Pinch collars or choke collars

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tess's picture
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I went to Axels first obedience class today. I had on a regular collar and the trainer handed me a choke collar.  He said it yields faster results.  Now I get it. I just dont particularly like them. I went ahead and slipped the collar on his neck and we had the class and he did well, but I think, no I know, I would have acheived the same results with his original collar. Now his next class is next week and before I say anything to the trainer I desperatley want opinions. You guys have been fantastic so please dont let me down. Any and all opinions are welcome.

 

Tess

tess's picture
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I had on the red one in the picture.

 

Tess

KevinK's picture
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How old is axel?  If I'm not mistaken, he's pretty young, right?

Personally, I would't go back to a trainer who will use positive punishment on a puppy in initial training because he says it yields faster results.  This is poor training technique.  If you had a baby, would you smack him if he pooped in his diaper, because it will potty train him faster?  It's absurd logic in my book, and I wouldn't be physically correcting a puppy, especially in initial training. 

Tayoh and I's picture
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I used a martingale collar on Tayoh when he was younger, then used a chain when he got older. I still use a chain to train with him, but when we're out in public, he walks on a regular collar. When we're working, he's on a regular collar. 

I learned how to train using the chains. I've gotten really used to them.. and when I went into a class teaching without them, I felt out of my element. 

I don't, however, think they should be used on younger dogs/puppies. They can damage the esophagus if they're used wrong/bad/whatever. 

I don't agree with the "it yeilds faster results" statement, either. Some dogs do great on regular collars, some don't. Some do better on a choke, others don't. 

For example, my best friend has a german shepherd who is skittish. She took her to a trainer who used chains exclusively (no normal collars within miles!).. and it didn't work. Only managed to scare the piss out of Affinity. I, however, used a chain with my small dog to train him on, and he excelled. 

Not all dogs are the same. 

DJ's Dad's picture
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If you think you can achieve good results with Axel on his regular flat collar, then DO IT.  If he's less than 6 months old, he's probably too young to use a pinch collar on, and I dont particularly like choke chains for training.  (I do, however, think they are awesome looking on a doberman's neck, just for 'looks').  Some trainers prefer one type over another, but keep in mind, it's YOUR dog, and if you dont feel good about using a chain, then dont. 

As soon as DJ was big enough and old enough to work with a pinch (prong) collar, that's what I switched to for training. She's a little bit hard-headed at times (ya think???) and gets distracted easily by things like birds flying over, leaves blowing in the wind, sticks or rocks on the ground.  LOL.  We are three weeks into a 4 week class right now, and I started our class last night with just a flat collar, but two minutes into class, I pulled out the prong from my pocket and put it around her neck.  I didnt have to use it for corrections AT ALL, but as soon as it went on her, she immediately switched gears into 'work mode' and stopped acting like a wild puppy.  It's her thing.  It works well for her.

jerial13's picture
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I will second all that is said.  I know you would like to think that your "trainer" has all of the answers, but like Kevin said some methods are "old school" for lack of better terminology and will get results, but not in the way that you are looking for them.  Do you want I am trying to please you results or do you want I am doing this because I am afraid results.

I personally did training at home with no collar until Shelbi was over 6 months, then I started using the prong collar, similar to DJ's Dad I also experience just putting it on her and she knows to alter her attitude.

I hope your next class goes well, I would stand my ground with the trainer.  If your trainer does not understand your concern, then do more research and find a new trainer.  Axel is your dog and you will be the one with him his whole life the trainer is just with him for a chapter, but that chapter could alter the ending for the book.

Jeri & Shelbi

tess's picture
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Axel was born on May 24, 2012 so that makes him 18 weeks old today. With that said, Im glad for the imput.  He is too young for the choke or pinch collars. My gut told me not to put it on him and I will listen to myself next week. I really do think I can acheive the same results with a flat collar.  The trainer had his dog, a beautiful golden retriever and yes he was amazing. Im sure the trainer is qualified based on his own dog. With that said, I will get him on the phone and tell him that from here on out I will be using a flat collar. Quite frankly the class bored Axel more than anything. He already knows how to walk properly on a leash. He kept falling asleep inbetween exercises.  It really was quite amusing.  At one time the trainer asked me if he could walk Axel to demonstrate the heel. No problem, he did it perfectly except he put his head down and he got a correction.  Harder than I felt comfortable with and I let him know about it after the class.  He told me that Dobermans respond well to a firm hand and all he was doing was reinforcing who was in charge. Anyway thanks for the imput. I will be working with Axel and watching closely.  If he doesnt like or want to go to the class then we will end the sessions. His classes should be fun, not punishment like Kevin suggested and I whole heartedly agree.

