to my girl. She needs to follow me, with ni warning. That way they learn to watch what you are doing. When ever she would get ahead of me, I would turn around and walk the other way or change the direction.

When they pull, Do you pull back. The tree or I like to call it the anchor. It does work, but it takes alot of patience and time. They want to go forward, so they will continue to pull to get there. Eventually they learn the faster way to get there is to walk nicely. I have spent an hour trying to get around the block, where it should be 15 minutes. The more she pulled forward, the more steps I took back.

This is a difficult thing and can take months to get it manageable. We are still not there, but we are in good shape. We decided to not use a prong collar, due to the variety of methods we have been teaching her do work, but it takes alot of work.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks to everyone for the great advice! I ended up picking up a prong collar at the pet store a few hours ago. It has the short prongs, and it also has removable rubber tips...will it be just as effective if I leave them on? He doesn't seem to like it, but we took a short walk around the block and there's a huge difference already...who would've thought a bunch of pokey things jabing into your neck would make you stop pulling? :p As you can see, I'm still not a big fan of the collar, but until Mr. Man goes through basic training I guess it'll have to do.

Quick question...should I wait until he has the heel thing down perfectly before adding sits when we stop, or can I work on both?
 

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Sure just leave the rubber tips on.

Definetely have him sit when you stop. I've worked Lexus at the heel/sit stop since she was 3 months old. The heel is a command that should include the sit, never let it be optional for him.

Another thing, I worked Lexus for a long time at the heel before we started the loose leash walking. Reason being, I called her into the heel when she would start to put tension on the line. It can be frustrating for a while, but they get the hang of it.

I was never a fan of prongs either, I used to think they were cruel actually. And any collar can be cruel in the wrong hands. But I think it is a better training device than a choker, and much safer. Now I like my prong, and since training with it, I rarely have to even use it anymore.
 

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I have a prong collar for trintiy. She use to pull like crazy but once I got the prong collar and got her use to it she is a dream to walk. She listens to me alot better now with the prong collar then before I got it.
 

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i dont actually think i have ever seen one for sale in the uk let alone anyone use them..they intrigue me though as to theri effectiveness..youve prbably been asked this before but is any pain involved..or is it just slight discomfort?

i think if i went out in public with a prong on my dog here i would get battered by old ladies with their handbags lol.

I use a Canny collar which are amazing.. i have tried the halti and a harness but it was a complete distaser. When i put this on Harvey i had the most well behaved dog in the town.. he walks to heel and doesnt pull and gives me a full control over him..it has helped dramatically when training harvey to walkalongside. You can get them shipped to the u.s ..

heres the website~ with vids etc showing the difference it makes to the dogs walking behaviour before and after :)

http://www.cannyco.co.uk/CannyFiles/index.htm
 

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Hey Twink :)
I am looking at the canny collar now and it is interesting. I can see how it would work very well to correct pulling without discomfort or risk of injury to the dog. My question is, do you have a problem with the nose loop slipping off if his lead is loose and he's sniffing around?
 
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