 

Tess

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Tayoh responds better to a soft hand. Most of the dog I've met don't need a 'firm hand.' 

Axel falling asleep reminds me of when I took an advanced class at petsmart, just for fun... and Tayoh slept through nearly the whole class, every week. 

DJ's Dad's picture
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from tess: ...He told me that Dobermans respond well to a firm hand and all he was doing was reinforcing who was in charge.

Oh, this sounds SO MUCH like a trainer I went to in a class several years ago....he was an ex-K9 trainer for Army and Police dogs, and he had a very.....ermmm...'firm hand' when he taught the class. No treats were allowed to be used, and ONLY metal choker chains were to be used in his class. At one point, he corrected a woman's little fuzzy dog by lifting it off the ground by it's choke chain & leash. (seriously) 

Needless to say, 12 people and dogs started this class, but only 5 of us actually finished it. My doberman, Darmok, didnt need his kind of correction, and I told him so.  Most of the people in the class just got so fed up with him, they just quit coming.  Honestly, I dont believe that any dog prefers to be strong armed into obedience.  Stand your ground with this guy.

HarleyBear's picture
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Or just find a differnet trainer all together.  Dogs are much more willing to respond to you and do what you ask them to do when they choose to do it.  

"Yes, I am going to do what they ask because I get a reward at the end!"

Postive training works and in the end dogs are more consistent.  

DobieWanKenobi's picture
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"...He told me that Dobermans respond well to a firm hand..."

I don't think Kay was told about that fact. This is her reaction whenever she's told that she's a bad dog.

If I jerk the lead as a correction, she shuts down. Raised voices, aggravation and impatience stops her working, as well.

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Kay has broken my heart.  Tell her shes a good girl. As for Axel, like I said, I will play it by ear.  Its not above me to walk out on a session if I think its necessary.  I am too invested emotionally to this wonderful little man that I will not let anyone harm him in any way.  That also means a "trainer" who has a different training method.  Its only been one hour and one session so I will see what happens next week.  Ill keep everyone posted and I will keep Kay's face in my mind.  Thanks for the visual.  Sometimes pictures speak louder than words.

 

Tess

HarleyBear's picture
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Awww, DobieOneKenobi.... that is so sweet/sad.  Give her a skritch and tell she is a good girl from me.

Kaisesr's picture
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Kaiser hates if I raise my voice, to... Kay looks so contrite!!!

NCFalcon's picture
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I think that the trainer said this because it yields faster results for HIM not the dog. Ya gotta remember that these courses are only a few weeks if that and if the trainer can't get results in that amount of time he will lose his credibility. Sadly i think  he's in the business the make money first and train second

faustacaso's picture
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You need to be very careful with both the choke and pinch collars with dobermans...neither is a good idea because of the "wobbler's syndrome" so common in dobies.  Their necks are very tender.  I use an easy walk harness with Bella...I did mention useing a pinch collar with her and my trainer said absolutely not!!!

Sam
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Sorry if its a strange question but what is a pinch collar, never heard of it.

DJ's Dad's picture
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Pinch collar = prong collar.  Same thing.

Sam
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Never heard of a prong collar either, I'm obviously not up on collars -haha, but it sounds dangerous.

DJ's Dad's picture
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This is the prong collar (aka pinch collar) that I use for training purposes with DJ.  In this photo, it has slipped down farther on her neck than I originally had it placed, but she had been doing a lot of work, and it needed to be adjusted back up to just under her jawline.  It's the smaller prongs (sometimes called baby prongs) and they are not sharp, it does not poke into her neck, in fact, she seems to be quite comfortable wearing it.  It's a 'self-correcting' collar, in that when the dog pulls forward on the leash, it puts a even 'pinch' effect all around the neck area, not just a tightening up on the trachea as some choke chain collars do when used incorrectly.  Honestly, I would NEVER use anything on my dog that was hurtful or made her the least bit uncomfortable.  The most I ever have to correct her myself with the leash attached to this type of collar is a slight quick tug.  That's it.  I can walk her holding the leash with two fingers.  If I used just her flat collar, I would be holding her back constantly.

Tayoh and I's picture
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One of my friends bought a training book, that says that 'a prong collar is better for the dog than a choke chain collar'. I was appalled. 

oh we have so much to learn here.

DextersMom's picture
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I need a firm hand for Dexter!

All that homemade doggy treat dough wont knead itself into shape!!! That stuff is tough, but my firm hand is tougher!!!

Without my firm hand, I would not be able to lift the large cookie sheets out of my stove! Wield the rolling pin...  you get the picture!

Sam
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I looked on the internet to see what a prong/pinch collar was.  I don't think they are used much in England, I've never seen one.  I always use a gentle leader collar for my dog, this was recommended to me from the trainer they had when they were younger.  I found it very effective and was able to walk both my dobes together using one hand.

NCFalcon's picture
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Hey I was wondering if a collar like the one DJ's Dad has in the pic would help with pulling. Sometimes I think jax is a snow dog or something

Happydance's picture
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LOL Rnddobermans, ya think?

tess's picture
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Well since I opened this can of worms two weeks ago I might as well weigh in on the subject.  I have decided that I would use the choke collar on Axel while Im training him. That means in the class and at home.  The reason is simple, he responds to the choke collar.  Its like a light comes on in his head and he does great.  NO pulling at all. In fact I think I have only given him two pull corrections total. When we are done I slip on his flat collar and lo and behold he pulls and plays with the leash.  Its amazing how he knows the difference. Now logic tells me to leave both on him, but I want him to know the difference.  Its amazing how smart this wonderful breed is and I look forward to seeing what else is in store for us.  A footnote to this feed: Axel is doing wonderful in his class.  Even the 7 month old weener dog doesnt annoy him. That poor dog is on the verge of losing her mind and all Axel can do is fall asleep.

 

Tess

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Dextersmom you crack me up!  

Tess, do what works for your pup.  Before I got Kaiser, the Doberman Rescue forwarded me a bunch of paperwork. (I did not Kaiser from a Rescue)  It had prong collar information, I wish I had saved the article.  Anyways, the woman was an advocate for doberman and promoted the use of prong collars.  I admit to have been intimidated by them, but it is my best tool.  Kaiser knows I mean this is pay attention time!!!  When I used the choke collar, it actually did what it is called "choked Kaiser" I did try it he just didn't respond well to it. I felt like I was going to hurt him.  I admit that I do not know how to properly use it.

I know a lot people who use the choke collar with success and their dogs respond to it.   I think you have to do what is best for you and your pup.

DJ's Dad, I think she belongs in a magazine photo shoot, she is so ppprrrreeetttttyyyyyyyy : )

Mary

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I looked at prong collars over the weekend... I just didn't have the heart to buy him one. I did actually purchase a lead collar (the one that goes over his snout) and got amazing results! Buddy, however HATES IT! He tries to grab it with his paw whenever we stop. lol

I guess we just have to practice more.

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@Buddy's mama---that's exactly why I stopped using a Gentle Leader head halter.  My dogs ALL hated it so much, they spent 90% of our walking time trying to rub it off.  For 30 years, I never used a prong collar, basing my decision solely on the fact that I didnt like the way it looked...I thought it looked like a torture device.  Boy, was I ever WRONG.  Best training collar I ever used.

Good luck with the head halter.  It can be done---I see dogs wearing them all the time around here.  Just be extremely careful about putting any torque on his neck.

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My husband wants me to purchase a chain collar. This is what we had on Slick (our black and tan) but he NEVER PULLED while walking. Buddy is a wackadoo and I don't want to hurt him but to be honest he pulls against the flat collar I have on him. Maybe if someone actually could show me how to use it properly (prong collar), I wouldn't worry so much. I have been watching videos on line and some say put ot up behind the ears and others say lower. It's very confusing... Do the prongs sit on the back of his neck or the throat?

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Ideally, the prong collar fits snug against the neck, up high, sort of under the jawline and just behind the base of the head.  BUT....most of them slip down during use, and either are pulled back up into the proper position, or left alone (not really the way it's supposed to be done) because I am too lazy to adjust it every time it slips.  No heavy pressure is EVER needed, and honestly, DJ knows that the prong is her 'business suit' and she behaves so well when she wears it I rarely even have to give her the silghtest tug. 

You dont EVER slip them over the dog's head, they are always taken apart at one of the links (very easy to do, btw), put onto the dog's neck, then linked back togehter.  You can add or remove links to adjust the size to fit the individual dog.

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If you actually put a prong collar on so it fits snug on your arm/leg, you'd be surprised what you DON'T feel.  I've had one, but am waiting for Kev's trainer to show me how to put it on.  I have trouble man-handling the links.  Any research I've read argues FOR their use over other training collars.  It's not a "firm hand", it actually reduces the need for one.

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After reading all of the posts and doing research on my own, Im inclined to use the prong collar on Axel as he gets older providing the choke collar doesnt hold him as I need him to be held. Now he is only 5 months and as he gets bigger and stronger I will need better control of him especially on a walk. As most of the forum knows, I am recovering from a severly broken arm that I suffered in December of last year. After 2 surgeries my strength isnt what it should be, so I need absolute control. I would like to think Axel is aware of my situation, but that would be a stretch lol.  I mean they are in-tune dogs, but that is a stretch. Lots of luck to everyone and what they choose for their wonderful dogs and thanks soooo much for the imput. As always, the "forum" or my friends as I consider each and everyone of you, has not let me down.

 

Tess

Joined: 2012-01-06

Why even waste your time and your dogs neck with either?  Just use a head collar.  Took Fletcher about 10 minutes to figure out he can't tug with one on.  All the collar does is gently pull his head down if he pulls.    

DJ's Dad's picture
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There are pros and cons with any type of training collar.  Everybody's preferences differ for specific reasons, and what works well for one may not work at all for another.

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head collars  are the harshest on the dogs neck, and are highly, highly recommended against for dogs with longer necks like a doberman.  The other types of training collars, if used propperly, are much less harsh on the dog.  If your dog is getting hurt with one of these collars, something is being done wrong.  

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So Tess, you decided to use the Choke chain? And your thinking about changing to a Prong Collar? Just making sure I got the facts straight. I'm also debating on what to train Athena with, since she is 4 months tommorow. There is a lot of good information on this post, I read all of them. Love this site. :)

Ohhhh, and DobieWanKenobi, that picture of Kay made me say "Awwwwwwwwww" aloud. That is sooo cute! I know that look all too well, Dobermans don't need a firm hand. I can look at Athena from accross the room like I'm upset and she instantly looks more sad. lol.

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Prongs collars can be a useful tool--just think of it as power steering for the doberman.  But so far I don't use it in class.  In Rally we were using the regular choke collar because that is what we can use in the ring.  I was told to buy this one choke collar that stays on top of the neck and I love it.  You don't slide it over their heads.  You have to thread the leash holder one through the round link.  I just love the collar to use.

 

And that prong collar picture--that is not the correct way for our dogs to wear one.  The following link will help demonstrate the right way to fit and wear those collars.  Here is the link:

 

 

http://leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm

Sorceress_Mage's picture
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"I'm also debating on what to train Athena with, since she is 4 months tommorow (sic)"

 

Please don't!!!  I wouldn't start using a prong on a youngster--wait until at least 6 months if not later.  Their necks are too tender for this.

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Ok guys, I think the thing we have to remember is the collars are TOOLS, not solutions.  Collars don't make a dog walk well, training does.  Collars make a dog walk well WHILE THE COLLAR IS ON.  Big difference.  I think people are putting way too much emphasis on what kind of collar, as opposed to what kind of technique, and how to actually stop a dog from pulling.  In most cases, what collar you decide to use is pretty insignificant, if you understand the training concepts.  We have to remember that, above all.